Reading the Bible with God at your side

This heading may seem strange, unusual, perhaps irreverent. Yet, reading the Bible while conscious of its Author’s physical presence will make a huge difference to your reading. He becomes the proverbial “elephant in the room.”[1] You can’t ignore Him. He doesn’t go away. You are obligated to relate everything you read to HIM.  You must respond.

An Example

Words that have become so familiar suddenly take on a new light. What is your response to Genesis 1:1 (when the Creator is there in the room with you)?

                “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

You might start with a simple “Thank you Lord, for creating this universe and giving me the opportunity to live in it.” 

But have you really recognized the “elephant in the room”? 

Isn’t the above response rather flippant and casual? 

Fall on the ground before Your/The Creator!  Be in awe! Stay on the ground for a few hours in the presence of such a One! Recognize this Living, Personal Being who created all things and is aware of little-ol’-you, and is there at your side!

This is a taste of what “Reading the Bible with God at your side” is about. The Bible is His book, His message, His truth, His word to you and everyone else on this planet.


[1] Large, out-of-place, unavoidable, can’t get out of your mind, makes one feel awkward, small, vulnerable,….

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.

Of Metaphors and Wit

Jeremiah’s writing is the product of an extremely clever and active mind. He makes use of picturesque language on every “page” of his scroll.[1] Ponder this extensive quote before proceeding:

“The book of Jeremiah is a cornucopia of metaphor. From the outset it is clear that in order for the reader to properly understand the message of the book, s/he will have to come to grips with its imagery. Chapter two alone contains metaphors of betrothal, first fruits, cisterns, slaves, lions, harlots, vineyards, camels, wild donkeys, thieves, the wilderness, virgins, and immoral women.[2] According to Daniel Bourguet, the number of metaphors in Jeremiah reaches up to nearly 250. It is not an overstatement, therefore, to say that in Jeremiah, meaning and metaphor are inseparably intertwined.”[3]

Metaphors Reproduce like Rabbits [but “rabbits” here is a simile]

Metaphors are a common, world-wide, human phenomena. An integral part of human psyche and expression. So common they are, that even “knuckleheads”, “block heads” and “hot heads” (three metaphors) invent them “on the fly” (metaphor).

Metaphors are common, yes, but there are “blue ribbon” ones. Jeremiah invented good ones. A few will be examined below. The ability to originate superior metaphors can be labelled with the term, “wit.”

What is Wit?

“Wit” in its purest form is creative genius. It requires flexible cerebral acuity, along with a piercing insight into human affairs and human psyche. Wit is inventive thought, cleverly putting two or three things together creating a clash or reverberation of images and concepts both unexpected but clear enough to communicate the point. (Wish there was a good metaphor to define “wit.”).

Jeremiah was an expert. Look at 4 examples:

Metaphors Clash and Produce Spin-Off Ideas

1, In Jeremiah chapter 8, the Lord expresses his frustration over the callous stubbornness of the people. The painful consequences of their sinning should be enough to cause them to change. “Why do these people stay on their self-destructive path?” he asks. “Is anyone sorry for doing wrong? Does anyone say, ‘What a terrible thing I have done?’” This question is then answered with true wit, using vivid imagery:

No! All are running down the path of sin as swiftly as a horse galloping to battle! 8:6b.

Here we have both a vivid picture – horses with armed riders rushing into battle – and a clashing of ideas. Horses don’t choose to rush into pain and danger, they are mastered, trained, and forced to do it. Humans are “out of their minds” to rush into anything as painful and harmful as sin. The point is that the people’s proneness to sin is excessive and nonsensical [anti-sensical? Contra-sensical?].

2, In Jeremiah 50, the great empire of Babylon is described in a future setting. The description of this nation as “the mightiest hammer in all the earth” is a perfect metaphor. Great hammers were used to break open stone walls and knock down stone buildings. Babylon is famous for this. But the metaphor gets carried into the next stage, this “mighty hammer” now “lies broken and shattered.” Carrying vivid imagery into the next statement. “Babylon is desolate among the nations!” 50:23.

3, The Lord’s judgement against the nation of Egypt is peppered with biting wit and only one statement will be examined here. A powerful enemy of Egypt is described as being “as tall as Mount Tabor, or as Mount Carmel by the sea!” They are then told to flee, because the city of Memphis will be totally destroyed. This is then followed by the wittiest, picturesque understatement:

Egypt is as sleek as a beautiful heifer, but a horsefly from the north is on its way! 46:20.

