Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – July 10th, 2016
Theme: Standing on God’s Promises
Topic: I Have Loved You
Main Texts: Jeremiah 31:1-20
Key Verse: Jeremiah 31:3 – “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (NIV)
Last Sunday, we started a study on the theme “Standing on God’s Promises” with our first topic “I Will Be Your God” .
Our key learning from the study include:
- Just as God allowed Nebuchanezzar to lay siege on Jerusalem as a result of His people’s apostasy, Nigeria is today under siege by several forces. God is more interested in our addressing the issues that made Him allow our situation, than in making us feel good or more comfortable.
- When we as God’s people stray from Him or become unfaithful to Him, He often allows us to go through difficult times which could sometimes make us wonder if He is still there for us. He does this because He is God and we are His people. He seeks the likes of Jeremiah from among us, who would engage with Him and seek to draw attention of the people to the issues God is concerned about.
- No amount of faith and “claiming” can avert a course of discipline that God has chosen for us to restore us to the right relationship with Him. Our hardship is never an indication that He has lost interest in us; it is for us to let Him be our God again.
This Sunday, we will examine God’s declaration, “I Have Loved You” – the effectiveness of the statement in our individual and collective challenging circumstances, and our appropriate response. Our key learning should include:
- God’s love is not only shown in the blessings with which He blesses us, but also in the discipline with which He chastises us when we go astray. If we could get away with doing the same evils as those who do not know Him, we should be asking ourselves if we really belong to Him!
- At every point and in every situation in our lives, we should be identifying and acknowledging evidences of God’s love towards us, regardless to what difficulties we may be facing.
- When God takes us through difficult times as part of His discipline, the path of our repentance may sometimes be painful, but it is the only way to full restoration, and we must be prepared to undertake it.
Jeremiah had a particularly difficult task prophesying at the time he did. Today, we would say he is “blowing hot and cold”. He prophesied how the entire nation would be taken captive and enslaved. In Jeremiah 30:5,7 he promises “’cries of fear, … terror, not peace. … How awful that day will be! No other will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob” But in the same breath he spoke of God’s love for these his people, and how they would eventually be restored. He makes the statement in our text for today that through all their troubles, His love for them remains. He says the same words to us today in Hebrews: “… the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” (Hebrews 12:6). The turning point in Israel’s situation was “… when watchmen cry out on the hills of Ephraim, ‘Come, let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.” (v6). It was the point at which they saw God’s love in what they were going through.
1. From the experience of the Israelites being disciplined by a loving God, in what ways may God discipline a Christian today?
2. What indications of God’s love, if any, do you see in your country’s current travail? When they found themselves in captivity, the Israelites looked back with nostalgia. Hear them: “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy…” (Psalms 137:1-3). They later confessed: “… You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined. … After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.” (vv18-19) When we are being disciplined by God, the only way we can come to a point of repentance is when we accept that God’s discipline is out of His love for us. Otherwise, we would in our minds be seeking who to blame for our troubles. God made statements (in our main text) of what the Israelites would experience as indications of His love for them following their repentance.
3. What do you expect to see as indicators of God’s love and restoration following repentance of your country? We must be careful not to explain away the painful discipline in a way that makes us miss the purpose altogether – it requires a close walk with God for us to see His love through it all, even when it is painful. The psalmist says: “When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin, you consume their wealth like a moth …” (Psalms 39:11). KJV renders it thus: “When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth …” Yet, it is in our recognition of God’s love through the painful discipline that we find restoration. Sometimes, the process of repentance brings more hurt than staying in sin. However, it remains the only way to full restoration and long-term peace.
4. Give practical examples of the kinds of pain that could accompany repentance towards restoration and how the Christian can stay confident of God’s love through the pain.
Father, thank You for loving me too much to leave me when I go astray. Thank You for Your love shown in your discipline. Help me see that love in every situation, no matter how painful, and alert me to the path of restoration, In Jesus’ name, Amen.