Jeremiah’s prophecies explain his ministry in Judah under the reign of the King Josiah and extended through the evil behaviors of other king’s before the fall of Jerusalem. Ezekiel 8 tells of priests who worshiped false gods. According to Jeremiah, he was the exception to other contemporary prophets among Judah’s leaders who were evil and corrupt. God sternly condemned Israel’s leaders whom He described as the nation’s shepherds. Instead of gathering and caring for the flock, these shepherds were scattering them! This led to more idolatry, desolation and being exiled.
What do we know or need to learn about the coming Branch of David? Did God’s promises come true? The word “Branch” is used in several passages of Scripture with references to the Messiah (Isaiah 4: 1-6; Zechariah 3:8-10; and Jeremiah 23 can be compared to Isaiah 11: 1-16). Jesus was born much later. The Messiah is a direct descendent of David who would be born to become a ruler over Israel. God’s covenant promise to David can be read in II Samuel 7:1-17. God promised to build David a spiritual house and with an eternal dynasty! Jeremiah made the same prediction that Jesus would descend through David. Keep reading to learn that the future king would be known as “The Lord Our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6). While He will be known as righteous, people will recognize that He will be their righteousness. We as Christians can learn more of the righteousness of Christ in the New Testament, especially in Romans 3:21-22 and II Corinthians 5:21.
In Jeremiah 33, we learn more about this Branch of Righteousness. In a repetition of information telling us that Christ will reign forever which will give David an eternal descendant on the throne. Throughout Jesus’ three years of ministry, we repeatedly learn of His work as a shepherd. Was the promise fulfilled immediately concerning the coming of the Messiah? Obviously 586 BC was quite some time to wait on the Lord’s plan. This was among the many blessings awaiting Israel upon their return to their homeland and restoration as told in Jeremiah 32 and 33. How did God use Jeremiah? He shows us of future hope with righteous rule and God also gave Jeremiah assurances that the people still had great expectations because of the coming of a Righteous Ruler.
At various times, many of us have felt despair and lack of a sense of endurance. Here in the book of Jeremiah we learn of a prophet who endured his commitment against all odds. Jeremiah was a prophet before the fall of Judah in 586 BC. In our prayers we can continue to thank God for the prophet Jeremiah who shared his suffering through these Bible verses. We can also continue to ask God for compassion in similar situations. We too watch our world dying in sin and hatred while rejecting God’s ways. Only when we have Jeremiah’s kind of concern will we make helpful choices. We can begin by asking God to help us to overcome our surrounding barriers to become stronger believers. We must continue to focus on God each day.
Jeremiah must have depended on God’s love as he developed endurance. Many people undoubtedly ignored his messages. He perhaps saw the excitement of a spiritual renewal and hopefully not the sorrow because of idolatry. Many kings other than Josiah saw no merit in Jeremiah’s warnings. How do we relate to Jeremiah’s experiences? Why do we too have despairing thoughts? Sometimes we forget that God is in control of our world according to His will. Like Jeremiah, we too are called to endure life’s never-ending challenges. We sometimes meet overwhelming tasks in all relationships and even in illnesses. Should we focus on our prayers, thoughts, plans and energy to solve problems, or should we draw on God’s resources as we wait on Him?
God’s love is everlasting and enabled Jeremiah to bear extreme humiliations and this same love can support us in our tribulations too. We, as a community of believers, can make endurance a positive pattern of thoughts, words, and deeds throughout our daily known trials!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.