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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hardness of Heart and the Word of God (Jeremiah 43:1-2)

"When Jeremiah finished telling the people all the words of the Lord their God--everything the Lord had sent him to tell them--Azariah . . . and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, "You are lying!"

How people respond to the proclamation of God's Word by God's man tells you much about their spiritual understanding. Those who are "blessed" receive God's Word while those under the judgment of God reject His Word. Judah's response to Jeremiah and his message reveal the hardness of hearts toward God.

Six of the Psalms begin with with "Blessed is the man." At least fifteen other chapters in Psalm describe the man who is "blessed." All of the verses have to do with the role the Word of God plays in a man's life (Psalm 1:1; 2:12; 32:1, 2, 12; 34:8;40:4; 41:1; 65:4; 84:4,5,12; 89:15; 94:12; 106:3; 112:1; 119:1,2 and 128:1,4).
  • Those who fear the Lord delight greatly in His commandments
  • Because they delight in the Word they trust in Him
  • Those who trust in Him know and experience His forgiveness
  • Therefore, they are able to walk in an undefiled way as they fellowship with Him
  • Those walking in fellowship with Him express compassion toward others
It all begins with the Word of God being central in a person's life. Because the Word of God lost its place in the life of Israel many years before, Israel no longer resembles a "blessed" people. Instead of receiving the word of the Lord from His prophet, Jeremiah, they accuse him of lying (in spite of the fact that every prophecy he has given has come to pass). Instead of receiving God's blessing, judgment and destruction are just around the corner for those who've hardened their hearts toward the Lord, His Word, and His prophet.

Chronological Bible reading: Jeremiah 43:1-44:30
  • What were Jeremiah's instructions concerning Egypt?
  • Why do the people want to flee to Egypt?
  • How do the people respond? Anything new? What does this tell you about those who worship idols?
  • What was God's word to the people as they travel to Egypt?
  • Review Proverbs 16:25 and 19:21
  • What picture does Jeremiah paint using the stones? What does this tell you about God?
  • What does God promise will happen to the Jews in Egypt?
  • Review Isaiah 46:9-10
  • What will happen to the remnant?
  • What sign does Jeremiah give the people so that they would know that His threats were not empty?
Psalm 71
  • Describe Jeremiah's circumstance when these words were penned.
  • What is his attitude?
  • If you had been a prophet at that time what temptations might you face?
  • Where does Jeremiah's hope lay?
  • When things are difficult what is the focus of your prayers?
  • What is Jeremiah's focus?
Psalm 116
  • What is Jeremiah's view of God?
  • How does Jeremiah respond to his situation?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the Lord to help you to become the kind of person who can experience the blessing of God.