The Prophet Jeremiah

n03111_prophet

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Age Group

Adult

Brief Description

Understanding the meaning and method of Christian discipleship is most important for us as a people who faithfully seek to follow Christ and share the gospel with others. But what is discipleship? How does one become a disciple? How does one live as a disciple? Jeremiah is sometimes referred to as the “weeping prophet” because of the personal struggles he faced during his ministry. Jeremiah’s reputation, however, is somewhat misleading. Though he did not hide his emotions, Jeremiah was one of the most faithful and effective spokespersons for God in the Old Testament.

Session One: Awareness of our backgrounds may help us determine if God is calling us to a particular task. Jeremiah’s call (1:1-19) provides helpful guidelines, though not precise instructions. God often calls us in the context of our backgrounds and upbringing.

Session Two: Jeremiah 7:1-15 is widely known as Jeremiah’s “Temple sermon.” Jeremiah probably delivered this memorable message in 609 BC during the early days of the reign of King Jehoiakim. What a bold sermon! Standing in the court area of the Temple, Jeremiah daringly declared that the Temple would be destroyed and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah would be sent into exile if the people of Judah did not repent and live by God’s laws.

Session Three: Do you ever struggle with the why questions of life, questions concerning the reasons or purposes that events happen as they do? Why do bad things happen to good people, and why do the wicked seem to prosper? Why do things so often not seem to “work out right” when you have vigorously tried to do the right thing? Why must we endure ridicule or suffering when we have sought to serve God faithfully? Dare we voice such questions to God? Dare we express our anger and exasperation? If so, then perhaps we can understand some of Jeremiah’s struggles.

Session Four: Babylon’s final defeat of Judah occurred in 587 BC. At that time, Jerusalem fell, the Temple was destroyed, and more Judeans were exiled. Our text for today’s lesson reflects a time between the two exiles of 597 and 587 respectively. Jeremiah, left in Jerusalem, writes a letter to the Jewish exiles in Babylon. His letter of pastoral care encourages the exiles to face their situation sensibly.

Session Five: The citizens of Jerusalem were waiting for the inevitable—waiting for the attacking Babylonian army to ransack their city and to take them as prisoners. These Judean citizens found themselves hopelessly holed up in the Holy City in 588 BC. Into this hopeless setting, God directed Jeremiah to take some hopeful action. Jeremiah’s surprisingly hopeful behavior is the central focus of today’s text.

by Bob Baker and Frank Granger

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