Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Jeremiah 30-45 "God's Man on the Spot" 1/4|
Introduction to Jeremiah
Historical Setting and Overview:
Jeremiah was remarkable in that he prophesied throughout the last years of the life of Israel (Judah, the southern kingdom) before, during and following the destruction of Jerusalem.
The nearer the end he came, the more he seemed to have direct contact with the kings. He suffered much opposition from others who disliked what he was saying, but that did not stop the word of the Lord coming to him regularly.
In these studies in the second half of the book of Jeremiah, we will see God's word coming through Jeremiah and being rejected again and again. We will see the difficulties of Jeremiah but also the way he is saved through it all . Jeremiah is God's reporter on the spot, in the midst of one of the most tumultuous periods in Israel 's history. He is God's witness in the midst of these amazing events. His perseverance is inspiring and a challenge to us.
Part 1 : Encouragements
In these first studies see how the Lord's word is a word of hope as well as a word of judgement. Although we know that the downfall of Jerusalem is coming, there are many words of hope also coming. This will not be the complete end for Israel.
Chapter: Jer 30
Passage: Jer 30 :1-3,10,11,18-22
A. Find Out:
1. What did the Lord instruct? v.2
2. What did He say He would do? v.3,10
3. But what did He say He was doing with them? v.11b
4. What specifically would happen? v.18b
5. How would they respond? v.19
6. What will be their long-term relationship? v.22
At the time of receiving this word, some of Israel had already been taken away into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, and the rest were destined to be taken. For the remaining nation of Israel (really only Judah and Benjamin remaining), it was a traumatic time. Into this would come God's word.
First comes the promise of restoration, the promise to bring back the nation from captivity to its own land.
Second comes a promise of peace and security once they are restored.
Third comes the promise that both city and palace will be rebuilt.
Fourth comes the promise of a rebuilt, rejoicing and growing community, led by their own leader, as the people of God.
The present day may be one of tribulation but the future will be one of blessing. Throughout the Scripture where God brings judgement, there is always a hope for the future, that God will make something new from the ashes of what is. The Bible is always a book of hope for us. Discipline and correction should always be followed by reconciliation and restoration.
Chapter: Jer 31
Passage: Jer 31:31-40
A. Find Out:
1. What is God going to make? v.31
2. What previous covenant had Israel broken? v.32
3. How will the new covenant be different? v.33
4. Why won't they need to teach each other? v.34
5. How long will Israel continue to exist? v.35,36
6. What does the Lord promise about Jerusalem ? 38-40
In the midst of this time of destruction, upheaval and turmoil the Lord speaks further hope for those in Israel who were concerned about such things.
He first says He will be making a new agreement with the future people of God (NB. v.36 “ descendants of Israel ”). This new agreement or covenant will be necessary because the old one made at Sinai (see Exodus 19) was broken by Israel . The Lord said “IF you obey me fully…. you will be my treasured possession” (Exo 19:15 ). They had not obeyed and that agreement was thus nullified, and now God was releasing them from His care and protection.
However, from them He would yet bring a new nation of God that would be different from the previous one in that the Law would be on their hearts (v.33). This happened at Pentecost when the Lord put His Holy Spirit in every responder to Him. Such a nation is now a world wide nation that will continue on the earth until the Lord winds up the earth.
Chapter: Jer 32
Passage: Jer 32:1-15
A. Find Out:
1. What was happening at this moment? v.2a
2. What had happened to Jeremiah? v.2b,3a
3. What had Jeremiah been prophesying? v.3b-5
4. What was the word of knowledge God gave him? v.6,7
5. What did Jeremiah do with the deeds? v.13,14
6. What was the Lord saying through this? v.15
The end of Jerusalem appears near as the army of Nebuchadnezzar is besieging it. The rest of the land is under his control as well. Jeremiah had been prophesying that Nebuchadnezzar would prevail and take the city and the king. For that the king had imprisoned Jeremiah with guards.
Suddenly the Lord warns Jeremiah that his cousin will come and offer to sell some of the family land in Benjamin, land under the control of Nebuchadnezzar, land that was, therefore, currently worthless! When his cousin comes Jeremiah understands that he is to buy the land.
Everyone who looked on must have thought Jeremiah was a fool to purchase worthless land, but as he does it understanding comes from the Lord: the Lord is signifying that the land will come back to Israel and his action is to be a picture of faith in that. There is a future here in the land, because the Lord has said so! God is conveying hope to those who will hear.
Chapter: Jer 32
Passage: Jer 32:16-25
A. Find Out:
1. When did Jeremiah pray? v.16
2. What did he first acknowledge? v.17
3. What did he then recognise? v.18,19
4. What did he remember? v.20-22
5. What has caused the present disaster? v.23
6. What was actually happening? v.24
7. What query does he finish with? v.25
Jeremiah has a query in his mind over the buying of the land. He's heard the word of the Lord over it but never-the-less he still doubts. In his praying he acknowledges the Lord's greatness in both creating the world and in delivering Israel into the Promised Land. He also acknowledges the Lord's moral perfection and His right to deal with those who transgress His laws. He appears to have no problems with the way that God is dealing with Jerusalem .
When he comes to the end of his prayer, it is as if he says, “This is all very right but what's the point of me getting hold of this land? Can you really get this land back from Nebuchadnezzar?”. In this Jeremiah reveals his humanity. Prophet of God he may be but he's still very human. It's comforting for us to know that this man is still very much a man with human wonderings and that the Lord doesn't reject him for it. The Lord does not despise our honest doubts that are shared with Him, for then He can share His answers. That this is the way Jeremiah feels is confirmed by the way the Lord answers, and we'll look at that tomorrow.
