Lesson 13

Lessons from Jeremiah

(Jeremiah 2, 5, 7, 23, 29 & 31)
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Introduction: What have we learned from our study of Jeremiah? This is the last lesson in this series, and like every experience in life, we need to contemplate what we can learn from it. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and solidify in our minds what we have learned!

  1. Lessons About God


    1. Read Jeremiah 5:22. Many people say that God will not execute judgment against humans. Does that seem to be correct based on what you have studied in Jeremiah?


      1. Notice the very interesting way God describes the reasons we should fear Him. Does He talk about killing people? Does He speak about executing judgment?(No.)


        1. What does a discussion about the limits of the ocean have to do with fearing God? Of all the reasons God could give, why choose this one? (God essentially says "I set boundaries in life. There are universal laws which are created by Me. Even the most powerful forces cannot overcome My boundaries." God's point is that mere humans should defer to His boundaries.)


    2. Read Jeremiah 5:23-25. What other reasons does God give for fearing Him? (He withholds blessings from "stubborn and rebellious hearts.")


    3. What boundaries did Judah cross in Jeremiah's time? (They relied on idols and Egypt. They worshiped things they had made and depended on other people rather than God.)


    4. What blessings did Judah lose? (They lost their freedom, they lost their property, they lost their nation and they lost their temple. Many of them lost their lives and the lives of those they loved.)


    5. Read Jeremiah 31:3-4. What other characteristic of God becomes clear from our study of Jeremiah? (God keeps pursuing His people. They insult Him, reject Him and ignore Him, but He continues to warn them of impending destruction. After the destruction takes place, God promises that He will build them up again. This is astonishing! Why not give up on these people and choose another people? It shows God's longsuffering and loving nature when it comes to us.)


  2. Lessons About Us


    1. Read Jeremiah 2:13. How does God summarize the problems with His people? (They have forsaken God and depended on themselves.)


      1. Are these really two sins, or are they only one? (If we look at forsaking God, then it would seem to automatically follow that you depend on yourself. But, it becomes more clear they are two sins when you understand that you can claim you follow God while depending on your own works.)


      2. God uses water, "living water," as an illustration. What do you think is most important about this illustration? (Water allows us to live. We literally let our life leak out when we depend upon ourselves.)


    2. Read Jeremiah 7:1-4. What is a barrier to reformation? (The people think that they are intrinsically good because they have God's temple in their city.)


      1. What would be the modern equivalent of that?


    3. Read Jeremiah 7:5-7. What is the problem with their relationships with others? (They are harming others.)


      1. Let's give this a hard look. Many say that the government should force the rich to support the poor. Christians often debate to what extent they should personally help the poor. What is God calling for here? (Don't harm the poor. This is not a call to give money to the poor, this is a call to quit taking from the poor.)


      2. Have you ever contemplated the way most of the Ten Commandments are written which deal with our relationships with others? Read Exodus 20:13-17. Are these "negative" rights?


        1. Some people dislike the fact that the Ten Commandments keep telling us "no." But, how does this look if you put yourself in the shoes of your "neighbor?" (Your neighbor can enjoy a life where he need not worry about you killing him, stealing his spouse, stealing his possessions, falsely charging him with a crime, or thinking about how you can deprive him of his things.)


        2. How does your life stack up if the most basic obedience requirement of God is NOT doing any harm to others?


    4. Re-read Jeremiah 7:6. Notice how God commands the people to relate to Him. Is this also a negative right? (It does have a "no." Don't follow other gods.)


      1. What does God add about not following other gods? (Following other gods will harm us.)


      2. Do you see the consistency here? If we look at God's rules in the sense of all of us being "neighbors," God's consistent goal is to avoid doing harm. Worshiping other gods harms us. Having neighbors who violate the Ten Commandments harms us. God wants us to live free from harm and the fear of harm.)


      3. I don't want readers to think their obligation to others ends with doing no harm. We don't have time here to discuss God's positive requirements, but I think we need to start with refraining from doing harm to others.


    5. Let's stand back and look at the big picture for God's people. Jeremiah is consistently warning them about some serious harm coming their way. If God's most basic rule is "do no harm," then why was God sending harm their way? (Read Jeremiah 7:9-10. God's people were seriously harming others, and God tells them that they will not be safe if they continue.)


      1. Have you ever noticed that the bad things that happen to you in life are very much like the bad things you have done to others?


  3. Lessons on the Cure


    1. Read Jeremiah 29:13-14. If you feel guilty based on what we just discussed, what is the solution? (God says that if we decide to seek Him, He is easy to find!)


      1. What kind of search should we make? ("With all of our heart.")


    2. Read Jeremiah 9:23-24. What kind of attitude transformation should we seek? (That we boast about God, not about our self.)


      1. Notice the intersection with idol worship. God says don't boast about wisdom, strength, or money. Could these be idols?


        1. If you answered, "yes," what is the difference between an idol and an asset? What is the difference between an idol and a tool? (God encourages us to acquire wisdom, and He blesses us with physical strength and money. God never blessed the people of Jeremiah's time with idols. The important question is who (or what) do you worship? Who (or what) do you credit with your success? I think this is what God is talking about when He says "boast that you understand and know Me.")


    3. Read Jeremiah 9:25-26. What is a "circumcised heart?" (Genesis 17 teaches us that circumcision was a sign between Abraham and his descendants of a special relationship between them and the great God of heaven. A circumcised heart, a circumcised attitude, reflects in daily life that special bond with our great and loving Father in heaven.)


    4. Read Jeremiah 23:3-4. If you are reading this, likely you are a "shepherd" or a potential shepherd. We discussed earlier negative rights. What is the positive goal for a shepherd? (To teach people to trust God so that they will "no longer be afraid, terrified, nor will any be missing.")


    5. Friend, would you like to live a life without fear or terror? Would you like those who you know and love to live forever in heaven with you? That is God's offer to all of us. Depend on Him, trust Him, obey Him and He will have a special relationship with you!


  4. Next week we begin a new series entitled "Rebellion and Redemption."

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Lessons on Jeremiah

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