Introduction: How would you compare to the people to whom Jeremiah
was giving his warnings? When you think about what God is saying to
you through the Bible and the inspired words of others, do you take
those “course corrections” seriously, or do you simply do what you
want? Can you trust your judgment? Can you trust yourself to make
good decisions when it comes to changes you should make? Let’s dive
into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn that will make
us more open to the leading of the Holy Spirit!

  1. A Question of Trust

    1. Read Jeremiah 17:5. When it says trusting in man is a
      curse, does that include trusting in yourself?

      1. Notice the word “and,” in the phrase “and whose heart
        turns away from the Lord.” Must we fit both
        conditions; trusting in humans and turning away from

        1. Can we trust both? (Read Proverbs 3:5. If we
          really understand God’s place in our life, we
          realize that our understanding is pretty poor.)

    2. Read Jeremiah 17:6. Why is this true? Is it because God
      causes difficulties when a person trusts himself? Or, is
      it because trusting in yourself is simply the wrong

    3. Read Jeremiah 17:7-8. Notice the three related words
      “confidence” (“whose confidence is in him”), “fear” (“does
      not fear when heat comes”) and “worries” (“has no worries
      … in drought”). What is the message about worrying? (If
      you depend on yourself you should worry. If you trust God,
      you can leave worry behind.)

      1. Let’s discuss this a minute. Does this mean that
        things will always work out the way you want? (It
        means that we should trust God whatever the outcome.
        If we believe that God loves us, and that He has our
        best interests at heart, then we can trust Him.)

      2. Read Deuteronomy 3:23-26. This is Moses’ report about
        God’s decision that he could not enter the promised
        land. Do you think that Moses thought God had his
        best interests in mind when God told him to be quiet
        about his plea to enter the promised land? (If Moses
        did, he is light years ahead of me in his faith.
        However, remember that Jude 9 reveals that God took
        Moses to the heavenly promised land instead. God gave
        him a much greater gift. God did have Moses’ best
        interests in mind.)

    4. Read Jeremiah 17:9. What kind of confidence can we have in
      our assessment that we trust God and do not depend on our
      self? (We need to be suspicious of our self-assessment.)

    5. Read Jeremiah 17:10. If we cannot have confidence in our
      own judgment, is there any way we can tell whether we
      trust God? (Consider how your life is going. God rewards
      our faithfulness. However, we need only look at the story
      of Job and Hebrews 11:35-39 to know that “how things are
      going” is not a completely reliable guide.)

    6. Read John 3:19-21. What other barrier do we face in
      following God’s word? (We love evil. Not only is our
      judgment unreliable, but it is influenced by the fact that
      we love to do evil and we do not want our “deeds …

      1. What is the cure for this? (By the power of the Holy
        Spirit to live by the truth. That means a life lived
        in “the light.”)

    7. Read Jeremiah 17:11. Will those who trust in themself and
      who do evil always find that they do not “see prosperity
      when it comes?” ( Jeremiah 17:6)? (This tells us that the
      evil person can do well for a while. In the end, however,
      things go badly.)

  2. Warning

    1. Read Jeremiah 17:1. Why do you write your name on
      something? (To show others that you own it.)

      1. What do you think it means to have your sin labeled?
        (Likely the same thing, it shows that you own it. You
        have take possession of it. Or, more likely, it has
        taken possession of your heart.)

    2. Read 2 Corinthians 3:3. What should be our goal? (To have
      God’s “letter” to the world written on our hearts. That
      not only shows that we belong to Him, but it is reflected
      in how we act.)

    3. Read Jeremiah 17:2. What is the point here – that the
      children have good memories? (The commentaries are in
      disagreement on what this means. However, based on the way
      the NIV translates this, it appears that God’s people
      trained their children to worship idols rather than the
      true God. This evil training stuck with the children.)

    4. Read Jeremiah 17:3-4. What results from turning away from
      God and teaching your children to do the same? (You lose
      the inheritance that God would otherwise give you. You
      become enslaved to others.)

  3. Prophet Alert!

    1. Read Jeremiah 11:18-19. How serious is the opposition to
      Jeremiah? (They plotted to kill him.)

      1. From time to time I hear of spouses who kill (or try
        to kill) their spouse. The obvious question is, “Why
        not get a divorce instead?” In Jeremiah’s case, why
        not just decide to ignore him, rather than to try to
        kill him?

    2. Read Jeremiah 11:20. What is your opinion of Jeremiah’s

      1. Read Luke 11:2-4. I know Jesus had not yet shared His
        model prayer when Jeremiah sent this prayer, but
        consider the contrast. Is it appropriate to say, “I
        forgive,” and “God show your vengeance on my

    3. Read Jeremiah 11:21-23. We no longer have to speculate on
      God’s attitude about this. What does God say He will do?
      (He will show vengeance (“I will punish them.” “I will
      bring disaster on [them].”)

      1. How would you reconcile this to the model prayer
        suggested by Jesus? (Read Romans 12:19-21. Vengeance
        is God’s alone.)

    4. Look again at Jeremiah 11:23. Where do the men live who
      plot to kill Jeremiah? (Anathoth.)

      1. Read Jeremiah 1:1. Notice that Jeremiah’s home town
        is Anathoth. What does this add to your opinion about
        this situation? (Read Luke 4:24. I’m sure this plot
        was very painful for Jeremiah to contemplate. People
        he knows want to kill him.)

  4. Jeremiah’s Attitude

    1. Read Jeremiah 12:1. Jeremiah has just brought “a case
      before” God – the case about the plot against him. God
      told Jeremiah that He will punish them. Do you think that
      Jeremiah is still speaking about the same case, the same

      1. What is Jeremiah’s concern about the justice of God?
        (The wicked prosper, they live well.)

      2. Re-read Jeremiah 17:10. Recall that I thought this
        showed a way to reveal God’s judgment about your
        life? Do we, like Jeremiah, have to remind God that
        those who follow Him should do well, and those who do
        not follow Him should not do well?

    2. Read Jeremiah 12:2. Do these people witness about God? Do
      they talk about God? (Yes! But, Jeremiah says that what
      they say does not reflect their true attitude.)

    3. Read Jeremiah 12:3. Tell me what you think about
      Jeremiah’s heart?

      1. Did God choose wisely when He chose Jeremiah to warn
        the people about coming judgment?

    4. Read Jeremiah 12:4. Is Jeremiah a judgmental kind of guy
      who presumes to lecture God on justice? (The last line
      reveals that Jeremiah is concerned about how this looks to
      others. The others think that God does not care, He is not

    5. Let’s skip a few verses and read Jeremiah 12:14-17 for
      God’s response. How is God’s attitude different than the
      attitude of Jeremiah? (You find compassion in God’s
      response. He tells Jeremiah that He will execute judgment,
      but God says that He looks forward to a time when He can
      show compassion to His people.)

    6. Friend, have you considered your life? Do you place your
      trust in God? Is your relationship with God all words and
      no actions? Do you lack compassion when it comes to those
      who do evil? Why not ask the Holy Spirit right now to help
      your attitude be more trusting and more compassionate?

  5. Next week: More Woes for the Prophet.