Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window or tab)
1. How would you rate yourself as an optimist on a scale of 1 (“everything that can go wrong will go wrong”) to 10 (every cloud has a silver lining”)?
2. When you go on trips, are you a plan-it-for months type, or a pick-up-and-go type? Is the rest of your family like you? Does this make travel easy or hard?
3. Who is speaking to whom in verses 1 – 3? In verses 4 and 5? 8? 10 and 11a? 11b – 23? 24 -26? 27 – 30? Look for this change of speaker and audience throughout Jeremiah’s prophecy.
4. Why should people flee the walled city of Jerusalem (verses 1 – 5; compare 4:6, where they are told to go to Zion/Jerusalem? Why is it safer outside? What happens in a siege (verse 6)?
5. Why does God want Jeremiah to warn Jerusalem (verse 8)? How eager is the city to hear God’s word (verse 10)? What role have the religious leaders played in delivering the warning (verses 13 – 15)?
6. What are the “ancient paths” to Jeremiah’s audience (verse 16)? Who are the “watchmen” (verse 17)? Why does God call the earth and the nations to witness the disaster (verses 18 – 20)?
7. What has Judah offered God instead of obedience (verse 20)? How do they respond to God’s warning (verses 24 and 25)? What response would God prefer?
8. What is Jeremiah’s role now (verse 27; see Malachi 3:2,)? Smelters purify silver ore by throwing it into molten lead: the pure silver floats, the dross sinks. What does Jeremiah observe as Jerusalem goes into the fire?
9. What do you think was God’s purpose in this warning? What does this tell you about God’s character?
10. Smokers know cigarettes cause cancer; Californians know an earthquake will come eventually. Why do people often ignore warnings? What warnings does God have for your society? Are you paying attention or ignoring them?
11. If material gifts and burnt offerings were unacceptable to the Lord (verse 20). What kind of gifts or offerings do you think would have been acceptable to the Lord?
12. If presents are not good substitutes for time and attention spent on our children, what does that say about what we should be giving to the church and charities? Do you know anyone who tries to buy God off with gifts instead of obedience (no names)? Are you ever tempted to do this?
13. Have you experienced God’s refining fire? What “silver” came to the surface? What dross remains to be burnt away?