Bible Lesson: Jehoiakim disrespected Jeremiah's warning from the Lord

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Bible Lesson - Jehoiakim disrespects Jeremiah
This lesson was prepared for a small group of children ranging from 5-11.  It was my supplement for the Gospel Project lesson and could also be used in the series of Israel’s Kings.  The students discover from this lesson that God warns of His coming punishment so that people might repent and turn away from their sin and turn to Him for forgiveness through faith in Jesus.
Scripture:  Jeremiah 36
Bible Story Title:  Jehoiakim disrespected Jeremiah’s warning from the Lord
Memory Verse:  Hebrews 2:1 “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”
Target Age Group:  Ages 6-11 (K-5th Grade U.S.A.)
Target Time Frame: 60 Minutes
Original Teaching Context: Sunday School
Supply List:  Bibles, activity pages, crayons, markers, pens, calculator paper (or small strips of paper) and yarn/string to make scrolls for the scroll activity.
Learning Goal:  Students will learn that God uses Jeremiah to warn His people of the punishment for their sin so that they might repent and turn away from their sin and be forgiven. 
 Learning Activity # 1:  Activity/coloring pages.  Use this time to talk with the students about their week and guide the conversation towards spiritual conversations (example:  How did you see God answer your prayers this week?  If the student shared about being sick say, “I am thankful that God healed you from your illness, etc.)
Learning Activity #2:  Before class, create little scrolls using calculator paper or slips of paper you can roll up.  Use verses that refer to God’s Word.  These are the ones we are using for our class:  Proverbs 30:5; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 4:4; Psalm 119:16; Psalm 119:89; Numbers 23:19
Optional: Our website has several Jeremiah coloring pages.

