Review Day: Jeremiah 1-25

DateVersionReading Plan
@July 18, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


Review conducted using the TGC’s Knowing the Bible: Jeremiah by Matthew S. Harmon. All pull quotes are taken from this resource.

Like many other prophetic books, Jeremiah begins with a list of kings who reigned during his 40-year ministry. Josiah (640–609 BC) was the last good king of Judah, instituting a number of reforms (2 Kings 23:1–25). Jeremiah was called in the thirteenth year of Josiah’s reign (627 BC) (and his reforms recorded in 2 Chronicles 34:1–7)

This makes an important point to refer back to the books of Kings and Chronicles to see the reign of kings during the ministerial work of the prophets.

Just as the Lord promised to deliver Jeremiah from his many enemies (Jer. 1:8, 19), so too Jesus Christ delivers us from our greatest enemies—sin, death, and the Devil.

Captivity, or exile, is a prominent form of judgment in the Bible. When Adam and Eve sinned, they were exiled from the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:22–24). Because of their persistent and unrepentant idolatry, the northern kingdom of Israel was sent into exile by the Assyrians in 722 BC (2 Kings 17:1–41). Jeremiah prophesied and lived to see the same fate befall Judah at the hands of the Babylonians (Jer. 52:1–30).

God judges Judah because they have forsaken him and worshiped other gods (Jer. 1:16). Idolatry is often subtle, taking something that is itself good (e.g., family, ministry, relationships, work, etc.) and making it our ultimate goal or passion. Anything or anyone we put before the Lord in our lives is an idol, since God alone deserves our worship and devotion (Ex. 20:1–6; Deut. 6:4–6; Matt. 22:37–40). Those who worship idols begin to resemble them (Ps. 115:4–8); likewise, as we worship the true God we increasingly become like him (2 Cor. 3:18).

It is so good to read this and be reminded that we are shaped by what we worship. The more we fill our minds and hearts with worldly things, the more darkened and lost we become. But, the closer we draw to the Lord, the more clearly we see and the more we reflect His character.

Central to Jeremiah’s message is the call to repent (Jer. 3:6–14, 19–25), to turn away from sin (4:1–4). The very first words of Jesus’ preaching ministry strike a similar note: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).’

This is an interesting parallel I had never seen before. It shows how the call to repentance should hold primary position in sharing the gospel.

God delights in his people knowing him, and he wants to ensure that we know him as he truly is (Jer. 9:24). He wants us to know him as “the Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex. 34:6–7).

For however long I’ve known that God delights in His sinful and rational creatures, I don’t think this concept will ever fully sink in. That He would choose to love us despite our rebellion lies far beyond my finite understanding.

…true worship involves both proper heart orientation and outward expression of devotion to the Lord. We may fool others by our outward behavior, but we never fool God, who sees the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).

It is so helpful to understand that true worship requires both the proper object of worship (the Lord) and its proper expression. Worship infused by the Holy Spirit will not be found without these two components.

God intended Judah to “be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen” (Jer. 13:11). Because of their sin, they failed to reflect God’s glory. But the good news of the gospel is that “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).

Amid the exile, God swears that his plans for his people are for their good (Jer. 24:6–7; Jer. 29:10–14). This did not mean a life of prosperity and ease, but that everything God was doing was for their ultimate good. God makes the same promise to us in Romans 8:28, grounding it in what God has done for us in Christ

To be refreshed in God’s promise of ultimate good is a daily need. Resting on God’s power and grace to deliver in the face damaged relationships, physical infirmity or emotional/spiritual torment is the only way that will lead to responding in gratitude rather than bitterness.


What a joy it has been to read these first chapters of Jeremiah. The fullness and perfection of God’s attributes and His gracious disposition toward His creation continues to be revealed. And yet, I still feel like a small child; walking along, holding His hand as He guides my every step, in wondrous anticipation of what about Himself He wants to show me next.