The year is 588 BC. Jeremiah is imprisoned in the palace courtyard. The Babylonians hold the city in the grip of a siege that had already lasted more than a year. The city is doomed. But God is at work and he once again speaks to Jeremiah.

The UK is currently undergoing the Brexit process and it’s a mess! The future is completely uncertain – each day seems to add to the chaos and rather than the certainty of leaving the European Union on 29th March 2019 (I write on 28th March!) we have no clear idea of where the country is headed.

Jeremiah buys some land

It’s the spring of 2019 and the Brexit deadline has come and gone. Will the result of the referendum be honoured by parliament? Will there be a withdrawal deal agreed? Will there be another referendum? Will we leave or will we remain? As I write, no one seems to know. This uncertainty is now beginning to have economic impact. House prices in the UK fell by about 1% in a single month this year (January 2019). It’s probably not a great time to invest in property!

  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.

Shortly after the Israelites were supernaturally led out of Egyptian slavery, God invoked a covenant with them that imposed legal requirements on their religious, social and moral lives. The law was given to Moses and was epitomised by the 10 commandments written by the divine hand on two tablets of stone.

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.