Picture first the nation of Egypt described as young, beautiful, and full of life (the heifer). Now consider the size difference between a cow and a fly. This totally reverses the image from earlier, where the enemy is compared to the size of two mountains. Now picture again this little horsefly pestering the defenseless heifer, biting at it morning to night, driving it mad. This complex image is conjured up through a few brief words. This is wit, and this is masterful use of metaphor and understatement.

4, In Jeremiah 37, Babylon had recently withdrawn from sieging Jerusalem. King Zedekiah sought some assurance that perhaps they were now out of danger, so he sent a couple men to ask Jeremiah about it. Perhaps all our troubles are over!

Jeremiah wanted to douse all false hopes to oblivion. He sends back the message:

This is what the Lord says: Do not fool yourselves into thinking that the Babylonians are gone for good. They aren’t! 37:9.

This was clear enough, but Spokesperson knew these people and wanted to expel any-and-all vestiges of misplaced hope, so he uses vivid, hypothetical exaggeration:

Even if you were to destroy the entire Babylonian army [a total impossibility], leaving only a handful of wounded survivors [oops], they would still stagger from their tents and burn this city to the ground. 37:10.

Summary

This is a small sampling of Jeremiah’s acumen. He had the mental wit, the pragmatic knowledge of people’s innards, and a mind-blowing message to communicate.

“The book Jeremiah wrote is a massive labyrinth, the largest (and certainly the most complicated) book in the Bible. He did, however, spike his tome with protein bars and energy drinks at appropriate places to edge the reader on through the maze.”[4] Gems shine brighter when you find them yourself. Happy digging.


[1] There may be a debate as to how much of the messages “from the Lord” are recorded verbatim from Divine speech and how much human personality and choices influence word choice, forms of expression, etc. This is not a forum for such a debate.

[2] 13 metaphors in just the second chapter of the book!

[3] Foreman, Benjamin A. Animal Metaphors and the People of Israel in the Book of Jeremiah. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011, p. 1.

[4] Howard, Reggie, http://jeremiahbenhilkiah.blogspot.com/2013/ ���l�������s���G4

Special Introductory Offer

A Book like no other, about a most underappreciated man: Indomitable Spokesperson for Deity – Prophet Jeremiah.

Available worldwide through Amazon and other retailers, in both print and eBook formats. 275 pages.

For a special introductory price on the eBook, save $7.00 and purchase for only $1.99. Click the picture below below and use code:  ISDIntro . Offer valid through the month of May 2019.


 
Preface

Continue reading “Special Introductory Offer”

Clashing Value Systems – Western vs Majority World

A significant awakening or realization is spreading around the globe. People recognize a major divide between how societies understand life, how they interpret the world around them, and upon what foundation they base their values and morals. The desire is there to understand and connect across this divide.

Two main issues create this divide between what can be called “Western Cultures” (which form Western Worldviews)[1] and a “Non-western Cultures” (which form Non-western World views). These two issues can be labelled as follows:

  1. Collective Identity (Collectivism) differentiated from Individual Identity (Individualism).
  2. Honor/Shame values and morals distinguished from Guilt/Punishment values and morals.[2]

Collective Identity and Honor/Shame values conjoin in Non-western Cultures.

Individual Identity and Guilt/Punishment values conjoin in Western Cultures.

Human beings are inherently blind to our deepest assumptions, gained unawares from early childhood through enculturation. These assumptions are so pervasive and integral they create blind spots and selective learning that colors most everything we do, even as we approach the Word of God.

Which Side of the Divide?

Research clarifies which side of the divide original authors and readers of the Bible functioned. Therefore, readers of the Bible who grow up on the other side must add an extra step to their study and interpretation of God’s Word.

The Bible expresses its messages almost exclusively in the vocabulary and thought forms of Collective Identity and Honor/Shame values.

Consider for a moment the book of Romans and its themes, then consider this statement:

“Did you know the words ‘shame’, ‘honor’, and ‘glory’ appear 40 times in Romans (while ‘guilt’, ‘innocence’, and ‘forgiveness’ appear only twice in Romans)?”[3]

Yet, much writing and preaching on Romans in the western world emphasizes guilt and punishment with God as judge. Commentators and preachers of Romans present the gospel primarily as a forensic message, yet a brief vocabulary count doesn’t back this up. Let this be a wake-up call.

