Introduction: When you are uncertain of God’s will, what do you do?
Pray, right? Study to see if the Bible gives direction, right? Do you
examine yourself in case your personal preferences might be
interfering with your search for God’s will? “I am willing to do
God’s will, as long as God’s will is to do what I want to do!” I’m
certain this has been a problem in my life in the past. While God is
flexible in the paths our lives can take, our greatest blessing comes
from taking the path He has in mind. Our lesson this week
demonstrates that if we truly want to understand God’s will, we can.
Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Single

    1. Read Jeremiah 16:1-4. Why does God tell Jeremiah not to
      get married and have children? (Because they will be
      killed by disease, sword or famine.)

      1. I recall wondering what kind of life my children
        would face. Now I ask what kind of life my
        grandchildren will face. If you decide the future is
        too terrible, should you simply not get married?

        1. If you were Jeremiah, would you consider this
          another burden laid upon you by God or another
          mercy shown to you by God? (There are studies
          about the loss of money and the loss of
          physical things. People regret twice as much
          losing something, then not having it in the
          first place. I’m not sure how that translates
          to children, but I would rather not have
          children then to see them die terribly.)

    2. Read Jeremiah 16:14-15. In the midst of this bad news,
      what hope does God give the people? (That God will restore
      them to their land.)

      1. Why does God do this? Why give this message of hope?
        (It shows that God still loves them.)

    3. Read Jeremiah 16:16-18. God says that He will repay them
      “double.” What do you think this means? (God says that the
      penalty is worse than the sin. Perhaps God is aware of the
      mental attitude about losing things. Thus, He says you
      will regret what you have done because the loss will feel
      twice as bad.)

      1. This “repay them double” opens a portal into God’s
        thinking. God says that He is aware of the
        proportionality of the sin and the penalty. Is this
        something that human judges take into account? (Yes.
        I think the goal is to make the penalty for the crime
        proportional to the crime itself.)

      2. Christians who understand the Bible realize that they
        are saved by grace, not by their works. ( Romans 8:1-4.) That means that a “good person” who does good
        things will be lost and die eternally if he does not
        accept Jesus’ sacrifice on his behalf. What do many
        Christians believe is the fate of those who are lost?
        (An eternity suffering in hell.)

        1. Does this make any sense for a God who
          considers the proportionality principle? You
          have a “good” person who resisted the impulse
          of the Holy Spirit, and that person burns for
          eternity? (That seems completely

  2. Dueling Prophets

    1. Read Jeremiah 28:1-4. Is this a message of hope?

    2. Read Jeremiah 28:5-9. How should we react to a prophecy
      that tells us good things will happen?

      1. Is there a double standard here? If so, why?
        (Jeremiah says that if you prophesy peace, you will
        be tested by whether that turns out to be true. I
        think all prophets are tested by the truth of what
        they predict. Jeremiah’s point seems to be that if
        you predict what you don’t want to have happen, that
        has the ring of truth. If you predict what you want
        to have happen, what your audience wants to have
        happen, you are more likely making it up.)

    3. Read Jeremiah 27:1-2 and Jeremiah 27:12-15. What does that
      tell us about the clash between the message of Jeremiah
      and the message of Hananiah? (They are in direct

      1. What object lesson has God given Jeremiah to support
        God’s message? (An actual yoke. Jeremiah is wearing a

      2. Put yourself in the place of the audience. What would
        you think about a guy who was wearing a yoke? (Part
        of me would think he was mentally unbalanced. Another
        part would think that he was very serious about the
        message, otherwise he would not be suffering wearing
        a yoke.)

    4. Read Jeremiah 28:10-11. Hananiah is now the one using an
      object lesson. What gives Hananiah the right to destroy
      Jeremiah’s property? What gives him the right to interfere
      with Jeremiah’s message?

      1. What does this tell us about Hananiah? (He is not in
        favor of free speech! It certainly makes things hard
        for the audience. Who is telling the truth about the
        message from God?)

      2. What did Jeremiah do after Hananiah broke the yoke he
        made? (“Jeremiah went on his way.”)

        1. Is that what you would have done? This guy is
          lying about God’s message, he is lying about
          the message God gave to you, and he is
          endangering lives. (I would have felt like
          punching Hananiah, or at least yelling at him.
          But God tells us to leave vengeance in His

    5. Read Jeremiah 28:12-16. How does God react to such
      aggressive behavior by a person who is making up his
      message? (Read Jeremiah 28:17. Hananiah dies.)

      1. What do you think, was Hananiah just lying and he
        knew it? Or, was Hananiah deceiving himself that he
        was sharing God’s will? (Read Jeremiah 28:15.
        Jeremiah calls what Hananiah is saying “lies.” That
        suggests that Hananiah knew his statements were
        false, but I’ve seen people who I thought believed
        their own lies.)

      2. Why didn’t God tell Hananiah personally to stop
        proclaiming lies, instead of sending that message
        through Jeremiah? (This shows Hananiah had no
        connection with God.)

      3. Does God still “remove from the face of the earth”
        those who preach rebellion against Him? (Yes, I think
        so. I recall a horrible comic who would regularly
        attack God. He loved to mock God. At the time I heard
        him say these things I wondered how long God would
        permit this. A few years later, I read that young
        comic died.)

    6. If we put our self in the audience listening to Jeremiah
      and Hananiah, we worry that we might be deceived. Was it
      possible for the people to know who was lying and who was
      telling the truth? (We already have Jeremiah’s “tip” that
      if a prophet is saying what we want to hear (and what he
      wants to say), that should make us cautious.)

      1. Read 2 Timothy 4:3-4 and 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12.
        Whose fault is it that these people believed lies?
        (Their fault. They want to believe lies. Jeremiah’s
        message was not simply that destruction was coming,
        it was coming because of the past sins of the people.
        Those sins involved, among other things, worshiping
        false gods. These people had already decided to
        disregard God’s will, and Hananiah just facilitated
        their continued rebellion against God’s will.)

      2. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15. Notice that Paul tells
        the people they have historically held onto the truth
        and they should continue to do so. What other
        important factor does Paul mention? (The “sanctifying
        work of the Spirit.” We must never lose sight of the
        power of the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to us.)

    7. Read 1 John 4:1. Does this describe the problem presented
      by Hananiah? (Exactly.)

    8. Read 1 John 4:2-3. John gives us a test that we can use to
      sort out false prophets. Would this test have worked with
      Hananiah? (John writes specifically about acknowledging
      Jesus. But, I think the theory behind the test still
      works. If Hananiah recognized and followed false gods
      along with the true God, then he would flunk the theory
      behind this test.)

    9. Read Romans 12:2. What other test does Paul suggest? (If
      your mind is transformed and renewed by the Holy Spirit,
      you will be able to tell what is God’s will.)

    10. Friend, God wants us to understand His will. Part of His
      love for us is that He is on our side. If we sincerely
      seek His will, we will find it. Why not ask the Holy
      Spirit right now to remove any barriers to our
      understanding of God’s will?

  3. Next week: The Destruction of Jerusalem.