READ: Jeremiah 26-28
THINK: What kind of preaching do you like to hear? In what kind of ministry do you like to participate? Like most, you probably prefer positive, encouraging and uplifting things. That's fine if the situation calls for such a message. But some people pay no attention to anything unless it makes them feel good or entertains them in some way. While God's message is one of ultimate joy and hope, it's also one of uncompromising truth. In a world corrupted by sin, the truth isn't always pretty or preferable, because sin brings judgment. God's message is meant to motivate, whether by encouragement or by warning. When attitudes and actions alienate us from God, His challenge may not be pleasant, but responding positively can spare us from destruction and get us back on track with Him.
RESPOND: Why did God specifically tell Jeremiah, "Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word" (26:2)? (See 26:2 note.) What threat did Jeremiah face for speaking the truth (26:8-11), and how did he respond (26:12-15)? (See 26:8 and 26:12-15 notes.) Why would the people of Jeremiah's day have been wise to follow the example of King Hezekiah in the days when Micah delivered God's message (26:17-19)? What happened to the prophet Uriah (26:20-23), and why? (See 26:23 note.) Though the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar wasn't a follower of God, why was he still God's servant? (See 27:6 note.) Why did Jeremiah tell the people, "So do not listen to your prophets" or the others who claimed to have a supernatural message (27:9)? (See 27:9 note.) Who was Hananiah (28:1), and why did people want to listen to him? (See 28:1 note.) Why do people tend to listen to leaders who preach primarily positive messages, even when people aren't living right and the messages don't line up with God's Word? What ultimately happened to Hananiah, and why? (See 28:13-17 note.)
PRAY: Continue to pray for boldness in the face of the increasing pressure and opposition that you know Christ's followers will face in the days ahead. Pray that you won't be afraid to share Jesus' love and truth.
ACT: Trust God to lead you into a conversation about spiritual matters with someone who doesn't know Jesus. Don't back down from this opportunity, but boldly and graciously talk about your faith in Christ.
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