“It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way” is a book by Lysa Terkeurst. I’ve been reading it and was thinking about our upcoming sermon series on the prophet Jeremiah. If there was ever anyone who would want to make that statement, and who should make that statement, it would be Jeremiah. After all, who receives a call to serve God and is told that he will serve, but that his audience won’t listen? If you read through the book of Jeremiah and his story unfolds, you have to be struck with the things he encounters at the hands of the people. He’s trying to warn them and they threaten his life. God asks him to do some pretty strange things as an illustration of God’s message, only to be made fun of or threatened again.
So, how does that apply to you and me? I think when I look at Jeremiah’s life and this concept of life not intended to be “this way”, I wonder if we have it all wrong. Maybe it was intended to be “this way” – difficult and different from what we picture. None of us like the disappointments that come in our lives. Life tends to turn out differently from the way we pictured it. So, if life does come at us in this way, what should be our perspective? As Lysa says in her book, “Disappointment isn’t proof that God is withholding good things from us. Sometimes it’s His way of leading us home”.
How do you respond in disappointment? What happens to you when the times get difficult? Many I have observed tend to let the disillusionment and disappointment isolate them – exactly where Satan wants us. As he did with Adam and Eve in the garden, he calls us to question the goodness and intentions of God and to seek to take control of our situations and promises us that things will be better that way. Many have pursued that route only to find it unsatisfactory. God knows that for us to dwell eternally with Him, we have to learn to wrestle with life and learn obedience, just as Jesus did. There’s something about that essential building block that we have to learn. He wants to teach us to listen to the truth and not the lies the enemy would have us believe. Just like Jesus did.
That’s where Jeremiah comes in. I find in Jeremiah one who shows us how to walk by faith and in obedience in the difficult times – for 40 years! And I mean difficult times. I hope you will join me in church or on the website and follow this study with me. I’m looking forward to God’s lessons, with help from Jeremiah. There will be study guides prepared every week to help reflect on the past sermon and prepare for the next one. They will be on the website, as well.
The following blogs will guide us through a study of Jeremiah and will provide a study guide in preparation for the sermons each week, followed by reflection on the most recent sermon.
Prepare - Wednesday – Feb. 27
Read 2 Kings 22-23 and 2 Chron. 34-35 – What is the background that Jeremiah comes into? In what ways would he have been encouraged? In what way would the situation have made his burden more difficult?
Prepare - Thursday – Feb. 28
Read Jer. 1:1-3. What personal information about Jeremiah do we learn?
Prepare – Friday – March 1
Read Jer. 1:4-10.
When did God decide to use Jeremiah for this task?
What is his task?
What excuse does he make?
What tasks did God give Jeremiah – v. 10
Prepare – Saturday – March 2
Read Jer.1:11-19 - In light of Jeremiah’s difficult task, what promises does God give Jeremiah?
Think about it:
How might it be said that God formed you?
Does he know you?
Has he set you apart?
Has he appointed you?
Personally: How do you handle life when it doesn’t go the way you think it ought?
Review – Monday – March 3
Reread Jer. 1 – what stands out to you about God’s call on Jeremiah? How does it encourage you today?
Review – Tuesday – March 4
“Fear thou not” is found 365 times in the Bible. What does that tell you? That’s a word for each day of the year – “Don’t be afraid”. How does that make you feel?
Review – Wednesday – March 5
As you think of Jeremiah’s calling and his excuses, are there any excuses you are holding on to? Isn’t it time to let God take those away?
Prepare – Thursday – March 6
Read Jer. 2. Jeremiah uses a lot of imagery and poetic language. What 10 symbols represented God’s rebellious people? How was each one an apt description?
Prepare – Friday – March 7
What do these symbols suggest about God’s attitude towards sin? Sticking with the imagery – what image (positive or negative) comes to mind when you think of your relationship with God?
Prepare – Saturday – March 8
Read Jer. 2:14-19 – What did Israel do that led to their apostasy? Look for key words. What can we learn about seeking the Lord and staying close to Him? Key in on v. 19.
How would you compare your early relationship with the Lord and what it is today? Is there anything you have forgotten and need to do? Jeremiah was warning Israel and this can serve as a warning to us too.