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!

  1. The Call

    1. 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
      the details.)

      1. What stands out in these first verses of Jeremiah?
        (The details!)

      2. What ends Jeremiah’s prophecies, those recorded in
        this book? (His people go into exile.)

    2. 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

      1. Was Jeremiah God’s first choice for this work?

      2. 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?)

    3. Read Jeremiah 1:6. What is Jeremiah’s concern? (That he is
      too young.)

      1. What, specifically, about his youth is a potential
        problem? (His speaking ability.)

      2. Is Jeremiah trying to turn God down? Is he stalling
        for time? Is he just being humble?

    4. Read Jeremiah 1:7-8. What is God’s solution to Jeremiah’s
      concerns? (God says the He will tell Jeremiah what to

      1. 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.)

        1. What is God’s answer to that? (Do not be
          afraid. God will rescue you, Jeremiah.)

        2. How much of your concern about witnessing has
          to do with the possibility of being

    5. 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.)

    6. Read Jeremiah 1:10. If God gave you this job description,
      how would you understand it?

      1. Notice the order of his work assignment. What does
        that suggest? (He will be tearing down before he

      2. 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?

        1. If so, how do we know when tearing down is the
          right thing? (I would need specific directions
          from God.)

  2. Testing the Equipment

    1. 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.)

      1. 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.)

    2. 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?

      1. 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!)

    3. 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.)

      1. 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.)

    4. 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
      pictures mean.)

      1. What does this teach us about witnessing for God?
        (God will help us in a step by step way.)

  3. The Warning

    1. 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.)

      1. 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

      2. What, then is the meaning of this vision? (The kings
        of Babylon will rule over the business and government
        of Judah.)

    2. 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.)

      1. 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?)

        1. Does God punish stupidity? (It is really an
          arrogant rejection of God.)

      2. 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.)

        1. Do you trust the money you have made to protect
          you or bring you stuff?

        2. Do you trust other humans to protect you or
          bring you stuff?

        3. Can you see how the essential problem in idol
          worship exists today, even where we don’t see
          anyone worshiping a physical idol?

      3. 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

    3. Read Jeremiah 1:17-19. Would you like to be Jeremiah?
      Would you trade jobs with him?

    4. Friend, God sometimes chooses us for difficult jobs. Will
      you trust Him in difficult situations?

  4. Next week: The Crisis (Within and Without).