How many enemies can you make in 23 years of speaking the truth to power? Jeremiah has now been telling it like it is for 23 years and through parts of the reigns of two kings, and as I read him I wonder why people paid any attention to him. His message has a monotonous quality. It is reminiscent of the advice someone gave to preachers about sermon organization:
- First, tell ’em what you are going to tell ’em.
- Then tell ’em
- Then tell ’em what you told ’em.
Well, Jeremiah told them again and again and again. Jeremiah’s messages have a quality of sameness because no one responded, no one changed, no one turned their life around. I imagine sometimes he got tired of it. It’s a wonder they ever came back to listen to him a second time. Maybe they just liked to hear a good preacher, even if they didn’t intend on following his message. Perhaps the real wonder is that God has waited so long and sent so many prophets.
On this occasion, after 23 years, Jeremiah decides to summarize. He has an audience representative of all Jerusalem and the areas around Judea. Let’s see, in chapter 25, what he takes the opportunity to tell them.