In 632 BC, sixteen year-old King Josiah began to seek the Lord God of Israel. Maybe this was due in part to the Prophet Zephaniah’s words about a judgment falling on Judah and a need for the nation to repent.
Four years later (628 BC), King Josiah began purging Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, and the carved and metal images. Josiah then fulfilled the three hundred year-old prophecy about himself when he burned the bones of the priests on the altar.
Thus, Judah and Jerusalem were feeling the early sparks of revival fires coming to life in their midst.
Now while this was going on, God called Jeremiah to be a prophet in 627 BC. After Jeremiah’s initial preparations, God told the young prophet to go to the entrance of the Temple in Jerusalem on a feast day when it was packed with people and speak His words:
“Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land. But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the LORD’s Temple is here. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! Go now to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites. So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that bears my name, this Temple that you trust in for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors. And I will send you out of my sight into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel.” (Jeremiah 7:3, 4, 8, 12, 14, 15 NLT)
Remember: Jeremiah was a young prophet, just beginning his prophetic ministry. Yet, God gave him this major eye-opening prophecy. But…but…but even so, the Lord’s private words to Jeremiah still shakes me to my bones when I read them:
“Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg Me to help them, for I will not listen to you.” (Jeremiah 7:16)
Jeremiah knew a prophet was called to speak the words of the Lord, but he also knew the prophet was called to intercede for the people, as Moses and Samuel did in their days.
(Continued in Part 6……if you’re interested, the full series to date may be seen here.)