“I Will Write It in Their Hearts”

Lesson 42 – Jeremiah 16; 23; 29; 31

 

Introduction

If you could have witnessed or participated in any story or event in the Old Testament, which one would you choose?  Why would you like to have witnessed or participated in that particular event?  What is happening in the Church today that might be comparable to some of the events you have chosen?

 

Although Jeremiah had few messages of hope for the people of his day, he foresaw a time of hope during the latter-day gathering of Israel. This lesson discusses Jeremiah’s prophecies of the great latter-day gathering that we are participating in today.

 

Jeremiah foresaw the latter-day gathering of Israel.

 

The story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt is one of the most miraculous events in the Old Testament. It is referred to in the book of Jeremiah and in other books of the Old Testament, as well as in the Book of Mormon.

Deuteronomy 4:32-35 - Moses felt that the importance of the Exodus was unparalleled.

Obviously, it would have been a great experience to have been part of Israel’s exodus from Egypt.

Many generations later, Jeremiah saw visions of a latter-day event that the Lord said would be as great as the Exodus (see Jeremiah 16:14-16; Jeremiah 23:3-8).  Elder LeGrand Richards said that the fishers and hunters described in Jeremiah 16:16 are missionaries of the Church (Ensign, June 1971, 98-99).   Think about what fishers and hunters have in common with missionaries – see Matthew 4:18-19.

Jeremiah 16:15 and Jeremiah 23:3 - The event described here is the gatherring of Israel and the growth of the Church.

Jeremiah 23:4 - The shepherds spoken of here are priessthood leaders and other Church leaders.

Jeremiah 23:5-6 - The King spoken of here is Jesus Chrisst.

These events are as great as the Exodus.

 

God will write his law in the hearts of his people.

 

The children of Israel relied on Moses to receive revelation for them during their sojourn in the wilderness.

Numbers 11:29 - Moses expressed great longing because he wanted the people to learn God’s law and learn to listen to the Spirit for themselves.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 - The Lord promised to establish his covvenant in the latter days and everyone would know him. (See also Ezekiel 11:17-20; Ezekiel 36:24-28; 2 Corinthians 3:2-3.)

 

Our behavior is affected when we have God’s law written in our hearts. This helps us obey specific commandments, such as:

·         Loving our neighbors.

·         Honoring our parents.

·         Being morally clean.

·         Keeping the Sabbath day holy.

·         Choosing appropriate movies, television programs, books, and magazines.

·         Wearing modest clothing.

·         Selecting suitable music.

 

Joseph Smith was once asked how he successfully governed so many people. He said, “I teach the people correct principles and they govern themselves” (quoted by John Taylor, in Journal of Discourses, 10:57-58).  This statement relates to having God’s law written in our hearts.

Jeremiah 29:10-14 - Jeremiah prophesied that 70 years afteer the people of Judah would be taken captive into Babylon, they would return to their homeland and once again live in harmony with God (NOTE:  the fulfillment of this prophecy is discussed in lesson 47).

Jeremiah 29:12-14 - According to these verses, we can draw close to God as we call upon him, pray to him, seek him, and search for him.  The words call, pray, seek, and search imply something about the attitude we should have as we strive to draw near to God.  We must be humble, diligent, and sincere if we wish to draw closer to heavenly Father.

 
Now is the time to repent

The Lord’s mercy is always extended to those who repent. However, people who postpone repentance may find it increasingly difficult to repent.

President Joseph F. Smith taught: “The man with accumulated and unforgiven wrong behind him may find all retreat cut off and his condition in the world hopeless; and he who recklessly cuts off every opportunity of retreat by the neglected evils of the past is most unfortunate. The daily practice, then, of seeking divine mercy and forgiveness as we go along, gives us power to escape evils” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 374).

 

The following passages teach about the importance of hearing the word of the Lord and repenting promptly:

Jeremiah 5:1-5, Jeremiah 5:21-25 – hypocrisy and rebellion were prevalent; they would not hear or see

Jeremiah 6:10-17 – the downfall and destruction of Jerusalem were prophesied

Jeremiah 7:23-28 – disobedience prevailed and the people hearkened not

Jeremiah 8:6-12, Jeremiah 8:20 “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”

Jeremiah 13:11, Jeremiah 13:23 – still the people refuse to hear the Lord

Jeremiah 17:23 – the people refused to receive instruction

 

Hearkening to the words of the prophets

Jeremiah 7:13; Jeremiah 25:3-4; Jeremiah 26:2-5; Jeremiah 32:33 - Jeremiah frequently recorded that the people had not hearkened to his words.

Think about how we individually and as a Church follow the words of the latter-day prophets.  Might we need to follow more diligently to be found worthy of the Lord’s blessings?

 

Repeating the sins of previous generations

Jeremiah 11:1-12 - Jeremiah warned the Jews of his day thhat the sins they committed were the same sins for which past generations had been severely punished.

Jeremiah’s generation would not learn from the sins of their forefathers, even when the punishment for those sins was so clearly documented.  Think about why that might be so and then consider how we might benefit more fully from lessons learned by previous generations of God’s covenant people.

 

The importance of trusting in God

Jeremiah 17:5-8 – Here, comparisons are made between people who trust in man and people who trust in God.  People who trust men and the arm of flesh are cursed and their hearts depart from the Lord. They are such that will not see good come, but they shall be left in the desert and the wilderness.  On the other hand, those who put their trust in the Lord will prosper and grow strong—strong enough to last through tough times and tribulations.

Based on what you have seen, think about which group you fit into and how accurate these comparisons are.

 

False prophets

Zedekiah was a king who wanted prophets to tell him what he wanted to hear.

Jeremiah 28:1-4; Jeremiah 37:19 – As a consequence of the king’s attitude, many false prophets promised that Jerusalem would not fall.

Today many false prophets come “in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15), telling people what they want to hear in modern terms.

Think about what messages today’s false prophets might try to convey.

Think very carefully about how we can avoid being led astray by false prophets.

 
Conclusion

We live in a time that Jeremiah and many other prophets have looked forward to with rejoicing. It is our opportunity to participate in the gathering of Israel and to have the law of God written in our hearts.

 

These lessons are posted on the Internet at http://www.geocities.com/jeninstitute/