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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 9: Jeremiah's Yoke *
Introduction: When you are uncertain of God's will, what do you do?
Pray, right? Study to see if the Bible gives direction, right? Do you
examine yourself in case your personal preferences might be
interfering with your search for God's will? "I am willing to do
God's will, as long as God's will is to do what I want to do!" I'm
certain this has been a problem in my life in the past. While God is
flexible in the paths our lives can take, our greatest blessing comes
from taking the path He has in mind. Our lesson this week
demonstrates that if we truly want to understand God's will, we can.
Let's dive into our study of the Bible and learn more!
- Read Jeremiah 16:1-4. Why does God tell Jeremiah not to
get married and have children? (Because they will be
killed by disease, sword or famine.)
- I recall wondering what kind of life my children
would face. Now I ask what kind of life my
grandchildren will face. If you decide the future is
too terrible, should you simply not get married?
- If you were Jeremiah, would you consider this
another burden laid upon you by God or another
mercy shown to you by God? (There are studies
about the loss of money and the loss of
physical things. People regret twice as much
losing something, then not having it in the
first place. I'm not sure how that translates
to children, but I would rather not have
children then to see them die terribly.)
- Read Jeremiah 16:14-15. In the midst of this bad news,
what hope does God give the people? (That God will restore
them to their land.)
- Why does God do this? Why give this message of hope?
(It shows that God still loves them.)
- Read Jeremiah 16:16-18. God says that He will repay them
"double." What do you think this means? (God says that the
penalty is worse than the sin. Perhaps God is aware of the
mental attitude about losing things. Thus, He says you
will regret what you have done because the loss will feel
twice as bad.)
- This "repay them double" opens a portal into God's
thinking. God says that He is aware of the
proportionality of the sin and the penalty. Is this
something that human judges take into account? (Yes.
I think the goal is to make the penalty for the crime
proportional to the crime itself.)
- Christians who understand the Bible realize that they
are saved by grace, not by their works. ( Romans 8:1-4.) That means that a "good person" who does good
things will be lost and die eternally if he does not
accept Jesus' sacrifice on his behalf. What do many
Christians believe is the fate of those who are lost?
(An eternity suffering in hell.)
- Does this make any sense for a God who
considers the proportionality principle? You
have a "good" person who resisted the impulse
of the Holy Spirit, and that person burns for
eternity? (That seems completely
- Dueling Prophets
- Read Jeremiah 28:1-4. Is this a message of hope?
- Read Jeremiah 28:5-9. How should we react to a prophecy
that tells us good things will happen?
- Is there a double standard here? If so, why?
(Jeremiah says that if you prophesy peace, you will
be tested by whether that turns out to be true. I
think all prophets are tested by the truth of what
they predict. Jeremiah's point seems to be that if
you predict what you don't want to have happen, that
has the ring of truth. If you predict what you want
to have happen, what your audience wants to have
happen, you are more likely making it up.)
- Read Jeremiah 27:1-2 and Jeremiah 27:12-15. What does that
tell us about the clash between the message of Jeremiah
and the message of Hananiah? (They are in direct
- What object lesson has God given Jeremiah to support
God's message? (An actual yoke. Jeremiah is wearing a
- Put yourself in the place of the audience. What would
you think about a guy who was wearing a yoke? (Part
of me would think he was mentally unbalanced. Another
part would think that he was very serious about the
message, otherwise he would not be suffering wearing
- Read Jeremiah 28:10-11. Hananiah is now the one using an
object lesson. What gives Hananiah the right to destroy
Jeremiah's property? What gives him the right to interfere
with Jeremiah's message?
- What does this tell us about Hananiah? (He is not in
favor of free speech! It certainly makes things hard
for the audience. Who is telling the truth about the
message from God?)
- What did Jeremiah do after Hananiah broke the yoke he
made? ("Jeremiah went on his way.")
- Is that what you would have done? This guy is
lying about God's message, he is lying about
the message God gave to you, and he is
endangering lives. (I would have felt like
punching Hananiah, or at least yelling at him.
But God tells us to leave vengeance in His
- Read Jeremiah 28:12-16. How does God react to such
aggressive behavior by a person who is making up his
message? (Read Jeremiah 28:17. Hananiah dies.)
- What do you think, was Hananiah just lying and he
knew it? Or, was Hananiah deceiving himself that he
was sharing God's will? (Read Jeremiah 28:15.
Jeremiah calls what Hananiah is saying "lies." That
suggests that Hananiah knew his statements were
false, but I've seen people who I thought believed
their own lies.)
- Why didn't God tell Hananiah personally to stop
proclaiming lies, instead of sending that message
through Jeremiah? (This shows Hananiah had no
connection with God.)
- Does God still "remove from the face of the earth"
those who preach rebellion against Him? (Yes, I think
so. I recall a horrible comic who would regularly
attack God. He loved to mock God. At the time I heard
him say these things I wondered how long God would
permit this. A few years later, I read that young
- If we put our self in the audience listening to Jeremiah
and Hananiah, we worry that we might be deceived. Was it
possible for the people to know who was lying and who was
telling the truth? (We already have Jeremiah's "tip" that
if a prophet is saying what we want to hear (and what he
wants to say), that should make us cautious.)
- Read 2 Timothy 4:3-4 and 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12.
Whose fault is it that these people believed lies?
(Their fault. They want to believe lies. Jeremiah's
message was not simply that destruction was coming,
it was coming because of the past sins of the people.
Those sins involved, among other things, worshiping
false gods. These people had already decided to
disregard God's will, and Hananiah just facilitated
their continued rebellion against God's will.)
- Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15. Notice that Paul tells
the people they have historically held onto the truth
and they should continue to do so. What other
important factor does Paul mention? (The "sanctifying
work of the Spirit." We must never lose sight of the
power of the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to us.)
- Read 1 John 4:1. Does this describe the problem presented
by Hananiah? (Exactly.)
- Read 1 John 4:2-3. John gives us a test that we can use to
sort out false prophets. Would this test have worked with
Hananiah? (John writes specifically about acknowledging
Jesus. But, I think the theory behind the test still
works. If Hananiah recognized and followed false gods
along with the true God, then he would flunk the theory
behind this test.)
- Read Romans 12:2. What other test does Paul suggest? (If
your mind is transformed and renewed by the Holy Spirit,
you will be able to tell what is God's will.)
- Friend, God wants us to understand His will. Part of His
love for us is that He is on our side. If we sincerely
seek His will, we will find it. Why not ask the Holy
Spirit right now to remove any barriers to our
understanding of God's will?
- Next week: The Destruction of Jerusalem.
* 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.