READ: Jeremiah 44-47
THINK: Choices have consequences. The trouble is that we often fail to connect the two. Maybe that's why we're prone to repeat mistakes and struggle with the same sins over and over. Even when suffering terribly as a result of poor decisions and bad behavior, we often fail to realize our responsibility in the matter. The people of Judah had seen their land and lives devastated because of rebellion against God. And yet, after fleeing to Egypt, they picked up where they left off, relying on false gods and doing their own thing, oblivious to the fact that this was the same behavior that brought disaster in the first place. People today are no different. If they think God hasn't done them any favors, they'll keep looking to themselves and other things for satisfaction and security. But eventually, the consequences will catch up with them in unmistakable ways, just as the people in Judah and Egypt discovered.
RESPOND: Why were the towns of Judah deserted and in ruins (44:2-4), how had God warned the people, and how did they respond (44:4-5)? (See 44:1 and 44:5 notes.) Why do you think the people who fled to Egypt were doing the same things that brought disaster on them in Judah (44:8-10)? (See 44:8 note.) Why are people so prone to persist in the same destructive behaviors that have troubled them in the past? Why did the Jews in Egypt refuse to see that worshiping false gods was what brought disaster on them before (44:15-18,22-23)? (See 44:18 note.) How did God encourage Baruch, Jeremiah's secretary (ch. 45)? (See 45:1-5 note.) What was significant about the Babylonians defeat of the Egyptians in 605 B.C.? (See 46:2 note.) How was Egypt's defeat an example to other nations? (See 46:10 note.) What message did God's judgment clearly send about Egypt's false gods (46:25)? (See 46:13 note.) Through judgment on many nations, what hope did God give Israel (46:27-28)? (See 46:27-28 note.)
PRAY: Pray for the wisdom and discipline to avoid repeating sinful behavior, even if it seems to be convenient.
ACT: Are you practicing or participating in any spiritually questionable or compromising behavior-something you're not sure about deep down-yet you justify your actions because things seem to be going okay? Perhaps you've denied your principles for the sake of convenience or because of a perceived benefit. If so, submit your actions to God's scrutiny, be ready to change, and make a choice that you know will honor God.
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