The PASSAGE: Jeremiah 2:1-13
The BIG IDEA:
God wants to give us life in all its fullness, but we miss out on that when we seek satisfaction and fulfillment outside of him.
We let good things become “God things” or the most important thing in our lives. The Bible calls this idolatry.
Since true life is only found in God, seek life in him and don’t make good things “God things.”
When a bucket has holes in it it’s hard to keep filled. The water just keeps leaking out of it. In the same way, when we try to satisfy our hearts with things other than God, the satisfaction always leaks out. The human heart can only truly be satisfied and fulfilled with the one who created it – God.
What I want the group to know and understand: We tend to wander from devotion to the Lord in spite of him being the only source of true life.
What I want the group to experience: An awareness of the ways we make good things into “God things,” and a desire to remain faithful to the Lord and experience the abundant life he desires for us.
How I want the group to respond: By remaining faithful to the Lord and resisting the temptation to turn good things into “God things.”
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
The essence of Christianity is a relationship with God. He wants us to be devoted to him because there’s no one like him. Yet we all fall short. When we do fall short, it’s helpful to see this as more than disobedience. It’s actually breaking God’s heart and exchanging the best thing in the world (God) for something less than that. Seeing the ways we do that can help us guard against them and remain devoted to the only One who can truly satisfy us, the only One who can give us true life.
Someone gave Maria a bucket, asked her to fill it with water from a pond, and walk across a large field to water flowers on the other side of the field. She didn’t realize it at first, but the bucket had several holes in the bottom of it. So Maria filled the bucket with water, but it was almost empty by the time she crossed the field and got to the flowers. How would you feel about this if you were Maria?
1. Read Jeremiah 2:1-2, which is part of a message God gave to his people through his prophet, Jeremiah, several hundred years before the time of Christ. A prophet brought messages from God to his people. How did God’s people start out in their relationship with him?
They were devoted to the Lord, loved him, and followed him.
2. Read Jeremiah 2:4-8? Summarize what happened to God’s people in their relationship with him.
They stopped following the Lord and went far away from him (verse 5). They stopped seeking him in spite of all the ways he had been faithful to them (verses 6-8). They worshipped other gods like Baal (verse 8).
3. Jeremiah 2:5 says, “They walked after emptiness and became empty.” What do you think this means?
Allow the group to discuss. The things they pursued outside of God didn’t satisfy them like they thought they would. Instead, they left them empty.
4. Read Jeremiah 2:9-13. Why did the Lord want to fight with his people (verse 9)?
They changed gods (verse 11). They walked away from him in spite of him being the “fountain of living waters” (verse 13), the source of all life. They tried to find their satisfaction elsewhere, which was like trying to pour water into jars full of cracks or holes that couldn’t hold water.
5. Why do you think we sometimes start out loving the Lord but drift away from him over time?
Allow the group to discuss. Sometimes we take him for granted. We forget how amazing he is. We get distracted by other things in this world that are more immediate and seem more satisfying.
6. In what ways have you struggled with letting a good thing become a “God thing” in your life?
Allow the group to discuss. Start by giving an example from your own life. Encourage your group to think about ways has happened with them in areas like relationships with family and friends, sports, and academics.
7. How can you relate to what Jeremiah 2:5 says: “They went far away from me and walked after emptiness and became empty”? How is this like Maria’s experience of trying to water flowers with a bucket that’s filled with holes?
Allow the group to discuss. Again, start with an example from your own life of a time you made something other than God too important and experienced the emptiness that went with that. Encourage your group to share as they’re willing. Help your group see that making things other than God too important is like the frustration of trying to water flowers with a bucket full of holes. At first it might seem like it would work, but it ends up not happening.
8. Sometimes we go far away from Jesus because he doesn’t seem as satisfying to us as some of the things we pursue. Why does he sometimes seem less satisfying to us than other things?
Allow the group to discuss. One reason Jesus seems less satisfying than other things is that we experience him by faith, not by sight. He offers a different kind of pleasure than the immediate, physical pleasure of something like a fat steak, the physical intimacy of someone we’re attracted to, or the high that comes from alcohol or drugs.
9. Read John 10:10. How does knowing Jesus as the source of life in all its fullness (i.e.: “the fountain of living waters”) help us resist the temptation to seek satisfaction in things outside of God?
Allow the group to discuss. Knowing Jesus fills us with true satisfaction, so that other things aren’t as satisfying. It’s like having a good meal. When we’re satisfied with the best food possible, it makes us less interested in eating junk food because we know that’s not as satisfying.
10. What’s a practical step you can take to be satisfied in Jesus so that it’s not as easy for good things to become “God things” in your life?
Allow the group to discuss. Some ideas include setting aside time each day to read the Bible and pray and spending time with others who love Jesus at church, studying the Bible, and at Cru meetings.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.