King Jehoiakim Burns Jeremiah’s Scroll (Jeremiah 36)

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Scripture Text:

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Jeremiah 36

1. Have you ever been vandalized? What happened? How did it make you feel?

2. If you wrote a book, who would the last person you would want to read it? Who would be the harshest critic? Who would be “president” of your fan club?

3. How often have you tried excusing yourself for not turning in a paper by saying something like, “my dog ate it”? Did that ever happen?

4. What roles did Jeremiah, Baruch and the Lord each play in producing the first version of the Book of Jeremiah (verses 1 – 4, 17, 18)? Why might a written account fare better than nearly 20 years of preaching?

5. Why do you think Jeremiah is banned from the temple area (verses 5 – 7; see Jeremiah 26:7 – 11)? Who might have called the time of fasting (verse 9): the king? the priests? the Lord?

6. Why do the officials tell Baruch and Jeremiah to hide (verses 16 – 19)? How has the family of Shaphan treated Jeremiah in the past (see Jeremiah 26:24)? Why must they tell the king?

7. What review does the king give Jeremiah’s book (verses 22 – 24)? How would you compare Jehoiakim’s response to God’s word and his father’s (Josiah’s) response to God’s word (2 Kings 22:11 – 23:3)?

8. How must have Jeremiah felt when he heard the fate of the scroll? How did the Lord address that felt need and the cockiness of Jehoaikim (verses 27 – 31; see also 2 Kings 24: 1)?

9. What is the point of writing it all down again (verses 28, 32; compare with Exodus 34:1)? What extra words might have appeared in the second version of the book of Jeremiah?

10. Have you ever persisted in a task for years despite legal opposition and a total lack of visible success? What would motivate you (or anyone) to persist?

11. Why do you think officials sympathetic to Jeremiah did not stand up to the king? What would decisive action have cost them? Have you ever “look the other way” when something unjust or unethical was going on?

12. How do people today show disdain for God’s word? Do you honor God’s word? How?

13. How do the events of this chapter account for the patch-work quilt shape and non-chronological order of the current Book of Jeremiah? (For instance, if this book were in chronological order, chapter 45 would come in between chapter 36:8 and chapter 36:9).

14. What is your explanation, based in part on this chapter, of how the Word of God came to be written in the words of men?

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The Recabites Obedience Contrasted With Judah’s Disobedience (Jeremiah 35)

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Scripture Text:

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Jeremiah 35

1. When it comes to parties, are you:

  • a party animal?
  • a party pooper?
  • a wall flower?
  • prudish with food and drink?
  • enough food and drink to satisfy an army

2. What famous people would you invite to an “ideal” dinner party? What does your guest list (or last year’s social calendar) say about you?

3. Why did God tell Jeremiah to offer the Recabites wine (verses 2 – 5)? What two things made them different from other Israelites (verses 6 – 10)? Why do you think they had been told to live so radically different (see 2 Kings 10:15 – 23; compare with the Nazarite’s vow in Numbers 6:2 – 4, 20)?

4. Why had they moved to Jerusalem (verse 11)? Why might they feel uneasy about the situation?

5. What about the Recabites pleases God (verses 13 – 16)? How will they be rewarded (verses 18 and 19)? What is the object lesson in this for Judah (see Jeremiah 33:18)? For you?

6. The Recabites refused to take the “modern way” of Judah. Who in your world is like these Recabites: Any “communal nomads”? Any “puritan reformers”? Any “Christian radicals”? Any “loyal fundamentalists”? What can you and your church learn from such steadfast pace-setters?

7. Is yours an alternative lifestyle – distinct from that of your peers at work, school or neighborhood? What one thing distinguishes you?

8. How should Christians be separate from the rest of society, yet live close enough so that others can tell what motivates us?

 

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The Cup of God’s Wrath (Jeremiah 25:15 – 38)

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Scripture Text:

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Jeremiah 25:15 – 38

1. Have you ever been caught doing something that others got away with? What happened? How did it make you feel?

2. Imagine you want some grape juice, but the grapes need to be trod first. Name one person you wouldn’t mind treading the grapes for you. Why would you choose this person?

3. Why is God’s wrath likened to a cup of wine (verses 15 and 16; see also Isaiah 51:17 – 23; Revelation 14:8; Revelation 18:6)? What effect will it have on those who drink it? Is this what they would suspect?

4. Who drinks from the cup first and why (verse 18)? Who’s next (verse 19)? Who’s last (verse 26)? Try to locate the other nations on a map of ancient Palestine.

5. Why will God punish the nations (verses 27 – 33) with the “sword” and the “mighty storm” of the Babylonian invasion? What “charges” will God bring (see Jeremiah 2:5 – 9, 35)?

6. What will happen to the world leaders (verses 34 – 38)? How is their fate like that of Judah’s leaders (see Jeremiah 21:1 – 23:7)?

7. If you were compiling a list of nations to punish, which ones would top the list? Who would not have to “drink the cup”?

8. Is God’s treatment of Judah and the nations appropriate? How will God in Christ judge the world (see Matthew 25:31 – 46; Romans 2:6 – 16)?

9. How does it feel to know God is hardest on His own people (see 1 Peter 4:17, 18)? Why?

10. Does the fact that God will someday avenge every evil deed and punish all evildoers comfort you, or scare you?

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