Youth Programs. Our youth will manage most of our churches in the next 20 years or NOT. Can we prepare them.
What is wrong with your relationship to God?
Napoleon has been reported to say: “I know men and I tell you. Jesus is not a man. He commands us to believe, and gives no other reason than his awful words I AM GOD.” Philosophers try to solve the mysteries of the universe by their empty dissertations: fools: they are like the infant that cries to have the moon for a plaything. Christ never hesitates. He speaks with authority. His religion is a mystery; but it subsists by it’s own force. He seeks and absolutely requires, the love of men, the most difficult thing in the world to obtain.
“Alexander, Cesar, Hannibal conquered the world, but had no friends. I myself am perhaps the only person of my day who loves Alexander, Cesar, Hannibal. Alexander, Cesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires, but upon what? Force. Jesus founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions would die for him. I myself have inspired multitudes with such affection that they would die for me. But my presence was necessary. Now that I am in St. Helena, where are my friends? I am forgotten, soon to return to earth, and become food for worms. When an abyss between my misery and the eternal Kingdom of Christ, who is proclaimed, loved, adored, and which is extending over all the earth. Is this death? I tell you, the death of Christ is not the death of God. I tell you, JESUS CHRIST IS GOD.”
And this was from an intelligent powerful non Christian.
Here we see an answer to those who might ask “where is your God?”
What is my plan of “Glory to God?”
(Romans 1:18-22)”God’s anger is revealed from heaven against all the sin and evil of the people whose evil ways prevent the truth from being known. God punishes them, because what can be known about God is plain to them, for God himself made it plain. Ever since God created the world, his divine nature, have been clearly seen; they are received in the things that God has made. So those people have no excuse at all! They know God, but they do not give him the honor that belongs to him, nor do they thank him. Instead, their thoughts have become complete nonsense, and their empty minds are filled with darkness. They say they are wise, but they are fools.”
What attitudes do you have that lead to evil acts?
Lamentations Book Overview
Jerusalem has lain under siege by Babylon for eighteen months. Outside the city, the Babylonians have captured and slain the people of Judah. Inside the city, disease and famine have claimed many more.
|Purpose:||To teach people that to disobey God is to invite disaster, and to show that God suffers when his people suffer|
|Date Written:||Soon after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 b.c.|
|Setting:||Jerusalem had been destroyed by Babylon and her people killed, tortured, or taken captive.|
|Key Verse:||“I have cried until the tears no longer come. My heart is broken, my spirit poured out, as I see what has happened to my people. Little children and tiny babies are fainting and dying in the streets” (2:11).|
|Key People:||Jeremiah, the people of Jerusalem|
|Special Features:||Three strands of Hebrew thought meet in Lamentations—prophecy, ritual, and wisdom. Lamentations is written in the rhythm and style of ancient Jewish funeral songs or chants. It contains five poems corresponding to the five chapters (see the second note on 3:1ff).|
You’re looking for Jeremiah? Come look at the pictures at the end of the lesson. That’s him. That’s him walking through the rubble. Shoulders stooped, step slow.
He’s a tired man. I knew him when he was young.
But that was long ago.
That was before the walls fell.
That was before the enemy came.
Look at him sort through the stones. He does this all day. He’ll spot a dish that once sat on a table or a sandal once worn by a child. Each item he clutches, not to keep but to mourn. He’ll hold this plate to his chest and fall on his knees and wail. Sobbing erupts like Cloud burst.;’ He’ll ‘stay there and weep until he has mourned the memory of the object, and then he’ll place it back on the pile and move on.
Soon he sees another item, and the weeping starts all over again.
Some people think he’s crazy. Some people think he’s lo0st what little sense he had.
I don’t. I don’t think him insane. After all, didn’t he tell us this would happen? No, he’s not crazy, he’s just sad.
I told him the othe3r day, I said, “Jeremiah, write these things down. These feelings that you have. This sorrow that you feel – write it down.
He looked at me from under those bushy eye brows and said, “Maybe your right … maybe your right. I just don’t want the people to forger.”
I told him to write it down. I hope he will.
Tears are defined simply as “drops of salty fluid flowing from the eyes.” They can be caused by irritation or laughter but are usually associated with weeping, sorrow, and grief. When we cry, friends wonder what’s wrong and try to console us. Babies cry for food; children cry at the loss of a pet; adults cry when confronted with trauma and death.
