Intro to my Book

Indomitable Spokesperson for DEITY – Prophet Jeremiah

Where to start?

This book portrays a most remarkable human being. Vulnerable, strong, brash, funny.[1] Derided then, misjudged today.

Meet him. Get to know him. You will never look back.

Indomitable?

He is called “indomitable” and here is why. His Divine message enraged the powers of his day. They boiled. Religious leaders publicly insulted him, stripped him, whipped him, locked him in stocks. Neighbors he grew up with wanted him gone. Crowds rioted for his death. Kings hunted him, jailed him, destroyed his work, threw him in a muddy pit, jailed him again. But he never quit!

What motivated him?

He was desperately trying to prevent his nation and people from disappearing.

Does Deity Communicate?

Yes, the Bible describes God as a communicator. He speaks in the Bible as early as the third verse(Gen. 1:3, “Let there be light.”) and is still speaking in the second to last verse (Rev. 22:20, “Yes, I am coming soon”).

Why?

He pursues connection; meaningful, interactive engagement with His human creatures. He craves to bless everyone through mutually beneficial, interactive relationships.[2] Yes, God is above all else a Relational Being.[3] His relational nature permeates Jeremiah’s prophetic work. Meet the Living God!

Deity weeps. Deity pleads. Deity rebukes. Deity warns and disciplines. And through his spokesperson he repeatedly, tirelessly, works for reconciliation with his rebellious people.[4]

Note a few of the Lord’s statements:

She [Jerusalem] spouts evil like a fountain. Her streets echo with the sounds of violence and destruction. I always see her sickness and sores. 6:7.[5]

Am I the one they are hurting? Most of all they hurt themselves to their own shame. 7:19.

Why do these people stay on their self-destructive path? 8:5.

And responses the people fired back:

Save your breath. I’m in love with these foreign gods, and I can’t stop loving them now! 2:25.

At last we are free from God! We don’t need him anymore! 2:31.

Let’s destroy this man and all his words… Let’s cut him down, so his name will be forgotten forever. 11:19.

The Lord, through his chosen spokesperson, spoke for decades, reaching out in love and compassion; aiming to woo his beloved people back to relationship. “With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” 31:3.

Tug-a-war

The Divine Communicator is passionate[6], relentless[7], and demanding.[8] His spokesperson is swept into the harrowing task of mediating between Him and the belligerent recipients[9] of these communications.

There is a dynamic, massive, 3-party “tug-a-war” erupting throughout the book of Jeremiah. Recognizing and tracking these dynamics illuminates the book and the parties involved. There is nothing flat or boring when the book of Jeremiah is permitted to speak for itself.[10]

What’s Ahead?

Detailed and comprehensive study of Jeremiah’s scroll awaits later publication.[11] It is a massive labyrinth that takes courage and endurance to scope out. Yet, it is packed with gold, diamonds and precious stones that demand multiple coverage.

The starting point is to get to know the remarkable man himself. The environment he lived and breathed and served. The duties he was asked to perform. And the callus, vengeful responses of those in power and in all strata of society.

Let’s endeavor to encounter the wily character himself, spokesperson for Israel’s God, Prophet Jeremiah.

“Although it is not an easy task simply to read the Book of Jeremiah… nevertheless it is an indisputable fact that… a partial but striking picture of the prophet emerges from the pages of the book named after him. Unlike many of the biblical prophets, who remain perpetually as figures in the shadows of history, Jeremiah stands out as a truly human figure. He is torn between faith and doubt, he is deeply involved in the contemporary affairs of his time, and, in the pages of this book, he passes from youth to old age against the backdrop of the history of his era.”[12]

Three Parts of This Book

Jeremiah “the man” is ample study. His life was unique and diverse; its study is therefore multifaceted. This book comprises three major sections:

I. Stumbling onto the National Stage

Jeremiah started his work with a sterling ally sitting on Judah’s throne.[13] But catastrophe struck, and he was asked to contribute to the late king’s funeral by composing the dirges. Now he finds himself in the national spotlight.

This section gives an easy-access “brief” on the life and times of Jeremiah. Areas of background include the historical, political, social, religious, and economic conditions of those times. Creative Nonfiction[14] is used in chapters 1, 4, 5, and 7, for enjoyable reading and better retention.

