Bible Study – The Way Maker 3: Life With Hope (Jeremiah 29:1-14)


Summary:  Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that overwhelm and disorientate us. It can feel like we are strangers in a strange land. But God’s people have been in situations like this before. God encouragement to us is to keep listening to Him for He has a good plan for our lives with a hope-filled future.

Big Idea: God knows, wants & is able to bring about what is best for you.

Ice-breaker question: Have you ever had a time when were lost and far from home? What was that like for you? How did things get resolved?

Background: Jeremiah was a prophet in Judah during very turbulent times. Empires, such as Babylon and Egypt, were rising and falling around Judah and this had a huge impact within Judah. In 604 BC, the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem and took some of Israel’s brightest and best (including Daniel and his friends) into exile in Babylon. Babylon returned in 597 BC to further humiliate Judah and take more people into exile, and again in 586 when the city of Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed.

Jeremiah is sometimes referred to as the “weeping prophet” because of the opposition he faced and his harsh message to God’s people that the Exile was the result of their disobedience toward God. However, Jeremiah was a prophet of hope who promised that God would make a new covenant with His people, a promise that was fulfilled with the coming of Jesus.

The letter in this passage was written by Jeremiah to those taken into exile in 597 BC.

Read: Jeremiah 29:1-14

Observation: What does the passage say?

  1. Writing on behalf of the Lord to the captives in Babylon, Jeremiah’s letter has three parts: directions, a warning and a promise.

a. What directions does Jeremiah give to the captives in Babylon?

b.  What warning does he give?

c. What promise does God make to the captives through Jeremiah?

Interpretation: What does the passage mean?

2. What was Jeremiah saying about the length of the exile when he told the people to build homes, plant gardens, marry and raise families?[1]

3. Jeremiah was not the only person claiming to speak on behalf of God to the captives. Other prophets, such as Shemaiah, were telling the people that the exile would be short and they would soon return to their homes in Judah. What happens to people when they believe in something that later turns out not to be true?

4.  What promise did God make to the people in exile?

5. What difference do you think that promise made to the people while they waited for the exile to end?

Application: How does the meaning of this passage apply to me?

6. What is one area of life where you need hope from God?

7. How does God’s promise of a good plan for your life give you hope while you wait for things to get better?

8. In Romans 8:28, we read, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” What are some possible ways that God could bring good out of your present situation?

 

This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on Oct 20/19 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.

[1] What Jeremiah is telling the exiles is similar to something author Jim Collins wrote about in his book Good to Great. When Collins interviewed Admiral Jim Stockdale who was a POW in North Vietnam for eight years, Stockdale said, “This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be” (p. 85). Collins labelled this The Stockdale Paradox.

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