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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 6 - GOD'S OBJECT LESSONS

INTRODUCTION: YOU ALL KNOW THE GAME CALLED CHARADES: WHERE YOU ACT
OUT A MESSAGE THAT OTHERS ARE SUPPOSED TO GUESS.  THIS WEEK WE HAVE
A SET OF SPIRITUAL CHARADES.  NO, I'M NOT GOING TO ACTING OUT
MESSAGES.  INSTEAD, WE WILL LOOK AT A SERIES OF CHARADES OF SORTS,
ILLUSTRATIONS THAT GOD GAVE TO JER TO DELIVER A MESSAGE TO THE
PEOPLE. SO LETS GET INTO IT.

I. THE LINEN BELT

     A. READ JER 13:1-5. GOD TOLD JER TO BUY A BELT AND PUT IT ON.
     WHY DO WE WEAR BELTS TODAY? (TO KEEP OUR PANTS UP AND OUR
     STUFF TOGETHER.)

     B. CAN A BELT BE A FASHION STATEMENT? (SURE A SASH. A LINEN
     BELT MIGHT WELL BE DIFFERENT.)

     C. LETS READ 13:11 GOD SAYS HE IS THE BELT.  WHAT DOES THAT
     MEAN?  IS GOD THE BELT OF OUR LIVES TODAY? (GOD KEEPS THINGS
     IN ORDER.)

     D. IN JER 13:4-5. WE FIND OUT THAT THE NEW BELT GETS BURIED. 
     PERATH IS USED TO REFER TO THE EUPHRATES RIVER WHICH WAS 350
     MILES AWAY!
          1. DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE? WHY NOT JUST BURY THE BELT
          OUTSIDE JER'S HOUSE?

          2. WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN TO THIS NICE CLEAN 
          LINEN BELT BEING HIDDEN IN THE ROCKS? WOULD YOU WANT TO
          WEAR ONE THAT HAD BEEN PUT IN THE GROUND?

          3. READ 13:6-7. AS WE EXPECTED THE BELT IS RUINED. YOU
          WOULDN'T WANT TO BE WEARING A FILTHY LINEN BELT.

          4. READ JER 13:8-10. WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS WHOLE
CHARADE?
(WE HAVE A NICE CLEAN ATTRACTIVE BELT THAT IS JESUS WHO KEEPS OUR
LIFE TOGETHER.  IF WE WANT, WE CAN GO TO A LOT OF TROUBLE TO PUT
OUR CLEAN BELT IN THE DIRT. AND THEN WE WILL HAVE A DIRTY BELT AND
A LOT OF USELESS WORK TO BOOT. THE OUTRAGEOUS THING IS THAT OUR
DIRTY BELT IS PRIDE. "THE SIN THAT IS MOST NEARLY HOPELESS AND
INCURABLE IS PRIDE OF OPINION, SELF-CONCEIT. THIS STANDS IN THE WAY
OF ALL GROWTH." 7TEST.199))

II. HORSE RUSHING INTO BATTLE

     A. READ JER 8:4-7. LETS LOOK FIRST AT VERSES 4 AND 5. 

          1. HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE TO COMMUTE TO WORK?
          2. THIS SPRING ON YOUR COMMUTE DID YOU EVER HIT A NASTY
          POTHOLE?  HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU HIT IT?  EVERYDAY?
          
          3. WHY DO WE GET UP WHEN WE FALL AND RETURN AFTER WE HAVE
          TURNED AWAY?  WHAT IS MEANT BY FALLING AND TURNING? 
                    (MISTAKES OR ERRORS.  THE NATURAL THING FOR
                    MAN IS TO LEARN FROM HIS MISTAKES.  GOD SAYS
                    THAT ON A REAL SIMPLE BASIS MOST OF THE TIME
                    PEOPLE LEARN SOMETHING FROM WRONG TURNS AND
                    MISSTEPS. YOU DON'T KEEP HITTING THAT SAME
                    POTHOLE EVERY DAY!)
          
          4. BUT WHAT ABOUT HIS PEOPLE? ARE THEY HITTING THE SAME
          POTHOLE EVERY DAY? (GOD SAYS THEY DO NOT LEARN.)

          5. VERSE 6: WHY IS IT THAT GOD'S PEOPLE DID NOT LEARN?
          (THEY SAY, "WHAT HAVE I DONE?")

               a. WE DISCUSSED THIS IDEA AT CAMP LAST WEEK. WHAT
               DOES THIS MEAN? IS THIS A PROBLEM TODAY?

               b. HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE CONSTANTLY POINTING THE 
               FINGER AT OTHERS?  SOCIETY IS BAD? GOVERNMENT IS
               BAD? BIG BUSINESS IS BAD? THE CHURCH LEADERS ARE
               BAD?  MY PARENTS WERE BAD?  HOW ABOUT "I'M A SINNER
               AND I NEED TO REPENT?"  THE BUCK STOPS WITH BRUCE
               CAMERON, A KNOWN SINNER AND PERJURER IN THE STATE
               OF MAINE?"

