READ: Jeremiah 34-35
THINK: Have you ever tried to make a deal with God, promising to do something in exchange for a desirable opportunity or favor from Him? Perhaps you thought that if you did something good or made a personal sacrifice, God would respond to your wishes, or maybe He would overlook some questionable or disobedient action. If you've ever tried this, you've likely found that God cannot be manipulated, and He's particularly displeased when people misuse His Word for self-serving requests and interests. God wants you to obey Him without compromise and do what's right without being coerced. Then you can claim with integrity the promises of His Word and enjoy the peace and prosperity that comes from fulfilling His purposes for your life.
RESPOND: What was about to happen to Jerusalem and the surrounding towns, and what warning did God give King Zedekiah? What did Zedekiah hope to accomplish by freeing the slaves (34:8-10), and how was he taking advantage of God's law? (See 34:8 note.) How does this show how we can't bargain with God or get right with Him by keeping His laws? (See 34:8 note.) What's the only way to be right with God? What did the people prove by taking back their slaves? (See 34:11 note.) What would happen because the people broke their covenant with God and their fellow countrymen (34:15-20)? Who were the Racabites (ch. 35), what was their lifestyle, and why? (See 35:2 note.) How did God test the Racabites, and why did they refuse the wine? (See 35:6-11 note.) How did God use the Racabites as an example regarding Judah's relationship with Him (35:12-16)? How are the Racabites an example to you? (See 35:6-11 note, subpoint 2.) How did God reward the Racabites for their faithfulness? (See 35:19 note.)
PRAY: Give thanks for the freedom you have through your personal relationship with Jesus. Pray that you would live with the kind of discipline and faithfulness demonstrated by the Racabites.
ACT: Have you tried to make a deal with God in an attempt get something from Him or to win His favor by some sort of work or sacrifice other than what He's asked of you? If so, quit trying to bargain and simply obey God, regardless of whether it's convenient. Be sure you're serving God out of love, not simply a sense of obligation.
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