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1. What sayings or homespun wisdom can you still hear your mom or dad reciting? How do these still affect you?
2. How do you pass the time in a dentist’s waiting room? What feelings do you experience there?
3. What do you do to get an hour’s reprieve from the hectic pace of your day? Where do you go to get away for a weekend?
4. For whom is Jeremiah speaking in the opening verses? How has God treated him (verses 1 – 18)? How is he feeling? What benefits are there in making such a frank lament? What dangers?
5. What has Judah focused her attention on (verses 17, 19)? What are the consequences of forgetting her past prosperity?
6. How does Jeremiah stem the tide of grief and despair (verse 21)? Is this an easy or natural thing to do in the midst of sorrow? What is the secret of redirecting one’s focus this way?
7. Where does Jeremiah look to find hope (verses 22 -27)? Given the situation, do these words seem hollow? Insane? Unreal? Courageous? Noble? Explain your answer.
8. These phrases (in verses 22 – 27) come from Psalms and Isaiah. Why were they familiar to Jeremiah? How must he have prepared himself in the past to deal with his current depression?
9. What attitudes of the Lord are recalled in verses 22 – 33? How does this picture contrast with that in verses 1 – 18? Why is it necessary to balance both feelings (verses 1 – 18) and faith (verses 22 – 33)?
10. To whom does Jeremiah address his rhetorical questions in verses 34 – 39? What attributes of God do they establish?
11. To what logical conclusion is Jeremiah brought (verses 40 – 42)? How was this conclusion arrived at? How does this begin to make sense out of Judah’s suffering?
12. Why does Jeremiah list the sufferings of the people (verses 43 – 54)?
13. For what does Jeremiah pray (verses 55 – 66)? What hope of an answer does his own punishment give him? When and how had God heard and answered their plea in the past? What did the covenant and the prophets say about God’s hearing (see Deuteronomy 30:1 – 8; Jeremiah 30:10, 11)?
14. Briefly review this chapter. What kind of psychological and emotional progress has Jeremiah made from the beginning to the end of this dirge? What have been the steps in that process? What spiritual “weapons” has Jeremiah used to fight his way back to God?
15. Have you eve felt like Jeremiah in the opening section of this chapter (verses 1 – 18)? Were you able to express those feelings to God? If so, how? If not, why? What kept you from giving up completely at that time?
16. What portions of Scripture are especially helpful to you in difficult times? What hymns and spiritual songs are especially meaningful to you? Why? Do you know them by heart? What benefit might there be in memorizing them?
17. When you’re feeling forsaken and chastened, how do you express your feelings? How do you avoid wallowing in self-pity? What is the danger in being stoic or unemotional? What can you do to balance these two extremes?
18. Do you grow more during easy times or during rough times? What help does verse 33 (and Romans 5:3 – 5; James 1:2 – 4) teach you about affliction?
19. In what ways do we lift up our hands, but not our hearts, when we are in trouble (verse 41)? What does true repentance look like? What do truly repentant people do? What will happen if you dare to embrace the Lord’s discipline as does Jeremiah (see also Hebrews 12:11)?
20. Based on Judah’s experience, how seriously does God take the issue of sin? What does Jesus’ death on the cross add to this picture? How then should we treat sin in our own lives?