Jeremiah 1 Introduction and Calling
After Isaiah, came Jeremiah, preaching repentance and warning of destruction to the people of Jerusalem. His ministry was from about 627 BC to 586 BC, meaning he was a contemporary (in both time and place) with the prophet Lehi of the Book of Mormon (see 1 Nephi 7:13-14; see also 1 Nephi 5:10-13, which tells us that some of Jeremiah’s prophecies were on the plates of brass obtained by Nephi; and see Helaman 8:20).
Remember, the northern kingdom of Israel had fallen to the Assyrians in 721 BC, and Jeremiah will witness the fall of the southern kingdom of Judah (to the Babylonians), in about 586 BC, becoming one of the few prophets to see some of his major prophecies fulfilled in his own lifetime. This continued the scattering of the house of Israel, which is being reversed in the last days by the great gathering of Israel, in which we are called to participate.
The name Jeremiah means “appointed (or exalted) by the Lord.” Regarding Jeremiah’s calling, find the following:
- How was Jeremiah prepared and called? (Jeremiah 1:4-5; see also Abraham 3:22-23).
- How did Jeremiah react to his calling? (verse 6; see also Exodus 4:10-12; Moses 6:31-34).
- What instructions did the Lord then give to Jeremiah? (verses 7-10, 17).
- What promises did the Lord make to Jeremiah? (verses 8-9, 12, 19).
- What things did the Lord prophesy regarding Judah and Jerusalem? (verses 14-16, 18).
- What does this chapter tell you about the Lord and His work? In what ways has the Lord helped you to do the things you must do?
Jeremiah 2-20 The Consequences of Sin
The prophet Jeremiah had an intensely challenging assignment, striving to help a people that had rebelled against their God, strayed far from His precepts, and rejected prior prophets. The fallout of their disobedience had begun and their physical captivity would follow the spiritual captivity they had already entered into. But, in God’s love for His children, He sent Jeremiah to give them a final warning and an invitation to repent and return to Him (for example, see Jeremiah 2:4-9, 13; see also 1 Nephi 1:13, 18-20).
Read all the chapter headings for Jeremiah, chapters 2-9; 11; 13-17; 19-20, and note the threads that run throughout the this account of the people of Judah, and in Jeremiah’s ministry among them. What key themes do you see? What do you learn about prophets, and about God? What do these chapters teach about the consequences of sin?
- 2:19-21, 26-28, 32-34 Wicked ways can sink to a point where repentance and reform become exceedingly difficult and highly unlikely.
- 2:32; 3:1-2, 6-10, 14; 5:7-9 Again, we see references to the Lord’s “marriage” to Israel, and the people’s unfaithfulness in their covenant with Him.
- 3:14-18 Promised blessings of the last days, when Israel and Judah will be gathered in righteousness.
- 4:19-22 The Lord is pained over the iniquities of His children.
- 5:1 The Lord challenges Jeremiah to try to find a righteous man in Jerusalem (compare Genesis 18:26).
- 5:30-31 Priestcraft rules and the people “love to have it so.”
- 9:23-24 Counsel for the wise man, the mighty man, and the rich man. What things does the Lord delight in?
- 12:1 Jeremiah asks the Lord why the wicked seem to prosper (see also Malachi 3:13-15).
- 14:11-16 False prophets often arise to contradict the Lord’s true prophets. What things are “false prophets” (and other loud voices) proclaiming today?
Jeremiah 7 “If”
In this chapter the Lord instructs Jeremiah to stand at the gate of the temple and make an offer to the people (verses 1-3):
- According to verses 4-6, what things did the Lord specifically command the people to do?
- What blessings did the Lord promise in verse 7, if they would obey?
- Consider the Lord’s feelings about the temple, as evidenced in verses 9-11.
- Read verse 27. Why do you think the Lord still has Jeremiah preaching to the people, while informing him that the people will not hearken? (see also Moroni 9:6).
Jeremiah 16 “The Lord Liveth, That …”
In antiquity, Jehovah—the only true God—was sometimes referred to as the Lord “that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt” (verse 14). The events associated with the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt, under their prophet Moses, were so miraculous that those events became a way to describe the Lord and His power, in comparison to the false and powerless gods of the world. But as iconic as those events were, they will be eclipsed in the last days by the events prophesied in verse 15. Also, verse 16 speaks metaphorically of how this gathering will be accomplished.
Jeremiah 17 The Sabbath
What does the Lord say about obeying the law of the Sabbath, in Jeremiah 17:19-22? What blessings are promised, in verses 24-25? How did the people react to Jeremiah’s preaching, according to verse 23? Is there anything in verses 19-25 that you can apply to your Sabbath observance?
Jeremiah 18; 20 “As a Burning Fire”
In Jeremiah 18:18, what did the people say about Jeremiah? What response did this elicit from Jeremiah, in verses 19-23? Next, read what the people did to Jeremiah, in 20:1-2. Now, read Jeremiah’s bold words to Pashur, in verses 3-6.
It is not surprising that these interactions led to some despondence on the part of Jeremiah. He says in 20:7, “I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me.” Jeremiah even confessed to the Lord that he had at one point determined to “not make mention” of His name any longer (verse 9). But this feeling didn’t persist, for Jeremiah immediately followed up by declaring, “But [the Lord’s] word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing [trying to hold it back], and I could not stay [abstain from preaching]” (verse 9).
According to Jeremiah 20:11, what will eventually happen to those who oppose and reject the prophets?
Like Jeremiah in 20:9, do you feel a “burning” testimony that moves you to open your mouth and share God’s word? In the April 2019 general conference, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve taught: “Members of the Church of Jesus Christ—both in past times as well as in ours—have enthusiastically and joyfully shared the gospel with friends and acquaintances. Their hearts are aflame with the testimony of Jesus Christ, and they sincerely want others to experience the same joy they have found in the Savior’s gospel.”