Introduction: What if I told you that you would end your life owning
only the clothes you were wearing? What if I also told you that you
would be a faithful warrior for God your entire life? Would you
feel that God had let you down? Would the Bible’s promises of
blessings for those who are faithful seem false and bitter? This
week we study a man who had great personal ambition, stood strong
for God against great opposition, yet escaped with only his life.
Let’s plunge into the Bible and see if we can make any sense of

  1. Warning

    1. Read Jeremiah 7:1-3. Do these kinds of rules still apply
      today? Do our actions determine the relative peace in
      which we live? (We can note all sorts of exceptions, but
      I believe this is the general rule: obedience to God
      brings a more peaceful life.)

      1. Do these rules apply to nations – that disobeying
        God means trouble in the future?

      2. Notice that the text says “I will let you live in
        this place.” What does that mean? (Babylon was
        moving to conquer God’s people and destroy the
        Temple in Jerusalem.)

    2. Read Jeremiah 7:4. What argument were the people making
      against Jeremiah’s prophecy? (This is God’s nation! His
      temple is here. How could God side with pagans?)

      1. How would you like to deliver a message that appears
        to be unpatriotic? That appears to side with the

    3. Read Jeremiah 7:5-7. What does this suggest about the
      nature of faith? (Just saying that God is with us is
      “deceptive.” What God wants is not just words but a
      change in our ways.)

      1. What does this teach us about righteousness by
        faith? (Righteousness by faith is not mere words.
        Our faith, our thoughts, are reflected in our
        actions. If we think that the issue of our belief in
        God is somehow sealed off from our works, we are
        trusting in “deceptive words!” On the other hand,
        the instant that we sincerely confess and believe,
        we are saved. The issue for the Christian is whether
        you continue to believe – your actions say a great
        deal about your thinking.)

      2. What was the theological problem with the faith of
        “God’s people?” (They were following other gods.)

        1. How can this be if they claimed to follow the

        2. Is this something that should concern us today
          who claim to be Christians?

      3. What was the practical problem with the actions of
        the people? (They were oppressing the poor and the
        powerless, and killing the innocent.)

    4. Read Jeremiah 7:8. What lesson does this suggest for us
      today? (We are in danger of being deceived. Satan claims
      that mere words are a substitute for trusting God and
      properly treating others.)

      1. There are many texts in the Bible which tell the
        rich to share with the poor. Is that the issue here?
        (In texts such as Proverbs 28:27 God tells us that
        there is a blessing in helping the poor and a curse
        in ignoring their plight. But, Jeremiah’s warning
        goes beyond this – those in power are actively
        harming the poor.)

    5. Read Jeremiah 7:9. Are these the sins we see today? Are
      these temptations in your life?

    6. Read Jeremiah 7:10-11. Are we safe to sin if we attend
      the right church? If we are a citizen of the right

  2. Baruch in the Battle

    1. Read Jeremiah 36:1-3. What is the purpose of the kinds of
      warnings that we have just studied? (God wants us to turn
      away from our sins. God will forgive us. He wants us to
      avoid disaster.)

    2. Read Jeremiah 36:4-7. What is Baruch’s role in working
      with the great prophet Jeremiah? (He is the scribe. Adam
      Clarke’s Commentary tell us that Baruch was not just a
      writer, but he was a learned man, “one acquainted with
      laws and customs.” Sounds like he was Jeremiah’s lawyer!)

    3. Read Jeremiah 36:8-10. How would you like this job – not
      just writing down the prophet’s words, but standing up
      and sharing them in the most public place – words which
      say the people are wicked and the nation will fall to

    4. Read Jeremiah 36:11-15. What would your hopes be if you
      were Baruch? (My reading before these important officials
      may cause them to take God’s warning seriously. It would
      be great for God, great for the nation, and great for

    5. Read Jeremiah 36:16-18. Are things going the right way?
      What reaction do the high officials of the land have to
      Baruch’s reading? (Yes. Things are going wonderfully.
      They take the words seriously. They fear what he has

      1. Why do they want to know who wrote those warnings?
        (To see if they actually came from the prophet of

    6. Read Jeremiah 36:19. If the words of God are being taken
      seriously, why should they have to hide?

    7. Read Jeremiah 36:20-23. What does the King think of the
      words of Jeremiah? (He shows his contempt.)

    8. Read Jeremiah 36:24-26. Now we see why the King’s
      officials suggested that Baruch and Jeremiah hide. If the
      officials correctly predicted the King’s reaction, why
      take the document to the King at all? (They feared not
      telling the King.)

    9. Read Jeremiah 36:27-32. How would you like the job of
      Baruch? What does this suggest about being honest about
      sin? (It suggests that warning is necessary, but that it
      will not be popular.)

      1. In my experience, it has generally been the “nut
        cases” who are proclaiming that something is
        terribly wrong with my church. Re-read Jeremiah
        36:24. How do we judge whether we are being like
        this wicked King? (Read Jeremiah 7:22-23. Our only
        safe guide is to go to God’s word and be sure that
        we are “walk[ing] in all the ways [God]
        command[ed].” That is the way to distinguish the
        warnings of the nuts from the warnings of those who
        speak for God.)

  3. Baruch After the Battle

    1. Read Jeremiah 45:1-3. To whom is this message from God
      addressed? (Baruch.)

      1. If you were Baruch, would you think you deserved a
        message from God? (You were doing God’s work by
        being a partner with God and Jeremiah. Now the King
        is hunting for you. You are in hiding. Since the
        King is cutting and burning what you have written,
        you have the feeling that getting caught would not
        be a good thing. As a result, you are “worn out with
        groaning and find no rest.”)

      2. What else should be troubling Baruch? (The warning
        he had been declaring – that the nation was going to
        fall to Babylon.)

      3. Let’s go back to where we started and read Jeremiah
        7:1-3. Was that not a promise to Baruch as much as
        anyone else?

        1. What future does Baruch see? (It is hard to see
          a good one. He is tired, complaining and cannot

        2. Has God broken His word?

    2. Read Jeremiah 45:4-5. What had been Baruch’s hopes and
      dreams? (Verse 5 suggests he was looking for great things
      for himself. Why not? He thought that if he worked with
      God’s great prophet, that his future would be bright and
      successful. That is implicit in the message to God’s
      people that he had been proclaiming – reform and live in

      1. What is the future more likely to hold? (God says
        that He will overthrow his people and bring

        1. Imagine a future in which your country is
          invaded, your church destroyed, and disaster is
          everywhere. What would be your mental attitude?

          1. How would your attitude be if you
            previously planned (hoped) to be a high
            and respected official (or prophet) in
            God’s favored nation?

      2. What future does God promise Baruch? (He will escape
        with his life.)

      3. What lesson does this teach us? (The quality of our
        life depends in part on the faithfulness of those
        around us.)

        1. Is that fair? (Consider what God has gone
          through because of our unfaithfulness.)

    3. Friend, are you like Baruch? Have you been faithful in
      delivering God’s message, but the power of evil has
      destroyed your hopes, plans and dreams for life on earth?
      In the great conflict between good and evil, that
      sometimes happens. God’s promise to Baruch shows that God
      cares about him. Will you place your confidence in God’s
      love and care even when your personal plans for fame and
      fortune are in flames?

  4. Next week we begin a new series of studies of the Bible and
    human emotion.