Into the Lesson
As your students arrive, give each one a copy of the following exercise (it is also printed in the student book). Ask your students to read the quotations and write either agree or disagree in response to each:
I. “A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory.” (Arthur Golden).
2. “He who despairs over an event is a coward, but he who holds hope for the human condition is a fool.” (Albert Camus).
3. “Worries go down better with soup than without”. (Jewish proverb).
4. “If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?” (Shantideva).
5. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” (Helen Keller).
6. “Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.” (M. Kathleen Casey).
7. “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” (Henry David Thoreau).
Discuss your students’ answers. Then tell your class that today’s lesson will draw a clear, scriptural contrast between the daily desperation that many people endure and the hope and assurance that God intends for His people to enjoy.
Into the Word
Introduce this section with a brief lecture on the ministry of Jeremiah, using both the Lesson Background and the lesson commentary. Make sure you mention that although Jeremiah prophesied doom and destruction for Judah, he also foretold the reestablishment of the Jewish nation from the remnant that would survive.
Next, divide your class into pairs. Each pair will study Jeremiah 29:1-14 and create an outline of the passage, placing the phrases below into their proper location in the outline grid. (If you do not use the student books, you will need to reproduce both the grid and phrases.)
A. (vv. 1, 2)
B. (v. 3)
A. (vv. 4-6)
B. (v. 7)
C. (vv. 8, 9)
A. (v. 10)
B. (v. 11)
C. (v. 12-14a)
D. (v. 14b)
Phrases: Build Lives While Waiting; Communication in Captivity; Judah Is Not Forgotten; Judah is Uprooted; Promise of Accessibility; Promise of Prosperity; Promise of Restoration; Promise of Return; Promised Freedom from Captivity; Reject Deception While Waiting; Seek Peace While Waiting; Waiting in Captivity.
When your students have finished their outlining, ask for volunteers to share answers. Write each line on the board as it is completed. Use the text to resolve disagreements.
Ask your pairs from the previous exercise to outline a letter that a modern Jeremiah could write to people of our society. Each outline should include the following elements: a listing of and denunciation of the sins prevalent in modern society (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-21); a warning of judgment from God because of those sins (Matthew 24:36-51; 2 Peter3:3-13; Revelation 20:7-15); an offer of salvation (Acts 2:36-40; 3:17-26); and a promise of restoration to those who are faithful to God (Hebrews10:23-31; Revelation 22:12-17).
When the pairs have completed their work, have each share the results. Challenge your students to identify privately any sins that are a continuing problem in their lives. Remind each one that he or she needs to confess those sins to God (1 John 1:7-2:2). Close with prayer for your society’s repentance and your students’ continuing commitment to Christ.