July 12, 2020
WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
WORDS OF WORSHIP Psalm 147:2-5,11-12, NIV
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.
12 Extol the Lord, Jerusalem;
praise your God, Zion.
Gracious God we gather back in this sanctuary for the first time in four months. It seems like a very long time, yet we are aware that your people in the time of Jeremiah missed their Temple for seventy years. We give you thanks for allowing us to return in body to this worship place, but more importantly God, may our hearts and minds return fully to you as we offer our worship, hear your word, then go forth to live our daily lives. Amen.
CONFESSION AND PARDON
Jeremiah gave God’s message to the people, “24 They do not say from the heart, ‘Let us live in awe of the Lord our God, for he gives us rain each spring and fall, assuring us of a harvest when the time is right.’ 25 Your wickedness has deprived you of these wonderful blessings. Your sin has robbed you of all these good things.” Let us confess our sins and return fully to the Lord our God who longs to be in fellowship with us.
Merciful God, “we have erred and strayed like lost sheep…by what we have done and what we have left undone” just as the classic prayers of confession admit. We are not always consciously guilty of chasing after other gods, but we are often guilty of letting other things take priority or causing us concern while unaware that we have let you slip from first place in our lives or that we have failed to trust you to meet our needs. We struggle to make decisions without consulting your wisdom. We ignore your holy nudges while pursuing our own comfort and convenience. We fail to set an example for others of a life fully committed to the Lord our God while still expecting you to keep your end of the covenant. Lord, forgive us and help us change our hearts and lives to better follow and serve you.
Paul wrote “56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57, NLT) In the name of Jesus we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God!
May the peace of Christ be with you.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Give us the grace to see your vision of hope, that it might be a light shining in our darkness giving us the faith and strength to endure our present darkness. Amen.
SCRIPTURE LESSONS Jeremiah 29:10-14, NLT
10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
Jeremiah 31:1-14, 31-34, CEB
31:1 At that time, declares the Lord,
I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.
2 The Lord proclaims:
The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness.
As Israel searched for a place of rest,
3 the Lord appeared to them from a distance:
I have loved you with a love that lasts forever.
And so with unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself.
4 Again, I will build you up, and you will be rebuilt, virgin Israel.
Again, you will play your tambourines and dance with joy.
5 Again, you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria;
farmers will plant and then enjoy the harvests.
6 The time will come when the watchmen shout from the highlands of Ephraim:
“Get ready! We’re going up to Zion to the Lord our God!”
7 The Lord proclaims: Sing joyfully for the people of Jacob;
shout for the leading nation.
Raise your voices with praise and call out:
“The Lord has saved his people, the remaining few in Israel!”
8 I’m going to bring them back from the north;
I will gather them from the ends of the earth.
Among them will be the blind and the disabled,
expectant mothers and those in labor; a great throng will return here.
9 With tears of joy they will come; while they pray, I will bring them back.
I will lead them by quiet streams and on smooth paths so they don’t stumble.
I will be Israel’s father, Ephraim will be my oldest child.
10 Listen to the Lord’s word, you nations, and announce it to the distant islands:
The one who scattered Israel will gather them
and keep them safe, as a shepherd his flock.
11 The Lord will rescue the people of Jacob
and deliver them from the power of those stronger than they are.
12 They will come shouting for joy on the hills of Zion,
jubilant over the Lord’s gifts: grain, wine, oil, flocks, and herds.
Their lives will be like a lush garden; they will grieve no more.
13 Then the young women will dance for joy; the young and old men will join in.
I will turn their mourning into laughter and their sadness into joy;
I will comfort them.
14 I will lavish the priests with abundance
and shower my people with my gifts, declares the Lord.
31 The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 It won’t be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant with me even though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 No, this is the covenant that I will make with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my Instructions within them and engrave them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 They will no longer need to teach each other to say, “Know the Lord!” because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord; for I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sins.
Romans 8:1-4, 35-39, NLT
8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
SERMON Future Hope
What represents hope for you? I played with images of hope this week. Most of us have goals in mind, a future we want to see happen. We might define that as what we hope for, but I think for me, that is the target and hope is what I launch toward it or what pulls me in that direction. If my goal is represented by a literal target, say in archery, then hope is the arrow I shoot longing to get as close as possible to the bullseye. Or if my vision for the future is a destination, then hope is like a cable pulling me in some moving compartment toward that intended destiny.
Jeremiah found hope in the midst of desperate and difficult circumstances by relying on God’s promises. They were the trusted cable, though he was being pulled along an unfamiliar track unable to see the future destination with his own eyes or know how long that journey might take. At some point during and certainly beyond Jeremiah’s time, the people began to focus on a particular set of promises of a Messiah who would save them. That was very much the focus of hope into which Jesus was born, and for many, Jesus became the fulfillment of that promise. As Paul and other Jews who became Christians looked back at their history, Jesus was indeed God’s anointed, the Christ, the Messiah though he did not fill that role in quite the way some expected.
In each era hope resided in God’s promises. As we face difficult circumstances yet again in our time, it makes sense to look to God’s promises as a source of hope. I see in my readings in Jeremiah, not only the warnings of destruction and exile, I also see the promise and hope of restoration. Isn’t that exactly what we are longing for in the midst of pandemic and other national and global concerns? It is also what many of us need in the midst of personal and local circumstances whether that is health or finances, employment or retirement, family or friendships, and more. Even if we can’t go back to what we once considered normal, we at least want to figure out and settle into whatever is going to be the new normal.
For us gathered at First United Presbyterian Church today, this is represented in the fact that we are worshipping in person. We are in the familiar building, in the familiar sanctuary. You are listening to a familiar preacher and hearing familiar music. But it is not exactly the same. You are sitting apart, wearing masks, and not everyone is here. The things you are used to seeing in front of you in the pew racks are missing (safely stored away upstairs). You aren’t singing hymns or reading prayers. You can’t give your friend a handshake or a hug. You can’t see each other smile except by the eyes. You won’t have a cup of coffee or a snack until you get home. It may feel like hope has brought you part way toward your goal, but you aren’t there yet, and like Jeremiah, you don’t know how long the journey will take.
Let’s look at some of the promises and outcomes in Jeremiah and see what encouragement they might offer us for our own journey of hope. Today I read for you from my favorite chapters in Jeremiah, the ones I knew even before this study. I’ve been reading the familiar Jeremiah 29:11 at the end of worship each week to leave you with a word of hope and encouragement after the depressing or at least sobering content in my sermons and prayers. Let’s take a closer look at the context of that verse and its surrounding passage.
In Chapters 29 to 31, Jeremiah is writing a letter to his countrymen who were already exiled to Babylon in 597 BCE. A final exile is yet to come in 586 with the destruction of the Temple. God had warned of this earlier, “They will all be carried away to Babylon and will stay there until I send for them,’ says the Lord. ‘Then I will bring them back to Jerusalem again.’” (Jeremiah 27:22) A seventy-year period of exile is mentioned several times in Jeremiah and elsewhere in the Old Testament. It marks roughly the time the first exiles were taken to the first of those who return. Though God has told Jeremiah it will be this long, God is also clear in his promise that the faithful will be brought back home.
Keep in mind that Jeremiah wrote to encourage those who were now living in a foreign land. In the meantime those who remained in Jerusalem and Judah, who had not yet been exiled to either Babylon or run away to Egypt, continued to ignore God’s warnings, disobey God’s Law, disrespect God’s covenant, and harass God’s prophets. God’s plans for the future would not be lived out by these, but by those who were exiled for the seventy years.
Please note that seventy is a rounded figure possibly representing the span of one’s life, while the exact figure maybe in the upper sixties or lower seventies depending on how you choose the start and stop dates for the Exile. I would also point out that the factors of seventy, both seven and ten, represent a sense of completeness or fullness in Jewish tradition and Hebrew writings of the Old Testament.
