another Release Time consideration:
4 Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." 6 Then I said, "Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy." 7 But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a boy'; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you, 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord."
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 5a if you truly act justly one with another, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, 7 then I will dwell with you in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your ancestors forever and ever.
7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
When God created the world, he planned for everyone to live in a free, complete relationship with him and with each other. Because God created enough of everything to go around, he planned for everyone to have plenty of food, good housing and loving relationships. God still plans for people like us to help make this world as he created it to be.
Around 4,000 years ago, after trekking through the desert wilderness for about 40 years, God's people, Israel, finally went into the place God had promised would become their home. Although their life could have been perfect in the Promised Land, the people got themselves into trouble by being selfish and not acting fairly. They especially gave little thought and very little care to those who had the least and needed them most. Most of them got taken out of the land God had promised and given them. They found themselves in a country where they were ruled by a king neither God nor they had chosen.
God had to do something about what they were doing to themselves and each other. God broke into the lives of his people with a man who knew them and lived among them, Jeremiah. About 629 years before Jesus was born, God sent Jeremiah right to the people with God's own words.
Because God was sad about the way they were acting, God broke into the lives of the people with a man who knew them and lived among them, Jeremiah. About 629 years before Jesus was born, God sent Jeremiah right to the people with God's own words.
Let's look at what God told Jeremiah. "I knew you even before you were born, and I chose you to be a prophet." (A prophet is someone who gives God's words to the people.) Jeremiah said something like we might say when we're told to do something hard: "Impossible! I can't do that!"
God answered, "Do what I tell you, don't be afraid, and I'll take care of you and make it possible for you to do the impossible."
It's important for us to remember the people had gotten themselves into a mess, and were getting themselves into it still deeper. It's important for us to see in God's promises that he is the one who pulls us out of disaster, even though we often get ourselves into it.
So, Jeremiah obeyed God. He went to the people with a message that had two parts. God's message through Jeremiah was:
- You're in this place of exile away from your own home I gave you because you've been selfish, greedy, thoughtless and unfair. You've been following your own feelings instead of my way of justice. BUT,
- because I love you, I'm going to do for you what you can't do for yourselves. I'll make a brand new beginning with you, so you won't be able to forget me, so you'll be able to treat each other with justice and love.
- When did Jeremiah live?
- What kinds of problems were the people having?
- Why were they having problems?
- What did God tell Jeremiah to do?
- What do we mean by "a message of hope?"
- How can we be like Jeremiah?