Encountering the Old Testament, 3rd Edition

A Christian Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies


27. Jeremiah 1–20: Struggling with God's Call

Chapter Intro Video

Chapter Objectives

  • Outline the contents of Jeremiah 1–20
  • Discuss Jeremiah’s background
  • Summarize the details of Jeremiah’s call to prophetic service
  • Describe the historical situation in which Jeremiah found Jerusalem
  • Discuss Jeremiah’s dialogues with God and his complaints about his prophetic ministry

Chapter Summary

  1. Jeremiah of Anathoth was the son of Hilkiah, a priest. He was quite young when he began his service as a prophet during the last forty years before Judah’s defeat to Babylon.
  2. The people of Jerusalem had fallen into sin because they had substituted idol worship for their relationship with God.
  3. God expects his people to serve him faithfully.
  4. Because the people of Judah had turned from God, they experienced adversity and faced being scattered among the nations.
  5. When Judah’s situation was desperate, God showed no sympathy and told Jeremiah not to pray for Judah because it would not be effective.
  6. Jeremiah suffered personally as he tried to do what God commanded amidst a spiritually resistant people.

Study Questions

  1. What does the book of Jeremiah reveal about the prophet Jeremiah himself? Even when Jeremiah suffered opposition, was he still in the center of God’s will for his life? How does God sometimes call his people to suffer today for his cause?
  2. How did the people defend their wayward actions during Judah’s last days? Why did Jeremiah have such a hard time convincing them of their sin?
  3. Do you think Jeremiah had a right to complain to God so much? How do you think God used Jeremiah’s complaints in the prophet’s life?
  4. What lessons did Jeremiah learn from the potter’s house?
  5. Jeremiah complained, but he also trusted. When you pour out your heart to God, will you trust him as well, even if you don’t like his answer?