The restoration suggested in verses 10 – 11 sounds wonderful. Even in the midst of punishment, God reaffirms the relationship and promises that punishment will not last forever. There is a better future coming and the relationship will be restored. It’s as if a parent encourages the child in time out by saying “When the clock says 7 we can read a story together before you go to bed.” That suggests a couple of things to the child. Yes, you have to stay in that chair in that corner until 7:00 just as I said. So did the exiles have to stay in Babylon the full seventy years. But it also says, “I still love you; I’m watching you, and when your time is up, we can do something together. I have good plans for both of us.”
The promise of good for the future in verse 11 is a favorite for many people and often applied to confirmands, graduates, (perhaps I can take it for retirees), but the form of “you” in the Hebrew text is plural not singular. It was a message to God’s people as a whole, not just to the individuals within that whole. The NIV Jesus Bible Notes, “Although believers may want to take this verse and apply it to their own life as an assurance of God’s individual plan for them, it is much bigger than the everyday decisions modern-day believers often apply it to…[these] are all trivial matters when compared to the future hope that God promises to all of his people.”[i]
It also needs to be noted that the promise of verses 10-11 is accompanied by some instructions in verse 13-14, and the two cannot be separated. “When you seek for me, you will find me.” (v.13) Hint, hint, while you are there, you need to diligently be looking for me, turning toward me, praying to me, living as I have taught you. The future restoration is for those who listen to God’s Word and seek to live in God’s Way.
This concept and commandment to seek the Lord is found throughout scripture:
- “Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.” (1 Chronicles 16:11)
- “Now seek the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.” (1 Chronicles 22:19)
- David’s words to his son, Solomon: “For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.” (1 Chronicles 28:9)
- And many more examples from Chronicles in the Old Testament
- “But if you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, and if you are pure and live with integrity, he will surely rise up and restore your happy home.” (Job 8:5-6)
- “All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.” (Psalm 22:26)
- “The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.” (Psalm 69:32)
- “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5)
- God speaking through Isaiah, “I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me if I could not be found.” (Isaiah 45:19)
- “Seek the Lord, all who are humble, and follow his commands. Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you— protect you from his anger on that day of destruction.” (Zephaniah 2:3)
- And in the New Testament: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33)
- “For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8 and Luke 11:10)
- “It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
This long sample list suggests this is an important message God wants to be sure we do not miss. Our future hope lies within a path that seeks God and God’s will for our lives.
I especially like the notes I found related to Jeremiah 29 in Max Lucado’s Encouraging Word Bible. “In the midst of trouble and chaos, God is working to design a future for us that is full of hope, peace, and success.”[ii] Lucado refers back from Jeremiah to the Exodus and God redeeming his people out of Egypt and through the wilderness. But I have to point out that only the two who had faith in God’s plan, Joshua and Caleb, actually entered the Promised Land from the original generation. Lucado points forward to God working out His plan in the future as envisioned in Revelation. “A great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9) Lucado goes on to describe our future hope envisioned by God, “This dream drives the heart of God. His purpose from all eternity is to prepare a family to indwell the kingdom of God.”[iii] In spite of all setbacks and calamities, God’s intention is for our good. “Everything in your life is leading to a climactic moment in which Jesus will “reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Col 1:20).[iv] These are the plans God has ultimately for us.
For those hearing Jeremiah’s message while exiled in Babylon, the hope is a promised restoration. Jeremiah 31 is one of the places that describes this. “Those who survive the coming destruction will find blessings even in the barren land,” (Jeremiah 31:2). We don’t often think of blessing and barren as going together, but no circumstance is so dire that God cannot find a way to bless us in the midst of it, if we are turned toward God to receive those blessings. Perhaps you have found small blessings even in the midst of dealing with our strange new reality. It may have been someone’s effort or kindness, contact with family and friends by phone or video chat, a lovely view out your window, or the grocery store actually having what you wanted to buy! These are not trivial; they are God’s way of saying, “Yes, I know it’s tough right now, but hang in there. I’ll get you through this if you trust me.” I’m not naïve enough to say that everyone will survive this, no matter how strong their faith; but even if I die, I trust that God is with me, and God’s ultimate plan for me is new life. My trust is in the love Jeremiah communicates in verse 3. “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”
The next several verses are filled with promises and images that would bring comfort to a distraught people far from home. They are familiar scenes, back in a familiar place, like a glimpse of the future homecoming to hang onto through the long days and years ahead. Perhaps some of you had such images of coming back here together to worship. Perhaps you have other pictures in mind of the homecomings and get togethers you are looking forward to when it is safe again. That gives you a glimpse of what the exiles felt as they read Jeremiah’s letter. With a heavy sigh they longed for home, and tucked that picture away in their hearts and memories until it could come true.
