Jeremiah 28:5-9 - Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to Hananiah the prophet in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the LORD, and the prophet Jeremiah said, "Amen! May the LORD do so; may the LORD make the words that you have prophesied come true, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the LORD, and all the exiles. Yet hear now this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the LORD has truly sent the prophet."
This passage from Jeremiah always makes me laugh. Just to give you a little context—as a prophet of the Lord, Jeremiah has been warning the people about their wickedness, and he has told them that things are only going to get worse in their country if they don't repent. The king of Babylon has already taken away a lot of people, their king, and some of the furnishings of the temple. And he's going to do worse than that, in the near future.
But there's this other man who also claims to be a true prophet. And he is telling everyone, "No, it isn't going to happen. God will bring all those people and things back home really soon, and we will have peace and everything will be hunky-dory."
Jeremiah can't stand it. He even gets a little sarcastic. "Amen!" he says. "I hope the Lord does exactly what you said! But you should remember one thing: in the past, all the real prophets foretold terrible things, like war and famine and sickness. So when a prophet, like you, shows up and foretells peace—well, we're just going to have to wait and see if what you say comes true. Then we will know if the Lord sent you. Because I really don't think so!"
Of course, we know the end of the story. The other prophet was a liar, and what he said did not come true. And when we look at human history, it's still true that only the crooks make promises about an easy life. All those advertisements about doubling your money, losing 50 pounds, or curing cancer—well, they turn out to be lies. Life is harder than that.
That's not to say that good things never happen. God has promised us forgiveness, joy, and everlasting life. What could be better than that?
And yet, all those things come with a heavy price. Oh, not to us, although we will certainly have some suffering along the way. But the real price was paid by the Lord Himself. To give us all those good things, God Himself became a human being and walked the long, hard road to Calvary. He joined in our suffering—no, better than that!—He took our suffering upon Himself, and set us free. He took our place and died our death. And He rose from the dead to share His victory and everlasting life with us, the people He loves.
So yes, life is hard, as we all know, and there are no easy answers. But there is One who has overcome all trouble and evil for us—our Lord Jesus Christ.
THE PRAYER: Lord, when I have trouble, help me to trust in You and not in liars. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. What is one area of life where you wish there was an easy answer?
2. Have you ever been cheated by someone promising you more than they could deliver?
3. Jesus will never lie to you. Why is this comforting?
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