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3 Bible reading: Jeremiah 17-21

Chapter 17
Lessons for Us: 17:1, 2. The sins of the people of Judah made their sacrifices displeasing to Jehovah. Moral uncleanness makes our sacrifices of praise unacceptable. 17:5-8. Humans and institutions are worthy of our trust only to the extent that they act in harmony with Gods will and divine principles. When it comes to such matters as salvation and genuine peace and security, we are wise to put our trust in Jehovah alone.Psalm 146:3.

Our not knowing the exact time gives us opportunity to show that we serve God out of pure motives. Those who know Jehovah realize that a last-minute display of zeal will not impress God, who sees what the heart is.Jeremiah 17:10; km 4/02 p. 5 Theocratic Ministry School Review 19. What is it necessary for us to do in order to prevent our heart from deceiving us? (Jer. 17:9) [w00 3/1 p. 30 par. 4] w00 3/1 p. 30 Searching for Jehovah With a Prepared Heart Honesty and Godly Fear The prophet Jeremiah wrote that the heart is more treacherous than anything else and is desperate. Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9) This treachery manifests itself in various ways, such as when we make excuses for ourselves when we do wrong. It also appears when we rationalize away serious personality flaws. Honesty, however, will help us to gain the victory over a treacherous heart by assisting us to face the truth about ourselves so that we can improve. The psalmist displayed such honesty when he prayed: Examine me, O Jehovah, and put me to the test; refine my kidneys and my heart. Clearly, the psalmist had prepared his heart to accept refining and testing by Jehovah, even though it may have meant acknowledging the existence of drosslike traits so that these could be overcome.Psalm 17:3; 26:2.

es12 p. 33 March The heart is more treacherous than anything else.Jer. 17:9. Some may hesitate to get baptized out of fear that they may be disfellowshipped at a later time. Do you have this fear? If so, such fear is not necessarily unhealthy in itself. It can mean that you appreciate the serious responsibility that comes with being one of Jehovahs Witnesses. Might there also be another reason? Maybe you are not yet convinced that living by Gods standards is the best way of life. In that case, thinking about the consequences that come to those who ignore Bible standards can help you to make up your mind. On the other hand, it could be that you love Gods standards but do not trust yourself to be able to live up to them. Actually, that can be a good sign, for it shows humility on your part. You can be successful if you constantly keep on guard according to Gods word. (Ps. 119:9) Whatever reasons there are for your hesitation to get baptized, you need to resolve such issues and concerns. w10 11/15 3:14 kp p. 14 The Hour of Judgment Has Arrived Would It Make a Difference if You Knew? If you knew for sure that the impending execution of divine judgment would not come for a few more years, would that change how you are using your life? If the end of this old system is already later than you expected, have you allowed this to slow you down in Jehovahs service?Hebrews 10:3638.


Chapter 19
w79 9/1 pp. 18-19 pars. 10-13 The Way of Life or The Way of DeathWhich? Jeremiah saw a continual deterioration morally and religiously among those last four kings of Judah. Have we seen anything equally grievous occur among the political rulers of the nations that profess to be Christian? For Jeremiah it was no light assignment that obliged him to declare persistently Jerusalems doom and the overthrow of its Davidic kingdom. For the Jeremiah class of today it has been no easy task to declare Jehovahs prophecies that foretell the calamitous destruction of Christendom with all its church buildings, cathedrals and basilicas that are now such tourist attractions. This makes the Jeremiah class so objectionably different from the clergy of Christendom. But Jeremiah of old has been such a stimulating example to this modern counterpart of him. Once, to dramatize declaration of doom, God said:
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for the reason that they have left me and have proceeded to make this place unrecognizable and to make sacrificial smoke in it to other gods whom they had not known, they and their forefathers and the kings of Judah; and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent ones. And they built the high places of the Baal in order to burn their sons in the fire as whole burnt offerings to the Baal, something that I had not commanded or spoken of, and that had not come up into my heart.Jer. 19:1-5. What would be the calamity the report of which would make ears tingle? The place that was made sacred to false gods was to become polluted by the killing of the idolaters there. (Jer. 19:6) After Jeremiah had declared this, then, as the lay elders and the priestly elders watched, he dashed the flask to the earth and said: This is what Jehovah of armies has said: In the same way I shall break this people and this city as someone breaks the vessel of the potter so that it is no more able to be repaired; and in Topheth they will bury until there is no more place to bury.Jer. 19:10, 11. After that dramatic action before the elders, it became proper for a similar message to be proclaimed to the people of Jerusalem. So Jeremiah left the shards of the broken flask near the Gate of the Potsherds and went north through the city to the temple courtyard. Then, in the hearing of all listeners, he said: This is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, has said, Here I am bringing upon this city and upon all its cities [in the suburbs] all the calamity that I have spoken against it, because they have hardened their neck in order not to obey my words.Jer. 19:14, 15.
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Go, and you must get an earthenware flask of a potter and some of the older men of the people and some of the older men of the priests [as witnesses]. And you must go out to the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is at the entrance of the Gate of the Potsherds. And there you must proclaim the words that I shall speak to you. And you must say, Hear the word of Jehovah, O you kings of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem. This is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, has said: Here I am bringing a calamity upon this place, of which when anyone hears, his ears will tingle;

