Christians who make a habit to read the Scriptures on a regular basis can’t help but to reflect and admire Jeremiah the prophet. He was a man chosen by the Lord before his birth to do the Lord’s bidding (Jeremiah 1:5), and when Jeremiah thought his youth would prevent him from engaging in the Lord’s work, the Lord reassured him that his youth was exactly what He wanted (1:7). Jeremiah spent many years proclaiming the Lord’s message to a people determined to walk the broad path that leads to destruction. What was Jeremiah’s mission from the Lord to a people so determined? His mission is stated for us in Jeremiah 1:10. “See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” (ESV). When the Lord said to Jeremiah that He had given him authority over nations and kingdoms, He was referring to the peoples of those nations and kingdoms. If Jeremiah’s word could penetrate the people, then perhaps the nations would be spared the Lord’s wrath (3:22). Let us briefly consider these points: to pluck up, to destroy, and to build up.
To pluck up. The old KJV uses the phrase “to root out”. The idea is to dig deep and remove the root that anchors itself in, in the context of Jeremiah, in false ideology. The false ideology (doctrine, teaching) is that associated with the idolatry of the nation. Idolatry is very damning, and many people are plagued by it without even knowing it. They know it not because they know not the Lord. Those of Jeremiah’s day were soon to learn what they did not know.
To destroy. Since the Lord was going to root out the depths of their anchor, what would He do with what comes up? He plans to destroy it and to start again. In the context, that which the Lord was going to do was that which was done to the northern kingdom already: Israel had been taken away into captivity by the Assyrians and, unfortunately, Judah refused to heed the warning the Lord gave, and because she refused to hear and heed there was one verdict pending.
To build up. The Lord, however, was not one to leave a land (heart) vacant. If there was a desire on the part of one (or the many), as there was in the context of the Jeremiah’s prophecy, the Lord would provide a solution to one’s despair. However, the one who was in despair needed to respond to the Lord’s offer. The Lord would not accept anyone one according to the dictates of their own heart (3:17), but He would accept if they came to Him humbly and contrite.
God’s preacher – that is what Jeremiah was. Will any follow Jeremiah today?