Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window or tab)
1. Are the stories from your parents’ past “the good old days”, or are they “those hard times”? What experiences of satisfaction and suffering do you recall from those stories?
2. Have you ever dressed up in your “Sunday best”, only to find yourself doing some dirty job? What was the job? Did you keep your clothes clean?
3. What is the hungriest or thirstiest you have ever been? How did you get that way? How did it feel?
4. Have you ever visited an old castle or fortress which was once considered impregnable? What was it like in its glory? What is it like now?
5. What are the “gold” and “sacred gems” of verses 1 and 2? What is the difference between these items and the clay pots? What modern image is the equivalent of this comparison?
6. What is the difference in child-rearing responsibility between the jackal and the ostrich? (Ostriches will abandon their eggs when confronted with danger.) What have the people of Judah done to deserve this comparison?
7. How is Judah’s punishment worse than that of Sodom (verses 6 – 10)?
8. Why did everyone assume that Jerusalem’s gates were impregnable (see Jeremiah 7:1 – 8)? What made the gates vulnerable (verses 12 and 13)? How might these false prophets have been guilty of shedding innocent blood (see Jeremiah 23:16 – 19)? How could these people have so great an effect on the whole nation?
9. Even as destruction approached, where did Judah look to for help (verse 17)? Who is probably responsible for this “looking in vain”?
10. Have the people lost confidence in their king (verse 20)? Why or why not (see 2 Kings 25:1 – 7)?
11. Why does Jeremiah’s attention shift to the “Daughter of Edom” in verses 21 and 22? Why is she rejoicing (see Psalm 137:7)? What will be her end (see Jeremiah 49:17 – 22)?
12. What hope is given to the “Daughter of Zion” in verse 22? If you were one of the people of Judah, how would you feel at the end of this dirge?
13. What are the “gold and sacred gems” in your life? If these were suddenly taken away, how would you feel? Where would you look for a sense of self-worth?
14. For Judah, Jerusalem’s gates were a symbol of security. What are the symbols of security for your nation: NATO alliance? Nuclear arsenal? technological superiority? Fort Knox? Other?
15. Has national pride or presumption of safety actually made your country vulnerable? By the same token, are you spiritually vulnerable?
16. Does your country (like Judah) have false prophets and priests who proclaim also visions? Who are they? political “image makers”? Advertisers? School textbook publishers? Health and wealth evangelists? New Age advocates? Other? What makes their visions so attractive? So dangerous?
17. Are you or your nation guilty of being an “ostrich” toward the children in your life? How so? What can be done to stop this?
18. If an individual does not resist the Lord’s discipline, but submits to it, what can he hope for? Is that your hope? Your church’s hope? By contrast, what is your nation’s hope? Explain the difference.