II. Waves of Opposition

God’s spokesperson met trauma and abuse for much of his 40 years of service. It came from his Master’s rebellious people and their leaders. Priests, prophets and kings contributed. Creative Nonfiction is again the medium for chapters 2-7. The prophet never withdrew from his people or society, nor from speaking out on behalf of the marginalized and neglected. His predicaments drew him closer to the Living God; the theme of the next section.

III. Dialogues with Deity

Nowhere else in scripture is there such a gold mine; cataloging 40 years of interactive, growing relationship between the Living God and his fallible ambassador. These interactions are interlaced deliberately into the text of Jeremiah; but overlooked by most of the Christian world.[15]

Here lies a 2-party dialogue that progresses throughout Jeremiah’s large book. Relationships have difficulties, ebbs and flows, but mature individuals value relationships above the “costs” involved. And this is what we find, both parties commit to success in the relationship. Turbulence strains, conflict arises, but the relationship supersedes.

Appendices

These three sections are followed by 10 Appendices, covering a range of important and related topics.

“Let’s try to discover Jeremiah, this deeply human and attractive prophet, whose oracles comprise struggle and courage, torments and happiness, rejection and solidarity, disappointment and hopes, doubts and passion.”[16]


[1] Yes, funny.

[2] God is by nature one who “blesses”. He seeks relationships not for selfish reasons but because he desires to bless and improve everyone’s existence.

[3] “The relational God of Jeremiah is no aloof God, somehow present but detached. God is a God of great passions (pathos); deep and genuine divine feelings and emotions are manifest again and again. Sorrow, lament, weeping, wailing, grief, pain, anguish, heartache, regret, and anger all are ascribed to God in Jeremiah.” Fretheim, Terence E. Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary: Jeremiah. Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys, 2008. p. 33. To ponder the complexities involved here, please read Appendix 7, Two Sticky Issues: Weeping and a Conditional Future.

[4] “God is jealous for your heart, not because he is petty or insecure, but because he loves you. The reason why God has such a huge problem with idolatry is that his love for you is all-consuming. He loves you too much to share you.” Kyle Idleman, @KyleIdleman [Twitter], 11, 26, 2018.

[5] Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from: New Living Translation, second edition. Copyright © 2004 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

[6] Jer. 14:17; 44:6.

[7] Jer. 31:3; 44:4.

[8] Jer. 7:5-7.

[9] Jer. 44:16-17.

[10] “It is often easy for us to read millennia-old accounts that describe death and devastation, misery and grief, suffering and tears, and to remain unmoved. After all, the written text can seem so impersonal and distant, and we do not actually hear the cries of the wounded and dying – in reality, the people involved are complete strangers to us – nor do we smell the smoke rising from the flames of destruction … We tend to demonize the villains, lionize the heroes, and seek primarily to gain theological or practical insight from the (sometimes) stern dealings of God with his people, forgetting that these were real people, too, with real hopes and dreams and all too human disappointments and hurts.” Brown, Michael L.; Ferris, Paul W. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah, Lamentations. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010, Kindle Edition, Location 1742.

[11] This book is produced as part 1 of a trilogy. The second book title: Masterful Communication from DEITY – The Book of Jeremiah. Third title: Urgent, Critical, Paradigm-Shifting Communiques from DEITY – Via Jeremiah.

[12] Craigie, Peter c., Kelly, Page H., Drinkard, Jr., Joel F. Word Biblical Commentary, Vol 26, Jeremiah 1-25. Dallas TX: Word Inc., 1991, p. xxxvii.

[13] King Josiah receives the highest endorsement of all the kings of Israel and Judah. “Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.” 2 Kin. 23:25.

[14] This is a well-documented genre in modern literature, with guidelines, code of ethics, and taught in Universities. For further information see Appendix 1, What is Creative Nonfiction?

[15] Indeed, these dialogues are among the more difficult threads to uncover and follow in scripture.

[16] Prevost, Jean-Pierre. How to Read the Prophets. NY, NY: Continuum Publishing Company, 1997, p. 73.

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