THINK: Does the thought of following God's plans intimidate you? Perhaps it's the issue of uncertainty, or a feeling of being ill-equipped to accomplish certain things. You may wrestle with doubts due to past failures, or hesitate to give up your own goals for the future. You might even start with good intentions, but give up when things get tough. While it's natural for even the godliest people to face fears about fulfilling God's purposes, you must keep in mind that no matter what task God gives you, He promises to be with you and help you accomplish it if your faith and devotion stay strong. Like Jeremiah, you'll overcome fears about doing God's will as you take your eyes off of yourself and depend on Him, knowing that as you pursue His plans He will guide you every step of the way.
RESPOND: During what period in Judah's history did Jeremiah prophesy, and what happened toward the end of that period (1:1-3)? (See 1:1 note.) When did God determine His purpose for Jeremiah (1:5)? What fears or concerns did Jeremiah have about delivering God's message (1:4-10,17-19)? How did God answer Jeremiah's fears (1:7- 10)? (See 1:8 note.) Where would Jeremiah's message come from (1:9)? (See 1:9 note.) In what way did Jeremiah's message contain both warning and hope (1:10)? (See 1:10 note.) Where did Jeremiah's boldness come from? (See 1:18 note.) What assurance did God give Jeremiah regarding the opposition he would face (1:18-19), and how does this encourage you? (See 1:19 note.) How can Israel's past devotion to God (2:2) serve as a warning to us? (See 2:2 note.) According to 2:5-8, what fault did God find with the people, and why had they strayed from God? (See 2:5 note, subpoints 1 & 2.) In what ways do people today follow "worthless idols"? What do you think it means that the people and their leaders didn't ask "Where is the LORD" (2:6,8)? (See 2:8 note.) How can maintaining a strong awareness of God's presence affect your life? How can you foster a greater awareness of God's presence?
PRAY: Give thanks for God's constant presence and enablement. Pray that you'll never forget or disregard God, but that you'll develop an increasing awareness of His presence and power.
ACT: Have you sensed God asking you to do something - or not to do something - having to do with His larger purpose for you? Don't make excuses or delay your obedience. Without hesitation, do what God has asked you to, and do away with anything that has diminished your sense of His presence, power or purpose in your life.
THINK: How do you feel about people who seem oblivious to God and to the consequences of rejecting Him? What about those who are obviously miserable as a result of their rebellion? Do you feel anger or contempt? Do you feel that they're getting what they deserve? Or do you sense sorrow and compassion for them? Jeremiah agonized over the people's rebellion and shared God's grief over His wayward people, expressing the same sorrow God felt about the coming devastation. As followers of Christ, we should grieve at the thought of people being enslaved to sin and destroyed by Satan's work. The terrible future that's in store for those who remain spiritually lost and separated from God should motivate us to reach them with His message of forgiveness and hope before it's too late.
RESPOND: Why does Jeremiah compare Judah to a prostitute? (See 2:20-30 note and 3:1-5 note.) How did the people's spiritual unfaithfulness affect their moral behavior? (See 3:1-5 note.) What should Judah have learned from the example of her sister nation Israel (3:6-10)? (See 3:6 note.) What was God's invitation and promise to Israel, who was captive to Assyria at the time (3:12-15)? (See 3:12 note.) What kind of leaders would God give His people in the future (3:15), and why? (See 3:15 note.) What and when are "those days" that Jeremiah refers to in 3:16? (See 3:16- 19 note.) What does it mean to "circumcise your hearts" (4:4), and how does this happen? (See 4:4 note.) In what way would disaster and destruction come from the north (4:6)? (See 4:6 note.) According to 4:14, where did the people's evil and wickedness start? What attitudes and emotions did Jeremiah experience over all of this (4:19-21), and what does this reveal about his relationship with God? (See 4:19-22 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to expose and remove any sin from your mind and heart. Give thanks for the example and warning in God's Word. Ask God to give you a heart that breaks for spiritually lost people.
ACT: Give a call or send a message of personal thanks to some godly leaders and good examples in your life. Show godly compassion to people who are obviously in rebellion against God and His Word. Trust Jesus for an opportunity to talk to one of these individuals about Him.