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Lesson No. 23—Study the Bible from the First Inspired Word to the Last.

LESSON THEME:—JEREMIAH AND LAMENTATIONS

Jeremiah 2:1-9.

  • KEY WORD—”WARNING.”

  • KEY VERSEJeremiah 2:9.

  • KEY PHRASE—”JUDAH CARRIED OFF TO BABYLON.”

Home Readings.

The whole of Jeremiah or:—

NAME The book is named for its author, Jeremiah, who was a priest and prophet, and lived in the village of Anathoth, three miles northeast of Jerusalem. He began to prophesy while yet a young man, in the reign of Josiah (628 B. C.). Never did a patriot who loved his country, nor a preacher who loved his God, have more indignities heaped upon him for his faithfulness. From the first appearance of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in Palestine (605 B. C.) Jeremiah announced that submission to his rule was the will of Jehovah. For this he was sorely prosecuted. After Nebuchadnezzar had taken Jerusalem in 587 B. C., Jeremiah was left in Palestine with the remnant, but later taken captive to Egypt, where he died. He exercised his prophetic ministry about a century later than Isaiah. Events cover 41 years, 629-588 B. C.

TIMES OF JEREMIAH—For these, read 2 Kings 21; 2 Kings 22; 2 Kings 23; 2 Kings 24; 2 Kings 25. While Josiah was king of Judah, the political and religious conditions were outwardly good, but when his older brother, Jehoiakim, and his successors came to the throne, they despised the religion of Jehovah, threw Jeremiah’s prophesies into the fire, and idolatry and flagrant sins were openly practiced. Jeremiah did his best to stem the tide of evil with his warnings and entreaties, but in vain. Yet even when the people were doomed to captivity, he uttered some of his most glorious Messianic prophecies, foretelling that after 70 years the captivity would end with their repentance and restoration. We must remember that Babylon has destroyed Assyria’s power by this time and is now mistress of the world, and the instrument of God’s hand to chastise Judah for its sins.

PURPOSE—To foretell the captivity that should follow Judah’s backsliding, and the judgements that should come upon the nations for oppressing Judah.

GREAT FACTS:—

  1. Captivity.

  2. Restoration.

  3. Indignation.

  4. Lamentation.

Great Fact I. Captivity shall follow Backsliding.

Jeremiah 1; Jeremiah 2; Jeremiah 3; Jeremiah 4; Jeremiah 5; Jeremiah 6; Jeremiah 7;
Jeremiah 8; Jeremiah 9; Jeremiah 10; Jeremiah 11; Jeremiah 12; Jeremiah 13;
Jeremiah 14;Jeremiah 15; Jeremiah 16; Jeremiah 17; Jeremiah 18; Jeremiah 19;
Jeremiah 20; Jeremiah 21; Jeremiah 22.

Jeremiah was Jehovah’s spokesman in days of darkness and disaster. Two nations were threatening Judah at this time, Babylon on the east and Egypt on the south, and Judah not knowing with which to make an alliance, sought to play them off one against the other. Morally and spiritually, the nation had sunk lower and lower. Their backslidings were driving them to ruin. Different political parties urged their ideas upon the people, but no real reformation ensued. Jeremiah, with faithful prayer and weeping, points out their astonishing unfaithfulness to God, but they turn from him to false prophets. He warns them not to trust the sacrifices of the temple and in ritual to save the land, and tells them that they must get ready for exile. In chapter 17 he says that the observance of the Sabbath would bring blessings, but nothing can put off the captivity.

LESSON—Backsliding was the characteristic vice of the Jewish people throughout the whole course of their history. Their career was one of perpetual sinning and repenting, until their great rejection of Christ, which led to the final falling away. The Jews were a representive people and their history is often a true reflection of individual lives. It is remarkable how many of the saints of the Bible proved weak at their strongest point. Abraham, the man of faith, was noted for his acts of unbelief. Moses, pre-eminent for meekness, was overcome by anger. Job, the example of patience, became impatient. Peter, the boldest in the hour of danger, turned coward. It is a sad sight to see a wrecked ship, or a church building in ruins, but a backslider is a sadder sight still. “Let us watch and pray that we may not enter into temptation.”

Great Fact II. Repentance and Restoration. Foretold.

