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Series Theme:   Studies in "Introduction to Jeremiah" 4/5  (Mixed)
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Introduction to Jeremiah Part 4 - Jeremiah's Opposition


A. The Other Side of the Coin

     Perhaps when we encounter Old Testament prophets for the first time we may think it must have been quite glamorous to have been one of God's spokesmen, speaking out into the various situations in the nation. Think again!

      If we did ever feel like that, this Part will disillusion us! We will see that Jeremiah frequently received opposition, often felt lonely and frequently felt down. There was nothing glamorous about his position whatsoever! Ask the Lord to really help you capture something of the cost to this man of God, as you read this next Part. Being a prophet is all about obedience and taking the consequences!


B. What we will see :

  In the studies in the next Part we will see :


- opposition coming from

  - people who don't like his message

  - prophets preaching an opposite message

  - religious authorities rejecting his message

- Jeremiah

  - being put in the stocks

  - being threatened with death

  - feeling very low because of it all

  - being supported by the Lord.


C. Weigh it all up carefully

      So, as you come to this next Part, sense the cost to Jeremiah of this ministry, as you read. Thank the Lord for this man of God who is such an example to us, of one who stood almost alone in the face of the opposition and ungodliness that surrounded him. Observe also that he was faithful, and even though he felt down, he continued serving the Lord. Remember also, that although it is hard being alone and it is hard taking the opposition, God's presence and God's grace is there for you. Remember, Jeremiah's perseverance is a triumph of the grace of God.




Chapter: Jer 11


Passage: Jer 11:18-24     


A. Find Out:


1. How did Jeremiah find out about the plot? v.18

2. How did he see himself? v.19

3. What had they been planning? v.19

4. What did Jeremiah ask of the Lord? v.20

5. What had they been saying? v.21

6. What did the Lord say of them? v.22,23


B. Think :

1. Why were they opposing Jeremiah?

2. What place had he come to as he prayed?

3. What does this passage show about the Lord and His servants?


C. Comment :

     We now come to the first of a number of such incidents, where Jeremiah is being opposed for what he is saying. 2 Timothy 3:12 tells us that "everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" which of course applies to us. Never the less it also applied to all God's prophets as well and Jeremiah was no exception.

     When a man is "godly", he knows God and shares God's heart. Those who do not share God's heart are often upset when they are confronted with it, and they direct their feelings at the human messenger. Jeremiah is told "Stop prophesying or be killed" but that is not enough to stop a man of God, and weak though he feels, that is what Jeremiah is. As Jeremiah cries out to the Lord he asks Him to deal with these men who oppose God's word for he says, "to you I have committed my cause". That's lovely! Lord I put my trust in you, so please look after me!

     The Lord doesn't say anything about Jeremiah himself but in reply He does say He will deal with these men. It is implied that Jeremiah will be preserved, but that wasn't true of all of God's messengers (Hebrews 11:36 ,37)

D. Application?

1. Can you say, "to you I have committed my cause" AND rest in that?

2. Will we be more concerned with what men say rather than about God's






Chapter: Jer 12

Passage: Jer 12:1-13

A. Find Out:    


1. What is Jeremiah's concern? v.1

2. What does he see them doing? v.2

3. What else does he complain about? v.4

4. What about Jeremiah does the Lord highlight? v.5

5. What does He then point out about him? v.6

6. What does the Lord say He will do? v.7-13


B. Think :

1. Look up Habakkuk 1:3 How is that prophet's lament the same as


2. What is the Lord trying to get Jeremiah to realise about himself?

3. How the does the Lord then go on to answer Jeremiah's complaint?


C. Comment :

     In the face of opposition, Jeremiah reaches a point that many of us reach at some time or other, to wonder why God allows the unrighteous to get away with it! Why does the Lord allow His land to be spoiled by these people who are ungodly, faithless and wicked? Why, today, does the Lord allow the wicked to prevail?

     In answering him, the Lord reminds Jeremiah of his own smallness and his own frailty, rather in the same way that He had had to deal with Job (see Job 38 to 40). He also reminds Jeremiah of his loneliness, for even his family have turned against him. The Lord is basically saying, "Don't trust yourself, don't trust your family (and certainly don't trust the rest of the people). You can ONLY trust me!"

     The Lord then goes on to say that He WILL be dealing with this people and this land, they will not escape His corrective hand upon them, it IS coming, the ungodly and unrighteous will NOT get away with it! We may not see it but the Lord WILL deal with the wicked.