Jeremiah’s grief ran deep. He is remembered as the “weeping prophet,” and his tears flowed from a broken heart. As God’s spokesman, he knew what lay ahead for Judah, his country, and for Jerusalem, the capital and “the city of God.” God’s judgment would fall and destruction would come. And so Jeremiah wept. His tears were not self-centered, mourning over personal suffering or loss. He wept because the people had rejected their God—the God who had made them, loved them, and sought repeatedly to bless them. Jeremiah’s heart was broken because he knew that the selfishness and sinfulness of the people would bring them much suffering and an extended exile. Jeremiah’s tears were tears of empathy and sympathy. His heart was broken with those things that break God’s heart.
Jeremiah’s two books focus on one event—the destruction of Jerusalem. The book of Jeremiah predicts it, and Lamentations looks back on it. Known as the book of tears, Lamentations is a dirge, a funeral song written for the fallen city of Jerusalem.
What makes a person cry says a lot about that person—whether he or she is self-centered or God-centered. The book of Lamentations allows us to see what made Jeremiah sorrowful. As one of God’s choice servants, he stands alone in the depth of his emotions, broken by his care for the people, his love for the nation, and his devotion to God.
What causes your tears? Do you weep because your selfish pride has been wounded or because the people around you lead sinful lives and reject the God who loves them dearly? Do you weep because you have lost something of value or because people all around you will suffer for their sinfulness? Our world is filled with injustice, poverty, war, and rebellion against God, all of which should move us to tears and to action. Read Lamentations and learn what it means to grieve with God.
|1. Jeremiah mourns for Jerusalem (1:1-22)
2. God’s anger at sin (2:1-22)
3. Hope in the midst of affliction (3:1-66)
4. God’s anger is satisfied (4:1-22)
5. Jeremiah pleads for restoration (5:1-22)
|Jeremiah grieves deeply because of the destruction of Jerusalem and the devastation of his nation. But in the middle of the book, in the depths of his grief, there shines a ray of hope. God’s compassion is ever present. His faithfulness is great. Jeremiah realizes that it is only the Lord’s mercy that has prevented total annihilation. This book shows us the serious consequences of sin and how we can still have hope in the midst of tragedy because God is able to turn it around for good. We see the timeless importance of prayer and confession of sin. We will all face tragedy in our life. But in the midst of our afflictions, there is hope in God.|
|Destruction of Jerusalem||Lamentations is a sad funeral song for the great capital city of the Jews. The Temple has been destroyed, the king is gone, and the people are in exile. God had warned that he would destroy them if they abandoned him. Now, afterward, the people realize their condition and confess their sin.||God’s warnings are justified. He does what he says he will do. His punishment for sin is certain. Only by confessing and renouncing our sin can we turn to him for deliverance. How much better to do so before his warnings are fulfilled.|
|God’s Mercy||God’s compassion was at work even when the Israelites were experiencing the affliction of their Babylonian conquerors. Although the people had been unfaithful, God’s faithfulness was great. He used this affliction to bring his people back to him.||God will always be faithful to his people. His merciful, refining work is evident even in affliction. At those times, we must pray for forgiveness and then turn to him for deliverance.|
|Sin’s Consequences||God was angry at the prolonged rebellion by his people. Sin was the cause of their misery, and destruction was the result of their sin. The destruction of the nation shows the vanity of human glory and pride.||To continue in rebellion against God is to invite disaster. We must never trust our own leadership, resources, intelligence, or power more than God. If we do, we will experience consequences similar to Jerusalem’s.|
|Hope||God’s mercy in sparing some of the people offers hope for better days. One day, the people will be restored to a true and fervent relationship with God.||Only God can deliver us from sin. Without him there is no comfort or hope for the future. Because of Christ’s death for us and his promise to return, we have a bright hope for tomorrow.|
Lamentations is a good example of ancient Near Eastern “dirge” poetry which was read aloud at funerals. It is used by Jews wailing at the Western Wall, even to this day. The author of this book crafted his theological lessons and channeled his emotions to fill his lament into an “acrostic” poem. (An acrostic poem is one in which the verses each begin with the successive 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.) An interesting thematic parallel to Lamentations is the book of Job. Job grieves over the calamity which has struck him on a personal level, while the author of Lamentations pours out his grief over the destruction of the city of Jerusalem. Whereas Job has done nothing to deserve his disaster and thus wonders how God can be just, the poet of Lamentations readily confesses that Judah is guilty and that God is just. Lamentations provides a sad “post-mortem” on the prophetic warnings that Judah had repeatedly (and fatally) ignored. Though appalled at the severity of the national destruction, the poet still trusts God. Having confessed the people’s sin, the poet desperately hopes that the God who brings grief will also renew mercy. Because of its profound reflection on the problem of suffering. Lamentations, like Job, has inspired Christian devotion and hymnody.
