LESSON 5 (Jeremiah Ch. 26-52)
FLC SMALL GROUP
GATHER (5 min)
Thank everyone for coming. Introduce any new people that may be joining for the first time.
CHECK-IN (10 min)
Go around the room and invite participants share a high and/or low this week in their family.
READ SCRIPTURE (10 min)
Ask three different volunteers to read aloud the following three different scriptures:
Have Volunteer 1 read the following: Jeremiah 36: (4-8, 20-26)
Pr. Steve’s Thoughts: The life of Jeremiah was caught up in the intrigues of the final days of Jerusalem. God’s word is opposed. Jeremiah dictated his writings to a scribe Baruch, a pain staking process. Baruch delivers the writings to the King, who then page by page throws the book of Jeremiah into the fire, and then seeks the arrest of Jeremiah.
4 So Jeremiah called Baruch son of Neriah, and while Jeremiah dictated all the words the Lord had spoken to him, Baruch wrote them on the scroll. 5 Then Jeremiah told Baruch, “I am restricted; I am not allowed to go to the Lord’s temple. 6 So you go to the house of the Lord on a day of fasting and read to the people from the scroll the words of the Lord that you wrote as I dictated. Read them to all the people of Judah who come in from their towns. 7 Perhaps they will bring their petition before the Lord and will each turn from their wicked ways, for the anger and wrath pronounced against this people by the Lord are great.”
8 Baruch son of Neriah did everything Jeremiah the prophet told him to do; at the Lord’s temple he read the words of the Lord from the scroll.
20 After they put the scroll in the room of Elishama the secretary, they went to the king in the courtyard and reported everything to him. 21 The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and Jehudi brought it from the room of Elishama the secretary and read it to the king and all the officials standing beside him. 22 It was the ninth month and the king was sitting in the winter apartment, with a fire burning in the firepot in front of him. 23 Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribe’s knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire. 24 The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes. 25 Even though Elnathan, Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26 Instead, the king commanded Jerahmeel, a son of the king, Seraiah son of Azriel and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet. But the Lord had hidden them.
Have Volunteer 2 read the following: Jeremiah 29:1-14
Pr. Steve’s Thoughts: Jeremiah writes a letter to an initial group of officials those first taken into Babylonian exile in 592 B.C. He says to settle in for the long term, trusting that God’s gracious presence is with them even in that strange and far away place. Jeremiah says to settle in for the long haul: God will be with them.
4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 8 Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.
10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.
Have Volunteer 3 read the following: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Pr. Steve’s Thoughts: When all the familiar sign-posts of God’s presence are being taken away, Jeremiah affirms God’s ability to be present still. God will form a new covenant, a new relationship of presence and trust. Where on the one hand, the prophets spoke words of uncompromising judgment, and seems to hasten the end of the kingdom and the temple, on the other hand, the prophets spoke to God’s power to create something new, to offer a presence of grace even in the midst of failure. Where it would seem that the story of the people of God has come to an end, and a bad end at that, the prophets speak to the re-creative power of God to make a new thing happen. For all the words of judgment and rejection found in Jeremiah, Jeremiah also offers words of comfort and hope. God will do a new thing.
31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
OPTIONAL: WATCH SERMON ON YOUTUBE OR LISTEN TO SERMON PODCAST (12 min)
You may want to watch the previous week’s sermon together on the YouTube app of your TV or listen to the audio podcast on your phone available on FLC’s website.
REFLECT ON THE PREVIOUS WEEK (40-60 min)
Have a conversation with your group about what you just read, anything from the past week’s sermon that grabbed any group members’ attention, or about anything from the week’s reading. Questions to consider…
To get the most out of next week’s sermon and discussion, and for those who chose to do the nightly reading for the coming week, you may watch the video of Bible teacher John Walton explaining the themes and relevance of Obadiah and Ezekiel Ch. 1-24.
CLOSE (5 min)
Thank your participants for coming. Remind them of the next meeting time and make plans for who will be responsible for snacks/kids/etc.