Remember Jeremiah’s Mother

Title: Remember Jeremiah's Mother

Bible Book: Jeremiah

Author: Franklin L. Kirksey

Subject: Mother's Day; Mother; Abortion



Jeremiah 1:1-5; 15:10; 20:7-18

Someone tells, “A teacher gave her class of second graders a lesson on the magnet and what it does. The next day in a written test, she included this question: ‘My full name has six letters. The first one is M. I am strong and attractive. I pick up things. What am I?’ When the test papers were turned in the teacher was astonished to find that almost 50 percent of the students answered the question with the word ‘Mother.’”

Remember Jeremiah’s mother on this Mother’s Day. She was a remarkable woman. Although we do not know her name there are several things we can learn about her. We read in Jeremiah 1:1-5, “The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; / Before you were born I sanctified you; / I ordained you a prophet to the nations.’”

From Psalm 139:13-16 we read, “For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; / Marvelous are Your works, / And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, / When I was made in secret, / And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, / The days fashioned for me, / When as yet there were none of them.”

In Isaiah 49:1, 5 we read, “Listen, O coastlands, to Me, / And take heed, you peoples from afar! The Lord has called Me from the womb; / From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name. . . . And now the Lord says, / Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, / To bring Jacob back to Him, / So that Israel is gathered to Him (For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, / And My God shall be My strength).”

Paul the Apostle writes in Galatians 1:15-17, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.”

From Jeremiah 15:10 we read, “Woe is me, my mother, / That you have borne me, / A man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent for interest, / Nor have men lent to me for interest. Every one of them curses me.”

Dr. James W. Sire comments, “To curse the day of one’s birth is a frequent motif in laments. Read Jeremiah’s lengthier development of this motif in 20:14-18 (See also Job 3:1-26 and Oedipus Rex, 11. 1349-63, among many classical and Western literary texts.) The lament seems extreme; do you think it is justified in Jeremiah’s case?”[1]

Let me assure you that no one in their right mind wants to be unpopular. Jeremiah laments his unpopular ministry, as we read in Jeremiah 20:7-18, “O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded; / You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; / Everyone mocks me. For when I spoke, I cried out; / I shouted, ‘Violence and plunder!’ Because the word of the Lord was made to me / A reproach and a derision daily. Then I said, ‘I will not make mention of Him, / Nor speak anymore in His name.’ But His word was in my heart like a burning fire / Shut up in my bones; / I was weary of holding it back, / And I could not. For I heard many mocking: ‘Fear on every side!’ ‘Report,’ they say, ‘and we will report it!’ All my acquaintances watched for my stumbling, saying, ‘Perhaps he can be induced; / Then we will prevail against him, / And we will take our revenge on him.’ But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One.
Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail. They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper. Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten. But, O Lord of hosts, / You who test the righteous, / And see the mind and heart, / Let me see Your vengeance on them; / For I have pleaded my cause before You. Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord! For He has delivered the life of the poor / From the hand of evildoers. Cursed be the day in which I was born! Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me! Let the man be cursed / Who brought news to my father, saying, ‘A male child has been born to you!’ Making him very glad. And let that man be like the cities / Which the Lord overthrew, and did not relent; / Let him hear the cry in the morning / And the shouting at noon, / Because he did not kill me from the womb, / That my mother might have been my grave, / And her womb always enlarged with me. Why did I come forth from the womb to see labor and sorrow, / That my days should be consumed with shame?”

Dr. F. B. Meyer (1847-1929) explains, “Here the prophet falls into a muse, and as he foresees the misrepresentation of his motives and the certain hate which his unfaltering prediction of coming doom excite, he wishes he had never been born.”[2]

Allow me to share three things about Jeremiah’s mother.

I. Remember the disposition of Jeremiah’s mother.

In Jeremiah: Priest and Prophet, Dr. F. B. Meyer further explains the following about the formative influences in Jeremiah’s life, “It is interesting to study the formative influences that were brought to bear on the character of Jeremiah—There were the character and disposition of his mother, and the priestly office of his father. . . . His mind was evidently very sensitive to all the influences of his early life.”[3]


II. Remember the discernment of Jeremiah’s mother.

Dr. Clyde T. Francisco (1916-1981) the John R. Sampey Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, explains, “The inauguration of Jeremiah’s prophetic career is presented in stark contrast to that of Isaiah and Ezekiel. Both their calls (Isa. 6; Ezek. 1) were accompanied by glorious visions of God and his heavenly attendants. Overcome by a sense of national and personal sin, Isaiah cried out in dismay before the holy God who appeared before him. Likewise Ezekiel fell down upon his face before the glorious spectacle of the reigning God. When Jeremiah was called, however, there were no heavenly visions, but simply the word of the Lord came unto me saying (1:4). God spoke to him as a familiar friend, one who was already in intimate fellowship with him. In Jeremiah’s reaction there was no sense of sin or overwhelming glory of God. He appears to have taken the encounter naturally, as if the two of them had met before, and had already become fast friends. His surprise came not from the encounter but from the nature of the demands of God. It is clear, therefore, that the call of Jeremiah was the natural fruition of a relationship with God that had begun long before and had already deepened into an abiding fellowship. In this meeting Jeremiah was given insight for the first time into what the nature of his divine mission was to be. At this point the boy became a man.”[4] Dr. Francisco continues, “Although his mother’s name is not known, she must have been a major influence upon her son. His sensitive spirit reveals a man who was well taught by a discerning woman. Women are the principal civilizing force in society. If a man’s mother fails to get him out of the jungle, a good wife soon will. . . . Both father and mother of Jeremiah trained their son well. A youth does not learn to walk with God at such an early age unless someone has given him a good beginning.”[5]

III. Remember the discipline of Jeremiah’s mother.

Dr. Kyle M. Yates (1895-1975) former pastor of Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, explains, “Jeremiah’s early training in the priestly village of Anathoth had much to do with his personality and career.”[6] Dr. Yates continues, “The call to prophetic service made a profound impression on the boy from Anathoth. Suddenly he realized that God had been counting on him for a big task from the very moment of his birth. No man ever gets away from such a discovery. He was weak, timid and shy but he was prepared to hear God’s voice. He was listening when the divine voice came to him. He was already acquainted with world problems and understood how difficult it would be to get men to respond to a spiritual challenge. His reverence in the presence of Yahweh is exceptionally commendable. God said to him: I knew thee, I formed thee, I sanctified thee, I appointed thee. God takes full responsibility for the choice, the career and the victory that is to attend his efforts.”[7]

IV. Remember the personal discipline of Jeremiah’s mother.

From the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible we read, “Jeremiah had a long, forty-one year ministry (vv.2-3). God called him in the thirteenth year of Josiah’s reign, which began in 640 B.C. Thus, Jeremiah’s call from God came in 627 B.C. This date tells us several significant facts about Jeremiah. Most likely he was born at the end of the reign of King Manasseh, who was the most wicked king ever to rule over Judah . . . . Manasseh followed the detestable practices of the surrounding nations. He built pagan worship sites, constructing altars to the false god Baal and images or poles to the false goddess Asherah. He introduced the Assyrian worship of the sun, moon, and stars. In addition, Manasseh built altars to the heavenly bodies and, shockingly, placed them in the temple of the Lord, the very sanctuary built to honor God’s name. Sadly, this evil king even practiced human sacrifice, offering his own son on an altar to a false god. Living in the world of the occult, he practiced sorcery and divination (witchcraft) and consulted mediums and spirits (psychics). Throughout his long reign of 55 years, he completely disregarded God’s commandments and showed utter contempt for God’s name and His temple. He was a constant stumbling block to the people, leading them away from the Lord. As a result, the people were guilty of more evil than the other nations of the world.

When Manasseh died, his son Amon continued to lead the people in the evil ways of his father. The people continued to forsake the Lord, living wicked lives and refusing to obey God’s commandments. They worshipped the false gods of this world. However, within two years of taking the throne, King Amon was assassinated by some of the officials in the palace. The assassins were immediately caught and executed by a popular uprising of the people. Soon thereafter, the people made Amon’s son Josiah king. Josiah was only eight years old when crowned, which means that he was under the control and guidance of others until he became old enough to govern the nation on his own. This points toward Jeremiah and Josiah being close to the same age. They were both born during days of political upheaval throughout the world. The power of Assyria was waning and soon the Assyrians were to fall to a combined force of Babylonians, Medians, and Scythians. This combined alliance was to give rise to the world empire of Babylon, whose envoys had earlier visited the court of Hezekiah, Josiah’s great-grandfather (2 Kings 20:12).

It was during such days as these that God called Jeremiah (627 B.C.)”[8]

V. Remember the parental discipline of Jeremiah’s mother.

Rev. F. D. Maurice (1805-1872) comments in his book titled Prophets and Kings of the Old Testament, “The greatest cause of dismay to Jeremiah was the falsehood of the priests and prophets. No doubt the official or personal self-conceit of the priests, which arose from their forgetfulness of their relation to the people at large, was one of their greatest offence's in his eyes. But these sins arose from their not confessing that they were called by the Lord to be witnesses of His sympathy: whenever they were not witnesses for Him, they were necessarily proud and self-seeking. Jeremiah could only be qualified for his work by feeling in himself every one of the evil tendencies which he imputed to the priests generally. He had to feel all the peculiar temptations of his tribe and class to vanity, self-glorification, self-indulgence,—to feel how quickly they might fall into all the commonest, grossest habits of other men; while there is also a subtle, radical, internal wickedness that is nearer to them than to those whose offerings they present.”[9]


Please allow me to share some observations.

Jeremiah’s mother chose life.

Jeremiah’s mother gave love.

Jeremiah’s mother left a legacy.

LeRoy Eims tells, “I know a woman in Iowa who prayed for her son one hour a day from the time he was born. The thrust of her prayer? That he would be a godly man, walking with the Lord and being used by Him. When I see that man’s life today and all that God is using him to do, I realize she gave him something through her prayers that few children ever receive.”[10]

Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe explains, “Jeremiah faithfully and courageously delivered his sermons to the people; he lifted his supplications to the Lord; he poured out his grief over the sins of the nation; and yet the people only hardened their hearts and stubbornly resisted God's truth.

In an age of unconcern and indecision, Jeremiah was burdened and decisive, and God honored him. Humanly speaking, his ministry was a failure, but from the divine perspective, he was an outstanding success. We need men and women of Jeremiah's caliber serving in the church and the nation today. There's a price to pay, but there's also a crown to win.”[11]

We read in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, / And when he is old he will not depart from it.” No doubt today Jeremiah would rise up and call his mother blessed.

When you think about the celebration of Mother’s Day remember Jeremiah’s mother.

[1]James W. Sire, Jeremiah, Meet the 20th Century: 12 Studies in Jeremiah, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1975), 39

[2]F. B. Meyer, Jeremiah: Priest and Prophet, (London: Morgan and Scott, Ltd., n.d.), 72

[3]Meyer, 19

[4]Clyde T. Francisco, Studies in Jeremiah, (Nashville, TN: Convention Press, 1961), 19-20

[5]Francisco, 21

[6]Kyle M. Yates, Preaching from the Prophets, (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1942), 131

[7]Yates, 132

[8]The Preacher's Outline and Sermon Bible (Chattanooga, TN: Alpha-Omega Ministries, Inc., 1993), Database © 2004 WORDsearch Corp.

[9]F. D. Maurice, The Prophets and Kings of the Old Testament, (London: Macmillan and Company, 1894), 378

[10]LeRoy Eims, Daily Discipleship: A Devotional (Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress, 1998), 122

[11]Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Prophets, 103, Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on and / [email protected] / (251) 626-6210

© May 12, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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