“Biblical scholars have struggled to explain the arrangement of Jeremiah’s prophecies. The book is not arranged chronologically as a whole, although some chronological arrangements are apparent. No theory has achieved a consensus, but various devices (such as theme, style, audience, and rhetoric) are summoned to explain certain connections. The book is often considered an anthology of prophetic units that were collected and combined at various times with little intentionality. A useful proposal recently made by Richard Patterson is that the prophecies were arranged according to the prophet’s divine call to be a prophet to the nations and to Judah in particular. He identifies a twofold structure to the book that reverses those emphases: chapters 2-24 focus on Jeremiah and his people; chapters 25-51 focus on Jeremiah and the nations. On either end are the description of the prophetic call and commission in chapter 1 and the historical appendix in chapter 52. The two main sections each begin with a subsection that sets forth the theme, followed by a subsection that develops the theme, and concluding with a sign.
Jeremiah himself faced significant opposition during his time as a prophet of God, and he saw little or no fruit for any of his labors. Everyone discounted his words almost as soon as he said them. And yet, despite everything, he persisted in his ministry. Jeremiah strongly believed that he was delivering a message from God. When he was imprisoned and even threatened with death, he did not recant his prophecies nor reverse his claim that they were messages from God. A man may be willing to die for something he mistakenly thinks is true, but one will seldom die for something he knows to be a sham. Jeremiah was in a unique position to know whether or not his words were a revelation from God. Given the way he lived his life in the face of such opposition, we can be sure that these words are not the rantings of a madman. The words about Jeremiah’s call to ministry—“I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (1:5)—have caused some to think that the date of Jeremiah’s call and birth is one and the same. However, this is not likely to have been the case. The plain sense of the text is that God was thinking about Jeremiah and planning his life before he was born, and He had already designated Jeremiah as a prophet, but Jeremiah’s commissioning took place when he was “a youth.” The important points to note are that God alone chose Jeremiah and that God spoke through His chosen prophet.”(HCSB)

In chapter 1, God goes to Jeremiah and says the following from verses 5-10: “I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations. Do not say: I am only a youth; for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you. Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to deliver you. This is the LORD’S declaration. Look, I have filled your mouth with My words. See, today I have set you over nations and kingdoms, to uproot and tear down, to destroy and demolish, to build and plant.” God has chosen each and every one of us before we were even born and has appointed us to be His people in this earthly life. Although not all of us may have the gift of prophecy, He has given us different gifts (i.e., teaching, ministry, counsel, etc…) through His Spirit so that we may all work together to carry out His will. Along with the gifts of His Spirit, He reminds us time and again not to be afraid of anyone or anything because He is with us to help us through whatever difficulties we go against. When we ask, He gives us words the right words to speak at the right time.

In chapter 2, “The Bible occasionally refers to the gods of pagan peoples, but it is clear that they are not really gods, only images or idols. In spite of this, Jeremiah was contrasting the loyalty of other nations to their false deities with the Israelites’ lack of loyalty to the true God.” In 2:19, God says, “Your own evil will discipline you; your own apostasies will reprimand you. Think it over and see how evil and bitter it is for you to abandon the LORD your God and to have no fear of Me. This is the declaration of the Lord God of Hosts.” 4:18 states, “Your way of life and your actions have brought this on you. This is your punishment. It is very bitter, because it has reached your heart!” God gives us the freedom to do what we want and devote ourselves to anyone or anything. He warns us that when we do go our own way, and for example devote ourselves to earning more money, we will be disciplining ourselves in the long run. How many times do people have regrets of spending more time at the office rather than at home with their family? Does anyone truly have “enough” money? If only we can put our entire trust in God, then the burdens of life would not be as heavy if we were going on our own. In 5:25 God says, “Your guilty acts have diverted these things from you. Your sins have withheld My bounty from you.” 15:19, 21, “Therefore, this is what the LORD says: If you return, I will restore you; you will stand in My presence. And if you speak noble words, rather than worthless ones, you will be My spokesman. I will deliver you from the power of evil people and redeem you from the control of the ruthless.”

In 3:19, 22, an example of true repentance is given, “I thought: How long to make you My sons and give you a desirable land, the most beautiful inheritance of all the nations. I thought: You will call Me, my Father, and never turn away from Me. Return, you faithless children. I will heal your unfaithfulness. ‘Here we are, coming to You, for You are the LORD, our God.’” God is longing for us to be with Him, talking with Him, depending on Him alone. All we have to do is acknowledge that we are here and His through the blood of Jesus Christ.