          6. IN VERSE 6 IT SAYS NOTHING ABOUT POTHOLES, IT TALKS
          ABOUT A WARHORSE.  I CAN SEE THIS BIG HORSE, COVERED WITH
          ARMOR, CHARGING INTO THE BATTLE WITH ITS NOSTRILS FLARING
          AND ITS TEETH BARED STORMING INTO BATTLE.
               a. I DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HORSES. (JOB HAS A 
               INTERESTING COMMENT ON THIS KIND OF WARHORSE IN JOB
               39:19-25) IS THIS NATURAL FOR A HORSE? (IT SEEMS
               THAT A HORSE WOULD NATURALLY BE FEARFUL OF CHARGING
               INTO BATTLE.  BUT THIS IS UNNATURAL, IT IS A
               VIOLENT PLUNGE INTO DANGER.)

          7. IN VERSE 7 ARE WE TALKING ABOUT NATURAL ACTIVITY FOR
          ANIMALS? (YES. THESE ANIMALS NATURALLY DO WHAT GOD HAS
          PUT INTO THEIR INSTINCTS.)

          8. WHAT IS THE MESSAGE OF THIS CHARADE? (GOD SAYS THESE
          PEOPLE SAY THAT THEY ARE SMART, BUT THEY ARE NOT AS SMART
          AS THE ANIMALS WHO DO BY INSTINCT WHAT GOD HAS PUT WITHIN
          THEM.)
          
          9. READ JER 8: 8-10. WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT HAVING THEIR
          WIVES GIVEN TO OTHER MEN AND THEIR FIELDS TO NEW OWNERS?
          (IT SKEWERS THEM ON THE VERY PRINCIPLE ON WHICH THEY
          SINNED.  THEY WERE GREEDY FOR GAIN, AND THE THINGS THAT
          ARE CLOSEST TO THEIR HEARTS ARE LOST.)

          10. HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED SIN? SORT OF "I WANT TO DO
          THIS. IF I DO WHAT KIND OF TROUBLE WILL IT GET ME INTO?" 
          IF SO, CONSIDER THAT GOD'S PUNISHMENT HERE IS TAILORED TO
          THE SIN.

III. WOODEN YOKES

     A. READ JER 27:2-6 WHAT DOES THIS CHARADE SUGGEST? (THAT THEY
     ARE GOING TO SERVE OTHERS MUCH LIKE AN OX SERVES ITS MASTER.)
     (THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE HERE BETWEEN THE NIV, THE
     NKJV AND KJV WHICH REFLECTS A DIFFERENCE IN THE MT AND THE
     LXX. EITHER JER MADE YOKES FOR EVERYONE AND SENT IT TO THE
     AMBASSADORS OF THESE OTHER STATES OR THEY SAW HIM WEAR ONE AND
     SENT WORD OF IT TO THEIR COUNTRY.)

     B. READ JER 27:8-10. THIS MAKES IT EXPLICIT. IN v.6 THAT WE
     JUST READ NEB IS CALLED GOD'S SERVANT. WAS HE THE SERVANT OF
     GOD? (NO. NOT IN THE SENSE THAT JER WAS GOD'S SERVANT.  BUT HE
     WAS A SERVANT IN THE SENSE OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOD AND
     THE KINGS OF THE EARTH. AND HE WAS HIS SERVANT FOR THE PURPOSE
     OF BRINGING GOD'S PEOPLE TO REPENTANCE THROUGH CAPTIVITY.)

     C. GOD SAYS IN v. 5 THAT HE GIVES HIS CREATION TO "ANYONE I
     PLEASE." IS IT PLEASING TO GOD TO TURN HIS CREATION OVER TO
     THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW HIM? 
          1. CAN WE ALWAYS EXPECT, THAT BECAUSE WE CLAIM TO BE 
          GOD'S SERVANTS THAT WE WILL COME OUT ON TOP? (NO. WE CAN
          SEE THAT GOD HAD A REASON HERE FOR THIS. AND IN OUR LIVES
          HE HAS REASONS FOR ALLOWING CERTAIN THINGS TO HAPPEN.)

     
IF NEED MORE TIME:
IV. THE RECHABITES

     A. READ JER 35:1-2. IS THIS NORMALLY THE PLAN? GO TO THE
TEMPLE TO DRINK WINE?

     B. LETS READ ON 35:3-10. WHAT IS THE LESSON OF THIS CHARADE?
(READ 35:13-14. THESE PEOPLE OBEYED THE COMMANDS OF THEIR ANCESTOR:
COMMANDS WHICH SEEMED TO ENSURE THEY WOULD BE NOMADIC SHEPHERDS.
NOT A MORAL ISSUE.  BUT GOD'S PEOPLE DID NOT OBEY HIS COMMANDS!)

V. NEXT WEEK: HOW GOD WORKS THROUGH OUR FAILURES.