Lead Others to the Lord

Explore the Bible Series

April 17, 2005

 

Background Passage: Jeremiah 21:1-28:17

Lesson Passage: Jeremiah 28:1-4, 7-11, 15-17

 

Introduction: This lengthy section of the Book of Jeremiah deals with the Lordís complaint against the political and religious leaders of Judah.These leaders acted as a kind of barometer of the spiritual illness of the people.The people of Judah had followed the unworthy example of their rulers, and these authority figures led the nation to moral ruin.Generally, people receive the kind of leadership they deserve and desire.The moral and spiritual nature of the rulers often reflects the character of those they lead. Furthermore, the people of Judah rejected and mistreated the prophets God sent them.Much can be told about a people by their treatment and receptivity to those whom the Lord has sent to them.

 

 

 

Outline of Background Passage:

 

I.                    Godís Complaint against the Kings of Judah (21:1-22:30)

A.    Jeremiahís message to Zedekiah (21:1-22:10)

1.      Zedekiahís disingenuous inquiry (21:1-2)

2.      Jeremiahís prediction that Zedekiah and the people would suffer a terrible military defeat and die painfully by Babylonian swords (21:2-10)

3.      Godís judgment on the injustice and oppression of the poor and helpless (21:11-22:10)

B.     Jeremiahís message to Shallum (22:11-17): Shallum (Jehoahaz) assumed the throne of Judah when Josiah died in 609.He reigned only three months, and probably struggled under Egyptian rule during his brief reign.Pharaoh Neco, in all probability, took Shallum to Egypt, and the king of Judah died disgracefully during his Egyptian incarceration.

1.      Shallum did not walk in the ways of his father Josiah (22:11)

2.      Jeremiahís anticipation of Shallumís shameful death (22:12)

3.      The prophet scolded Judah for paying low wages to laborers (v. 13), living in luxurious houses (v. 14), covetousness (v. 16-17), and oppressive violence (v. 17b).

C.    Jeremiahís message concerning Jehoiakim (22:18-23): Jehoiakim (Eliakim) succeeded his brother on the throne of Judah, and he had the same unworthy character as Shallum.He sought, for a time, the protection of the Egyptians, but he abandoned this alliance when he observed the rise of Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon.Oddly, he eventually rebelled against the Babylonians too, and he eventually came to ruin.

1.      The people of Judah forbidden to grieve for Jehoiakim (v. 18)

2.      Jehoikimís body desecrated like he was an animal (v. 19)

3.      Judahís shameful adultery and deafness to the Lordís warnings (vv. 20-23)

D.    Jeremiahís message concerning Coniah (22:24-30): Coniah (Jehoiachin) ruled only a few months after me succeeded his father Jehoiakim.The Babylonians spared his life, but they carried him into a lengthy captivity (See v. 25).

1.      The insignificance of symbols of power and privilege (v. 24)

2.      The promised captivity of Coniah and his mother (vv. 25-27)

3.      A lament for the king (vv. 28-30)

 

II.                 The Danger of False Religious Leaders (23:1-40)

A.    False shepherds scattered and neglected the Lordís flock (vv. 1-2)

B.     Godís pledge to raise up new shepherds (vv. 3-8)

C.    Jeremiahís brokenheartedness because of the Lordís message against Judah (vv. 9-15)

D.    Unreliable guides (vv. 16-17)

E.     Godís judgment like a whirlwind (vv. 18-20)

F.     Prophets not sent from God (vv. 21-22)

G.    Godís perfect awareness of the false prophets (vv. 23-29)

H.    The Lordís hostility toward the false prophets (vv. 30-40)

 

III.               The Vision of Two Baskets of Figs (24:1-10)

A.    The occasion of the vision (v.1): after the Babylonian Captivity had begun

B.     The Basket of Good Fruit (vv. 2-7): God foreshadowed goodness and blessing for the remnant of his people whom planned to return to Judah.

C.    The Basket of Bad Fruit (vv. 2 and 8-11): The bad fruit represented the rulers of Judah and the ungodly residue of the land.

