Israel Forsakes God-Part 2 (Jeremiah 2:20 – 3:5)


Scripture Text:

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Jeremiah 2:20 – 3:5

1. Who is considered the “black sheep” or “wild vine” of your family? How and why did he or she become that way?

2. Have you ever been accused of something and thought you were innocent? What happened? Did you later discover you were wrong?

3. What word-pictures does Jeremiah paint to describe Israel? How is Israel like a stubborn mule? Like a prostitute? A wild vine? A she-camel? A disgraced thief? A ravenous lion?

4. How does this picture of prostitutes and animals in heat differ from the earlier one of Israel as bride (see chapter 2:2, 3)?

5. What answers does Jeremiah expect to his rhetorical questions and sarcasm in chapter 2:31 – 34?

6. How has Israel treated the poor (verse 34)? Did Jewish law permit killing burglars in defense of property (see Exodus 22:2, 3)?

8. What punishment of Israel is indicated in chapter 2:35 – 37? For what reasons? By what means?

9. What does the analogy of divorce mean in this context (chapter 3:1 – 5)? Who is the one properly entitled to seek divorce: God or Israel?

10. Who is the one seeking reconciliation? Who is the one likely to reject that effort? Why is that?

11. Not many people bow down before or converse with gods of wood and stone in modern times. What kinds of things do people worship today? What things are you tempted to worship?

12. Do you think God regards you as a “bride” or a “prostitute”? Why? How do you show your loyalty to God as your first love? How do you handle conflicts of loyalty between God and other loves?

13. How important is loyalty to you in your relationships apart from God? To what or whom do you feel most loyal? Why? How loyal do you feel towards your church? In what ways can you show your loyalty to them?


Israel Forsakes God (Jeremiah 2:1 – 19)


Scripture Text:

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Jeremiah 2:1 – 19

1. For the never-married: Describe the perfect honeymoon. When, where and with whom?

2. For the married: Where did you go for your honeymoon? How were the travel arrangements? Lodging? Weather? What snapshot helps you best remember this time?

3. Is it hard to maintain “friendship” with past loves? Why or why not?

Chapters 2 – 6 of Jeremiah’s prophecy are considered to be among his earliest (about 626 BC) and were delivered midway during the reign of Josiah, who was the most favorable of all kings to Jeremiah’s radical message.  These chapters deal with the near total apostasy of Judah and the inevitable foreign invasion which serves as God’s retribution.

4. God pictures Israel as a bride. How did the marriage start out (verses 2 and 3)? To what “desert” does He refer (verses 2, 6 and 7)?

5. What went wrong (verse 5)? What did the powerful do that was so contrary to God’s intent (verses 6 – 8)? Where was the Lord all this time?

6. What effect does Israel’s behavior have on the natural world (verses 7, 10 – 12)? Do you think these descriptions are literal or metaphorical? Why?

7. What charges does God bring? What is so impossible about changing gods or lovers (verse 11)?

8. “Baal” is Hebrew for “master” or “lord”. Who is Baal (see Judges 2:11 – 13)? In what way is Baal-worship or idolatry really two sins in one (verse 13)?

9. What role do “lions” (symbolic of Assyria) and the Egyptians (verse 16; chapter 44:1) play in humiliating and destroying Israel? What role does Israel play in this (verses 17 – 19)? What role doe God play in sealing Israel’s fate (see chapter 2:36, 37)?

10. What emotions do you think God is trying to convey through these vivid pictures? How does God feel? Hurt? Betrayed? Outraged? Jealous? Jilted? Or what?

11. What was wrong with worshiping a few other gods as long as the Lord was included? Or making major military alliances with the major powers of the day? Why do you think God takes these things so personally?

12. As reflected in this passage, is sin breaking rules or hurting a person? Which way of thinking about it better motivates you to avoid it? Why?


The Call of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1)

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Jeremiah 1

Welcome to the book of Jeremiah.

The prophet Jeremiah ministered in the context of 3 major kings:

  • Under King Josiah (640 – 609 BC) he was free to preach and join in Josiah’s reform movement.
  • Under King Jehoiakim (609 – 598 BC) he fell out of royal favor and experienced frequent imprisonment.
  • Under King Zedekiah (597 – 586 BC) Jeremiah was treated more kindly but still had to fear for his life.

As we consider the life and writings of Jeremiah (this book and the book of Lamentations), we will cover other notable events and people in Israel/Judah’s history including . . .

  • the fall of Assyria
  • the emergence of Babylon as a regional power
  • King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylon captivity of the Jewish people
  • Jeremiah’s fellow (contemporary) prophets including Habakkuk, Daniel and Ezekiel

1. Where were you born? At home? Hospital? In a taxi? What stories about the event have you been told?

2. What relative made you feel wanted and safe as a child?

3. What was Jeremiah’s occupation (verse 1)? What can you deduce about his family and heritage?

4. When did Josiah rule? When did Hedekiah? How long was Jeremiah prophetic career? Through the reigns of which five kings?

5. What kind of king was Josiah (see 2 Kings 22:1, 2)? What did he do to renew the worship of the Lord (see 2 Kings 23:1 – 5, 20, 21, 24)?

6. How do you think the “word of the Lord” came to Jeremiah?

  • voice from the clouds?
  • human-sounding voice?
  • an inner voice?

7. How far back does God’s relationship with Jeremiah go (verse 5)? How involved was God in preparing Jeremiah?

8. How does God’s call make Jeremiah feel (verse 6)? How old is Jeremiah? What does God say to Jeremiah to confirm his call (verses 7 and 8)? What does He do to him (verses 9 and 10)?

9. What two object lessons does God give him (verses 11 – 15)? Upon what pun does the first depend? What does the second mean? Why is God going to punish His people (verse 16)?

10. What opposition will Jeremiah face in his ministry? What does he need to do to overcome it? What things does God promise to do for him?

11. Do you trust that God has a wonderful plan for your life? Or do you feel somewhat like Jeremiah – dubious and fearful?

12. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Which future plans did your parents encourage? Discourage?

13. How does the Lord communicate with you? Are His plans for you always clear? Sometimes clear? Never clear? What role does Scripture play? What about advice, hunches, prayer and circumstances