IMAGES OF HOPE FROM JEREMIAH
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The events of 2020 have brought us to our knees.
COVID-19 has taken the lives of over 100,000 Americans and put many more out of work. Under quarantine, many of us have grown lonely and spiritually numb. The murder of George Floyd has prompted our nation to reckon with our legacy of systemic racism, sparking protests and demands for justice. In the midst of these competing crises, it seems like both our society and our personal lives are spiraling out of control.
Despite this personal and cultural exile, the Lord is not silent. What is God’s invitation to us in this upheaval? To answer that question, we will turn to the prophet Jeremiah, whose messages from God to His people contain vibrant and startling images that both expose our spiritual condition and magnify God’s merciful heart toward us.
Over the next 10 weeks, we will see that God wants us back, and is offering us a fresh hope, a clarified purpose, and a promised season of renewal.
Each week following the sermon, re-read that previous Sunday’s preaching passage every day, asking the Lord to be with you and speak to you. (For example, after you hear the Sunday sermon on Jeremiah 1:1-12, read Jeremiah 1:1-12 each day for the following week.) Then, either in one sitting or throughout the week, respond to and meditate on the study questions and personal questions in your prayer journal. (Don’t have a prayer journal? Grab any blank-ish notebook and start one!)
WEEK 3: Scarecrows in a Cucumber Patch (10:1-18)
“But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.”
SUMMARY: The “way of the nations” which seem secure and powerful are actually pathetic. That’s the truth behind Jeremiah’s image of a scarecrow in a cucumber patch. These ungodly ways are not to be feared or imitated. In comparison, the Living God is to be feared, adored, and obeyed.
- This passage addresses our fears by contrasting God and idols. What fears do you imagine the people of Israel had in their day (see 10:2, 5)?
- What differences does Jeremiah highlight between their idols and the God of Israel?
- Compare the “way of the nations” of Jeremiah’s time with our day: When have you seen our cultural idols and worthless practices on display?
- What encouragement does God give us to not fear? How can we respond to God’s kingship over our neighborhood?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you founded the world and spread the heavens with matchless power and unimaginable glory. Grant that we, being encouraged by your creative power, may boldly and compassionately call all things into the loving obedience of your perfect ways. Amen.
Up Next: Jeremiah 17:1–13
Additional resources for
context and extended study
- Watch this video from The Bible Project outlining the structure and message of the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSK36cHbrk0&feature=emb_title.
- Make reading the whole book more accessible by reading it in the Message, The Living Bible, or the New Living Translation. Or listen to it with our church’s free subscription to the Dwell App (available till 8/31).
- Read Jeremiah along with other biblical books written in the same time period.
- For some historical literature: 2 Kings 21-25; 2 Chronicles 34-36.
- For other prophetic texts: Zephaniah and Habakkuk.
- For the psalms and other poetry: Lamentations and Psalms 74, 79, 83, 94, 115.
- Study the book of Jeremiah using one of these commentaries as a guide: