Big Idea: When your heart is aching and longing for something, you need to know God’s plans of peace for you. [God's Plans of Peace for His People.]

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you (give you shalom) and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’” (Jer 29:11-13).

Big idea: A Heart To Know God…even when things fall apart and the darkness is coming (Jeremiah 24-28)

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart” (Jeremiah 24:7).

Jeremiah lived during the worst period of his nation's history. He predicted and saw with his own eyes the defeat and destruction of his people, city, temple and nation. Two peoms--by Yeats and Dylan--perphaps capture in words their dire situation. Two lines best sum up their times (and perhaps our times as well): Things fall apart; the center cannot hold. It's not dark yet, but it's getting there.

The Second Coming, W.B. Yeats, 1919 

Things fall apartthe center cannot hold;

From Jeremiah we recently studied about a slaughtered Lamb (Ch. 11-16), a deceitful heart (Ch. 17) and an unrepentant people (Ch. 18-20). From Jeremiah 21-23, we will see how unjust and unrighteous the leaders (shepherds) of Judah were. What is the solution?

Preamble: We human beings are happy when we have a good shepherd and mentor who watches out for us. God expects his people to care for others by doing justice and righteousness (Jer 21:11; 22:3). God is most displeased when his people, especially leaders, use their position to their advantage by using others for their own agenda and benefit (Jer 22:13-14). Worse yet, they do not listen to the word of God or respond to correction (Jer 22:21). Fundamentally, their root problem is that they do not know God (Jer 22:16).

Big Idea: (1) Knowing God = caring for others, the oppressed, the poor, the widows, the fatherless, the foreigner. (2) Do justice and righteousness…or you will experience God’s justice and righteousness (Jer 23:1-2). (3) God promises a truly just and righteous messianic king will come and save his people in a new and spectacular way (Jer 23:3, 5-6). (4) Jesus is our good shepherd (Jn 10:11).