TITLE: Jeremiah: The Prophet of Doom Ch. 1
By Angela Allen
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“Jeremiah,” the voice reverberated through the room, startling Jeremiah out of his deep sleep. He sat up suddenly, looked around, but didn't see anyone, just sensed a presence nearby. After a few minutes he heard the voice again. “Jeremiah,” Jeremiah immediately fell to his knees in fear and worship of Adonai Elohim.
"Here I am Lord.“ Jeremiah said, voice trembling, heart thudding in his chest as he tightly gripped the bed cover with both hands. Peering into the darkness, he could still see nothing, and too fearful to light a taper, he waited very quietly. The voice sounded again striking fear in Jeremiah’s heart.
"Before I formed you in the belly I knew you, and before you came out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah said, “But, Lord God, I cannot speak to others.” He swallowed hard, catching his breath and said “I am just a child.”
The Lord said, “Do not say, I am a child: for you will go to all that I will send you and whatever I command you, you will speak."
There was complete silence then, and Jeremiah began to think it was over, He was gone, or it had been a dream. He lay back down, drawing the woolskin coverlet up over his shoulder.
Just as he was dozing off, he heard the voice again. Only this time it was not as loud as it had been before, but still very audible. It was more comforting, similar to when his father quieted him as a child afraid of monsters in the dark. He opened his eyes, but did not move.
“Don’t be afraid of their faces, for I am with you, to deliver you,” said the Lord. Then Jeremiah felt something touch his lips, but he could not move or make a sound.
“Look, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build, and to plant.”
Jeremiah sat fearfully in the sudden silence again, wondering if he should answer or remain silent. He chose the latter and waited, mouth dry, trying to make sense out of all that the Lord had said.
Then the Lord spoke again, “Jeremiah, what do you see?”
Jeremiah gazed into the dark room again until he saw a glimmer of light taking shape. But what could it be? It was getting larger and, when he could finally tell what it was, he answered, “I see the rod of an almond tree.”
“Jeremiah, you have seen right: for I will quicken my word to perform it.”
There was another lengthy pause, and Jeremiah wondered what He meant. Perform what? As he turned it over in his mind, the Lord spoke again. A second time He asked Jeremiah what he saw. Jeremiah squinted into the darkness.
He said, “I see a pot boiling over facing the north.”
“Out of the north an evil will break out upon all the inhabitants of the land: for I will call all of the families of the kingdoms of the north and they will come and set their thrones at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, against all the walls around her, and against all the cities of Judah. I will utter my sentence against them touching all their wickedness, against those who have forsaken me, have burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands."
"Look, I have made you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land….”
Jeremiah trembled in fear and awe under the voice of Jehovah, Adonai Elohim, God of his fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was afraid and said nothing.
“Jeremiah, I want you to go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, this is what the Lord says,I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your marriage to me, when you went after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. Israel was holiness to the Lord, and the first fruits of His increase."
"All that devour them shall offend and evil will come upon them,says the Lord. Hear the word of the Lord Oh house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. The Lord says, what iniquities have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?”
The sun was shining brightly through the small window in the east wall of Jeremiah’s
room, dancing across his upturned face where he had fallen asleep.
He came to, groggily rubbing the sleep from his eyes, and stretching. The aches in his back and neck were excruciating. He began to get up and looked around realizing where he was. It all came back to him then; the voice and the visions in the night.
He must have dozed off while the Lord
was still speaking, because the last thing he remembered being said was, “I want you to go to
Jeremiah was sitting at the kitchen table attempting to write down what the Lord had told him the night before. He was writing very carefully on the parchment for they were hard to come by, even for a priestly family such as his.
Just then he heard a knock at the door and
went to answer it, rolling up the scroll as he went. He opened the door, and was surprised to see Lydia. He smiled, and said, “Hi, Lydia,
What brings you so early today?”
She smiled back and answered, with a glint in her dark brown eyes. “Jeremy, I’ve
brought over lunch for you and your father, just as I do every day. Mother and I have made roast leg of lamb, dates and cheese, and your favorite, sweet bread.”
Jeremiah helped her carry the basket she was delivering the food in over to the small wooden table.
“Thanks, Lydia. I guess I just lost track of the time today.”
She noticed the scroll and asked him what he was writing.
“Oh, it’s nothing. Just some thoughts that came to me last night.” he said.
He loved it when she used her pet name for him, but today it sparked something new in
him that he had never felt before. His heart skipped a beat when he looked at her.
She seemed to have developed into a lovely young woman overnight, with her long, black wavy tresses flowing over her shoulder, her dark skin, and her big almond- shaped eyes .
Jeremiah caught himself, and brushed these thoughts to the back of his mind. He was
helping Lydia set the table and preparing to call his father, Hilkiah, to share the meal when he heard his voice.
“Ho, Lydia, Jeremiah, what have we here? Lydia, you and Rachel are too good to us.” He
laughed and gave Lydia a hug.
Jeremiah answered, “They’ve sent your favorite today father, leg of lamb.”
Hilkiah grinned broadly as he sat down at the head of the table. The three of them joined
hands as Hilkiah invoked the blessing over the meal.
“Blessed be the name of the Lord, now and forever more, who reigns sovereign, and
provides us with the good of the land. Blessed be His holy name.” Everyone said “Amen”
As they were eating and talking, Hilkiah looked out the window. “Looks like a
storm is brewing. I wasn’t expecting that today. I have to get back to the synagogue to finish
today’s duties before it arrives.” With that, he grabbed another leg of lamb, thanked his
guest, and headed for the door which the wind blew out of his hand.
“It’ll be here soon. You better be heading home Lydia, walk with me.”
Lydia and Jeremiah cleaned up after themselves quickly, and Jeremiah escorted her to the doorway where Hilkiah waited patiently.
As Hilkiah walked with Lydia to her family dwelling across the courtyard, she asked
Hilkiah, “Is something wrong with Jeremy? He seems sort of preoccupied today.”
Hilkiah answered slowly, searching for the right words. “From what Jeremiah tells me, he
had a visitation from the Lord last night. At first he thought it was a dream, but it kept
reoccurring until He knew without a doubt who spoke to him. He has spent the
whole morning writing down every word he heard last night.”
Lydia pondered this in her heart, but didn’t have time to ask another question before
arriving at her house. They parted and Lydia went inside, thinking about what Hilkiah
had said to her. What had the Lord told Jeremiah? And why had the Lord come to him?
Hilkiah had asked her not to mention it to anyone, especially Jeremy unless he brought it up.
Jeremiah watched them as they strolled across the path. Lydia’s beauty had taken his
breath away. She was his best friend, and at 15 years of age was changing before his eyes. He
tried not to think of her as he reopened the parchment, and with determination set about
finishing what he had begun earlier, but he couldn’t concentrate now.
He went into his room to lie on his bed for a quick nap. Hilkiah was the residing priest, and Jeremiah was his assistant. He loved his job.
He had learned to read and write at an unusually early age, he would read anything he could get his hands on. He had a way with words, people said. They often came to him for advice when his father wasn’t readily available.
Jeremiah knew the scriptures by heart, and people respected him for that, and listened to him even though he was such a young man. Jeremiah didn’t mind at all. Whatever he could do to serve the Lord, and help his father minister to the people of Anathoth, he would readily do.
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