READ: Jeremiah 15-16
THINK: Many people love to party. They thrive in social settings and enjoy celebrating with family and friends. That's fine as long as the "good times" are wholesome and healthy and don't lead to things that people should later regret. But regardless of how sociable or fun-loving you are or aren't, consider how you'd feel if you didn't have the opportunity to socialize or celebrate or enjoy support from family and friends. That's what Jeremiah had to sacrifice for the sake of God's message. People already shunned him, but then God asked him to give up the chance to have a family of his own and to refrain from celebrating-or even grieving-with others (ch. 16). His action would illustrate God's warning. The coming judgment left no room for celebration. The people had forsaken the true God, failed to keep His laws, and followed false god's instead. The looming disaster was deadly serious, and party time was over.
RESPOND: How did God respond to Jeremiah's prayer, and why? (See 15:1-9 note.) What did it mean that God wouldn't respond even if Moses or Samuel pleaded for the people? (See 15:1 note.) What does the example of King Manasseh (15:4) indicate about the influence of evil? (See 15:4 note.) According to 15:6-7, why wouldn't God show compassion? How were Jeremiah's opponents treating him at that time (15:10), and how would they approach him in the future (15:11)? (See 15:10 note.) Why did God tell Jeremiah to repent (15:19), and what assurance did He give if Jeremiah kept a faithful and fearless attitude (15:20-21)? (See 15:19-21 note.) In chapter 16, what three restrictions did God place on Jeremiah, and how did they illustrate what was ahead for Judah? (See 16:2-10 note.) Why couldn't Jeremiah join people in mourning or celebration? How was he to respond to people who asked why disaster had come (16:10-13)? Despite the coming judgment, what hope and promise did God give in 16:14-15? (See 16:15 note.)
PRAY: Pray for those who pressure or persecute you because of your faith. Give God thanks for your many blessings, but pray also that you'll put aside anything necessary to influence others for Christ.
ACT: Help or encourage someone who has given you a hard time in the past. Also, is God asking you to give up, put aside, or get involved in something to gain greater influence for Him? If so, do it without hesitation.
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