In regards to 6:20, “In the Pentateuch, the Lord gave instructions for sacrifices and offerings, but in other places such as here, He said that sacrifices and offerings were not pleasing or acceptable. God did not request the offerings mentioned here because He needed spices or food. God does not need anything people can supply since He has made all things to begin with. He prescribed sacrifices as a means through which His people could publicly demonstrate and commemorate their faith and trust in Him. But the Old Testament sacrificial system did no good for those who merely went through its motions without exercising faith. In the same way, Christ’s sacrifice does not benefit those who make a pretense of being Christians but do not come to Him in faith.”

In regards to 6:21, “The Lord said He would place “stumbling blocks” before the people, a metaphor for situations in which they were likely to choose an unwise course of action with damaging consequences. When God places stumbling blocks, deceives, or sends false prophets, He is merely letting people follow their own disobedient inclinations, even though He has clearly revealed His will for them. If we stumble, it is our own fault; if we do not, it is because in His mercy God has kept us from unwise choices. Jerusalem had, in effect, rejected God and His mercy, so God announced He would withhold His sustaining mercy and allow Judah to fall.”

7:22-23, “for when I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak with them or command them concerning burnt offering and sacrifice. However, I did give them this command: Obey Me, and then I will be your God, and you will be My people.” In regards to 7:21-23, “It was not literally the case that the Lord said nothing about sacrifices and offerings when He brought Israel out of Egypt; His words here were meant as sarcasm. At Mount Sinai, God did prescribe the method for sacrificing to Him. Jeremiah’s point was that He did not request sacrifice for its own sake but as a sign of a deeper relationship that involved a total walk in the ways of God. Verse 23 repeats the summary of God’s covenant agreement with His people that occur frequently in Scripture. The people had broken this agreement.”

8:4-7, “You are to say to them: This is what the LORD says: Do people fall and not get up again? If they turn away, do they not return? Why have these people turned away? Why is Jerusalem always turning away? They take hold of deceit; they refuse to return. I have paid careful attention. They do not speak what is right. No one regrets his evil, asking: What have I done? Everyone has stayed his course like a horse rushing into battle. Even the stork in the sky knows her seasons. The turtledove, swallow, and crane are aware of their migration, but My people do not know the requirements of the LORD.” These particular verses are interesting to me because in the New Testament, as the people were nailing Jesus to the cross, He prayed, “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Nature and animals have no choice but to go by certain laws that were given, but we human beings have free will. Although God recommends His law, and even our criminal justice system enforces specified laws, we always have a choice whether or not to obey. A lot of people have and will read the stated verses and claim that “ignorance is bliss”, however, the free will we have gives us the privilege to study and become wise so that we will not hurt ourselves or anyone else.

We must be careful and conduct prayer checks for God to study our hearts for the following is an excellent warning, 9:23-24, “This is what the LORD says: The wise must not boast in his wisdom; the mighty must not boast in his might; the rich must not boast in his riches. But the one who boasts should boast in this, that he understands and knows Me—that I am the LORD, showing faithful love, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things. This is the LORD’s declaration.”

In regards to 17:10, “Many passages of Scripture teach that God judges people by their deeds, while others indicate that He judges people by their motives. There is no inconsistency, as this verse points out, because one’s “heart” and “actions” are closely connected. Other passages clearly teach that God evaluates people based on their hearts, but actions reveal what is in people’s hearts. Whether one is judged by inward motivation or outward acts make no difference. What a person actually does reveals where his or her heart lies.”

In regards to 17:21-24, “Here the Lord called for observance of the Sabbath restriction on work and promised blessings if the people would keep the commandment. Their observance would be evidence that they were listening to the Lord and obeying Him. The first-century Pharisees observed the Sabbath restrictions in detail, yet Jesus did not commend them in this because their motivation was hypocritical. They were observing the minutiae of the law not because they wanted to obey God—though they may have thought they did—but because they wanted to separate themselves form “sinners” and non-Jews (the term “Pharisee” was probably derived from a word meaning “separated”). In this passage, God was not calling for works of the law of the Pharisaic type; He was asking the people to listen to Him. Observing the Sabbath is an indicator of a right relationship with God. The Judean’s ancestors were not condemned for their Sabbath practices but because they refused to accept the Lord’s instruction and discipline. That is, they did not have a right relationship with God.”