 

IV.              Godís Judgment on the Nations (25:1-38)

A.    Godís seventy-year judgment on Judah (vv. 1-14)

1.      Judahís refusal to hear the Lordís word (vv. 1-7)

2.      God will use Babylon as his instrument of judgment (vv. 8-11)

3.      God planned to punish Babylon after seventy years (vv. 12-14)

B.     The nations must drink the cup of Godís wrath (vv. 15-38)

1.      the nations will stagger like drunken men (vv. 15-16)

2.      Judah will not escape this judgment (vv. 17-18 and 29-38)

3.      the nations surrounding Judah will drink the wine of the Lordís wrath (vv. 19-28)

 

V.                 Jeremiahís Temple Sermon and its Result (26:1-24)

A.    Jeremiahís sermon in the court of the Lordís house (vv. 1-6)

B.     The people and their leaders sought Jeremiahís death (vv. 7-11)

C.    Jeremiahís continued plea to Judah (vv. 12-15)

D.    Some of the religious leaders rose to Jeremiahís defense (vv. 16-19)

E.     Jehoiakim killed Urijah the prophet, and God spared Jeremiah (vv.20-24)

 

VI.              Jeremiahís Conflict with False Prophets (27:1-28:17)

A.    The symbol of the yokes (27:1-15)

1.      Yokes sent to the rulers of Edom, Moab, Ammon, and Tyre and Sidon (vv. 1-5)

2.      The nations will bear the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar (vv. 6-15)

3.      Warning not to listen to the false prophets (vv. 16-22)

B.     Jeremiahís conflict with the false prophet Hananiah

1.      Hananiahís false prophecy (vv. 1-4)

2.      Jeremiahís challenge to the false prophet (vv. 5-9)

3.      The false prophetís answer to Jeremiahís challenge (vv. 10-11)

4.      Jeremiahís prediction of Hananiahís impending death (vv.12-17)

 

 

 

Lesson Outline:

 

I.                    Hananiahís False Prophecy (28:1-4)

A.    The occasion of this incident (v.1): This confrontation occurred while Jeremiah continued to wear the yoke God commanded him to fashion.Thompson dates the conflict between the prophets at c. 594 B.C.Hananiah hailed from Gibeon, about six miles north of Jerusalem, but he made his proclamation in the Temple in the midst of a great crowd.

B.     Hananiahís challenge to Jeremiahís prophecy concerning the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar (vv.2-4)

1.      The false prophet proclaimed that God had already broken the Babylonian yoke (v. 2)

2.      The false hope that the Temple items would be returned in two years (v. 3)

3.      The people, Hananiah promised, would return from captivity with the kingís son (v. 4)

 

II.                 The Confrontation Intensified (28:7-11)

A.    Jeremiah wished that Hananiah had told the truth (See v. 6), but he knew that God did not authorize the words of this false prophet (v. 7-9).It is difficult to discern if Hananiah believed his own report, or he was simply a charlatan. Whatever the case, Jeremiah felt compelled to confront the false prophet. Just as Hananiah proclaimed his false report publicly, Jeremiah confronted him in the Temple (v.7).There are times when brothers should express their differences in private; however, when critical issues are at stake, confrontation must, at times, come in a conspicuous arena.

B.     Jeremiah seemed content to let their case be settled in two ďcourts.Ē

1.      The prophets of the past (v. 8):Hananiah had essentially criticized Jeremiah for preaching too negatively about Judah.The people, after all, rose to the more positive message of the false man.Jeremiah reasoned that former prophets had preached in a similar manner as he had, and he stood in a long and distinguished line of prophets who had not flinched from preaching the judgment of God.

2.      The events of the future (v. 9):Soon, the people would see who told the truth.Two years would pass quickly, and the people would see that Hananiah had misled them.

C.    Hananiahís counterargument (vv. 10-11)

1.      He took the yoke from Jeremiahís neck and broke it (v. 10):This powerful act of rebellion against God must have impressed those who watched this drama.God had told Jeremiah to fashion this yoke, and the false prophet took the yoke and broke it.

2.      He proclaimed, again, that God would break Nebuchadnezzarís yoke on Judah in two years (v. 11).The prophet had told the people that Judah would remain under Babylonian domination for seventy years.

 

†† Conclusion:God pronounced a judgment of death on Hananiah (v.16).††† He had preached an attractive message, and, no doubt, had attracted a considerable following; nevertheless. His message was false.He brought condemnation on himself and all who listened to him.The measure of a manís message is not the magnitude of his audience but the character of his obedience to Godís word. Hananiah died seven months after this confrontation, but the damaging effects of his false prophecy lasted for a generation.