Week 4 – What to do when the world falls apart
I. The story of the END and a new BEGINNING? (Jer. 38-42)
A. Telling the KING to SURRENDER. (Jer. 38)
B. The city FALLS, yet Jeremiah STANDS. (Jer. 39:1-40:6)
C. The PLOT to kill the PUPPET ruler. (40:7-41:15)
D. The FEARS of the FEW left behind. (41:16-42:3)
The text that we are drawing from today describes the fall of Jerusalem and the events that followed it. It’s a large section of text, but it’s important to see the whole of the event and the reaction that the people left behind in Israel had to their lives being turned upside down.
1. Kids question: Tell a story about a time that you were afraid. What happened?
2. What experience have you had in your life that would have prompted the kind of feelings that the Jews would have felt after the fall of Jerusalem.
II. The WORD of the LORD to those left. (42:4-22)
A. Jeremiah PRAYS and WAITS. (42:4-7)
B. The call to STAY and to TRUST. (42:8-12)
C. The temptation to RUN and SELF-PROTECT. (42:13-22)
D. REFUSAL to SURRENDER to God. (Jer. 43-44)
Those who are “left behind” come to Jeremiah to seek God’s advice. They are committed to listening to whatever God says. But the reality soon becomes clear. They want to do what they want to do, and will find a way to do it.
3. When have you had to wait on the Lord? What was (or is) that experience like?
4. In what areas of life do you struggle with a “grass is always greener” somewhere else mentality? How might that be keeping you from being present to where God has placed you?
III. LESSONS for LIVING in a broken world.
A. The REALITY of SELF-DECEPTION.
(42:5-6; 43:1-3; Prov. 16:25; Jer. 17:9; Obadiah 1:3, James 1:22; 2 Tim. 4:3)
B. The TEMPTATIONS of “EGYPT”. (42:14; Luke 12:16-20)
C. The IDOL of CONTROL. (42:14; Lk 9:23-24; Rom. 12:1)
D. The BREAKING as a way to healing BROKENNESS.
(Job 5:18; Heb. 12:5-6; Amos 4:6-11; Hosea 2:14; 6:1)
E. The faithful LISTEN and REMAIN. (39:16-18; 42:10-12; Jn 6:68-69)
These events speak to us today, because we, like them, live in a broken world. There are some red flags that we should take note of when we read how the Israelites reacted to the situation. The lessons are the same for us, because let’s face it, we are human and broken just like they were.
5. What are some specific ways you can avoid “confirmation bias” in your own thinking? How does the community of faith help with that?
6. What areas of your life are the hardest for you to give up control and why? What would it look like to surrender control to God in those areas?
7. What is your reaction to the idea that breaking can lead to healing from brokenness? How do the circumstances of your life shape your response to that idea? Is it easier to believe for others than for your own experience?
8. Where might God be calling you to “listen and remain” at present? How will you respond?