As one reads through the Book of Jeremiah, it is appalling and surprising to see how many false Jewish prophets were contending with Jeremiah (Jer. 23. 9-40; 26:7-15; 28:1-17; 29:24-32). The people within Judah who were giving Jeremiah the hardest time was the false prophets and priests who were falsely handling the Law. As a result, ungodliness was spreading from these prophets and the dire spiritual condition of the people’s hearts were not being addressed (Jer.23:15,22).
In North American evangelical Christianity, we abound in many self-proclaimed prophets who rarely call God’s people to faithfulness as part of their message. Their ministry has little resemblance to Jeremiah’s ministry. The sense you get sometimes with these “prophets” is that they use God’s word like a crystal ball. But God’s people love it this way judging by these preachers popularity.These “prophets” forget that judgment begins with the house of the LORD (1Peter 4:17 18). Jeremiah’s messages had an aspect of foretelling, but just like the other Old Testament prophets, their messages had more to do with forthtelling – i.e. bringing forth the terms of the Mosaic Covenant to the life of God’s people.
Jeremiah’s message was a hard one to digest for the people, but it really was the only kind of message that could bring healing and hope for God’s wayward people. This is why when Jeremiah began his prophetic ministry, the LORD said He was going to make him a fortified city and a bronze wall (Jer. 1:18). Jeremiah was not to turn to the people and compromise his message, but the people were to turn to the LORD through Jeremiah’s message. This faithfulness on Jeremiah’s part took a lot of courage and a great deal of persevering love for his own people.
Our reading closes with the great prophetic message of a new covenant (Jer. 31:31-34). The LORD will write His Law not on stone tablets like He did in the Mosaic Covenant, but on tablets of human hearts through the Holy Spirit (Jer. 31:33). Whenever the Apostle Paul contrasts the new covenant with the old covenant in his epistles, he always mentions the ministry of the Holy Spirit as a decisive difference (2Cor. 3:7-16). The recurring testimony of God’s people under the Mosaic covenant was that the Israelites needed radical heart surgery of the spiritual kind. Praise the LORD that through the new covenant of Jesus Christ, our hearts are circumcised as we yield to the indwelling Holy Spirit. May we allow the Spirit to transform us as we lift our hearts up to Christ in continual worship. This is the Good News of Jesus Christ.