The Heart of God: The Decline of Judah (5)
And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
Read and meditate on Jeremiah 1-3, 7, and 11.
Jeremiah served during the final days of the nation of Judah, which he refers to as Israel. His words to the people of Israel were not exactly “seeker-friendly.” But they were the Word of God.
1. Summarize God’s Word to His people in Jeremiah 1-3. Given their obviously shallow spiritual condition during this time, how would you expect them to have received these words? How would you have counseled Jeremiah concerning his ministry?
2. In what specific ways does Jeremiah remind the people of God’s covenant faithfulness? Why was this important?
3. Explain God’s charge to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1.7-19. What did God expect him to say to His people? In what sense should preachers be ready to “root out and pull down,” “destroy and throw down,” and “build and plant” in their own ministries?
4. What seems to have been the state of the people of Jerusalem as we see it revealed in Jeremiah 7? Were they “good church-going folk”? But what else was going on in their lives? What “lying words” (v. 8) were they listening to, instead of the Word of God?
5. Summarize God’s charge against His people concerning His covenant in chapter 11. How did the people of his own home town respond to Jeremiah? To what does this situation point forward?
Jeremiah was one of the most courageous of God’s prophets. He did not fail to speak the Word of God to the people of Jerusalem, to point out their ingratitude and disobedience, to call them to repentance and faith, and to warn them of judgment to come if they refused to obey. He was hated by leaders and people alike, and much of his life was spent in misery. He shows us that we should expect that not everyone will be thrilled as we live and speak the Word of God to them. Does Jeremiah encourage or discourage you? Explain.
Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
T. M. Moore
Two books can help you gain a fuller understanding of the terrain we will be covering in this series. Kingdom Documents provides a concise overview of the primary teaching of the Old and New Testaments, and shows, through early Church creeds, how our forebears understood the primary teachings of God’s Word. (click here to order). I Will Be Your Goddevelops more fully the idea of God’s covenant and leads us to consider the practical implications of our covenant relationship with God (click here).
Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, offers a parallel study of our theme in this series, using brief video presentations and the workbook God’s Covenant: An Introduction. All courses at The Ailbe Seminary are available without charge.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.