Lesson 133: Jeremiah 7–16

“Lesson 133: Jeremiah 7–16,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)

“Lesson 133,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 133

Jeremiah 7–16


God commanded Jeremiah to stand at the gate of the temple and tell the people of Judah to repent. Jeremiah prophesied that they would suffer at the hands of a conquering nation but that the day would come that Israel would be gathered and again become the Lord’s people.

Suggestions for Teaching

Jeremiah 7:1–16:13

Jeremiah stands at the gate of the temple and calls the people to repentance

Provide students with copies of the following statements, or write them on the board. Ask students to read each statement carefully and determine whether the statement is true, partly true, or false. Invite them to record their answers on pieces of paper.

If I go to Church, pay my tithing, and do baptisms for the dead with my ward, then I will be ready for the Savior’s Second Coming.

Partaking of the sacrament automatically cleanses me from sin each week.

Explain that you will discuss students’ responses to these statements later in the lesson. Invite students to look for principles as they study Jeremiah 7–16 that can give them greater insight into these statements.

Remind students that God had called Jeremiah as a prophet to warn the people of Judah that unless they repented, they would be conquered by another nation. Invite a student to read Jeremiah 7:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for where the Lord told Jeremiah to stand while declaring the Lord’s message.

  • Where was Jeremiah told to preach?

Invite a student to stand and read Jeremiah 7:3–11 as though he or she were Jeremiah, delivering the Lord’s message to a multitude of people at the temple gate. Ask the class to follow along and look for what the Lord told the people through Jeremiah.

  • According to verse 3, what did the Lord say to those who were coming to the temple? What does it mean to “amend your ways and your doings”?

  • According to verses 8–11, what sins were the Jews committing?

  • Based on the Lord’s words in verses 3–11, how would you describe the spiritual condition of the people, even though they were coming to offer sacrifice at the temple?

Explain that many of the Jews in Jeremiah’s day behaved as though worshipping at the temple made them righteous, regardless of whatever else they did.

  • According to verse 7, what did the Lord promise the people if they would amend their ways? (They could remain in the promised land.)

Summarize Jeremiah 7:12–20 by explaining that the Lord reminded the people that the tabernacle in Shiloh had been destroyed and that the people of the Northern Kingdom had been taken away captive. The Lord then warned that the temple in Jerusalem would not protect the people of Judah from destruction if they did not repent.

Invite a student to read Jeremiah 7:21–23 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what the Lord said was more important than the sacrifices the people offered at the temple.

  • What is more important to the Lord than sacrifices? What did He promise the people if they would obey His voice and walk in His ways?

  • What principles can we learn from the Lord’s words that Jeremiah delivered at the gate of the temple? (Students may identify principles such as the following: Religious worship and practices alone cannot save us if we do not keep God’s commandments; if we repent and obey God’s voice, then He will be our God and we will be His people; if we strive to walk in all of God’s ways, then it will be well with us. Consider writing students’ responses on the board.)

  • What is the danger in believing that we can obey the Lord’s voice in some things but willfully disobey in others?

Review the statements students evaluated at the beginning of the lesson.

  • What have you learned that gives insight into these statements? (Help students understand that each of the statements can be only partly true. In each case, outward observance of only some commandments is insufficient. Salvation comes through inward conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ, faith in His Atonement, and sincerely striving to obey all of His commandments.)

Write the following references on the board, and assign students to read one or more of the referenced scripture passages so that each passage is read. Ask students to look for several ways the people were choosing to disobey God’s commandments.

Jeremiah 7:24–26, 30–31

Jeremiah 8:5–6, 12

Jeremiah 9:3–6

Jeremiah 11:9–10

Jeremiah 12:10–11; 13:27 (Explain that the term pastors in this passage refers to false prophets and that the phrase “layeth it to heart” means “pays attention” [Jeremiah 12:11, footnote a].)

After students have finished reading, invite a few students to report what they learned.

Write the following incomplete statement on the board: If we refuse to walk in God’s ways, then … Write the following references on the board. Ask students to choose one of the passages and read it silently, looking for the consequences that Jeremiah prophesied would come to the people because they disobeyed the Lord.

Jeremiah 9:13–16

Jeremiah 15:5–7 (Explain that the phrase “fan them” means the Lord would scatter them [see Jeremiah 15:7, footnote a].)