18:2-6, “Go down at once to the potter’s house; there I will reveal My words to you.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, working away at the wheel. But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter’s hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do. The word of the LORD came to me: “House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay? —This is the LORD’s declaration. “Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel.” This is an excellent metaphor that symbolizes us as clay and God as the potter. We are not perfect, nor will we ever be perfect in this lifetime. No matter what happens, God will continually work on us and through us so that we may be perfect in Christ and claim perfection when we enter heavens gates.

In regards to 20:8-9, “Jeremiah is known for his “confessions,” his honest expression of personal discouragement and distress because of his prophetic vocation. When he spoke a word from God, the people made fun of him and held him in contempt. Yet, if he tried to refrain from prophesying, he could not; his call to prophesy was “inborn,” part of who he was. He was frustrated, but in the end the Lord’s power to deliver encouraged him.”

In regards to 22:3-4, “These stipulations were not a complete list of the just actions the Lord required of His people; they were emblematic of the whole law. The works, in themselves, would not deliver the Judeans, but they were indicators of a right attitude toward God.”

29:11-13, “For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the LORD’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” God has plans for us, and if we put Him first in our lives, His plans will prevail and we will never regret putting Him in control.

In regards to 31:34, “That a just God would “never again remember” the sins that His people have committed may not seem right. But biblical language and thought are concrete; to “remember” something does not mean to entertain an exclusively “mental” process; it means to take action in accord with the memory. This is what the Lord declares He will not do. It is no injustice that He will not allow His people’s past sins to influence His current and future relationship with them; it is the mystery of substitutionary atonement. Scripture is consistent in its teaching. The sacrificial system of the Old Testament was based on the premise that there is forgiveness of sins through the shedding of blood. But such sacrifices, involving the deaths of animals, were inadequate in and of themselves. They were to be fulfilled in Christ, the perfect sacrifice which God Himself provided. Thus, all who relied on blood for atonement in the Old Testament were ultimately looking forward to Jesus the Messiah. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, God is righteous in passing over the sins of people—past, present, and future. He removes our sin far from us and remembers it no more.”

32:38-41, “They will be My people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way so that for their good and for the good of their descendants after them, they will fear Me always. I will make with them an everlasting covenant: I will never turn away from doing good to them, and I will put fear of Me in their hearts so they will never again turn away from Me. I will rejoice over them to do what is good to them, and I will plant them faithfully in this land with all My mind and heart.”


In regards to 35:2, “It was not for their abstaining from wine or their nomadic lifestyle that the Lord blessed the Rechabites, but for their obedience. When a characteristic of a person or group is used as an illustration, it is that characteristic that is to be emulated (or avoided, in negative examples), not necessarily the entire lifestyle. For example, Jesus spoke favorably of a man who woke up his neighbor at midnight and persistently asked for bread to serve a guest (Luke 11:5-8). That does not mean that we should all wake up our neighbors at midnight; it means we should emulate his persistence, and perhaps his hospitality.”

42:6, “Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God to whom we are sending you so that it may go well with us. We will certainly obey the voice of the LORD our God!” As always, history repeats itself, especially with what the people have said in this verse. Personally, I do not even know how many times I have “committed” myself to have God first in my life, and not too much later, I go back living on my own terms. As I look back, I can see how God has been working in my life. After each commitment, a small change does occur in how I respond to life’s situations. Although, we may “commit ourselves fully” to God, He allows a small part of us to change and is therefore perfecting us one baby step at a time.

In regards to 48:47, “Critics contend that this message of Moab’s restoration was out of character for Jeremiah. However, those who proclaim only good concerning their homeland and only bad about their enemies were likely to be false prophets. A prophet who had truly heard from the Lord would proclaim the truth, even if it was judgment for his own country and well being for his enemies. At Jeremiah’s commissioning, God told him he was “to uproot and tear down, to destroy and demolish, to build and plant,” so it was not outside Jeremiah’s job description to “build and plant,” that is, to proclaim welfare. His messages of doom for Israel and Judah were also followed by proclamations of future restoration, as were his messages against Egypt, Ammon, and Elam. Further, words concerning the destiny of other peoples were consistent with what Jeremiah was teaching throughout the book and especially in this section: God is sovereign over all nations.”