Made For This Moment (Jeremiah 1)

Introducing Jeremiah (1:1-3)

It was the best of times and it was the worst of times. This is probably the only line I remember from the required readings of Charles Dickens in high school. Yet as I opened the book of Jeremiah and read the first few sentences, it was the first thing that came to my mind. It was the best of times and it was the worst of times. We are told in Jeremiah 1 that Jeremiah is a priest in the village of Anathoth which is in the tribal boundaries of Benjamin, just a few miles from Jerusalem. But Jeremiah receives the word of the Lord in the days of Josiah, the king of Judah. The nation of Judah had a very imbalanced history in which there were good kings who arose and served the Lord and led the people in righteousness. But there were also wicked kings who arose and rejected the Lord and led the people in evil and idolatry. The scriptures name two kings in particular who reigned over Judah in which they obeyed the Lord like no other kings in the nation’s history. Those two kings were Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:5-6) and Josiah (2 Kings 23:25). The reign of Josiah was an amazing time of reforms and spiritual restoration. This was very important because the prior two kings did great wickedness. In fact, Josiah’s grandfather was Manasseh who is described as the most wicked king Judah ever had reign over them (cf. 2 Kings 21). Josiah tore down idols, cleansed the temple, restored the Passover, and pressed the people to obey the Lord. Jeremiah 1:2 records the best of times. But Jeremiah 1:3 records the worst of times. Jeremiah will be a prophet not only in the days of Josiah, one of the best kings Judah ever had, but he will also prophesy through the reigns of the final kings of Judah, ending with Zedekiah which is when the city of Jerusalem was captured by the Babylonians. Jeremiah is going to prophesy during a time of great spiritual fervor and prophesy during a time of great rebellion to the Lord, all the way to the destruction of the nation in 586 BC. Jeremiah prophesied during the best of times and during the worst of times…

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