Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window or tab)
1. How would you feel if you organized a party or group activity, only to have nobody come? Has that ever happened to you or your friends? How did you feel?
2. Have you ever seen a person or group get “what was coming to them”? What happened? Why did they deserve it? How would you have felt if they did not get their “just desserts”?
3. Compare Lamentations 1:1 with Lamentations 2:1. What is similar? What is different?
4. In verses 1 – 8, who is the main actor? What verbs are used to describe his actions? What emotions does Jeremiah attribute to God? What images does he use to describe God’s treatment of the “Daughter of Zion” (verses 4, 5, 80?
5. How extensive has the calamity been? List the things “torn down”, “swallowed up” or “destroyed”.
6. In verses 6 and 7, what has the Lord done to “his dwelling”? Why would He treat His own things this way?
7. What images of hopelessness and helplessness does Jeremiah paint in verses 9 – 12? What do the gates and bars represent: kings and princes? the prophets? the law? or what? What is significant about the posture of the elders and young women (verse 10)?
8. What emotions does Jeremiah express when he sees the suffering of the children? Who has escaped the judgment of the Lord? Why?
9. Why is Jeremiah without words of comfort for Judah (verse 13)? Has anything like this happened in her history before?
10. Where does Jeremiah lay much of the blame for Judah’s destruction (verse 14)? What “false and misleading” oracles have the prophets spoken (see Jeremiah 14:13 – 16)? Why?
11. What does Judah’s downfall bring about in onlookers? In her enemies? What do both groups seem to forget about her punishment (verse 17)?
12. Judah’s punishment has been decreed by God earlier, as recorded in Leviticus 26:27 – 46. How is God just in sending this calamity? How is He merciful?
13. Why is Judah encouraged to “pour out” her heart to the Lord (verses 18, 19)? As she pleads her case, is she asking for justice or mercy (verses 20, 21)?
14. What questions are especially troubling for Judah (verse 20)? What is she ultimately looking for (verse 22)? To whom?
15. What characteristic of God is most strikingly displayed by His treatment of the “Daughter of Zion”? What does it mean to lose the “ear of the Lord”? In what ways have you become causal about sin?
16. Does God seem like an “enemy” to you now? Are there any sins with which you have “made friends”?
17. In this chapter, Jeremiah indicts the false prophets who did not expose the sins of Judah. Who are the false prophets we tend to “give ear” to: university professors? entertainers? politicians? psychologist? our friends and associates? “health and wealth” evangelists?
18. What do the people around you think when prominent ministers or ministries fail? Is God’s reputation tarnished or polished when such ministries are put through the fire? Or is God’s reputation separate from the reputation of people and their institutions? How should we react/respond when Christianity receives such bad press?
19. If Judah returns to the Lord, of what can she be confident? What comfort can this give you the next time you feel His “rod of correction”?
20. God’s discipline is “severe mercy”. What evidence of mercy can you see in His past discipline of you? Can you trust that His present discipline of you is merciful?