Chapter: Jer 32
Passage: Jer 32:26-44
A. Find Out:
1. What is the Lord about to do with Jerusalem ? v.28
2. What will be the extent of that? v.29
3. How had Israel done evil? a) v.33 b) v.34 c) v.35
4. What does the Lord say He will also do? v.37
5. What will He do in them? v.39
6. What will eventually happen? v.43,44
After Jeremiah finishes praying, the Lord challenges him as to whether he really believes what he says (see v.17 & 27), that nothing is too hard for the Lord. Yes, He is bringing an end to Jerusalem but what He has already said (v.15) WILL happen. Fields WILL be bought and sold again by Israel ..
It is easy to observe from our vantage point in history and wonder why Jeremiah doubted God's word, but we should remember how many times WE need reassuring when God speaks important things to us. Believing is not easy in such circumstances.
For Jeremiah, to contemplate the utter destruction of Jerusalem was to contemplate the end of Israel . There appears no future. All he could see was the coming disaster. That filled his vision so that he could see nothing beyond it. It takes much faith to see beyond the immediate catastrophe, and the Lord knows that. That's why He speaks and speaks again.
Chapter: Jer 33
Passage: Jer 33:1-9
A. Find Out:
1. When did the word come to Jeremiah? v.1
2. What did the Lord say about Jerusalem 's buildings? v.4,5
3. But what did the Lord promise them? v.6
4. When would that be? v.7
5. What did He say He would do for them? v.8
6. What would the result be? v.9
Jeremiah is still a prisoner in Jerusalem which is still under siege from the Babylonians. In the midst of this, God's word of future blessing comes again. It seems that in the midst of judgement the Lord wants to ensure that His promise of future restoration is clearly heard, but it has to be seen in context.
The Lord first establishes His credentials - Creator and therefore Lord of all the earth, the One who can do all things. If He is this, then He can do anything and the circumstances immediately facing them are not an impossibility to Him. So next, He reiterates yet again, that Jerusalem would fall and will be destroyed. God is not soft pedalling His word. Before there can be restoration, judgement will come, the days ahead WILL be grim.
Then comes the hope for the future. He WILL bring His future people into a place of peace and security, rebuilt and cleansed from sin. Then He adds something we haven't seen before: the rebuilt people will be a testimony to Him, the whole world will know and be amazed when they see Jerusalem in the days to come.
A. Find Out:
1. What does the Lord envisage people saying? v.10a
2. But what will be heard in the days ahead? v.10b,11a
3. What will people be saying? v.11c
4. What will they be doing as they say that? v.11b
5. What will there be again? v.12,13
6. What will the Lord actually be doing? v.14
Sometimes prophecies can seem very “spiritual”, perhaps seeming a bit unreal even, and very general. This one is very practical. As we look at it we first note that it doesn't describe Jerusalem as it is but as it will be. After the destruction there will be desolation, emptiness and silence. Anyone who sees it will wonder if there can ever be a future for it.
Then the Lord speaks hope to them in very homely terms. The land will be re-inhabited with laughing, joyful people. The laughter and the joy will be that which comes with a normal, relaxed, secure people enjoying everyday life, getting married, going to the temple to worship and so on.
Not only that, the countryside will be at peace. Sheep will again inhabit the hill sides. At the present time, Nebuchadnezzar's army may be clearing away every animal for food, but there will come a time when the empty countryside will again have signs of normal life. Until it comes about this will be simply a beautiful picture of hope for the people of Israel to hang on to.
A. Find Out:
1. What is going to sprout? v.15
2. Who will continue to rule over Israel ? v.17
3. Who will continue to offer sacrifices? v.18
4. How did God show the sureness of this? v.20,21
5. What had people been saying? v.24
6. How does the Lord answer that? v.25,26
In continuing to speak about Israel 's future, the Lord now speaks about a person who will come from David's family and who will lead the people of God. In the immediate future this might have meant Zerubbabel (see Ezra 3:2 & Mt 1:12 ) but in the longer term this must refer to Jesus.
Jesus came to rule over God's ultimate kingdom on earth (1 Pet 3:22 & 1 Cor 15:25 ) and also came as the great High Priest bringing the sacrifice (Heb 8:1,2)
The Lord extends this prophecy to include future rulers and future priests. How this is fulfilled in the physical realm is not clear. In the spiritual sense all of Jesus' followers are both rulers (Eph 2:6) AND priests (1 Pet 2:9 & Rev 1:6)
What IS clear from this passage is that the Lord HAS a future for the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Spiritual or Physical?) and that He is very, very definite about that. Such is their hope. We may not be able to fully understand it all and come to differing applications, but God WILL work out His perfect will. The future will tell just how this yet applies to Israel
RECAP - "Encouragements" - Jeremiah 30-33
In this first group of 8 studies we have seen :
In the face of impending disaster, the Lord brings hope for the future. The disaster will come but it will be followed by a time of rebuilding the people of God into a new relationship with Him.
Although this will be the end of the present group of disobedient people, God has plans to bring into being a future people who will know His blessing.
1. God is both a God of judgement AND blessing.
2. When He brings an end it is also to bring a new beginning.
3. He has our future in His hands.
4. We should trust what He says, not circumstances.
5. God works in the long-term and to bless His world.
6. Jesus is ruling in the midst of all else.
Thank the Lord that he IS Lord over ALL things. Thank Him that in His mercy He has ordained life and blessing for us.
PART 2 : "Warning!"
In this next Part we will see the Lord bring more and more warnings to the people of God. They will never be able to say they didn't know. Anyone reading these passages will never be able to say that God is a harsh God who judges without opportunity for repentance.