Introduction: Does God have a plan for your life? Do the actions of
the leaders and the people of your nation make a difference in how
God treats your nation? This week we start a new series of lessons
about a man God called to warn a nation that had turned its back on
God. Let’s dig into our study of Jeremiah and see what we can learn
about difficult jobs!
- The Call
- Read Jeremiah 1:1-3. Assume you are listening to a story,
and you doubt its truth. What could you do, right then, to
have more confidence in the story? (You could ask about
the details. Someone who is telling the truth will know
- What stands out in these first verses of Jeremiah?
- What ends Jeremiah’s prophecies, those recorded in
this book? (His people go into exile.)
- Read Jeremiah 1:4-5. What do these verses suggest about
abortion? (God knows us from the very beginning. God
assigns to us roles that He would like us to undertake
before we are born. Abortion interferes with the plans of
- Was Jeremiah God’s first choice for this work?
- Put yourself in Jeremiah’s place, how difficult would
it be to turn down the call of God? (God told me He
had this specific plan for my life – and I was born
with that plan in mind. How could I turn down God?)
- Read Jeremiah 1:6. What is Jeremiah’s concern? (That he is
- What, specifically, about his youth is a potential
problem? (His speaking ability.)
- Is Jeremiah trying to turn God down? Is he stalling
for time? Is he just being humble?
- Read Jeremiah 1:7-8. What is God’s solution to Jeremiah’s
concerns? (God says the He will tell Jeremiah what to
- Let’s assume that God calls you to be a prophet and
you are concerned that you are not a good speaker.
What is your real fear? (You will be embarrassed.
People will not think well of you.)
- What is God’s answer to that? (Do not be
afraid. God will rescue you, Jeremiah.)
- How much of your concern about witnessing has
to do with the possibility of being
- Read Jeremiah 1:9. How does this work? If we opened
Jeremiah’s mouth would we find a bunch of words crammed in
it? If not (and I doubt anyone expects to find words),
what is God doing? (Recall that when Jesus performed
miracles sometimes He spoke and sometimes He touched the
person. I think the touch is for the benefit of the person
receiving the miracle. Jeremiah is encouraged by the
touch that he has a special gift from God.)
- Read Jeremiah 1:10. If God gave you this job description,
how would you understand it?
- Notice the order of his work assignment. What does
that suggest? (He will be tearing down before he
- Consider this order with our own gospel work. My
attitude is generally to build upon whatever exists.
Should we sometimes tear down before we build?
- If so, how do we know when tearing down is the
right thing? (I would need specific directions
- Testing the Equipment
- Read Jeremiah 1:11. Notice something I’ve not mentioned
before. This is the second time we read “The word of the
Lord came to me.” What does that mean? Recall last time
God “touched” Jeremiah’s mouth. Is Jeremiah in vision? Is
God actually visiting him? What has been happening? (The
way Jeremiah writes this he seems to be having a vision.)
- When God said “I have put my words in your mouth,”
did He mean that He had given Jeremiah the ability to
receive visions? (I think so. He also means He will
help Jeremiah to speak.)
- Re-read Jeremiah 1:11 and add Jeremiah 1:12. How do you
understand God’s response? Is God concerned that the
vision might not be working?
- Whenever I’m going to speak with a microphone, I
always test it. I don’t like to be testing once I’m
speaking. Is God testing Jeremiah’s ability to see
the vision like I would test a microphone? (I think
so. The point being, “Jeremiah, see this works!)
- Look again at Jeremiah 1:11-12. In addition to “testing
the equipment,” is God delivering a real message? (Many
commentaries point out that the almond tree is the first
to bloom. It actually blooms during the winter. If you
were watching for signs of the coming of spring, you would
watch the almond tree.)
- What meaning do you find in this? (God says that He
is beginning a process of judgment for His people.
God keeps close watch on this to see how it
progresses, just like a person would watch an almond
tree to see how the season progresses.)
- Read Jeremiah 1:13-14. What does God add to the continuing
test of Jeremiah’s vision? (God adds another view and an
interpretation. Can you see the logical progression.
First, God checks to see if Jeremiah can see the pictures
(visions) God is sending. Second, God explains what that
- What does this teach us about witnessing for God?
(God will help us in a step by step way.)
- The Warning
- Read Jeremiah 1:15. We previously read that the boiling
pot is “tilting” away from the north, making it appear
that its boiling contents are threatening the south. What
does this mean? (Disaster will come from the north and be
inflicted on the south. In the Old Testament, a reference
to the “north” is often a reference to bad guys. Here, it
seems to be a reference to Babylon.)
- The word picture is that the “thrones” of the kings
of the northern kingdoms will be set at the gates of
Jerusalem. What ideas do you connect with “gates” of
a city of that time? (That is where business (Genesis
23:10-11) and government ( Deuteronomy 21:18-19) took
- What, then is the meaning of this vision? (The kings
of Babylon will rule over the business and government
- Read Jeremiah 1:16. Why will an evil empire (Babylon)
execute God’s judgment on God’s people? (God’s people have
forsaken Him. They burn incense to things they have made.)
- Let’s explore this. No one in my neighborhood
worships an idol they have made. What is at the heart
of this sin? (God made humans. Humans can make many
things. Why would humans worship something they have
made as opposed to the God who made them? Can you
see how insulting this is to God? Can you see how
this is stupid and illogical?)
- Does God punish stupidity? (It is really an
arrogant rejection of God.)
- What is the purpose of making an idol? (Presumably,
it will make your life better in some way. It will
protect you or bring you stuff.)
- Do you trust the money you have made to protect
you or bring you stuff?
- Do you trust other humans to protect you or
bring you stuff?
- Can you see how the essential problem in idol
worship exists today, even where we don’t see
anyone worshiping a physical idol?
- Does it make sense to you to use evil people to
punish God’s people? Isn’t the problem with God’s
people that they have entered into evil? Why reward
people who are already evil? (When the twin towers in
New York were attacked, people in the United States
rallied to say, “God bless America.” The idea being
that God must be with the Christians and not the
Muslims who destroyed the towers. But, the message to
Jeremiah tells us that God is not performing a
character check on those He uses to punish His
people. We cannot say we will be free from punishment
simply because we think we are more righteous than
- Read Jeremiah 1:17-19. Would you like to be Jeremiah?
Would you trade jobs with him?
- Friend, God sometimes chooses us for difficult jobs. Will
you trust Him in difficult situations?
- Next week: The Crisis (Within and Without).