NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Explore the Bible curriculum.
Bible Passage: Jeremiah 29:4-14
- What do we learn about God in Jeremiah 29:4-7?
- How can we be certain that a person is delivering a message from God?
- What are some benefits of waiting for God to work out His plan for our lives?
Food for thought:
Jeremiah 29:4-23 details a letter the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the people “Nebuchadnezzar had deported from Jerusalem to Babylon” (v. 1). Jeremiah most likely sent the letter just after the second deportation into Babylonian exile in 597 BC when King Jehoiachin was taken into captivity.
Jeremiah’s letter begins the transformation from a message of judgment to a message of God’s faithfulness to His people. It is a message of hope in the midst of Judah’s defeat.
Jeremiah delivered God’s message to the exiles, encouraging them to become established and contributing citizens in Babylon. God reminded them that He was the One who had deported them. He then directed them to pray for the Babylonians, build houses, plant gardens and marry. God called them to seek the welfare of Babylon because the Israelites could only prosper as their captors prospered.
Next, Jeremiah called on the people to ignore the false prophets they had been seeking out for favorable prophecies. He emphasized that God did not send these false prophets.
Finally, Jeremiah declared that God would restore the people of Israel after 70 years of living in exile. God had a plan for His people, and they could place their hope in Him despite the wait. God promised to listen to their prayers once they sought Him with all their heart. They would return to the land from which they had been deported.
Jeremiah exhorted the exiles to live in such a way that the land of their exile would benefit from their presence, and to pray for their unbelieving neighbors. He called them to exercise spiritual discernment, identifying false prophets so they could turn from them. Jeremiah reminded the exiles that God had a plan of restoration for them. The sovereign God of Israel was in full control. Regardless of their circumstances, God’s people could trust Him.
Explore the Bible
Explore the Bible is an ongoing Bible study curriculum that helps groups dig into the key truths of each Bible book, while keeping the group on pace to study through the Bible books in a systematic way. More information can be found at Lifeway.com/ExploreTheBible.