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The significance of a drought at this time was very great. It was one of the signs predicted in Palestinian Covenant (Deuteronomy 28:23, 24), and had already been fulfilled in part in during the reign of King Ahab (1 Kings 17:1ff). As that sign had been followed (even though after a long interval) by the Assyrian captivity of the Northern Kingdom, it should have been received by Judah as a most solemn warning.
1. Are you usually early, on-time, or late for appointments or meetings? Why? Would you considering breaking the mold by being the opposite (early for once, or late)?
2. When was the last time you were too late for something? What happened? How did you feel?
3. If you had to pick a torturous “fate worse than death”, what would it be?
4. What “triple whammy” from God finally gets Judah’s attention (chapter 14:1 – 6)? How do you imagine this “drought, famine and sword” would come about? All at once? In shifts of successive years? Or what?
5. On what basis do the people hope God will rescue them (chapter 14:7 – 9)? What do you think was the most effective part of their appeal?
6. Why is God fed up with them and their cries (chapter 14:10 – 13)? Why should Jeremiah pray for them, as a true prophet would (see 1 Samuel 7:8; 1 Samuel 12:23)?
7. What will happen to the false prophets (chapter 14:14 – 18)? What irony do you see here?
8. Though told not to pray for the people, what is Jeremiah doing in chapter 14:19 – 22? What is the basis of Jeremiah’s appeal on behalf of the rejected people (see Leviticus 26:44, 45)?
9. Does God soften up (chapter 15:1 – 4)? What sins did King Manasseh commit (see 2 Kings 21:1 – 18)?
10. What is the focus of the poem in chapter 15:5 – 9? What irony and tragedy do you see here?
11. Do you think God’s patience finally wears out? At what point? Does patience have a time limit? What becomes limitless patience?
12. The false prophets told the kings what they wanted to hear. Do you know someone who says, “yes” to avoid rocking the boat? Are you ever a “yes-sayer” in your family? At work? At church? Has it ever gotten you or the church in trouble? What troubles do you see stemming from people who only tell others what they want to hear?
13. On the other hand, some people like to make waves? Do you? What is one thing you have said that greatly upset some people’s presumptuous thinking? What happened as a result?
14. When have you reacted with scorn or persecution against someone who rocked your boat?