Chapter 20
20:7In what way did Jehovah use his strength against Jeremiah and fool him? Because of facing indifference, rejection, and persecution when declaring Jehovahs judgments, Jeremiah might have felt that he did not have the strength to continue. However, Jehovah used his strength against such inclinations, empowering Jeremiah to continue. Jehovah thus fooled Jeremiah by using him to accomplish what the prophet himself thought he could not do. es12 p. 108 October Your word becomes to me the exultation and the rejoicing of my heart.Jer. 15:16. Jeremiah found joy in his work. For him, it was a privilege to represent the true God and preach his word. It is of interest that when Jeremiah focused on the ridicule from the people, he lost his joy. When he turned his attention to the beauty and importance of his message, his joy was rekindled. (Jer. 20:8, 9) To maintain joy in the preaching work in our day, we need to feed ourselves on solid food, deep truths of Gods Word. (Heb. 5:14) Deeper study builds faith. (Col. 2:6, 7) It impresses on us how our actions really touch Jehovahs heart. If we are struggling to find time to read and study the Bible, we should reexamine our schedule. Even a few minutes of study and meditation each day will draw us closer to Jehovah and will contribute to the exultation and rejoicing of the heart, as was true in Jeremiahs case. w11 3/15 4:12, 13

it-2 pp. 807-808 Ridicule Enduring ridicule with the proper viewpoint. Jesus Christ knew all along that he would face ridicule and that it would culminate in his being put to death. But he recognized that the reproaches were actually against Jehovah, whom he represented, and this was all the more painful to him, for he always did the things pleasing to his Father (Joh 8:29), and he was more concerned with the sanctification of his Fathers name than with anything else. (Mt 6:9) Accordingly, when he was being reviled, he did not go reviling in return. When he was suffering, he did not go threatening, but kept on committing himself to the one who judges righteously. The apostle Peter expresses this point when writing to Christians, particularly to slaves, exhorting them not to let such treatment incite them to retaliate; for Christ is their example, a model, Peter says, for [them] to follow his steps closely.1Pe 2:18-23; Ro 12:17-21. At one point in his career, Jeremiah the prophet of God said, I became an object of laughter all day long; everyone is holding me in derision. Momentarily he weakened and considered stopping his prophetic work because of the unceasing reproach and jeering. But he recognized that it was for the word of Jehovah that the derision came, and Gods word in his heart proved to be like a burning fire that he could not endure to hold in. For his faithfulness Jehovah was with him like a terrible mighty one, and Jeremiah was strengthened to keep on loyally.Jer 20:7-11. w09 3/15 p. 29 How Can You Endure in the Ministry? Imitate the Prophets To persevere in the preaching work, faithful Kingdom publishers can strive to have a mental attitude like that of the ancient prophets. Take, for example, Jeremiah. When called to serve as a prophet, he was at first reluctant. Yet, Jeremiah was able to endure in his difficult assignment for over 40 years because he learned to put implicit trust in God.Jer. 1:6; 20:7-11.

Chapter 21
jr chap. 13 p. 158 par. 10 Jehovah Has Done What He Had in Mind Jeremiah foretold that Zedekiah would be given into the hands of enemies, who would show no compassion. (Jer. 21:1-10) What occurred? Those enemies did capture him. They slaughtered his young sons before his eyes, blinded him, and took him to Babylon, where he died. (Jer. 52:8-11) Yes, all these prophecies came true. w07 3/15 p. 11 Highlights From the Book of Jeremiah Lessons for Us: 21:8, 9; 38:19. Even at the last hour, Jehovah provided a choice for the unrepentant inhabitants of Jerusalem, who deserved to die. Yes, many are his mercies.2 Samuel 24:14; Psalm 119:156. w79 9/1 p. 16 The Way of Life or The Way of DeathWhich? And to this people you will say, This is what Jehovah has said: Here I am putting before you people the way of life and the way of death.Jer. 21:8. HAS it really got as serious as all that? Are we all up against it? Is the whole world now faced with a choice between the way of life and the way of death? Can this really be so? Is not death the normal thing? If so, why is the case of humanity different now from what it was before? For the past thousands of years men, women, children and babies have not escaped dying. They had no other choice. Then why today

should it be said that now, finally, we face the choice of the way of life or the way of death? What chance do we have of escaping the longtime foe DEATH? Well, this is not the first time that a whole world of people faced death, a sudden death, all together. Historians point back to an earlier occasion of this kind. One historian says: There were heavens from of old and an earth standing compactly out of water and in the midst of water by the word of God; and by those means the world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water.2 Pet. 3:5, 6. FLEEING TO THE SIDE OF GODS EXECUTIONAL FORCES Christendoms course is the way of death. Let us go no farther in it. Time still allows for a persons escape from being executed with her son of destruction. Look at Jeremiah as an illustration. Though held prisoner in the Courtyard of the Guard of King Zedekiah as famine, pestilence and war casualties took their toll all around him, he survived Jerusalems destruction and did not go into exile in Babylon. Fearers of Jehovah who befriended Jeremiah survived with him. Today we also have opportunity to survive.
Back in 609 B.C.E., Babylonian invaders were working their way toward Jerusalem. (Jer. 21:13) Aware of what was approaching, King Zedekiah sent a couple of inquirers to Jeremiah for, possibly, some favorable message from Jehovah. But what reason was there for King Zedekiah to expect any favorable word through Jeremiah? In Jerusalem and throughout the kingdom of Judah there obtained these things to which Jehovah called attention: the breaking of His covenant with Israel, the worship of other gods, unjust court sentences, robbing of helpless ones by defrauders, the taking advantage of widows and orphaned children, the depriving of laborers of due wages, the shedding of innocent blood, false prophesying. (Jer. 21:12; 22:3, 13-16; 23:14, 16) Necessarily Jeremiah had to take courage and boldly declare Jehovahs unaltered message of calamity for the violators of Gods covenant.Jer. 21:1-7; 1:7, 8, 17.