READ: Jeremiah 11-12
THINK: Does it ever seem like serving God can be a tough way of life? At the same time, does it appear that people who don't care about God enjoy an ease of life that eludes you? Jeremiah wrestled with these issues. He contrasted his own suffering with the apparent prosperity of people who defied God. He wondered why God delayed judgment on such people, while allowing faithful people to suffer-often from mistreatment by ungodly people. Coming to grips with the material success of wicked people has been a recurring struggle for God's followers through the ages. The problem comes when we look at things from a faulty perspective of temporary, worldly rewards and punishments as opposed to eternal judgments, by which God will set everything right.
RESPOND: What covenant does God refer to in chapter 11? (See 11:3 note.) What benefits would the people enjoy if they obeyed the covenant (11:4-5)? What did Israel and Judah have in common regarding God's covenant (11:10)? Why did God instruct Jeremiah not to pray for the people? (See 11:14 note.) What were the men of Anathoth telling Jeremiah? (See 11:19-23 note.) What difficult question troubled Jeremiah in 12:1-2? (See 12:1-4 note.) How did the lives of many wicked people compare to what Jeremiah was experiencing? Why do you think God allows such seeming injustice? Why was it crucial for Jeremiah's faith to grow through the current opposition (12:5)? (See 12:5 note.) How did Jeremiah's family respond to him (12:6)? (See 12:6 note.) How did God feel about the people's spiritual condition and the judgment they brought on themselves? (See 12:7-13 note.) What hope did God give for the future (12:15-16)? (See 12:16-17 note.) What happens to nations that don't listen to God (12:17)?
PRAY: Pray for compassion and boldness toward those who would like to suppress your faith and silence your witness. Pray that you'll not envy ungodly people, regardless of how easy some seem to have it or how difficult things may be for you at times.
ACT: Do your best to be gracious to those who tend to oppose, reject or mistreat you. Don't let peer pressure keep you from speaking out or reaching out to others with God's love and message. Don't back away from doing things or being involved in things that honor God. Be kind and helpful to all of your family members.
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