A Weeping Gentle Lamb-Jeremiah 11-16

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Big Idea: Jeremiah is the weeping prophet and a gentle lamb.

There is no way out apart from repentance:

* Ch.1: Jeremiah called to preach repentance.

* Ch.2: The charge of not repenting of spiritual adultery.

* Ch.3: The call to repent (Hb. shuv).

* Ch.4-6: Disaster and judgment, the result of unrepentance.

* Ch.7-10: Unrepentance produces a sick church.

* Ch.11-16: Jeremiah weeps, for his people remain unrepentant

Ch.1-29 deals primarily with the broken covenant and the consequent judgment. Ch.1 is the call. Ch.2 is the charge--the formal, legal lawsuit. Ch.3 is the unsuccessful call for Judah to repent and return to the covenant. Ch.4-6 describes the consequent judgment: the Babylonian invasion. Ch.7-10 indicts their false religion (primarily idolatry) and its punishment. Idolatry is at the heart of the broken covenant the the broken relationship with God.

Ch.11--which continues to ch.29--focuses on Jeremiah's role as God's prophet in conflict with the kings of Judah and their false prophets, who oppose God's word and prophesy lies in God's name. 

Ch.11-16 expresses why Jeremiah weeps:

  • Ch.11 – his people broke the covenant.
  • Ch.12 – the wicked prosper.
  • Ch.13 – God rejects his people because of their pride and arrogance.
  • Ch.14 – his people and their Bible teachers (false prophets) would be destroyed by the triad of sword, famine and plague.
  • Ch.15 – God will no longer answer prayers for his people; it is too late for human intercession.
  • Ch.16 – God showed him the day of disaster, the exile.

“Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tearsI would weep day and night for the slain of my people (Jer 9:1). "If you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterlyoverflowing with tears, because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive" (Jer 13:17). "Let my eyes overflow with tears night and day without ceasing; for the Virgin Daughter, my people, has suffered a grievous wound, a crushing blow" (Jer 14:17). “I had been like a gentle (docile, pet, HCSB) lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying, 'Let us destroy the tree and its fruit;let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more'” (Jer 11:19).  I had no idea that they were planning to kill me! 'Let’s destroy this man and all his words,' they said. 'Let’s cut him down, so his name will be forgotten forever'” (Jer 11:19b, NLT).

In 11:1-17 God instructs Jeremiah to proclaim to the people of Jerusalem that they have shattered the covenant, and thus their relationship with God is over. This results in one of the central themes in these chapters: the conflict and hostility that Jeremiah will face from all the leaders (kings, prophets, priests--even his own family and clan).

  • 1-5 God tells Jeremiah to remind the people of Judah and Jerusalem of the curses and blessings spelled out in the covenant (Dt.)
  • 6-8 Because the people disobeyed the curses will fall on them.
  • 9-13 The people's idolatry has annulled the covenant.
  • 14 Since they broke the covenant, Jeremiah is told to not intercede anymore for the people (7:16).
  • 15-17 God laments the tragedy that his own beloved people must now be destroyed.

11:1-17 stresses the broken covenant and in 11:18-12:6 Jeremiah is betrayed by his own people (his neighbors and relatives in his hometown), so he calls for justice and judgment on them.

"If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?" (Jer 12:5)

Questions:

  1. What is the covenant (11:1-7; 7:22-23; Gen 17:7-9)? How did the people break it (11:8; 7:24-28)?
  2. What did God reveal to Jeremiah (11:18-19)? Who were they (11:21-23; 12:6; 1:1)? What would God do?
  3. Why did Jeremiah complain (12:1-2)? What does God’s answer mean (12:5)?
  4. Notice six signs of God’s rejection (13:1,12,20,21,23,24)? Why did God reject his people (13:9,11,14,15)? Can a person truly change (13:23; 17:9)?
  5. What do God’s people love (14:10a; 15:6; 2:13; cf. 10:23)? Why (14:13-14; 4:10; 5:12, 31; 6:14; 8:11)? How does God respond (14:10b-12,13-16; 15:2-3)?

  6. What will God no longer do (15:1; 7:16; 11:14; 14:11)? Can Jeremiah’s ardent intercessory prayer cover the people’s sin (14:19-22)?

  7. What is Jeremiah’s despairing cry and complaint (15:10, 15-18)? What is God’s response (15:11-12, 19-21)? What did God ask of Jeremiah and why (16:1-2, 5, 8-9)?

  8. What is it like to be a gentle lamb led to the slaughter (11:19; 18:18; Lam 3:58-62; Isa 53:7-8; Rev 5:6a)? How is Jeremiah similar to and different from Jesus. What should be a believer’s attitude toward suffering?

Any final thoughts and comments? Do you see any glimpses, shades and echoes of Christ?

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