“Unit 27: Day 4, Jeremiah 30–33,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 27: Day 4,” Old Testament Study Guide
The Lord revealed to Jeremiah that He would gather those of the house of Israel and make a new and everlasting covenant with them. He instructed Jeremiah to purchase property in the promised land to symbolize the return of scattered Israel.
Do you prefer happy or sad endings in stories? Have you ever wondered if your mortal life will have a happy or a sad ending? What would be a happy ending to your life? What would be a sad ending?
The Lord sent the prophet Jeremiah to call the people of Judah to repentance shortly before Babylon conquered Jerusalem and carried many of the Jews captive to Babylon. As a result, Jeremiah’s warnings and prophecies often have a tone of impending doom. However, Jeremiah also knew what the future held for the Jews. Read Jeremiah 31:17, looking for what Jeremiah said about the Jews’ future.
What do you think the phrase “there is hope in thine end” means? (You may want to refer to Jeremiah 31:17, footnote a.)
Jeremiah knew that in spite of the unhappiness that would come upon the Jews because of the Babylonian destruction and captivity, those of the house of Israel could have hope for the future.
As you study Jeremiah 30–31, look for truths that can give you hope, even if you experience trouble or sadness.
When the Israelites kept their covenants, God blessed them in many ways, including giving them a promised land. However, when they broke their covenants, the Lord took these blessings away, and the people became separated from their promised land, or scattered. Read Jeremiah 30:12, and then read the Joseph Smith Translation in footnote a, looking for what the Joseph Smith Translation of this verse reveals about Israel’s condition.
While Israel’s condition of spiritual decay and physical bondage was grievous, or serious, it was not incurable, or hopeless.
What would God do for scattered Israel?
While Jeremiah referred to a physical gathering in the land of promise after the Jews’ exile in Babylon, there is another, more important component of the gathering. Read Jeremiah 31:31–34, looking for what the Lord would do as part of the gathering of Israel.
According to verse 31, what did Jehovah say He would make with the house of Israel? Consider marking what you find.
The word new in this context means that God’s covenant—the fulness of the gospel—would be revealed anew to those of the house of Israel. While God had previously established His covenant with their fathers, the patriarchs, over time, some of the parts of this covenant had been lost (such as the Melchizedek Priesthood, the higher law, and the fulness of temple ordinances). Jeremiah foresaw the day when those of the house of Israel would accept the fulness of the gospel, God’s new and everlasting covenant.
Anciently, the Israelites struggled with keeping God’s covenant and living His laws with all their hearts. Reread Jeremiah 31:33, looking for words or phrases that describe what would help the children of Israel live the covenant. Consider marking what you find.
What do you think it means to have God’s law “in [our] inward parts” and written in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33)?
When God’s law is written in our hearts, we desire to live the gospel with all our hearts and are truly converted to it. We obey God because we love Him, rather than for external reasons like wanting others to think we are righteous. From Jeremiah 31:34 we learn that if we keep our covenants and live the gospel with all our hearts, we will come to know God.
As you read the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, mark any words or phrases that help you better understand what it means to live the gospel with all our hearts:
“When we realize that we are children of the covenant, we know who we are and what God expects of us. His law is written in our hearts. He is our God and we are His people. Committed children of the covenant remain steadfast, even in the midst of adversity. …
“The greatest compliment that can be earned here in this life is to be known as a covenant keeper. The rewards for a covenant keeper will be realized both here and hereafter” (“Covenants,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 88).
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How does living the gospel of Jesus Christ help you come to know the Father and the Son better?
- Ponder the following question, and record your thoughts in your scripture study journal: How are the rewards of keeping your covenants related to your future and having a happy ending?
Ponder how you can better keep your covenants and live the gospel with all your heart. Commit to make any corrections or adjustments that will help you live the gospel in this way.
Have you ever said, “It is just too hard”?
As you study Jeremiah 32–33, look for a principle that can help you if you ever feel discouraged.
In Jeremiah 32:1–15 we learn that King Zedekiah had Jeremiah put in prison because he prophesied that the king would be taken captive and Jerusalem would be conquered by the king of Babylon. While Jeremiah was in prison, his cousin came to him and asked him to buy property in their family’s ancestral homeland, which was near Jerusalem. The Lord revealed to Jeremiah that purchasing this land was a symbolic witness that the Jews would someday return from captivity and buy and possess the promised land once again (see Jeremiah 32:15, 43–44).
As recorded in Jeremiah 32:16–25, Jeremiah prayed to God and recounted many of the miracles He had performed in giving the promised land to the children of Israel. Jeremiah 32:26–44 contains God’s response to this prayer. Read Jeremiah 32:17, 27, and compare the way Jeremiah began his prayer with the way God began His reply. Consider marking what you find.
Why might it have been comforting for Jeremiah to receive confirmation that nothing is too difficult for God?
Jeremiah may not have known how God would restore the Jews to their homeland, but since he had a testimony that nothing is too difficult for the Lord, he knew it could be done.
The Lord described what He would do for Israel. Read Jeremiah 32:37–42 and Jeremiah 33:6–8, looking for phrases that describe what God would do for scattered Israel. Consider marking these phrases in your scriptures. (The phrase “I will cause the captivity of Judah … and Israel to return” [Jeremiah 33:7] means that God will gather the house of Israel.)
There are people today who feel lost spiritually and believe it would be too difficult for them to ever return to Heavenly Father and experience a happy ending. The promises the Lord made to the Israelites can help such individuals.
In the following list, complete the following truth with the phrases you found while reading Jeremiah 32:37–42 and Jeremiah 33:6–8: Regardless of what we have done or how lost we may feel, Jesus Christ can … (For example: Gather us [see Jeremiah 32:37].)
Select one or two of these phrases and use them to complete the truth in a way that is meaningful to you. The following truth is an example: Regardless of what we have done or how lost we may feel, Jesus Christ can heal us.
- In your scripture study journal, write the truths you formulated and explain why they are meaningful to you.
The phrases in the preceding list describe what Jesus Christ can do for each of us as we repent and come unto Him by living His gospel. Ponder how you may need to repent or more fully live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Act on the promptings you receive so that the Savior can give you hope for your future and help you be happy. Consider sharing your testimony of the Savior’s desire and ability to rebuild, cleanse, heal, and pardon us with a family member or friend.
Finish this lesson by reading Jeremiah 33:10–11, 14, looking for words and phrases that confirm how the story will end for the house of Israel.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Jeremiah 30–33 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: