J ANDREW DEARMAN
The books of Jeremiah and Lamentations cannot be separated from the political conditions of ancient Judah. Beginning with the righteous king Josiah, who ushered in a time of glorious but brief religious reform, Jeremiah reflects the close tie between spiritual and political prosperity or disaster, between the actions and heart of Judah and her kings and their fortunes as a nation. While few of us today have any firsthand understanding of what it means to live in a theocracy, the central theme of Jeremiah and Lamentations remains clear and still holds true: God first, politics second. The words, prayers, and poems of “the weeping prophet” serve to realign us with God’s priorities, turning us from evil and encouraging us to pursue God and his ways. With emotion and spiritual depth, these prophetic writings beckon us toward a spiritual integrity that can still affect the course of individuals and nations today. Most Bible commentaries take us on a one-way trip from our world to the world of the Bible. But they leave us there, assuming that we can somehow make the return journey on our own. They focus on the original meaning of the passage but don’t discuss its contemporary application. The information they offer is valuable–but the job is only half done! The NIV Application Commentary Series helps bring both halves of the interpretive task together. This unique, award-winning series shows readers how to bring an ancient message into our postmodern context. It explains not only what the Bible meant but also how it speaks powerfully today.