“Then the whole remnant of Judah…will know whose word will stand—mine or theirs” (Jeremiah 44:28). These are almost the very last words God spoke through Jeremiah, in Egypt. In a sense they sum up the battle of the whole book between the word and the will of God and the words and the will of the people. And at the end of the day (and of the book) we know which word did indeed prevail: “the word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah…”
A repeated accusation levelled at the people is that for generation after generation they simply would not listen to the word of God. And a major source of conflict in the book is around the question of whether Jeremiah or the other prophets in Jerusalem had heard and were speaking the true word of God. Likewise, a major source of anxiety for Jeremiah was whether and when God would vindicate his own word—even though it caused Jeremiah unbearable pain when he contemplated what that would actually mean for his people. And conversely, a major source of comfort to Jeremiah, in such times, was the reassurance given at his commissioning, and repeated at key points afterwards, that God was “watching” over his word to fulfil it (1:12). Kings could lock up the prophet, but God’s word still soared free (ch. 32). Kings could burn the scroll, but the word lived on (ch. 36). The people could be a thousand miles away, but God’s word would reach them (ch. 29). Babylon might rule the world, but God’s word would sink it (51:62—64).
The book begins and ends (apart from the appendix of ch. 52) with the inclusion, “the words of Jeremiah” (1:1; 51:64), and the first of these identifies the words of Jeremiah as being at once and the same time “the word of the LORD.” Since the phrase embraces the whole book in between the “bookends,” the implications is that we hear the word of God not only in those parts of the text where we hear/read the spoken words of Jeremiah the prophet, but in all the rest of the material in Jeremiah the book—the narrative, dialogue, actions, arguments, etc. All that Jeremiah said, thought, felt, did, and suffered, as recorded in the book or Jeremiah, constitute “the words of Jeremiah,” and thereby, the word of God. We receive the book, as a whole, as both. That’s what it means to call it Scripture. And that is why, as such, the Bible speaks today.
As we read through the book of Jeremiah, may we experience the power of God’s word. May we encounter the God of the Bible and feel his love, understand his heart, and obey his will.
* Taken from The Message of Jeremiah by Christopher Wright.
This Week’s Bible Reading Schedule:
|Monday: Jeremiah 14||☐||Thursday: Jeremiah 17||☐|
|Tuesday: Jeremiah 15||☐||Friday: Jeremiah 18||☐|
|Wednesday: Jeremiah 16||☐||Saturday: Jeremiah 19||☐|