D. Application?

1. Can we rest in the fact that the Lord HAS a time of judgement for the

     ungodly / unrighteous, so that we do not have to act against them?

2. Release all feelings of hostility towards such enemies, to the Lord (see

     Matthew 5:44 ). Put such people in His hands today.





Chapter: Jer 14

Passage: Jer 14:11-16   


A. Find Out:


1. What did the Lord tell Jeremiah NOT to do? v.11

2. Why? v.12

3. What had other prophets been saying? v.13

4. What did the Lord say they were doing? v.14

5. What did He say would happen to them? v.15

6. What will happen to their listeners? v.16


B. Think :

1. What does the Lord's instruction and explanation show about His

     purposes at this time?

2. Why was Jeremiah having a crisis of confidence?

3. How would you summarise your description of these other prophets?


C. Comment :

      As the Lord continues to share His heart with Jeremiah He instructs him not to pray for the good of the people. He says that it doesn't matter if they fast or sacrifice, He is going to bring destruction. The only thing that would perhaps have held back the Lord's hand would have been wholehearted repentance by the nation, and that was not forthcoming. The Lord knew it wouldn't be coming so He was going to proceed with the destruction of the nation. Prayer was, therefore, pointless and a waste of time.

     Jeremiah's concern is a loss of confidence in what he thinks he is hearing from the Lord. After all, all the other prophets are prophesying good things for the land. Can he trust what he thinks he is hearing? It is very difficult to stand out and be a lone voice when everyone else is speaking "good”. The Lord's answer is a clear 'Yes, you can trust what you think you are hearing!'. These other prophets are either making up prophecies from their own hopes or they are deluded by demonic lies from the occult or from idol demons. They and their hearers will all suffer the same fate!


D. Application?

1. Do we sometimes question what we hear from the Lord?

2. Purpose to seek the Lord with all your heart that you may ensure that

     YOU are not misled.





Chapter: Jer 18

Passage: Jer 18:18-23


A. Find Out:


1. How were they attacking Jeremiah? v.18c

2. What did Jeremiah consider they had done? v.20

3. What more had they planned? v.23

4. What did Jeremiah ask the Lord to do first? v.19

5. Then what did he ask? v.20b

6. What finally did he ask? v.21,22


B. Think :

1. Why were "they" saying they didn't need to listen to Jeremiah?

2. How had they obviously gone much further than just ignoring him?

3. What did Jeremiah see was the only way for them to be dealt with?


C. Comment :

     Again, as Jeremiah has brought God's word he receives rejection from the people, but unfortunately it is far more than mere rejection. In this passage we see the stages of opposition that we can receive.

    First there is SIMPLE REJECTION i.e. refusal to hear or listen to God's word being brought. That isn't very easy to take!

     Second there is attacking with tongues i.e. SLANDER against God's servant to pull him down with words. That is harder to take.

     Third there is seeking to TRAP him and pull him down by some form of snare that will make him cease his activities of bringing the sword of God.

      Fourth there is the blatant attempt to DESTROY him.

     These are the stages that people go through in opposing the word of God, both non-Christians and, tragically, sometimes Christians. The excuse these people made was that they already had God's word from the past so they didn't need a "now-word". That was refusal to hear God and in Jeremiah's eyes that warranted their death. A tough time for Jeremiah.

D. Application?

1. Ensure that you never oppose God's word coming through his servants

    and especially that you never act against his servants bringing the word.

2. Ask God to cleanse you of any unbelief.




Chapter: Jer 20

Passage: Jer 20:1-6

A. Find Out:


1. Who was Pashhur? v.1

2. What did he do to Jeremiah? v.2

3. How long was Jeremiah there? v.3

4. Who did Jeremiah say was renaming Pashhur? v.3

5. What did Jeremiah say Pashhur would see? v.4

6. What had Pashhur been doing? v.6


B. Think :

1. List all the things this passage tells us about Pashhur?

2. Why did Jeremiah say Pashhur would become a terror to others?

3. What did Jeremiah say Pashhur's end would be?


C. Comment :

     After Jeremiah has stood in the temple courts and prophesied disaster for Jerusalem , Pashhur, a priest of influence in the temple, took action against Jeremiah. In return Jeremiah brings him God's word.