Again, I like these words from Max Lucado,
“Jeremiah assured the Jewish people that they wouldn’t be captives forever. God would free them to return to their land and restore their fortunes. He would repay their enemies for their wickedness.
“Our enemy won’t have the final say, and our testing won’t last forever. God will restore our health, our fortunes, and our relationships.”[v]
The verses from Jeremiah that I have known and loved the longest come next. Jeremiah 31:31-34. They refer to what I think is the most important theme throughout the Bible, God’s covenant with us. The covenant intended with Adam and Eve was broken. God gave a sign of covenant after the Flood. God made a formal covenant with Abraham and Sarah and repeated it to their offspring for generations.
God again formalized His covenant with the people through Moses and the giving of the Law during the Exodus. The tablets with the commandments and the Ark built to house them became a symbol of that covenant between God and the people, so when the Ark was carried across the Jordan Riven into the Promised Land, that represented both God’s presence and God’s covenant going with them. When the land was settled, and Joshua asked them to choose whom they would serve, this was in the midst of Joshua formally asking them to renew and reaffirm their commitment to God’s covenant. The centuries of evil that lead up to the Exile were tainted by a failure to keep covenant with God, though God through all of these centuries stood by the people.
That is why it is so significant that God’s promises through Jeremiah repeat and reaffirm God’s covenant with His people. The essence of the covenant has always been “I will be your God, and you will be my people” as it is worded in Jeremiah and elsewhere. The covenant is referred to eighteen times in Jeremiah, and this or similar wording is found at least seven more times, two of which are in chapter 31. The NIV Study Bible Notes that “this passage is the longest sequence of OT verses to be quoted in its entirety in the NT.”[vi] It is referenced twice in the Letter to the Hebrews. It is also worth noting that the phrase “new covenant” in this passage from Jeremiah was translated into Latin as “new testament.” Therefore, the entire New Testament found in Christian scriptures could be understood as teaching us how to live out the covenant renewed and reestablished as promised by God through Jeremiah.
The King James Study Bible Notes say this, “Some features of the old covenant are carried over into the new covenant: … There is in the new covenant a stress on the importance of the unchangeable principles of God’s law. However, these will now be written not on stone but in the hearts of God’s people—they will become part of their inward code for living, and will conform in all respects to the moral law of the Scriptures.”[vii] This is now meant to be not just a national relationship, but a more intimate and personal relationship with God’s people. There is also the promise of forgiveness for their past wrongs if they come back to God to live under this covenant. As Christians we see all of this fulfilled through Christ Jesus. The NIV Jesus Bible suggests, “Jeremiah’s words showed why he had great reason to hope in what was yet to come. When he said, “the days are coming,” he pointed toward a time when the antiquated religion of the past was to be replaced with a greater one that better reflected God’s close and personal relationship with his people. He looked forward to a time when everyone will know the Lord, “from the least of them to the greatest”[viii]
Jeremiah’s hope offered to a people estranged from God in a foreign land was that God’s covenant would be made new and personal for everyone who believed.
As I’ve been suggesting thus far, Melissa Spoelstra also writes that, “the practice of living life to please God alone will get us through the tough times.”[ix] It’s also a question of whom we trust. In the midst of times such as Jeremiah’s or our own, when we don’t know who to trust or where to turn, we are reminded, “The antidote for the fear of people and circumstances is the fear of God.”[x] The fear of God, of course, does not mean terror, but awe and respect. She continues, “When we follow [God] closely, walk in obedience, and trust [God] with our lives, we have nothing to fear.”[xi]
Hope and trust in God and God’s promises does not mean everything will be rosy. It won’t. It’s more like knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel even if it’s around a corner and not in front of you. As Spoelstra affirms, “It is a promise to love and bless us even when times are tough.”[xii] “C.S. Lewis wrote, ‘God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”[xiii] No one likes pain. God doesn’t like pain. But sometimes it is what gets us to turn around and look for God, just like a child who can ignore his parents all day, but cries for mom as soon as he falls down and skins his knee.