Understand the Divide

Every human being is born into things bigger than themselves. Everyone is born into a family, consisting of a nuclear family and a larger extended family. Each individual and their families are part of larger connections, perhaps a clan and a tribe, but certainly a community, a society, and a nation.

People in the majority world focus more on these bigger things – these connections – while the western world does less so.

Western societies place great focus on the individual. A child must learn to “think for themselves.” Know right and wrong, good and evil, and how to be a good and productive citizen. They are being prepared to eventually “be on their own,” i.e., be independent, self-aware, and carve out their own unique identity and niche in life.

Individualism: People raised in an “individual oriented” family and society have within themselves a set of assumptions and outlooks-on-life (world view) that they may be unaware of and are dramatically different from the majority people on this earth. These people (the author being one of them) need to look over the fence and study those majority people and how they tick (Collectivism).

This is of great importance for someone studying Jeremiah (both the person and the book) because neither Jeremiah nor any of the people he dealt with were British or American or 21st century or individualistic. The writer of Jeremiah had no awareness of individualistic assumptions and values that Westerners now bring to his text. He addressed his writing to a population that shared his non-western assumptions and worldview and values and interests. We, as educated readers, are obliged to go the extra mile to bridge the gaps of time and culture and understand the ancient text as originally intended.[4]

Understand Collectivistic (rather than Individualistic) Thinking

There are two parts to understanding the ancient world (and current majority world) who see and think collectively.

  1. Group-interest Outweighs Self-interest

People who grow up and flourish in collectivistic cultures are not self-centered; their ethics and values do not emanate from themselves. They are self-aware, but their awareness tells them they are a part of a larger group of people that is more important than themselves as individuals. Group-interest far outweighs self-interest. Their identity, focus, and confidence is gained as a member of their group.

  1. Two Audiences in View

It is within this strong Collectivistic thinking that Honor/Shame (HS) dynamics function.

Honor/Shame oriented people navigate each day not focused on their own happiness or welfare. They look outside themselves, to the whole group or groups (starting with the family) in which their identity rests.

They are ever aware of two audiences.[5]

  1. The first and most important group watching them is the people within their own identity group. Each individual in the group wants to please and honor and strengthen their group through their behavior, words, and their physical and monetary contributions.
  2. The other group consists of everyone outside their group. Outsiders are constantly watching and appraising them. The HS person wants their own behavior and words to reflect well on the reputation and status of their group. Each individual wants to contribute favorably to their group’s honor, importance, and strength in the eyes of all outsiders.

These perceived audiences are very real and their influence goes deep to the core of HS orientated people.[6] Awareness of these audiences directs the individual’s behavior and decisions constantly and such a lifestyle is normal in their eyes.

Children are not taught an abstract list of right and wrong, they are directed to bring joy and honor to their people. Moral accountability is found in this desire to honor and bring honor. HS ethics are not abstract, they are concretely relational.

Two Guiding Priorities

Honor/shame people are certain of two things:

  1. They belong to a group (or groups) of people and need that group more than the group needs them. The group will stand by them just as they must stand by all others in the group. Fulfilment comes in making favorable contributions. And the primary people appraising them is their group themselves, not outsiders.
  2. They know they represent their group in the eyes of all outsiders. What they do as an individual should always honor and strength the group.

Therefore, the priorities are this: 1, The group is imperative, and I am a small part. I increase my worth as a contributing member. I must always be loyal to my group. 2, My group must appear good and honorable to all those outside the group. The strength and health of my group is of prime importance to myself and everyone in it.

 

What this means for understanding Jeremiah

Jeremiah’s call to be spokesperson for the Living God caused an upheaval within him. Submission required a major paradigm shift. Namely, unquestioned loyalty to family and people must to be exchanged for unyielding allegiance to the Living God.

Jeremiah knew instinctively there would be clashes between these parties. Major clashes. He is impelled to speak against the entrenched behavior and attitudes of his family and people. They will view him with disdain; as disloyal, forsaking their group, shaming them in the eyes of others. Something their son or brother or uncle should ever do.[7]

[1] These are broad categories with subgroups and variables, and only generalities are offered here.

