The Continued Sermons of the Prophet

Discovery for Students

The Continued Sermons of the Prophet


Jeremiah 16:1 through 25:38

“O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.” (Jeremiah 18:6)


As Jeremiah gave the six discourses recorded in these ten chapters, he faced many challenges. Not only were the messages delivered to an unresponsive and rebellious people, but he also dealt with personal agony, pain, and discouragement.

The domestic lives of the prophets were often used by God as examples to the people. Chapter 16 opens with several of God’s commandments to the prophet regarding aspects of his personal life. Obedience brought loneliness, and Jeremiah became a social outcast.

In chapter 17, the prophet described Judah’s sins, and presented a series of meditations built around the theme of the heart. After appealing to God as his place of refuge, the prophet warned the people that disregard for the Sabbath was a sign of their rebellious and idolatrous spirit.

Chapter 18 begins a three-chapter discourse centered on the sovereignty of God. Jeremiah was commanded to go to the potter’s house for a spiritual lesson. God’s message was that if the people would repent, He would deliver them. However, the rejection of the prophet’s message was immediate, and the people formed a conspiracy against Jeremiah. Their hostility drove the prophet to the Lord, where he poured out his soul in what some writers describe as the bitterest prayer for vengeance recorded in the whole book.

In chapter 19, Jeremiah was commanded to shatter an earthen bottle to demonstrate the coming judgment and destruction. This was a sign that Jerusalem and its people would be broken because they had forsaken God, worshiped idols, desecrated the Temple, murdered the innocent, and offered their children to altar fires dedicated to Baal.

The reaction to Jeremiah’s pronouncement is recorded in chapter 20. Pashur, chief governor of the Temple, was so enraged at Jeremiah’s words that he had the prophet beaten and put in stocks until the next day. That night God met with Jeremiah and gave him a special message and a new name for Pashur — Magormissabib, which meant “terror on every side.” This was descriptive of the fear that would ultimately overtake Judah.

In chapters 21 and 22, the prophet gave a discourse directed against Judah’s rulers, addressing one king after another with dire pronouncements. In chapter 23, he denounced the false prophets whom he likened to shepherds that scattered the sheep. In verses 5 through 8 of this chapter, he contrasted the corrupt leaders of that day with the coming Messiah, giving one of the great Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament.

The prophet was commanded to offer another visual sign through the two baskets of figs, a vision described in chapter 24. The exiles in Babylon, who would receive God’s blessing, were represented by the good figs, while the rotten figs portrayed those who would remain with Zedekiah in Jerusalem.

The message contained in chapter 25 was a prediction of the Babylonian invasion and the captivity of the people of Judah.


  1. What three otherwise acceptable activities did God forbid Jeremiah from participating in? (Jeremiah 16:2,5,8) What was the spiritual message portrayed by each restriction?
  2. Jeremiah used the metaphors of fishing and hunting (Jeremiah 16:16-18) to describe how God would violently punish the iniquity of His people. However, in the same pronouncement, the prophet gave a ray of hope. What was Jeremiah’s message of condolence? Jeremiah 16:14-15
  3. Jeremiah faithfully and courageously delivered his messages about Judah’s sins, yet the people only hardened their hearts and stubbornly resisted God’s truth. Name at least three sins that the prophet pointed out to the people in Jeremiah 17.
  4. God had a special message for Jeremiah as he viewed the potter molding the clay. What two scenarios did the Lord present in Jeremiah 18:7-10? How could we apply these lessons today?  
  5. In Jeremiah 19:10, the prophet was instructed to go once again to the potter’s house, this time to acquire an earthen bottle. What was he told to do with the bottle and what did his action illustrate? Jeremiah 19:10-13
  6. The assistant to the high priest, Pashur, was angered by Jeremiah’s words, so he had Jeremiah arrested, beaten, and put into stocks until the next day. How would you summarize Jeremiah’s lament, as recorded in Jeremiah 20:7-16? When difficult circumstances come our way, how should we respond?
  7. When King Zedekiah sent to Jeremiah to inquire whether God would grant deliverance from the king of Babylon, one could assume that a return to God was imminent. Instead of offering hope, however, the prophet made three pronouncements — one to King Zedekiah (chapter 21 verses 3-7), one to the people (verses 8-10), and another to the house of David (verses 11-14). What were these pronouncements?
  8. Chapter 22 relates the fate of four wicked kings: Zedekiah (verses 1-9); Jehoahaz, referred to here as Shallum (verses 10-12); Jehoiakim (verses 13-23); and Jehoiachin (verses 24-28). After Jeremiah had denounced all the leaders for the ruthless way they treated the helpless people, he introduced a King who would save Judah (see Jeremiah 23:5-8). Who was this King, and how would He reign?
  9. In chapter 24, God showed Jeremiah two baskets of figs. One basket contained very good figs and the other “naughty,” or rotten figs. What was the meaning of this vision?
  10. After hearing Jeremiah’s message for twenty-three years, the leaders and common people of Judah had the same response: resistance and rebellion. What did Jeremiah say would be the result? Jeremiah 25:11-14


Through the words of Jeremiah and other prophets, God had given His people repeated opportunities to admit their guilt and repent, but they refused. At this point in Judah’s history, it was too late.