In spite of their sin and punishment, God reached out to “the remnant of His people with words of hope and compassion…These are the people who have learned to trust
in Him through their struggles. Here we see God gathering His people with promises of rest, peace, and forgiveness.”[xiv] To me a remnant is the fabric at the end of the bolt often sold at a cheaper price. They are perfect for patchwork, cloth napkins, a pillow, or a bag. To me a remnant is a treasure not a throw away. “The Holman Bible Dictionary defines a remnant as ‘something left over, especially the righteous people of God after divine judgment.’”[xv] It appears more than a hundred times in the prophetic literature of the Old Testament.
The people called a righteous remnant are not only those still standing after enduring the punishment for their sins; they are the ones who in the midst of that punishment have turned back to God and chosen to follow where God leads. But Spoelstra reminds us that not everyone makes that choice. Into that context, God promised not only future restoration, which finally came through the Persian King Cyrus. God also hinted forward to another “anointed” whose righteousness would go so far as to make us right with God. That would be Jesus.
I think this particular paragraph from Melissa Spoelstra’s final chapter on Jeremiah is a great summary of Christian truth in realistic terms:
“We battle guilt, fear, and condemnation from the enemy, who tempts us to sin and then throws our failure in our faces. God wants us to follow Him wholeheartedly, and when we inevitably mess up, [God] calls us to turn to Him in repentance rather than run from Him in shame. When we understand that [God] sent Christ to be our righteousness so that we can be made right with [God] regardless of our screwups, it protects our hearts from shame.”[xvi]
The people sent into exile in Babylon as a punishment for their sin, needed forgiveness and a second chance, as do all peoples of all eras including our own. Jeremiah gave them a glimpse of God’s promised restoration and salvation. There is a theological thread in Christianity that sees those who repented in the Old Testament as looking forward to the fulfillment of those promises in Christ. We live on the other side of Christ’s coming, and have access to that fulfillment right now through Jesus. Spoelstra writes, “Jeremiah looked forward to this new covenant with anticipation. We look backward to Christ’s finished work on the cross with gratefulness.”[xvii]
We admit that we live in difficult times. God may be using them to get our attention and call us back to faithfully living out the covenant. God is still our God and longs for us to choose to be God’s people. As Spoelstra claims, “God has not abandoned us. When it seems like all hope is lost, He is still our God.”[xviii] Let us live as faithfully into that hope as possible each day and give thanks to the God who is the source of that hope, the author of that covenant, and the designer of our future good and well-being.
AFFIRMATION Apostle’s Creed, Ecumenical Version
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
Continued concerns between China and Hong Kong
Rise in COVID-19 cases especially US, Brazil, and India
Bubonic plague in Mongolia
Those who are grieving, those struggling
Those still seeking answers for vaccines and cures
Decisions being made about schools reopening
Ongoing work and decisions for the future of this congregation
PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING
Being here today
Those who worked hard to make it ready for us
Those who continue to serve in many industries behind the scenes
The rain this week
The basics of life we are learning not to take for granted
General Assembly able to meet online
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
CHARGE & BLESSING Jeremiah 29:11, VOICE
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope--never forget that.
[i] Study notes found at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+29%3A10-14&version=NLT
[ix] Melissa Spoelstra, Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World, p. 3475 (page # is actually location # on Kindle edition)
[x] P. 3514
[xi] P. 3518
[xii] P. 3591
[xiii] Quoted by Spoelstra, P. 3619
[xiv] P. 3720
[xv] Quoted by Spoelstra, p. 3701
[xvi] P. 3831
[xvii] P. 3886
[xviii] P. 3959
Jeremiah lived 2600 years ago, but has as much to say to our world today as he did to Judah then. The Bible Study from which I am taking much of this series is Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World by Melissa Spoelstra. A Bible Study to accompany the sermons can be found at Faith Adventures.