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

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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.

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[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.