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Jeremiah was called to minister to the last surviving tribe of Israel, Judah, in a time of political and spiritual decay. He was born during an age of blessing and restoration as King Josiah reinstituted God's law in the land and freed them from the oppression of Assyria, but succeeding kings forsook God's law, presumed upon God's mercy, and suffered under the heavy hand of Babylon. Jeremiah exhorted God's people to repent of their dependence upon alliances with foreign countries and to renew their faith in the God who promised to defend and prosper them.
When those warnings fell on deaf ears, he warned of the destruction that would certainly fall upon Judah as a consequence of their disobedience, but reminded them that God would not abandon them forever. Even when the capital city of Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians, Jeremiah preached hope that God would indeed restore Israel to its former glory.
In the same way, Christians face some menacing obstacles and suffer through seasons of faithlessness. Despite the disappointment, pain, and destruction our sin may yield, we know through Jeremiah's ministry that God does not abandon His people but rather promises to restore us when we return to Him. In the midst of Jeremiah's preaching, he also recounts in detail some of the significant events in his own life, particularly the persecution that he suffered because of his unwelcome message. In this book we have a vivid depiction of the life of a reluctant but faithful prophet in a dark season of Israel's history. Moreover, we have a fellow minister that we can relate to and learn from as we are called to preach a sometimes unpopular message to a stubborn people.
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