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Jeremiah 23: A Divine Coup

For more context before you begin studying, read this introduction to the book of Jeremiah.

During World War II the Japanese experimented with effective ways to run their prison camps. At one camp they removed the five percent of the prison population who had any experience in leadership or could articulate a defined set of religious beliefs and moral behavior. The results were amazing. There were less attempted escapes and more docile prisoners at that camp than at any other.

We need leaders and we need beliefs. But what happens when the leaders become corrupt or intentionally lead in an immoral way? Judah faced just such a crisis. The whole nation was headed for a cliff and the leaders weren't doing anything about it. In fact, they were leading the way to the edge. How will God respond? Jeremiah has some bad news for the leaders and some good news for the people.

Warming Up to God

Recall someone who has been an influential leader in your life. What did they do, and how did it affect you?

Read Jeremiah 23

Discovering the Word

  • How will the punishment fit the crime for Israel's leaders (vv. 1-4, 39-40)?
  • God promised a new ruler from the line of David. How will his reign be different from the current leader's (vv. 5-8)?
  • Righteousness is central to a relationship with God. Why do you think the name "The LORD Our Righteousness" (v. 6) might be significant?
  • What charges are brought against the religious leaders (vv. 9-32)?
  • What are the results of their leadership?

Applying the Word

  • If God were to bring charges against the spiritual leaders of today's church, what do think they might be?
  • What effects might such leadership be having on the life of the church and individual Christians?
  • God charges the religious leaders with failing to stand in his council (vv. 18, 22). We may not be prophets or priests, but we can learn from their example. How do you receive the counsel of the Lord?

Responding in Prayer

How have you experienced the benefits of Christ as God's Shepherd King? Offer your praise to God.

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