Why should women read Jeremiah?
This book deals with the final punishment for idolatry and other sins stemming from it. Sin is the pervasive problem of humanity for men and women alike. Some interesting passages include the prophecy of Rachel
weeping for her children; the prophetic warnings against idolatry aimed specifically at women (wives and mothers); and clues to understanding women’s religious roles within their own households in Judah, and also more broadly in the ancient Near East. Although women, together with children, are often portrayed as victims of political, economic, military, and religious ferment, apparently Jeremiah did hold women in Judah accountable for some of the nation’s religious decline into idolatry, especially with regard to the domestic sphere where they wielded substantial influence (Jr 7:18; 44:15-25).
A further reason to read this book is to know the heart of God. God is loving and patient. He wants to have a heart relationship with you, not an outward relationship of religious formalities and platitudes. While God is longsuffering and warns continuously of sin’s consequences, He will nevertheless punish His children if they do not repent of sin and return to God for forgiveness and restoration.
Hard Question: How should I handle discouragement and depression?
How should we understand these disturbing sentiments? Jeremiah was deeply discouraged (20:15-17). While he was certain of God’s calling into the prophetic ministry, he felt that his message had brought only pain and rejection; moreover, none of his prophecies had yet been fulfilled. His dejection was real—the normal, and possibly appropriate, response to his situation. Verbalizing it before God was part of his relationship with the Lord. Since all along God had been putting Jeremiah through experiences mimicking God’s own, the implied depth of God’s disappointment and dejection over the situation was obvious. In his
despair, Jeremiah believed that his life and work were meaningless—death would be preferable.
In the womb was precisely the place in which God’s calling was affirmed, even before Jeremiah’s birth; but in his anguish, Jeremiah characterized that time not as joyous but as tragic as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. This lament is Jeremiah’s final “complaint,” and apparently the Lord did not rebuke him for his thoughts.
As with Job, God permits His servants to express deep grief at their human frailty and inability to endure
the demands of God’s will. The powerful (and perhaps shocking) sentiments recorded here show Jeremiah as a frail man whose faith sometimes wavered and whose God is patient and sovereign in His intent to fulfill the words He has spoken through His servant.