READ: Jeremiah 41-43
THINK: Would you welcome a word from the Lord? Most Christians would certainly claim to be ready to respond if God had a message for them. Those who approached Jeremiah after Jerusalem's fall felt that way. Facing tough and uncertain times, they seemed desperate to hear from God, regardless of whether the message was favorable or unfavorable. But when the word wasn't what they expected and didn't agree with their intentions, it became apparent that their minds were already made up to do what they felt was best. Many churchgoers respond this way to God's Word. Though He's made His intentions clear, the message isn't always easy to take, so people pick and choose what they want to apply. But those who strive to fully obey God's Word find that it never fails. Only as we center our lives on the Word will we experience the fullness of God's blessing, protection and eternal life.
RESPOND: Why do you think Ishmael acted as he did against the Babylonian appointees and even against some fellow Jews? (See 41:12 note.) Why did Ishmael slaughter people who came to worship, and what did this reveal about his motives (41:6-10)? (See 41:7 note.) Why did the people look to Jeremiah for help and prayer at the beginning of chapter 42, and how did he respond? (See 42:1-22 note.) Did the people really intend to follow the message God gave Jeremiah (42:5-6,19-21)? Why or why not? (See 42:1-22 note.) What did God instruct the people to do (42:8-10), and what assurance did He give if they obeyed (42:11-12)? What would happen if they disregarded God's message and fled to Egypt (42:13-18)? Why do you think the people went to Egypt, despite God's warning (43:1-7), and how is their example a warning to us? (See 43:2 note.) After disregarding Jeremiah, why do you think they took him to Egypt? (See 43:7 note.) How would God's judgment catch up with them in Egypt (43:10-13)?
PRAY: Pray that you'll always follow God's instructions, regardless of whether He says what you want to hear.
ACT: Are you in any way doing something contrary to what God told you in prayer or showed you in His Word? Regardless of whether you've experienced any apparent consequence yet, do they right thing. Repent for disobeying and do what God wanted you to do in the first place, regardless of your feelings or understanding.
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