Lesson 120—July 3, 2016
The Book of Jeremiah—by Associate Pastor Billy Redd
Introduction: In this lesson, we will explore the book of Jeremiah and point out some biblical truths that still apply to us today.
Background: Jeremiah was a prophet of God to the nation of Israel about 600 years before Christ. Prophets were not popular, because they didn’t always bring good news to the people. Jeremiah was no exception. He was God’s mouthpiece to the nation for about 40 years. His main message was: “God will punish the Jewish people for their long history of sinning. He will allow invaders to overrun the country and exile the Jews from their homeland. But in 70 years, He will bring the Jews home and give them a fresh start” (Miller). The book of Jeremiah shows us the character of God. He is a God of judgment, but also a God of grace. A God of second chances and a God of restoration.
Never Too Young—Jeremiah 1:6
At a very young age, Jeremiah was called by God as a prophet. The text doesn’t tell us exactly how young he was, but we know Jeremiah’s response to God: “O Sovereign Lord, ‘I said, I can’t speak for you! I am too young.’”
Throughout Scripture, we read accounts of God using people of varying backgrounds to accomplish His will: men, women, believers, unbelievers, the old and the young. Therefore, there is no doubt God will use young people to accomplish His will.
In 2 Kings 5, we learn of a man named Naaman who is a commander in the Syrian army and who has leprosy. It was a young slave girl who told Naaman’s wife about a man in Samaria who could heal Naaman.
Some scholars believe that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego may have been as young as 10-years-old when they were thrown into the furnace.
As I have the privilege to lead the children’s ministry at MHBC, I see God working in and through our young people. I believe God uses them to bring messages to their parents and grandparents. I believe He can and will use them to influence other children around them.
Consider and discuss these questions as they apply to your life:
• How can I make space for God to work through my child or grandchild?
• How can I pray for the children of our church to be used by God?
• Do we, as parents, grandparents, church family, expect God to use the children and young people of our church?
Lessons from the Potter—Jeremiah 18:1-7
This passage of Scripture is familiar to a lot of people. We understand that the Potter is God and we are the clay. We connect this illustration as one where we are shaped by God, as we allow Him to mold us and shape us into His perfect will and design. But the context of this particular passage is very scary to the Jewish people. God was not simply communicating that they should allow Him to shape their lives. It is a word picture of the potter. When he is not satisfied with the pot, he smashes it, makes it into a ball and starts over. In chapter 19, He tells Jeremiah to take a clay pot and go out in front of the people and tell about the coming judgment of the Lord. When Jeremiah is finished, he is to break the pot. This is the picture of God’s judgment.
Brother Bob Pitman said it like this: “It is not okay to preach the grace of God without preaching the judgment of God, and it is not okay to preach the judgment of God without preaching the grace of God.” In other words, it’s impossible for us to understand the grace of God unless we understand the judgment of God.
Meditate on these questions:
• How often do we, as a nation, consider the coming judgment of God?
• How often do we, as a church, consider the coming judgment of God?
• How often do you consider the coming judgment of God?
The Grace of God—Jeremiah 30:3: “The time is coming when I will restore the fortunes of my people of Israel and Judah. I will bring them home to this land that I gave to their ancestors, and they will possess it again.”
God handed out His judgment on the nation of Israel for their sins. They were taken captive by another nation, but Jeremiah gives them hope. We know through history that God did keep His promise to Israel. While God is a God of judgment, He is also a God of grace.
Let’s consider these two passages:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
“For the wages of sin is death (judgment), but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus (grace)” (Romans 6:23).
“It is not okay to preach the grace of God without preaching the judgment of God, and it is not okay to preach the judgment of God without preaching the grace of God” (Dr. Bob Pitman).
Today as I was finishing up this lesson, I received a call from a nursing home. They had an end-of-life patient, and the family was requesting a minister come and share the Gospel with this loved one. With Bible in hand, I headed out. I was shown to the patient’s room. I identified myself and my intentions. The patient’s response was: “I don’t want to hear it, please leave.” My heart sank. I left my information for the family and told them to call me if anything changed. I would be willing to come back anytime. My hope and my prayer is that I get another chance. As tragic as this is, God gives us the freedom to choose. We can choose death, or we can choose life. We can’t choose for others, nor can others choose for us. But we can share the truth in love with others. We can choose to share the Good News.
I leave you with this question to ponder for yourself:
How can I be used by God to share His message with others, both the judgment of God and the grace of God?