1. Background and introduction

Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel in the Vatican City included an image of Jeremiah. The image portrays Jeremiah in contemplation, and many see in the image something of Jeremiah’s deep sorrow and anguish for his disobedient people and the tragic circumstances of God’s impending judgment.

  1. Another of Jeremiah’s symbolic acts!

Jeremiah is careful to provide a precise chronology for these middle chapters of the book. In chapter 27 we fast-forward from the start of Jehoiakim’s 11-year reign in chapter 26 to the start of his brother, Zedekiah’s 11-year reign. Zedekiah like his brother did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord. He would be the last legitimate king to reign over Israel.

Things were not easy for Jeremiah as he spoke God’s word to the people in Jerusalem. There was real opposition. We saw in the previous chapter that the opposition was specific and personal and was intended to deceive the people. At least, we might imagine it was easier for those who had been exiled to Babylon.

  1. Jeremiah speaks out

 Our politicians speak endlessly about the benefits to our society of tolerance and acceptance of diversity. The problem is that underlying their warm words is a world view that is atheistic and antagonistic to Christianity.

Jeremiah had as hard a task as one could imagine! He was to give an unpalatable message to a reluctant people. As God’s prophet, his message was that because of the sin of the people, a terrible judgment was to be visited upon the city of Jerusalem and the people of Judah. In fact, it had already begun;

  1. God’s anger

People don’t like it when the bible speaks about God’s anger. Richard Dawkins states: The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.