I decided I'd summarize the book of Jeremiah. I had a nagging feeling that I was missing something. So I read, and re-read, and cross referenced between two Bibles and a few websites, and here’s what I came up with:
Jeremiah’s chillin’ in a tiny town called Anathoth. God shows up and says, ‘Yo, Jeremiah, guess what!? I’m calling you to be a prophet! You’s a lucky boy, you sure is.”
“Um, thanks God, but um, er, uh, I don’t know what to say. (See?)”
“Don’t you worry ‘bout a thing, Jeremiah, I’ll tell you what to say! You won’t even need a brother, like Moses. I’ll put the words right on your lips. You’re gonna uproot and tear down and destroy and overthrow, and once all that is done, to built and plant.”
“No kidding. Can I take a pass?”
“Nope. And to make things extra fun, when you write all this stuff down years later, the editors aren’t gonna put ANYTHING in a logical chronological order! Won’t that be awesome!? So in 2008, certain writers named Amy are gonna tear their hair out having to flip back and forth like a Biblical Choose Your Own Adventure.”
“A Biblical what?”
So Jeremiah goes to prophesy. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. (deep breath) Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Turn away from your idols and go back to the Lord or else He’s gonna destroy you.
Jeremiah then goes to stand at the temple gate to bug people who go in to worship at the temple.
“You’re worshipping the wrong thing. You think God’s in the temple and if you get inside the temple, it’s Home Base during the world’s biggest game of hide and seek and nothing bad will ever happen to Judah. The only way you’re gonna feel security is if you put your faith in God, not a temple. God’s bigger than a temple.”
The priests and prophets get pissed and wanna kill him. Well, first they wanna hang him, then they’ll kill him. Then they wanna stomp him, then tattoo him, then hang him, then kill him. (Watch the clip and pretend Pee Wee is Jeremiah, and the scary bikers are the priests and prophets, and “I’m trying to use the PHONE!” is the call from God.) But some of the elders and Ahikam say, nah, let’s let him go , so they do, but say he can’t come inside the temple again.
No problem, Jeremiah obviously doesn’t need a temple to say what he has to say. So he gets his buddy Baruch to take dictation on a scroll: “Gloom and Doom is spelled G-L-O-O-M A-N-D D-O-O-M. Exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point.”
Baruch goes to the temple to read it to the officials. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom.
The officials say, hmmmm, okay, we’ll take it from here. So they read the scroll to the King, who proceeds to cut off the scroll as they’re reading it and burn it. Scroll? What scroll? I don’t see a scroll. Jeremiah writes another, longer scroll.
Jeremiah occasionally gets arrested from time to time, and every now and then, he complains to God YOU WANNA GIVE ME SOMETHING ELSE TO SAY ALREADY!? I DON’T THINK GLOOM AND DOOM IS GETTING THROUGH TO THEM!
GEEZE God! Why do wicked people get to win!? That aint no fair, it aint.
Waaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh, this sucks, God! You want me to preach Gloom And Doom, but you won’t let me pray for mercy! Why am I doing this!?
God answers Jeremiah directly, whoops, wait, this is God we’re talking about, no, He completely sidesteps the issue and says Dude, forget fair. What you REALLY need is patience. A lot of it. ‘Cause guess what’s coming? Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom.
Meanwhile, there’s an internal revolt in the army of the Bad Guy (King Nebuchadnezzar) giving people hope that the Bad Guy might go away. God sends Jeremiah to say nope, sorry, and to make sure Jeremiah gets the people’s attention, God has Jeremiah put on an ox harness. Look at me! I’m in a yoke! Like you’re in a yoke! The Yoke O’ SIN! But there’s also a false prophet Hananiah. If Jeremiah’s message is Gloom And Doom, Hananiah’s message is Not So Fast, Help Is Coming In, Um, Well, Let’s See, About Two Years! Jeremiah says If you’ve got two people saying they’re telling the truth, listen to the one you don’t wanna hear. Prepare for the worst, and you’ll never be disappointed. Hananiah gets fed up and breaks Jeremiah’s Yoke O’ Sin. See! I’m telling the truth! Jeremiah says, oh boy, you shouldn’t have done that, God’s gonna kill you this year. And so he did, Hananiah dies two months later.
Now that Jeremiah had burst the bubble of the people in Jerusalem, he turned to the Jews living in exile in Babylon. Hey, guess what!? You’re not coming home anytime soon! So build homes and settle down, ‘cause you’re in it for the long run, like seventy years or so!
But hey, anyone tired of the gloom and doom stuff? Need a break!? Lemme give you Chapters 29 – 31! In them is a tasty verse that a lot of modern day folk in 2008 and beyond will cling to: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Ch. 29 verse 11) Isn’t that a nifty life raft of a verse to hang on to!? It’s so cool that most people don’t notice the verse that comes right after it, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you, “declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” (Ch. 29 verse 12 – 14) Meaning you gotta seek me, and learn about me, and write book reports on Jeremiah to get to know me, and maybe then I’ll be found by you, though really, getting to know me is a bit of a life’s work.
The Bad Guys take over, Jerusalem falls, and Jeremiah is captured. The Babylonians recognize him as hey, aren’t you the prophet who said we were gonna conquer Jerusalem?! You were right! Kudos to you, buddy! Nebuzaradan, commander of the imperial guard, tells Jeremiah to go hang out with Gedaliah, who’s been put in charge of the Jews who’ve been left behind in Jerusalem. Gedaliah gets a warning that a guy named Ishmael is coming to kill him. Oh no he’s not. Oh yes he is, and Gedaliah dies. So there. The Jews now look to a guy named Johanan to lead them, and they ask Jeremiah what they should do. Jeremiah says we should stay. Johanan and the people promptly decide we should go. And off they go to Egypt. Jeremiah travels with them, because if there’s anything we’ve learned about the guy so far, it’s that he’s a glutton for punishment, and Jeremiah ends up dying in Egypt. The end.
Now, did I get anything out of it, now that I’ve been back and forth through it multiple times?
Yeah, I got gloom and doom. Great.