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."
Prophets usually tell us bad news; this is what Jeremiah reminds us in this story. After all, it makes sense. God doesn't usually send prophets except when there's trouble coming. Why would He need to send a prophet to say, "Hey, everything's going to be just fine"?
No, if a prophet is telling us exactly what we want to hear, we need to be suspicious. If anyone—politician, pastor or teacher, doctor or sales person—tells us that our lives are going to be completely pleasant and we won't need any courage, faith, or endurance—well, it's time to run away! Because that person is a liar, and we know it. The world doesn't work that way. Live for very long, and you'll suffer. There's no such thing as a free lunch. Someone, somewhere, is going to pay for it.
But what about Jesus, then? What about the message of all the Old Testament prophets together—and John the Baptist, too? They pointed to God's promise to send a Savior, Jesus, who would be God Himself. This Savior would rescue the whole human race from the power of sin, death, and the devil. He would die and rise again to bring us home to God. And now God offers salvation, forgiveness, peace, joy, and everlasting life—all as a free gift to anyone who trusts in Jesus. This is the best news ever.
But what about Jeremiah's warning, then? Is it too good to be true? Where's the catch in this? Where's the suffering? It's right there, at the cross of Jesus. As true Man and true God at the same time, Jesus lays down His life to rescue us all. Through His blood He saves us; and through His death and resurrection He gives us everlasting life. Yes, there is suffering—but God Himself foots the bill for our salvation.
Then what about us—will we ever suffer? Of course we will. Jesus said, "Where I am, there will My servant be also" (John 12:26b), and we can expect to follow in His footsteps. But we will do it with joy, knowing that nobody can ever take us out of Jesus' hands, and we are safe forever.
WE PRAY: Dear Savior, when I suffer, help me to do it to Your glory, in Your service. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. What is the worst kind of suffering—the kind that just happens, or the kind that has a purpose?
2. Why do you think so?
3. How has God used your suffering in some area of life to bring about a blessing?
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