Jeremiah 24; Jeremiah 25.

As clearly as Jeremiah prophesies the captivity, he also foretells a return to Jerusalem of a portion of the people. He has a clear vision of Christ coming to reign in Jeremiah 23. The sign of the figs typifies their return, Jeremiah 24. The captivity should end in 70 years, Jeremiah 25. Even the vessels of the Lord’s house shall be returned, Jeremiah 28. Jerusalem shall be rebuilt, Jeremiah 33. The Rechabites were faithful in not drinking wine, Jeremiah 35.

LESSON—The language of these prophecies plainly shows that the divine author has in mind not only the return of Judah from Babylon, but also the return of all the twelve tribes from among the Gentile nations where they are today. Every prophecy not yet come to pass will be fulfilled literally at Christ’s second coming. Just as God does not restore Israel until they are healed of their unholiness, so healing of the soul comes before the blessings of redemption.

Great Fact III. Indignation upon Oppressing Nations.

Jeremiah 45; Jeremiah 46; Jeremiah 47; Jeremiah 48; Jeremiah 49;
Jeremiah 50; Jeremiah 51; Jeremiah 52.

In this section the prophet predicts the downfall of Egypt, the spoiling of the Philistines, the confounding of Moab and Ammon, the wasting of the secret places of Edom, and the desolating of Damascus, Kedar and Elam. In Jeremiah 50; Jeremiah 51; the end of Babylon is seen, and her place is to be taken by spoilers from the north.

LESSON—A country’s safeguard is not in commerce, or Tyre would not have fallen. Not in art, or Greece would never have perished. Not in strong political organization, or Rome would have continued. Not in armies, or Germany would now be the victor of the world. Not in religious ceremonies, or Jerusalem or Rome would be the most influential cities today. No! righteousness, and it alone, exalteth a nation, and safeguards its people. When Israel was God-fearing she was mighty. When she fell into the wicked ways of nations around her, she and they were brought low. Further, in Genesis 12:3, God said He would punish those who injured Israel, and this has been fulfilled in the experience of all ancient and modern nations. Witness Russia today. It behoves us as a nation to maintain a just and benevolent attitude towards the Jews.

Great Fact IV. The Lamentations of Jeremiah.

Lamentations 1; Lamentations 2; Lamentations 3; Lamentations 4; Lamentations 5.

This book consists of live Lamentations, or songs of sorrow, over the destruction of Jerusalem, 587 B. C., and over the condition of the captives. It pictures the deepest suffering; but the righteousness of God is confessed and prayer is offered for pardon and acceptance. Resolutions are made to obey the Lord, and all classes are called to join in a national reformation. In Lamentations 3, there is much comfort in the thought of God’s unceasing mercies.

LESSON—In times of distress, Jeremiah found his brightest hope in “the Lord’s mercies, which are new every morning!” We may sometimes forget them or abuse them, but they are ever new. Just as God keeps the old world green by renewing it every spring, so, He refreshes His people, by spring times of grace. When clouds come, let us see God’s rainbow covenant of mercy through the clouds as Noah did in Genesis 9:13. When we sin let us remember the mercy seat of Exodus 23:17-22; where we may be received back by Jehovah. God’s mercies are ever new and everlasting. This does not mean that God is merciful at the expense of His truth, holiness and wisdom. Israel’s history proves this. Yet God is the Father of all mercy, and all His children can say with the Psalmist, “Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life!

Questions on the Lesson.

  1. Who was Jeremiah?

  2. What books did he write?

  3. Why was he persecuted?

  4. Tell how he tried to stem the tide of evil.

  5. What the key word and key verse.

  6. What the purpose?

  7. Name the great facts.

  8. How much of Jeremiah have you read?

  9. What two nations threatened Judah?

  10. Can formal religion save a land?

  11. Of whom were the Jews a type In their experiences?

  12. Give some Biblical illustrations of backsliding.

  13. Were all the prophecies of restoration fulfilled?

  14. If not when will they be?

  15. What comes before the blessings of redemption?

  16. What is a nation’s safeguard?

  17. What should be our attitude toward the Jews?

  18. What do we mean by the word Lamentations?

  19. In what should be our brightest hopes?

  20. Is God merciful at the expense of justice?

  21. In which Psalm do we find the last quotation ?

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