Bible Lesson: Jehoiakim disrespected Jeremiah’s warning from the Lord

(Begin with prayer)
Let students choose a scroll and take turns reading what their scroll says.  What do these verses have in common?  (They are all about God’s Word) What did you hear about God’s Word? (It is forever, we shouldn’t forget it, we should live by God’s word, it never perish/wither/fades, it’s true, what God says He will do)
Our Bible lesson today is found in Jeremiah 36.  Jeremiah was a prophet.  God gave Jeremiah His message to share with His people living in the land of Judah.  In our lesson today Jeremiah had been speaking to Judah for 23 years.  (Jeremiah 25:3) He began speaking God’s messages when King Josiah (a king who did what was right in the sight of the Lord) had been king for 13 years.  Now Jehoiakim was the king of Judah and he had been ruling for 4 years.  Jehoiakim was not like Josiah.  He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. (2 Chronicles 36:5)
In Jeremiah 36 God told Jeremiah to take a scroll and write on it all the words that He had spoken to Jeremiah about Israel, Judah and all the nations for the last 23 years.  Let’s read Jeremiah 36:3.  “It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the disaster that I intend to do to them, so that every one may turn from his evil way, and that I may forgive their iniquity and sin.”
This verse is a reminder of what we have been learning about how God deals with sin.  We have been learning that God must punish sin but He is gracious and patient so that people can repent and turn away from their sins and be forgiven.
Jeremiah asked a man named Baruch to come help him.  As Jeremiah spoke God’s words, Baruch carefully listened and wrote down every word on a scroll.
After all the words from the Lord had been written on a scroll, Jeremiah said, “Baruch, I am not allowed to go to the temple.  You must take this scroll to the temple and read all the words that are written to the people who are gathering there for a day of fasting. It may be that they will call out for God’s forgiveness and turn away from their sin when they realize how great their punishment is going to be because of their wickedness.”
Baruch went to the temple as Jeremiah asked and read all the words of the scroll at the temple.  While Baruch read from the scroll a man named Micaiah heard the words from the Lord. He went to King Jehoiakim’s house and told the officials that served the king all the words he had heard Baruch read.
The officials sent Jehudi to ask Baruch to come and read the scroll so they could hear for themselves.
Baruch came and read all the words from the scroll and when the officials heard all the words, they turned to one another in fear.  They said, “We must report all these words to the king!”
The officials asked Baruch if Jeremiah was the one who spoke the words for Baruch to write on the scroll.  He told them that Jeremiah had indeed spoken all the words that were written down by Baruch.
The officials took the scroll and put  it in a room where Elishama the secretary stayed and told Baruch to go hide with Jeremiah. After Baruch left, the officials went and told the king all the words they heard.
King Jehoiakim sent Jehudi to get the scroll and read it to him.  As Jehoiakim sat in his winter house, his officials stood around him.  He had a fire pot burning to keep the room warm.  Jehudi stood before Jehoiakim and read the words from the scroll.
When Jehudi read from the scroll Jehoiakim would take his knife and cut off what had been read from the scroll and toss it into the fire.  Jehudi would read more words from the scroll; Jehoiakim would cut off the scroll and throw it into the fire until the entire scroll had been burned by the fire.
The king and his servants were not afraid of any of God’s Words.  Not one of them tore their robes and humbled themselves before God.  When some of the men in the room urged Jehoiakim not to burn the scroll he would not listen to them.
Instead of repenting and turning away from his wickedness and turning to God for forgiveness Jehoiakim commanded his son to go and capture Jeremiah and Baruch.  Jeremiah and Baruch could not be found because the Lord had hid them (Jer. 36:26)
After Jehoiakim burned the scroll with God’s words on it, the Lord told Jeremiah to take another scroll and write all the words that were on the first one. God wanted Jehoiakim to know that because he would not listen to the words that God had spoken he would be punished.  He would die and not one of his family members would be king.
Jeremiah spoke God’s Words and Baruch wrote them on a scroll and once again Baruch wrote down all the words that were spoken.
God had been so patient with His people.  He sent many prophets like Jeremiah to warn His people of the punishment of sin.  He wanted them to know they were in danger so that they might repent and turn from their sin and be forgiven. 
Jehoiakim showed disrespect to God and His Word by cutting up the scroll and throwing it into the fire.  He may have thought that by destroying God’s warning it would keep God’s punishment from happening.  Destroying the scroll didn’t keep God’s punishment from happening.  God kept His Word to punish His people for their wickedness. A few years later King Nebuchadnezzar from Babylon came and captured Jehoiakim and bound him in chains and took him to Babylon. (2 Chronicles 36:5-8)
Today we have read from God’s Word.  God warned His people that they would be punished for their sins and was patient so that they might repent and turn away from their sins and be forgiven.
We all must hear and understand this message too.  All people have sinned and must be punished for their sins. (Romans 6:23) The punishment for our sins is to die and be separated from God forever.  The good news is:  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Jesus the sinless Son of God died on the cross in our place for our sins.  He was buried and rose again 3 days later.  All who turn to God and believe that Jesus died for their sins are forgiven and will spend the rest of their days on this earth and forever in heaven in a relationship with God. How you and I respond to this message of the gospel will determine where we will spend the rest of our lives after we die.
Finally if you are a follower of Christ and have been forgiven of your sins let’s think about how we treat God’s Word.  Most of us have our very own copy of God’s Word.  Do we treasure His Words by reading, studying and obeying what we learn?  Do we ignore His Word by not reading/listening to what His Word teaches?  Do we handle our Bibles with care or do we toss them around like they are an old toy?  We may not take a knife and cut up God’s Word and throw it in a fire but our attitudes and actions toward the Bible show whether we respect and honor God’s Word.  If we do our best to read and understand and obey God’s Word we show that we respect and honor His Word.  When we don’t make time or don’t even pay attention when His Word is being read we show disrespect to God and His Word.
Close in prayer.
Review Questions: 

  1. What did God tell Jeremiah to do?  (Write all the words he had spoken to Israel, Judah and the nations)
  2. Why did God continue to warn His people they were going to be punished? (He wanted them to repent and turn away from their sin and be forgiven so they wouldn’t have to be punished)
  3. Who wrote down the words that Jeremiah spoke on the scroll? (Baruch)
  4. Why did Jeremiah send Baruch to the temple to read the scroll instead of going himself? (He was not allowed to go to the temple)
  5. How did the king’s officials respond when Baruch read the scroll to them?  (They turned to one another in fear and said “We must report all these words to the king.”)
  6. What was King Jehoiakim’s reaction to hearing all the words Baruch read from the scroll? (He cut the scroll and threw it into the fire)
  7. (True or False) Now that God’s Words had been burned in the fire, God wouldn’t punish His people for their sins.  (False)
  8. What did God tell Jeremiah to do after Jehoiakim burned the first scroll? (Write all the words of the first scroll in a new scroll)
  9. What do you need to change in your life in response to hearing this lesson from God’s Word?

Image courtesy of Sweet Publishing and Distant Shores Media

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