[2] The focus in many circles of Biblical study is very much on this second issue, but it will be argued here that the first one (identity) is foundational and must be the starting point for bridging the gaps in understanding.

[3]6 Places Honor & Shame Hide in the Bible”, Posted on July 31, 2014 by www.HonorShame.Com. [A very informative website, by the way].

[4] Fortunately, Biblical scholars have been aware of this in recent times and have given concentrated study on the issues involved.

[5] This “two audiences” claim is overly simplistic, but it is used here for a purpose. There is elasticity (rather than rigidity) in these two groups/audiences.

[6] The strength of this social, relational “connectedness” is revealed in statements like the following. “Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.” Pro. 25:18. See also Jer. 18:18.

[7] This is the context and impetus behind Jeremiah’s “awkward” laments. They may be seen by us as self-pity, unfit for a man of his caliber and calling. “Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb.” “Why was I ever born? My entire life has been filled with trouble, sorrow, and shame.” Jer. 20:17, 18. This is different from self-pity. It is grief over the seeming betrayal and failure in the eyes of those he cared about. It is frustration over knowing what his people need, but them not seeing it. “I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief.” Jer. 8:21.

Who Jesus Is

The words of S. M. Lockridge say it right:

I wish I could describe Him to you, but

He’s indescribable. He’s incomprehensible. He’s invincible. He’s irresistible.

Well,
You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hand. You can’t out live Him, And you can’t live without Him. The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him. The witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Death couldn’t handle Him, And the grave couldn’t hold Him.

Yea!, that’s my King, that’s my King.

(See more of his message by following the link below:)

https://www.shadowmountain.org/Content/HtmlImages/Public/Documents/General/EBI/Thats%20My%20King%20-%20Do%20You%20Know%20Him.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2cAcal8tgPRm7mhlZ4m5e1GSFGwQq3eROesytSRWWet3OURGr6g2Pa424

Tug-a-war

The Divine Communicator is passionate[1], relentless[2], and demanding.[3] His spokesperson is swept into the harrowing task of mediating between Him and the belligerent recipients[4] 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.[5]


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

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

[3] Jer. 7:5-7.

[4] Jer. 44:16-17.

[5] “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.

Prophet as Spokesperson

front cover png 30 pct

This book uses the term “spokesperson” as a near equivalent to the biblical word “prophet”. Some may not like this.

But consider a few Biblical facts:

Who is the first person God recruited to be a prophet? Aaron.[1]

Whose “prophet” was he? Not God’s, but his own little brother’s.[2]

Why did his brother need a prophet? Because Moses claimed to be inadequate at speaking.[3]

What did Aaron do as his brother’s prophet? He served as his brother’s spokesperson.

When the Lord called Jeremiah to be his prophet, what was Jeremiah’s response? “O Sovereign Lord, I can’t _______ for you.”[4]

How was Jeremiah going to serve the Lord? Not by miracles, not by demonstrations of power, but by speaking. The Lord told him, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth.” Jer. 1:9. “Get up and prepare for action. Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say.” Jer. 1:17.

Prophets in the Bible served as spokespersons for the invisible, heaven-residing, eternal, living God.

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –

[1] Ok, Abraham was referred to as a prophet in Gen 20:7, these words were to a foreign king and include nothing about a call or assigned work.

[2] “… and your brother, Aaron, will be your prophet.” Exo. 7:1.

[3] “I can’t do it! I’m such a clumsy speaker!” Exo. 6:30.

[4] Jer. 1:6.

Seems a warning is in order

Seems a warning is in order. An old man in the grave for 2500 years shouldn’t be considered “armed and dangerous.” But the human subject of this book, Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, isn’t happy to remain a historical curiosity. If you are fortunate to “meet” him, in Scripture and the pages of this book, you will not come out the same.

He challenges, he stretches, and he motivates. For the last 10 years, this relentless man, Jeremiah Ben Hilkiah, has been hounding me on all sides. He exposes serious shortcomings. Challenges us to see clearer, do more, and be better. This pesky man doesn’t quit!

Jeremiah was honest and uncompromising with God. Transparent and forthright among people. He had doubts and failures; but was genuine to the core. I want to be like him.

Hope he will hound you too.