Jeremiah, according to scholar Peter Ellis, was a “quiet, peace-loving mystic sent by God, against his inclinations, to rebuke kings, accuse his fellow Jews of infidelity to the covenant, and draw upon himself in return the scorn, contempt, and homicidal hatred of his enemies” (Collegeville Commentary, 453).
Here, from our workbook overview, are the many themes of Jeremiah. Be sure to read past the gloom and doom to the messages of hope and salvation!
- Confessions or laments provide insights into Jeremiah’s relationship with the Lord and his personal anguish as a prophet in service to the word of God
- Idolatry as a great sin of Judah, which calls for God’s corrective judgment
- Covenant infidelity as the reason for God’s acts of judgment against Judah and Jerusalem
- Ineradicable nature of Judah’s sin
- Judgment against Judah and Jerusalem in the form of the destruction of the cities of Judah, including Jerusalem, by the Babylonians
- The Temple sermon as a summary of God’s complaint against the complacency and spiritual decay of the people, the divine call to conversion, and the Lord’s promise of judgment if there is no repentance
- Warning against heeding the message of false prophets who fill the people with vain hopes
- Future hope for the mercy of God, the reign of righteous Davidic kings, the restoration of Israel and Judah, and a new covenant.
- New covenant made with the house of Israel through which God’s law is written upon the people’s hearts and God is known because of divine forgiveness.
- Social justice as connected to God’s blessings and judgment on Judah
- Symbolic actions used as a means for communicating the prophetic message (the potter and the clay; the potter’s flask; the rotted loincloth)
- Images of wounds and healing used to describe the condition of the prophet and God’s people, as well as the action of the Lord on their behalf