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Lesson 2: The Crisis (Within and Without) *

Introduction: Let's review a bit of history. God lead His people out of Egypt and into the promised land. Their mission? To claim the land promised to them. They never completely accomplished that task, but during the years of King David and King Solomon they controlled the largest area of the promised land. After Solomon's death, because of his high tax policies, God's people split into two nations. The northern kingdom (ten tribes) was Israel and the southern kingdom (two tribes) was Judah. Israel existed for about 200 years and then fell to the Assyrians. Judah continued on for about a 150 years when it fell to the Babylonians. It was approximately the last 40 years of Judah's history when Jeremiah warned the people of the coming destruction. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. God's Remembrance

    1. Read Jeremiah 2:1-2. What period is God recalling? (The wilderness journey out of Egypt.)

      1. Is this how you would describe God's people during the exodus? Were they were loving and devoted? (My hope is that God recalls my history as favorably as this! That is not how I would describe the people during the wilderness journey.)

    2. Read Jeremiah 2:3. What happened to the enemies of God's people during the wilderness journey and thereafter? ("Disaster overtook them.")

      1. Does God still treat the enemies of those who love Him in this way?

  2. God's Analysis of the Present

    1. Read Jeremiah 2:4-5. How does God view the "fathers" of the people of Israel? (They were "worthless" because they follow "worthless idols.")

      1. Look closely at what God is saying. Who does He review as possibly being at fault? (God seems to be examining Himself. "What fault did your fathers find in Me?" Obviously, God is not at fault, but consider what an example this is for us. When things are not going well, we need to first examine ourselves.)

    2. Read Jeremiah 2:6. When we are tempted to rely on our own efforts to help us in time of trouble, what should we do instead? (We need to review our history with God. The pressure in my life right now is an upcoming oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals. I can remember two past experiences in arguments before different sections of this same high court where God specifically came through for me.)

    3. Read Jeremiah 2:7. What is God's complaint? (He brought them to the promised land. But, they defiled it.)

    4. Read Jeremiah 2:8. Who, in particular, failed God? (The religious leaders. They did not seek God or even know Him. They followed idols.)

    5. Read Jeremiah 2:9. Are the children any more faithful to God than their fathers? (No. God says that He "again" brings charges against His people and He expects to be bringing charges against their descendants.)

      1. One morning this week I was stunned. In the United States "Planned Parenthood," is an organization that performs abortions and, according to recent revelations, has been selling baby body parts. The poll reported that by a margin of 2 to 1, Americans wanted the government to keep supporting this organization with taxpayer money. The argument is that money goes to other, helpful purposes. Is the United States in danger of being charged by God? (Jeremiah addresses those who are supposed to be God's people, not pagans. Pagans had been in the land and God largely kicked them out. When God's people become pagans, then God says He will act.)

    6. Read Jeremiah 2:10-11. The thinking of the time was that a god was territorial. You lived in a certain area and a certain god was in charge of that area. Our God says that people stick with their fake gods, why should His people give up the true God? What answer can you give?

    7. Read Jeremiah 2:12-13. What are the specific charges God brings against His people? (1. They have forsaken Him. 2. They have tried to do things on their own.)

      1. How much of a problem is this in your life?

    8. Read Jeremiah 2:14-15. Was Israel a slave by birth? (No! God rescued them from Egypt. After the death of Solomon, they became the Northern Kingdom. They fell to Assyria.)

      1. What is God's point? (Look around you! See how turning away from God leads to destruction.)

      2. Have you seen this in the lives of others?

    9. Let's skip down and read Jeremiah 2:23. Did the people admit they had turned from God? (No!)

      1. Is there a lesson in this for us?

    10. Read Jeremiah 2:27. How is it possible that people who do this can say that they have not turned from God? (This shows our extraordinary ability to deceive ourselves about our relationship with God.)

  3. Announcing Judgment

    1. Read Jeremiah 27:3-4. Are these nations who follow the true God? (No! But, they are meeting with the King of Judah. It seems they are putting together a coalition to try to defeat Babylon.)

    2. Read Jeremiah 27:5-7. On what does God base the authority of His statement? (He is our Creator.)

      1. How much is God's authority under attack right now?

      2. Are your views on the Creation a reflection of whether you worship what your hands have made?

      3. What is the future for these pagan kings and the King of Judah? (They will all be defeated by Nebuchadnezzar.)

        1. Recall that we earlier discussed the issue of whether the United States might be in danger of judgment because of its support of evil? If pagans are involved in evil, and not Christians, will that save us? (God brings judgment on these pagan nations.)

    3. Read Genesis 18:32. Scan the chapter if you are not familiar with this story. What does this suggest to the followers of God who live in nations that do not follow God? (There is some number of followers who can prevent judgment for the entire nation.)

    4. Read Jeremiah 5:1. What is the number of righteous needed here? (Just one!)

      1. I was recently in a meeting where the speaker preached about judgment. I have not heard a sermon on judgment for a very long time. It was a compelling presentation. How should we react to a warning about judgment?

    5. Read Jeremiah 27:8. Is there any way to avoid the judgment of God? (Read Jeremiah 1:17-18. We need to personally be faithful to God. This is God's promise to Jeremiah. God wants us to turn to Him. He does not want to punish us. However, God wants us to proclaim His message to the world. If there is a critical number needed to avoid judgment, we need to be working to bring to God that critical number.)

    6. Read Jeremiah 27:9-10. What complicates the matter of God's judgment? (There are many people who contradict God's word. They say punishment will not happen.)

    7. Read Jeremiah 5:3. What is the problem with our human nature? (Instead of accepting correction, we harden our hearts.)

    8. Read Jeremiah 27:11. How popular is Jeremiah's message? (Imagine if you lived in the United States and I prophesied that because of our sins, China, a nation which makes no pretense of following God, would invade the United States. If you wanted to live, you should just submit to China's rule. What if I substituted Iran for China?)

      1. How popular today is a message of repentance and judgment?

    9. Friend, do you rely on God or on yourself? Will you open your heart and mind to the correction of God? Why not turn to Him today?

  4. Next week: The Last Five Kings of Judah.
* Copr. 2015, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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