     Pashhur's father is the chief officer of the temple and Pashhur obviously has much authority in the temple itself because of this. It is difficult when people around us oppose us, but it is doubly so when people of position speak out against us. Pashhur, obviously, has also been declaring that all Jeremiah has been saying is untrue, and that Jerusalem will be safe. As we saw in a previous study, opposition soon moves from rejection to action, and Pashhur not only rejects and speaks against Jeremiah but he also acts against him.

     When Jeremiah is released in the morning he has a word from the Lord for Pashhur. So far Pashhur has been in a place of authority and prestige but soon he will be in a place of terror, for where he is (the temple) there will be destruction and terror from the enemy. His friends who have been listening to him will want to get away from the temple and from him as quickly as possible.

D. Application?

1. Ask the Lord to give you grace to still be His mouthpiece when people

    abuse you.

2. Thank the Lord for Jeremiah's example that even in discomfort he could

    still hear the Lord.




Chapter: Jer 20

Passage: Jer 20:7-18

A. Find Out:


1. What is happening to Jeremiah? v.7c

2. What also is he receiving? v.8c

3. What happens if he tries to hold God's word in? v.9

4. What were people hoping for? v.10

5. But what does he know? v.11-13

6. Yet what does he feel? v.14-18


B. Think :

1. How do people feel about Jeremiah?

2. Why is he "stuck" with this ministry?

3. How is he seen to be in an "up and down" state?


C. Comment :

     Jeremiah feels very down! He is, first of all, very conscious of what the people think of him as they mock him, ridicule him or threaten to tell the authorities what he is saying when he is prophesying destruction. Everyone is against him and he feels entirely alone! It is difficult to stand alone against public opinion.

     Second, he tries to stand in a place of faith, proclaiming the truth that the Lord is with him and that the Lord is Almighty, that the Lord will uphold him. However, having done that he subsides into a state of despair again, wishing that he had never even been born. It is sometimes easier to talk about faith than stand in it when all are against you.

     Jeremiah shows us the very real feelings of desperation that he sometimes felt while exercising this ministry. Just in case we might have felt, "Well why don't you give it up then?" Jeremiah explains what so many men of God feel, that God has placed something in them which just cannot be bottled up.

     This is the mark of the true calling, that even when all is desperate, when you feel alone, when you feel everyone is against you, you cannot lay down the task, it is just too deep within you! The truth within sometimes cannot be resisted.

D. Application?

1. Be honest and acknowledge to the Lord when you feel like Jeremiah felt

    in today's passage.

2. Thank the Lord that He IS with you in it, even when you feel alone.





Chapter: Jer 26

Passage: Jer 26:1-16

A. Find Out:


1. Where did the Lord tell Jeremiah to prophesy? v.2

2. What was he to say? v.4-6

3. Who got upset? ? v.7,8

4. Who came to judge? v.10

5. What did the others demand? v.11

6. Who stood up for Jeremiah? v.16


B. Think :

1. Who seized Jeremiah first of all?

2. Who eventually spoke out for him?

3. Summarise who it was who remained against Jeremiah?


C. Comment :

     Jeremiah gets instructions from the Lord to go and prophesy in the house of the Lord and tell them that if they didn't repent then the temple would be destroyed, just as the worship place at Shiloh had been destroyed. In the temple at that time were many priests, prophets and other people. When they heard what he was saying they became very upset and said he ought to be killed.

    The news of this quickly spread to the royal palace and a number of officials soon came. The priests and prophets demanded Jeremiah's death. When Jeremiah simply defended himself, his words had effect and the ordinary people and the officials from the palace sensed that what he had said was true. The word of God is truly a sword that sometimes penetrates even those against us (Ephesians 6:17 ) and may at times even be the means of delivering us!

     The "religious" people, the priests and so-called prophets were the ones who did not relent. It should have been these people who were leading the nation to God and hearing God's voice, but instead their hard, self-centred hearts were doing nothing of the sort. Instead they were actually opposing the one bringing God's word and demanding his death. "Religious people" often dislike the truth from God!

D. Application?

1. Are you more concerned with religious ritual than with a living

     relationship with the Lord?

2. Do you find it difficult to receive God's word and let is apply to you?





Chapter: Jer 26

Passage: Jer 26:17-24

A. Find Out:


1. Who stepped up to defend Jeremiah? v.17

2. How did they do it? v.18,19

3. Who else had been similarly prophesying? v.20

4. What had happened to him? v.21-23

5. Who else supported Jeremiah? v.24


B. Think :

1. How has the Lord been seen to be not relying on just one prophet?

2. How had other prophets been accepted or rejected?

3. How may we as "lone voices" be encouraged by this passage?


C. Comment :

     The officials and the people have just spoken out for Jeremiah's life to be spared. Now some of the elders step forward with wisdom (similarly seen in Gamaliel in Acts 5:33 -40). There is a glimmer of hope for Jeremiah.

