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Sabbath School Lessons on Jeremiah
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 4: Rebuke and Retribution *
Introduction: How would you compare to the people to whom Jeremiah
was giving his warnings? When you think about what God is saying to
you through the Bible and the inspired words of others, do you take
those "course corrections" seriously, or do you simply do what you
want? Can you trust your judgment? Can you trust yourself to make
good decisions when it comes to changes you should make? Let's dive
into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn that will make
us more open to the leading of the Holy Spirit!
- A Question of Trust
- Read Jeremiah 17:5. When it says trusting in man is a
curse, does that include trusting in yourself?
- Notice the word "and," in the phrase "and whose heart
turns away from the Lord." Must we fit both
conditions; trusting in humans and turning away from
- Can we trust both? (Read Proverbs 3:5. If we
really understand God's place in our life, we
realize that our understanding is pretty poor.)
- Read Jeremiah 17:6. Why is this true? Is it because God
causes difficulties when a person trusts himself? Or, is
it because trusting in yourself is simply the wrong
- Read Jeremiah 17:7-8. Notice the three related words
"confidence" ("whose confidence is in him"), "fear" ("does
not fear when heat comes") and "worries" ("has no worries
... in drought"). What is the message about worrying? (If
you depend on yourself you should worry. If you trust God,
you can leave worry behind.)
- Let's discuss this a minute. Does this mean that
things will always work out the way you want? (It
means that we should trust God whatever the outcome.
If we believe that God loves us, and that He has our
best interests at heart, then we can trust Him.)
- Read Deuteronomy 3:23-26. This is Moses' report about
God's decision that he could not enter the promised
land. Do you think that Moses thought God had his
best interests in mind when God told him to be quiet
about his plea to enter the promised land? (If Moses
did, he is light years ahead of me in his faith.
However, remember that Jude 9 reveals that God took
Moses to the heavenly promised land instead. God gave
him a much greater gift. God did have Moses' best
interests in mind.)
- Read Jeremiah 17:9. What kind of confidence can we have in
our assessment that we trust God and do not depend on our
self? (We need to be suspicious of our self-assessment.)
- Read Jeremiah 17:10. If we cannot have confidence in our
own judgment, is there any way we can tell whether we
trust God? (Consider how your life is going. God rewards
our faithfulness. However, we need only look at the story
of Job and Hebrews 11:35-39 to know that "how things are
going" is not a completely reliable guide.)
- Read John 3:19-21. What other barrier do we face in
following God's word? (We love evil. Not only is our
judgment unreliable, but it is influenced by the fact that
we love to do evil and we do not want our "deeds ...
- What is the cure for this? (By the power of the Holy
Spirit to live by the truth. That means a life lived
in "the light.")
- Read Jeremiah 17:11. Will those who trust in themself and
who do evil always find that they do not "see prosperity
when it comes?" ( Jeremiah 17:6)? (This tells us that the
evil person can do well for a while. In the end, however,
things go badly.)
- Read Jeremiah 17:1. Why do you write your name on
something? (To show others that you own it.)
- What do you think it means to have your sin labeled?
(Likely the same thing, it shows that you own it. You
have take possession of it. Or, more likely, it has
taken possession of your heart.)
- Read 2 Corinthians 3:3. What should be our goal? (To have
God's "letter" to the world written on our hearts. That
not only shows that we belong to Him, but it is reflected
in how we act.)
- Read Jeremiah 17:2. What is the point here - that the
children have good memories? (The commentaries are in
disagreement on what this means. However, based on the way
the NIV translates this, it appears that God's people
trained their children to worship idols rather than the
true God. This evil training stuck with the children.)
- Read Jeremiah 17:3-4. What results from turning away from
God and teaching your children to do the same? (You lose
the inheritance that God would otherwise give you. You
become enslaved to others.)
- Prophet Alert!
- Read Jeremiah 11:18-19. How serious is the opposition to
Jeremiah? (They plotted to kill him.)
- From time to time I hear of spouses who kill (or try
to kill) their spouse. The obvious question is, "Why
not get a divorce instead?" In Jeremiah's case, why
not just decide to ignore him, rather than to try to
- Read Jeremiah 11:20. What is your opinion of Jeremiah's
- Read Luke 11:2-4. I know Jesus had not yet shared His
model prayer when Jeremiah sent this prayer, but
consider the contrast. Is it appropriate to say, "I
forgive," and "God show your vengeance on my
- Read Jeremiah 11:21-23. We no longer have to speculate on
God's attitude about this. What does God say He will do?
(He will show vengeance ("I will punish them." "I will
bring disaster on [them].")
- How would you reconcile this to the model prayer
suggested by Jesus? (Read Romans 12:19-21. Vengeance
is God's alone.)
- Look again at Jeremiah 11:23. Where do the men live who
plot to kill Jeremiah? (Anathoth.)
- Read Jeremiah 1:1. Notice that Jeremiah's home town
is Anathoth. What does this add to your opinion about
this situation? (Read Luke 4:24. I'm sure this plot
was very painful for Jeremiah to contemplate. People
he knows want to kill him.)
- Jeremiah's Attitude
- Read Jeremiah 12:1. Jeremiah has just brought "a case
before" God - the case about the plot against him. God
told Jeremiah that He will punish them. Do you think that
Jeremiah is still speaking about the same case, the same
- What is Jeremiah's concern about the justice of God?
(The wicked prosper, they live well.)
- Re-read Jeremiah 17:10. Recall that I thought this
showed a way to reveal God's judgment about your
life? Do we, like Jeremiah, have to remind God that
those who follow Him should do well, and those who do
not follow Him should not do well?
- Read Jeremiah 12:2. Do these people witness about God? Do
they talk about God? (Yes! But, Jeremiah says that what
they say does not reflect their true attitude.)
- Read Jeremiah 12:3. Tell me what you think about
- Did God choose wisely when He chose Jeremiah to warn
the people about coming judgment?
- Read Jeremiah 12:4. Is Jeremiah a judgmental kind of guy
who presumes to lecture God on justice? (The last line
reveals that Jeremiah is concerned about how this looks to
others. The others think that God does not care, He is not
- Let's skip a few verses and read Jeremiah 12:14-17 for
God's response. How is God's attitude different than the
attitude of Jeremiah? (You find compassion in God's
response. He tells Jeremiah that He will execute judgment,
but God says that He looks forward to a time when He can
show compassion to His people.)
- Friend, have you considered your life? Do you place your
trust in God? Is your relationship with God all words and
no actions? Do you lack compassion when it comes to those
who do evil? Why not ask the Holy Spirit right now to help
your attitude be more trusting and more compassionate?
- Next week: More Woes for the Prophet.
* 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.