Talks for Growing Christians
The Letter to the Elders
Lesson Number 26
- Believers should live as normal a life as possible in this world.
- Believers should pray as much as possible for the rulers of this world.
- Be careful how you apply Jeremiah 29:11!
- Jeremiah was still in ________________ when he wrote these letters to the elders, who were in _______________. He wrote to them shortly after the second deportation of captives in _____BC.
- Here in chapter 29 we also find a letter written by a false prophet in Babylon to one of the priests in Jerusalem. In verse 21, two false prophets are named; ____________ and _______________.
- What was the false message from the false prophets?
- Jeremiah denounced these false prophets. What was the name of the true prophet in Babylon who also denounced the false prophets at this time? What other sin characterized the false prophets?
- Jeremiah was able to encourage the Jewish people to live as normal a life as possible because God had said that the captivity would be limited in time. Jeremiah stated in his letter that the captivity would be completed in how many years?
- Jeremiah was still in Jerusalem, writing to the elders in Babylon shortly after 597 BC.
- Ahab and Zedekiah (not the kings by these names) are the two false prophets in verse 21.
- The message of the false prophets, the same lie they had declared earlier, was that peace was near, and that the people would soon return to Jerusalem with all the temple treasures.
- While Jeremiah was denouncing the false prophets from Jerusalem, Ezekiel was denouncing them from Babylon. In addition to their lies, the false prophets were guilty of immorality.
- God said the captivity would be completed in 70 years, and it was! Just as the Jewish people heeded Jeremiah’s instructions in Babylon, we have seen throughout history that they have followed a similar pattern, identifying with the various countries in which they lived, and carrying on as normal a life as possible. Their hope, however, has always been, “next year in Jerusalem.”
- The Jewish people, in spite of being taken from their land and held captive in Babylon, were exhorted to pray for the welfare of their captor’s city, which would have included praying for Nebuchadnezzar and the other Babylonian officials. An exhortation to pray for government officials is also found in 1 Timothy 2:1-4. In our day of political polarization, how do you pray for government officials when their policies are, or appear to be, contrary to biblical principles?
- When you are in times of financial or physical hardship, do you find yourself claiming Bible verses such as Jeremiah 29:11, expecting God to give you lifelong health and prosperity?
Or can you experience contentment and hope in your life as you properly apply Scripture verses such as Romans 8:28, promising “that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”? Will you allow God to shape and mold you to become more Christ-like even in the midst of tough life experiences?
- “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:12, 13