Jeremiah – Condensed Version
By Dennis Huebshman
This is an overview of Jeremiah “Readers Digest Style” which I hope will spark an interest for you to read the book completely.
Jeremiah was a prophet called by God and his ministry was from about 626 B.C. to 586 B.C. He was a young man when God Called, but his exact age is unknown. The theme of the book is the destruction of Judah and includes Israel as well. The book is not written in chronological order. He was known as the “weeping prophet”, and is believed to have written 1 Kings, 2 Kings, Lamentations and Jeremiah. It is unknown when and how he died, but he lived to see the beginning of the Babylonian Captivity and Nebuchadnezzar’s reign.
He was a prophet during the time of 5 kings: Josiah (640-609), Jehoahaz (609), Jehoiakim (609-598), Jehoiachin (598-597) and Zedekiah (597-586).
Israel (10 tribes) went into captivity first because their kings were the most wicked followed by Judah (2 tribes) because they finally followed the wickedness. Now we begin the synopsis starting with Chapter 1.
Ch. 1: The Lord said He selected Jeremiah before he was in his mother’s womb to be a prophet. Jeremiah tried to use the “Moses” excuse that he was not a good speaker, but God persisted. Jeremiah said he was too young, but God still persisted. He promised He would give the words to him to use and would protect him from harm.
Ch. 2: God told of His displeasure with Israel. They had turned to other gods, and the priests turned from true worship to worship BAAL. God gave them fertile land, but they still turned away worshiping other gods.
During their trials, the Lord said He would not allow other nations to help them – specifically Egypt and Assyria.
Ch. 3: He held up rain because of unfaithfulness, yet they still would not turn back to Him. (Reminds of Revelation where God is punishing the earth, yet people would curse Him rather than repent.)
Lord had Jeremiah go through Israel & Judah giving them a chance to turn back to Him. Said He would forgive them- but they did not respond.
(17-18) Prophecy of post-tribulation: Jerusalem will be called the Lord’s City – all nations will gather there to honor the Lord’s name.
Ch. 4: Cities will be laid to waste and made desolate, but God would not completely destroy it. (Mark Twain’s visit in 1867 – most desolate land he ever saw.)
Ch. 5: More words about impending judgment – all they are asked to do is to repent and turn from idols.
Ch. 6: The Lord warns He is about to make an example of His chosen to other nations. He will punish those who turn from Him. (Hello – does this sound like America today?)
Ch. 7: People lead sinful lives but go into the temple declaring their holiness. God’s not impressed. He even tells Jeremiah not to pray for the people because He won’t listen. (V. 16 -this is the first of 4 times God says He will not listen – once is instruction, 4 is a dire warning)
Ch. 8: God has sent signs that birds and animals understand, but man still shows his ignorance. (Remember God loves his animals and birds. After all, He created them before man.)
Ch. 9: People not only disrespect God, but each other Even family is disrespectful. God is pained that He has to punish them but must do so to be a “just” God.
Ch. 10: Gods of wood, stone and metal did not create anything, and cannot provide anything. Jeremiah laments over the coming destruction. Problem is the people are stubborn just like many in America today.
Ch. 11: The Lord says people violated covenants He made with their ancestors. He will honor those covenants when they turn back to Him. False Gods cannot save them.
God again says don’t pray for the people – He won’t listen (V. 14). Jeremiah tells God about a threat that was made against himself. God promises again to take care of him.
Ch. 12: Jeremiah wants to know why wicked and dishonest people prosper. God tells him it’s only for a short while and then He will punish them. Those He uses to punish will be spared if they turn to Him. Those that don’t turn to Him will themselves be destroyed.
Ch. 13: Continued warnings to the people. They just don’t get it!
Ch. 14: Jeremiah asks the Lord to let up on the famine. God says False prophets are giving prophecies using God’s name but are not truly representing Him. God sees all that is happening and is sad about it. (We have this going on in our Churches and elsewhere today. Third time God says not to pray for them V.11-12)
Ch. 15: Jeremiah is sorry he was born. Asks the Lord to take away his suffering. God told him to repent of such thoughts, and He would continue to protect Jeremiah. (4th. And final time God says not to pray for them V.1)
Ch. 16: Jeremiah forbidden to marry, to mourn or to attend feasts. The Lord is going to put an end to joyous festivities and is using Jeremiah as an example.
God will take His children out of the land, but future generations will be brought back. (Happened on May 14, 1948)
Ch. 17: Those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. He gives a warning to those who don’t. Lord gives a test and says nothing is to be carried through the gates on the Sabbath. They fail the simple test and go against His will anyway.
Ch. 18: At the potters’ house, God used the clay vessels as an example that He has the right to use people for good that obey Him or destroy those that don’t. Jeremiah again was threatened by locals.
Ch. 19: God Through Jeremiah uses a clay pot in public to show how He will deal with Israel and Judah. Smashes it so it cannot be put back together.
Ch. 20: Jeremiah is put in prison and flogged. Again, complains to God about his treatment. (God allows him to complain as Jeremiah still does the will of the Lord. He understands we get frustrated, but still expects us to follow His will.)
Ch. 21: Jerusalem being attacked by Nebuchadnezzar. God’s warning – those who stay in the city will die – those who surrender will be spared.
Ch. 22: Specific warnings to specific kings.
Ch. 23: Promise of coming Messiah and warning to false prophets. Says God will raise up a righteous branch from David who will reign as king, and his name will be called:
“The Lord Our Righteousness.” (Jesus)
Gives warnings about false prophets and the fate that awaits them. (By the way, to all false prophets of today, the warnings stand as God has not changed His mind.)
