Isaiah 8:20; 53:1-5; Jeremiah 7:1-11; 28; 45; Matthew 6:25-34
Baruch was definitely in the shadows in the Old Testament. As Jeremiah’s scribe, he didn’t speak on behalf of God or himself, yet his work was an important part of God’s bigger plan.
Paper, pens, play money, slips of paper with an “act of sacrifice” and price written on them (witnessing to your neighbor = $10; being nice to a grumpy cashier = $5; visiting a shut-in = $20, etc.)
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Distribute the play money so each person has the same number of bills. Select a slip of paper from the box and pay the amount specified. When finished, discuss whether or not it was hard to give up the money for something that has no monetary value.
- Partner with someone else in the group; one person dictates and the other transcribes. What would you like to say to your church on this Christmas morning? Speak your message, write it on paper, and then share it with the group.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- What can we learn from a simple scribe who had high hopes that seemed dashed—until God spoke?
- Thought Questions
Read Jeremiah 7:1-11. What do Baruch’s world and ours have in common?
- Our ways and actions need to be reformed in our homes as well as in our country.
- At times we also trust lying words of those who pretend to preach the truth.
- We need to deal with each other justly in our homes, churches, and workplaces.
- We need to show active care for the immigrants, the widows, and the fatherless.
- We need to reject all gods but the one true God.
Read Jeremiah 36. After all that Jeremiah and Baruch did, God’s message was rejected. How does their story parallel ours?
- Sometimes when we try to witness, people won’t listen.
- If we try to help someone who is living unhealthfully, that person may get angry and reject our message.
- Sometimes we may even face persecution for trying to teach God’s message.
- We won’t receive any earthly gain for trying to proclaim a heavenly message.
- When one method fails, God tries again, because God loves people that much.
Read Isaiah 53:1-5. If we live like Jesus, what can we sometimes expect?
- To be despised and rejected by people
- To experience sorrow and suffering
- To not be esteemed in our community
- To not be the popular socialite who makes the local news
- To take on the pain of those we try to help
Read Jeremiah 45. What does Baruch’s pain teach us about God?
- Although we may not feel God’s presence, God sees when we’re hurting.
- God hears us when we can only groan.
- God understands our pain firsthand because that’s what humanity has done to heaven.
- Although Baruch felt defeated, God was actually promising him life and salvation.
- We shouldn’t seek great things for ourselves on earth; our treasures are in heaven.
Applying the Message of the Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. After several minutes, report back to the larger group with your findings.
- Option 1: Discuss a time when you felt like Baruch. Perhaps you were giving Bible studies to someone and that person quit, or you tried to witness and were rejected. What are some good ways you’ve found to deal with that kind of disappointment?
- Option 2: After the scroll was burned, God asked Jeremiah and Baruch to write another one. Has God asked you to do something more than once when it failed the first time? Describe your experience to the group.
- Option 3: Baruch tried to get the people to listen to God’s Word, but they rejected it. Today is Christmas. Do you know someone who needs to hear the greatest story ever told? How could you tell it? By singing carols at their door or inviting them to your home for the reading of the Christmas story found in Luke? Brainstorm other ideas.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Read Isaiah 53, paying special attention to verses 4 and 5. Reflect on how much Jesus loves you and to what lengths Christ went to prove that love.
- Think about the little-know people you’ve learned about these past 13 weeks. Which one can you best relate to? Which one do you most want to learn from? Reread that story in the coming weeks and ask God to give you that person’s strengths.
Next Week’s Scripture Focus:
2 Samuel 13; Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:12-14; Luke 19:41-44; John 16:20-24