Jeremiah 16:13

Invite students to report what they found. Explain that the results of our sins are not always temporal, but sin always brings us spiritual harm. Then ask students how they would complete the statement on the board using what they learned in these verses. Use their responses to complete the principle on the board. One way to complete the principle is if we refuse to walk in God’s ways, then we will bring serious consequences on ourselves.

To prepare students to identify another principle in Jeremiah 9, list the words worldly wisdom, strength, and riches on the board. Ask students to explain why people may love and seek for these things.

Invite a student to read Jeremiah 9:23–24 aloud. Ask the class to look for what the Lord wants His people to “glory in,” or seek for and value.

  • Instead of worldly wisdom, strength, or riches, what did the Lord want His people to glory in? (Understanding and knowing the Lord and His attributes.)

  • What truth can we learn from these verses? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify something similar to the following principle: It is more valuable to know the Lord and understand His attributes than to pursue worldly interests.)

  • Why do you think it is more valuable to know the Lord and understand His attributes than to pursue worldly interests?

If possible, provide students with copies of the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask a student to read it aloud. Invite the class to follow along and look for reasons why knowing Jesus Christ is a great treasure.

Maxwell, Neal A.

“The more we know of Jesus, the more we will love Him. The more we know of Jesus, the more we will trust Him. The more we know of Jesus, the more we will want to be like Him and to be with Him by becoming the manner of men and women that He wishes us to be (see 3 Ne. 27:27)” (“Plow in Hope,” Ensign, May 2001, 60).

You may want to point out that the opposite is also true: the less we know of Jesus Christ, the less we will love Him, trust Him, and want to be like Him. The wicked people of Jeremiah’s time were a poignant example of this as they refused to know the Lord (see Jeremiah 9:3, 6).

  • In what ways are you seeking to better know the Savior and understand His attributes?

Jeremiah 16:14–21

Jeremiah prophesies of the gathering of the house of Israel in the last days

Show a picture of Moses parting the Red Sea, or describe this event to students.

Moses parting the Red Sea
  • What thoughts might you have had if you had been there to experience the parting of the Red Sea?

Invite a student to read Jeremiah 16:14–15 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what event people would witness in the latter days that would be as miraculous as the deliverance of Israel from Egypt.

  • What did Jeremiah prophesy that the Lord would do in the latter days? (You may need to explain that bringing up the children of Israel from the north and from other lands means that the Lord will gather the descendants of Israel, bringing them to the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ and to membership in His Church. Jeremiah also prophesied that in the last days the Gentiles would seek to know the truth about God and would be gathered along with the descendants of Israel [see Jeremiah 16:19–21].)

Invite a student to read Jeremiah 16:16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for whom the Lord said He would use to help gather the house of Israel.

  • Whom did the Lord say He would use to help gather Israel? (After students respond, write Fishers and Hunters on the board.)

  • Who do you think the words fishers and hunters refer to? (They refer to those who help gather Israel through missionary work. As we perform missionary work, these words can refer to us.)

Christ calling Peter and Andrew

To help students understand how missionaries are like fishers and hunters, explain how fishers use nets.

  • What skills or characteristics do fishers and hunters need to be successful? (Write students’ responses to these questions on the board under Fishers and Hunters. As students respond, you may want to ask them to explain why the skills and characteristics they mention are important.)

  • How are the skills and characteristics needed to fish and hunt similar to the skills and characteristics we need to be successful in missionary work?

Invite a student to read Jeremiah 16:21 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for the outcome of this great missionary effort. Ask students to report what they find.

  • From this prophecy, what can we learn about our efforts to help others come to know the Lord? (After students respond, write the following on the board: As we labor diligently to share the gospel with others, we can help them come to know the power of the true and living God.)

  • What are some examples of ways we can diligently seek to share the gospel with others?

Invite students to relate experiences when they have shared the gospel with someone. You might also share a personal experience and testify of this principle.

Invite students to make diligent efforts to share the gospel and their testimonies of the Savior with others.

Commentary and Background Information

Jeremiah 7:1–23. “Amend your ways”

Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Seventy taught that religious worship and practices alone cannot save us if we do not let the ordinances and covenants of the gospel become a part of us:

“Some have come to think of activity in the Church as the ultimate goal. Therein lies a danger. It is possible to be active in the Church and less active in the gospel. Let me stress: activity in the Church is a highly desirable goal; however, it is insufficient. Activity in the Church is an outward indication of our spiritual desire. If we attend our meetings, hold and fulfill Church responsibilities, and serve others, it is publicly observed.

“By contrast, the things of the gospel are usually less visible and more difficult to measure, but they are of greater eternal importance. For example, how much faith do we really have? How repentant are we? How meaningful are the ordinances in our lives? How focused are we on our covenants?” (“Converted to His Gospel through His Church,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 14).

Jeremiah 8:20. “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved”

The Lord sends His servants to help us make necessary changes in our lives and to repent. But the scriptures have taught us that when people decide to fully reject the Lord, they become “ripe for destruction” (Alma 10:19; see also 1 Nephi 22:16–17; Ether 2:8–10; D&C 1:12–14; 97:22–24; 133:50–51.)

President Marion G. Romney of the First Presidency taught:

“Beginning in the days of Adam, and in every gospel dispensation since, the Lord has warned the inhabitants of the earth that their continued violation of the laws of righteousness, which He has revealed, would bring on their destruction. …

“‘And God said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is filled with violence, and behold I will destroy all flesh from off the earth’ [Moses 8:30].

“And this He did. Noah and his family were the sole survivors.

“The people of Sodom and Gomorrah went through a similar cycle. They were warned and heeded not. For their iniquities ‘the Lord rained upon [them] brimstone and fire’ [Genesis 19:24]. …

“Jerusalem was destroyed and its inhabitants were scattered throughout the earth because of their rejection of God’s laws of righteous living. …

“In America two great civilizations, the Jaredite and the Nephite, were completely annihilated because of their rejection of the laws of righteousness which God revealed unto them.

“In both cases, the Lord, through His prophets, pointed out their iniquities, warned them, and predicted their destruction if they did not repent. This they did not do. Consequently they were totally destroyed.

“We today are approaching the close of a similar cycle. We have been warned that we are ripening in iniquity and that we will be destroyed if we do not repent. …

“There is but one way these impending calamities can be avoided, and that way is repentance” (“The Tragic Cycle,” Ensign, Nov. 1977, 14–16).

Jeremiah 9:23–24; 16:21. “Let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me”

Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president, explained how we can come to know the Savior:

“We come to know the Savior when we allow Him into our lives. We are more eager to forgive and more willing to serve when He is a part of our lives. When our hearts are open and receptive, we become more like Him. It is then that we discover He has been with us all the time. We are at peace. Our trials are no longer burdens, but blessings, because they paved the path that took us to Him. …

“Coming to know for ourselves is very personal. And we may experience that ‘coming to know’ numerous times in our lives. It is the process of remembering what we once knew. Just know this: You do know Him, and if you ever question if He knows you, just ask. The Primary song ‘A Child’s Prayer’ begins, ‘Heavenly Father, are you really there? And do you hear and answer ev’ry child’s prayer?’ [Children’s Songbook, 12]. I testify, Yes! He does! The Lord can teach us when we inquire. Kneel in prayer, and ask out loud: ‘Am I really Thy son or daughter? Do you love me?’ And then listen. There is something very humbling about asking. Asking is an act of faith. …

“Through coming to know the risen Savior, Jesus Christ, we come to know that through His Atonement, He will ease all pain. He brings relief and solace from every worry. He can carry our burdens and bring peace to every feeling of inadequacy and every desire for change.

“President Ezra Taft Benson said, ‘Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar his face is to us’ [“Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations,” (Brigham Young University devotional, Dec. 10, 1974), 8;]. We know Him!” (“Coming to Know,” [Church Educational System fireside for young adults, May 1, 2011];

Jeremiah 16:16. Fishers and hunters

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told about an experience he had during a visit to West Africa and how it relates to the mission we all share to spread the gospel:

“We traveled to Ghana in West Africa. There the Church is growing rapidly and is on very solid footing. …

“As the sun was setting, we saw a large crowd of villagers. Young, old, and middle-aged all were pulling on a huge net and drawing it out of the water. We stopped and inquired about what they were doing. They were pulling in the fish caught that day. In the net were large and small fish of many kinds. Each villager put his hands to the net to help bring in the catch. The thought ran through my mind of the gathering of Israel in the last days as referred to in Jeremiah. The Lord said, ‘I will send for many fishers … and they shall fish them’ (Jeremiah 16:16).

“That, brethren and sisters, is the mission of all of us as members of the Church: to put our hands on the net and pull in thousands of fine men and women who are searching for the truth” (“Pulling in the Gospel Net,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 61).