Ch. 24: God’s promise to bless those going into captivity, and also the fate of those remaining behind. Same warnings as chapter 21.
Ch. 25: Jeremiah had been prophesying 23 years, and God now promises to send people into exile for 70 years. He also tells what happens to all their allies.
Ch. 26: Jeremiah is arrested for prophesying.
Ch. 27: God tells He will use Nebuchadnezzar and his grandson(Belshazzar) for His purposes and will punish any nation that rises against them. Tells people about all the lies being told by false prophets. (How about our previous administration lying and saying America is getting stronger; economy is improving; peace with Iran is wonderful; etc. Our economy is getting better since the last election, but this is only temporary. We still have the trend of “tickle ear” sermons, “Entertainment” ministries and “all paths lead to God”.)
Ch. 28: Jeremiah’s encounter with false prophet – Jeremiah tells Hananiah he would die and that’s what happened that year. He said there would be no family left to carry on that name. The prophet found out God doesn’t joke about such things.
Ch. 29: Jeremiah sent a letter to the exiles advising them to make the best of their situation. Marry, plant fields, work to prosper and at the end of 70 years would be able to return to their land. Another false prophet tried to dispute the letter, but God condemned him and his whole family.
Ch. 30: Tells of the promise of the return to the Land and prosperity. Descendant of David (Jesus) will be ruler, all enemies destroyed by Wrath of God. (post-tribulation)
Ch. 31: Continuation of restoration of Israel/Judah. People will return from exile. All will repent and there will be a New Covenant with Israel (v.33) After their return, they will be His people never to be taken off the land again. Jerusalem will be the City of the Lord. (God Bless our current President and Vice President for their stance on Jerusalem.)
Ch. 32: Another promise by God to return the people to their land.
Ch. 33: God tells how the city will become a desolate wasteland (A.D. 70), but again promises to return people to it. Promises David will never lack a successor to the throne. God said, “I have made a covenant with the day and the night that they always come at the proper time. Only if people could break that covenant could His covenant with David be broken.”
Ch. 34: Promise to Zedekiah he would die peacefully in captivity if he followed the will of the Lord.
Also, promised those that released their slaves, and then re-enslaved them that they would be punished. Every 7 years slaves were to be set free. The people were not doing this.
Ch. 35: Lesson from Rechabites – descendants of Jonadab about faithfulness. Offered wine when they arrived at Jerusalem, but they refused It was told to them by Jonadab Never to drink wine. Because they honored their vow, God honored them.
Ch. 36: Jeremiah dictated all God said to Baruch to be written on a scroll. Baruch then read it to the people and then to King Jehoiakin who burned it. The same was done with a second scroll. Jehoiakin did not follow what was in the scrolls. God promised none of Jehoiakin’s blood line would again occupy the throne, and he would be left outside after being killed not buried.
Ch. 37: This book does not follow chronological order Here Jeremiah is arrested, and King Zedekiah frees him and makes sure he is given fresh bread daily.
Ch. 38: Jeremiah is charged with treason and put in a cistern that had mud in it. King Zedekiah approved of this. Ebed Melech, an Ethiopian, saved him. He was out of the cistern, but still held in the courtyard.
Zedekiah had a private conversation with Jeremiah and was told to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar, so he could be spared.
Ch. 39: Zedekiah did not surrender but tried to escape and was caught. His punishment was to watch his sons killed and then had his eyes put out. He was then taken to Babylon in chains. All of his other court members were killed.
Jeremiah and Ebed Melech were spared by Nebuchadnezzar personally.
Ch. 40: Jeremiah was set free and returned to Judah.
Ch. 41: Civil war type fighting. Person called Ishmael (not Abraham’s son) killed the governor appointed by Nebuchadnezzar and many of those exiled at Gibeon.
Ch. 42/43: Survivors ask Jeremiah to pray asking what they should do. God said for them to stay in the land and He would protect them. Do Not Go To Egypt! They went anyway and took Jeremiah with them. God told Jeremiah to tell them Nebuchadnezzar would destroy them.
Ch. 44/45: God continues warning about living in Egypt and worshiping false gods.
(sound like today? How many warnings to we need?)
The people came right out and told Jeremiah they would not do as God said. Baruch is given assurance of being spared for helping Jeremiah.
Ch. 46: God tells Jeremiah that Nebuchadnezzar is going to attack Egypt. God again promises to spare His people from being totally destroyed, but all will go through discipline.
Ch. 47-51 tells of the enemies of Israel and Judah that are destroyed: Philistines; Moab; Ammon; Edom: Damascas; Kedar/Hazor; Elam and Babylon.
Ch. 52 says a total of 4600 people went into exile.
Overall synopsis: Summed up in 4 words:
Obey God Or Else – How many warnings does He have to give?
Throughout the Bible, we see covenants from God and there are two basic types – Conditional and Unconditional.
An Unconditional covenant is straight from the Father and does not require any action on the receiver. He says, “I will”. Examples of this are the covenants with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel) and David.
Conditional on the other hand requires action from the receiver. Best example is 2 Chronicles 7:14 where God says if the people will return to Him and worship Him He would spare the land. (Paraphrased)
Through all the covenants God gave through Jeremiah to Israel and Judah, all the people had to do was worship Him and be spared, but they would not. Therefore, the Babylonian Captivity.
God gave us a Covenant through Jesus, His Son, that all who accept Him would be saved. This is Conditional based on our acceptance of the Savior. That’s all we have to do, however once we accept Him we would naturally want to follow Him. It becomes a personal relationship that ALL can have. Today would be a good day to take Him up on this covenant if you haven’t already done so.
Amen, Come Lord Jesus!