    They cite Micah who had prophesied against Jerusalem previously in Hezekiah's reign and that king had responded so that Jerusalem was saved. This, they say, they feel is the same sort of thing, and to ignore it will bring destruction.

   We are then told of another prophet who had been saying the same things as Jeremiah. Jeremiah is obviously not a lone prophet of the Lord in the land. Unfortunately this other prophet had been put to death by Jehoiakim. That just highlighted the sort of king he was! Being reminded of this man was perhaps not good news for it simply emphasised what COULD happen.

     Finally we see yet more support from Ahikam who is probably an elder by now. He is seen in Josiah's time as son of the secretary to the king (see 2 Kings 22:10 -12). His voice seems to sway the rest and Jeremiah is reprieved. This last voice was just what it needed to carry the day, one voice to tip the balance and ensure Jeremiah is saved!

D. Application?

1. Do we have the courage to speak out for what is right even when the

     odds are against us?

2. Ask the Lord to help you be one who speaks for what is right.





Chapter: Jer 28

Passage: Jer 28:1-17

A. Find Out:


1. What did Hananiah prophesy? v.2-4

2. How did Jeremiah say this should be judged? v.9

3. What did Hananiah do in response? v.10,11

4. How did the Lord respond to this? v.12-14

5. What had Hananiah been doing? v.15

6. What did Jeremiah predict that happened? v.16,17


B. Think :

1. Why do you think it is easier to prophesy peace rather than judgement

    and need for repentance?

2. How did Jeremiah react to Hananiah when the Lord said nothing?

3. How did he change when the Lord spoke to him?


C. Comment :

     Life, as we have seen, was not always easy for Jeremiah. On this occasion another so-called prophet is predicting that Babylon would be broken within two years and everything and everyone taken to Babylon so far will be returned. This, of course, was quite contrary to all that Jeremiah had been prophesying. The way Jeremiah responds is instructive. God hasn't said anything to him yet about Hananiah and so he responds graciously with a simple spiritual principle. "I hope you are right", is what he basically says, "but in the past, prophets with good news are not normally from God and are only proved to be so when their prophecies have been fulfilled, which wasn't often!"

     Hananiah reveals the sort of person he is and rejects this and so Jeremiah quietly leaves. The Lord however, doesn't leave it and gives Jeremiah a counter-prophecy to bring which includes the warning that He will take Hananiah's life for giving the people a lie to believe in. Within two months Hananiah is dead! The Lord is serious about this whole issue and wants to make sure the people understand the truth, and will back His man to make sure the people realise who he is!

D. Application?

1. Ask the Lord to help you be gracious in the face of opposition.

2. Be open for the Lord to speak to you and through you when the world is

     being unrighteous and ungodly.



RECAP - "Jeremiah's Opposition" -   Jeremiah 11,12,14,18,20,26,28


In these 9 studies we have seen:

- the Lord revealing to Jeremiah a plot against him

- Jeremiah complaining about the unrighteous

- other prophets prophesying good for the nation

- rejection, whispering, attempts to traps, and eventually

   attempts to destroy Jeremiah

- Jeremiah in the stocks over night & opposing Pashhur

- Jeremiah feeling very down about the opposition

- Jeremiah being threatened with death by the religious leaders

- Jeremiah eventually receiving support from the palace officials

   and city elders

- Hananiah dying for predicting early restoration.




     Opposition to God's word came from many different quarters. It came from the kings and the ordinary people but mainly it came from the religious people, the priests and so-called prophets. He was opposed by word and deed and nearly lost his life for what he was saying.



1. We need to rest in God's provision
2. We need to be more concerned with God's glory rather than what men might say
3. God will deal with the ungodly in His time
4. Our confidence must be in God alone
5. We need to keep our hearts open to receive God's word however it comes
6. God's grace is available to cope with opposition when it comes
7. We are to be more concerned with a living relationship than with religious ritual
8. We are to speak out for righteousness, even when the odds are against us
9. We are to be gracious even when opposed.


       Ask God to fill you with His Spirit to enable you to be His witness.