This article is part of the Why Study the Book? series.
Why Study Jeremiah?
On one level, the answer to the question "Why study Jeremiah?" is straightforward. On the day of his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his startled disciples as they hid from the authorities (Luke 24:36-49). In that appearance, Jesus reminded them of what he taught them before his death and resurrection: "Everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled" (Luke 24:44). Paul explained to the Romans that "whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Rom. 15:4). So we should study Jeremiah because we want to know Christ better and see God deepen our endurance in the gospel so that our hope in God and his promises will grow.
So we should study Jeremiah because we want to know Christ better and see God deepen our endurance in the gospel so that our hope in God and his promises will grow.
But that is true of every book of the Bible. So what are some specific ways that the book of Jeremiah produces endurance and deepens our hope? Let me just mention four.
1. Jeremiah shows us the fullness of God's character.
We live in a world that has an impoverished view of God. Jeremiah challenges us by putting on display the full range of God's character. In contrast to the false gods and idols that the nations worship, the LORD is the only true God (Jer. 10:1–16). God is sovereignly working out his purposes for human history. Before Jeremiah was even born God had set him apart to be his mouthpiece (Jer. 1:1–19). Through this prophet, God announces his plans to raise up and destroy nations (Jer 1:10), as well as his plans for his people (Jer. 29:1–23). The LORD sits in judgment over his own people as well as the nations, pouring out his wrath on their rebellion (Jer. 25:1–38; 46:1–52:34).
2. Jeremiah shows us the depths of our sinfulness.
We live in a world that often denies or minimizes the reality of sin. Jeremiah penetrates this delusional fog with striking descriptions of our depravity. God wired us to be worshipers, but in our folly we exchange worship of the true God for the worship of worthless idols (Jer. 2:4–13; 44:15–30). Sin has its roots in the human heart, deceiving us into calling evil good and good evil (Jer. 17:1–13). There is no aspect of our being that sin has not infected.
3. Jeremiah shows us the power of our Savior.
We live in a world that is in desperate need of a Savior. Jeremiah points us towards a Savior who comes from the line of David, a righteous Branch who will reign as a wise and righteous king, executing justice (Jer. 23:5). He will be called "The LORD is our righteousness" (Jer. 23:6) because he will give his people the righteousness they need to be acceptable before a holy God (Jer. 33:14–16). What we could not do for ourselves, God has done for us through his promised king.
4. Jeremiah shows us the riches of the new covenant.
We live in a world that desperately needs the transforming power of complete forgiveness of sins. Jeremiah points to a new covenant that God would make with his people (Jer. 31:31–34). Through this new covenant, God deals decisively and finally with sin, writes his law on the hearts of his people, and promises "I will be their God and they shall be my people." That is the good news that can change the world.
Those are just four of the ways that God speaks to us today through Jeremiah. Why not see for yourself what else the LORD might have for you by studying Jeremiah?
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