Jeremiah At the Potter’s House and the Valley of Ben Hinnom (Jeremiah 18 and 19)

jeremiah

Scripture Texts:

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Jeremiah 18

Jeremiah 19

1. Are you any good at making things or doing crafts? What have you made? What would you like to make?

2. What “pot” best describes you? Kettle? Crackpot? Frying pan? Cast-iron? Flower pot? Fine China? Other?

3. What does Jeremiah see at the potter’s house (chapter 18:2 – 4)?

4. How does the nature of the clay determine the quality of the pot and what it is used for? What point is God trying to make about the conditional nature of His promises and threats (chapter 18:5 – 10)?

5. What is Judah’s decision regarding God’s warning (chapter 18:11, 12)? Why do the people continuously ignore God? What sense does Jeremiah try to make of their stubbornness (chapter 18:13 – 17)?

6. What do the people want to do with Jeremiah and why (chapter 18:18)? In Jeremiah’s confession (chapter 18:19 – 23), how does he come to terms with what is happening to him? Can you fault Jeremiah for wanting to dish out punishment equal to what he has had to take from his accusers?

7. Who is supposed to see the lesson of the jar first (chapter 19:1 – 3)? Why do you suppose he goes to the Hinnom Valley near the Potsherd Gate? What would be happening there (chapter 19:4 – 9)?

8. What does Jeremiah’s action symbolize (chapter 19:10, 11)? Do you think such cannibalism was merely symbolic, or could it actually have happened that way? (For some historical precedents, see 2 Kings 6:28, 29; Lamentations 2:20; Lamentations 4:10; Ezekiel 5:10.)

9. What does Jerusalem have in common with Topheth (chapter 19:12, 13), that her fate will be similar (see chapter 19:5, 6 and 2 Kings 23:10)?

10. Why does Jeremiah repeat the warning in the Temple court (chapter 19:14, 15)? Do you think Judah deserves another spin on God’s “potter wheel”, or does Judah deserve the scrap heap (total destruction)?

11. Are God’s plans set in “concrete” or “wet clay”? How much does He mold people, and how much do people mold themselves (see Romans 9:19 – 23)?

12. The prophets often dramatized their messages. What message do you want the world to hear today? How could you make the point through a symbolic action or dramatized parable? Could you see it being covered on national TV or on social media?

13. Why did the people of these ancient cultures kill their children? For what reasons are children killed today?

14. Do you suppose God saved the mold when He first created you, so that He could create more people like you? If God were to re-create you, what chip, crack or bulge in your life’s jar would you like God to fix the second time around?

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