1 When dining with a ruler, pay attention to what is put before you. 2If you are a big eater, put a knife to your throat, 3and don’t desire all the delicacies—deception may be involved.
4 Don’t weary yourself trying to get rich. Why waste your time? 5For riches can disappear as though they had the wings of a bird!
6 Don’t eat with people who are stingy; don’t desire their delicacies. 7“Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it. They are always thinking about how much it costs. 8You will vomit up the delicious food they serve, and you will have to take back your words of appreciation for their “kindness.”
9 Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice.
10 Don’t steal the land of defenseless orphans by moving the ancient boundary markers, 11for their Redeemer is strong. He himself will bring their charges against you.
12 Commit yourself to instruction; attune your ears to hear words of knowledge.
13 Don’t fail to correct your children. They won’t die if you spank them. 14Physical discipline may well save them from death.
15 My child, how I will rejoice if you become wise. 16Yes, my heart will thrill when you speak what is right and just.
17 Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord. 18For surely you have a future ahead of you; your hope will not be disappointed.
19 My child, listen and be wise. Keep your heart on the right course. 20Do not carouse with drunkards and gluttons, 21 for they are on their way to poverty. Too much sleep clothes a person with rags.
22 Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother’s experience when she is old. 23 Get the truth and don’t ever sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and discernment. 24 The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure it is to have wise children. 25So give your parents joy! May she who gave you birth be happy.
26 O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes delight in my ways of wisdom. 27A prostitute is a deep pit; an adulterous woman is treacherous. 28She hides and waits like a robber, looking for another victim who will be unfaithful to his wife.
29 Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? 30It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks. 31Don’t let the sparkle and smooth taste of wine deceive you. 32For in the end it bites like a poisonous serpent; it stings like a viper. 33You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. 34You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. 35And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can have another drink?”
The point of this proverb is to be careful when eating with an important or influential person because he or she may try to bribe you. No good will come from the meal.
Proverbs 23:4, 5
We have all heard of people who have won millions of dollars and then lost everything. Even the average person can spend an inheritance—or a paycheck—with lightning speed and have little to show for it. Don’t spend your time chasing fleeting earthly treasures. Instead, store up treasures in heaven, for such treasures will never be lost. (See Luke 12:33, 34 for Jesus’ teaching.)
In graphic language, the writer warns us not to envy the life-styles of those who have become rich by being stingy and miserly, and not to gain their favor by fawning over them. Their “friendship” is phony—they will just use you for their own gain.
Proverbs 23:10, 11
The term redeemer referred to someone who bought back a family member who had fallen into slavery or who accepted the obligation to marry the widow of a family member (Ruth 4:3-10). God is also called a Redeemer (Exodus 6:6; Job 19:25). (For an explanation of ancient boundary markers, see the note on 22:28.)
The people most likely to gain knowledge are those who are willing to listen. It is a sign of strength, not weakness, to pay attention to what others have to say. People who are eager to listen continue to learn and grow throughout their lives. If we refuse to become set in our ways, we can always expand the limits of our knowledge.
Proverbs 23:13, 14
The stern tone of discipline here is offset by the affection expressed in verse 15. However, many parents are reluctant to discipline their children at all. Some fear that they will forfeit their relationship, their children will resent them, or they will stifle their children’s development. But correction won’t kill children, and it may prevent them from foolish moves that will.
Proverbs 23:17, 18
How easy it is to envy those who get ahead, unhampered by responsibility to God’s laws. For a time they do seem to prosper without paying any attention to what God wants, but they have no future. To those who follow him, God promises a hope and a wonderful future, even if they don’t realize it in this life.
Proverbs 23:29, 30
The soothing comfort of alcohol is only temporary. Real relief comes from dealing with the cause of the anguish and sorrow and turning to God for peace. Don’t lose yourself in alcohol; find yourself in God.
Israel was a wine-producing country. In the Old Testament, winepresses bursting with new wine were considered a sign of blessing (3:10). Wisdom is even said to have set her table with wine (9:2, 5). But the Old Testament writers were alert to the dangers of wine. It dulls the senses; it limits clear judgment (31:1-9); it lowers the capacity for control (4:17); it destroys a person’s efficiency (21:17). To make wine an end in itself, a means of self-indulgence, or as an escape from life is to misuse it and invite the consequences of the drunkard.