READ: Jeremiah 52
THINK: In all of Scripture there's not a more striking example of someone who served faithfully for so long with no apparent success. On the surface, Jeremiah's entire ministry seemed to have had no positive results. His loyalty to God and love for the people brought only rejection and persecution. Yet Jeremiah boldly fulfilled God's purpose. The people of Judah would have no excuse for their refusal to heed God's Word. Jeremiah warned them well in advance of their destruction, and everything he spoke at God's command came to pass. Taking a stand for God and conveying His message requires humility, boldness and perseverance. It means letting God shape us according to His plan and being prepared for opposition as we follow that plan. Jeremiah is a prime example of someone who relied on God and overcame fear, self-doubt, and rejection to deliver an unpopular message in obedience to God.
RESPOND: What does chapter 52 confirm about Jeremiah and his message? (See 52:1-34 note.) In what way was Zedekiah resisting God's intentions by opposing the king of Babylon (v. 3)? What severe conditions existed in Jerusalem near the end of the Babylonian siege (v. 6)? What happened to Zedekiah and his family (vv. 9-11)? After the Babylonians captured Jerusalem, what happened to the temple and all other important buildings (vv. 12-13)? Who did Nebuzaradan leave behind in Jerusalem when he took many Jews into exile (v. 16), and why do you think he did this? What did the Babylonians do with all the temple furnishings (vv. 17-23)? Who is included in the number of Jewish captives deported to Babylon? How do all these events confirm Jeremiah's prophecies?
PRAY: Give God thanks for the certainty of His Word. Pray that you won't resist God's intentions for you, regardless of the difficulty or whether or not you understand God's reasoning.
ACT: Don't resist God's plans, whether for each individual day or for your overall life's direction. Consider one way in which you need to "soften" or surrender toward God. Perhaps you've resisted Him or been spiritually hard in some aspect of life. Maybe you need to be more sensitive to others, or perhaps you struggle with an attitude that needs changing. Submit to God's work and let Him mold your character to become more like Jesus.
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