Into the Lesson
Say, “Sometimes we can get a false sense of security about our daily environment.” To illustrate this point, ask your students to rank order these creatures according to how many people they kill each year in the United States: bears; cougars; dogs; insects and spiders; sharks: and snakes. (This activity is also in the student book.)Answers are: 1. insects and spiders (50 to 150deaths per year, not counting deaths from ill-nesses borne by mosquitoes); 2. dogs (about 15deaths per year); 3. snakes (10 to 12); 4. sharks (2);5. bears (fewer than 1); 6. cougars (fewer than 0.5).After you have discussed their answers, say, “Sometimes the things we may fear the most, such as sharks and bears, are far less dangerous to us than things we take for granted, such as in-sects or dogs. Today’s lesson deals with Judah’s failure to realize the danger of their shallow religious routines.”
Into the Word
Deliver a brief introductory lecture from the Lesson Background to help your students under-stand Jeremiah’s ministry. This will set the stage for the passages they will be studying.
Next, distribute copies of the following true-false statements (or direct your students to their student books, where this quiz is also found).Tell your students to read Jeremiah 7:1-4, 8-15,and 2 Kings 23:36, 37 to find the answers to this quiz. (Answers are provided in parentheses, but don’t distribute those.)
1. God told Jeremiah to preach in the gate of Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem (true, Jeremiah7:1); 2. God ordered the Jews to amend their ways (true, v. 3); 3. Jeremiah instructed the Jews to chant the phrase “the temple of the Lord”(false, v. 4); 4. Jeremiah accused the Jews of
burning incense to the false god Dagon (false, v.9); 5. God accused the Jews of making the temple a den of robbers (true, v. 11); 6. God said that He had set His name (located His tabernacle) first at Shiloh (true, v. 12); 7. God warned Judah that He would destroy the temple, just as He had destroyed the tabernacle at Shiloh (true, v. 14); 8.God also warned that He would remove Judah from the land, just as He had removed Ephraim(true, v. 15); 9. Jehoiakim was 30 years old when he became king of Judah (false, 2 Kings 23:36);10. Jehoiakim was a great religious reformer like his father, Josiah (false, v. 37).
When your students have completed the quiz, review the correct answers and discuss the meaning of the text. Use the following questions for discussion:
1. Why would Jeremiah stand in the gate of the temple to deliver his message? 2. What offer did God make to the Jews if they changed their ways? 3. How were the people given a false sense of security by the existence of the temple? 4. Of what specific sins were the Jews guilty? 5. Hose had the Jews made the temple a den of robbers?(Remember that Jesus leveled the same charge; Mark 11:15-17.) 6. What punishment did God threaten against Judah? 7. How would they know God’s threat was genuine? 8. Who was Jehoiakim? What happened to him?
Reproduce this chart to give to your students: Judah’s Sins Our Sins
- Trust in the temple
- False gods
Ask your students to note one or two sins common today that are comparable to the sins of Judah. For example, they could list tax fraud in place of theft or abortion in place of murder. Next, instruct your students to turn to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and 1 John 1:8-2:2 to see what God expects as to do about such sins today. Ask them to write a brief summary of God’s instructions. Discuss the fact that God still offers forgiveness for people who return to Him through Christ.