upset man August 10 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Daniel 3; Jeremiah 12:7-17; 19:14- 20:18

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Many Americans remember the children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, written by Judith Viorst and published in 1972. In an adult version, imagine that your dog bites you, you run out of coffee, your spouse leaves you, someone lies about you so that you lose your job, the mortgage company is repossessing your house, your car dies, and the big screen television quits all on the same day. As an American, you just might agree that you have had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Does God care?

Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego (the three friends who were exiled with Daniel) and Jeremiah all experienced their terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. The three friends of Daniel were exiled in Babylon. They had recently been promoted from captives to administrators over the province of Babylon, but they had some jealous enemies. When King Nebuchadnezzar, in his pride, built a statue of gold ninety feet high and nine foot wide as a tribute to himself, they saw their opportunity. Nebuchadnezzar wanted all people in the kingdom to bow down to this image whenever music was played, but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were faithful Jews who only worshipped the true God of heaven and earth. They were given one last chance to bow to the image or be thrown into a fiery furnace. This would not be a hard choice for most people; most people would make the compromise and preserve their lives. However, these three notable Jews answered,

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV)

Wow, what nerve these guys had!

Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace,
(Daniel 3:19-21, NIV).

This was definitely a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day! Were they burned up? No. They were thrown into the fiery furnace, but they were released and miraculously protected by a spiritual being that many believe to be a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ, or at least an angel. God was with them in the fire, and he can be with you in the fires of your tribulations. When the men of God came out, not a hair of their bodies was burned, and they did not even smell of smoke. They were miraculously protected, causing Nebuchadnezzar to praise the God of heaven. Who else could deliver in such a way? God is able to deliver us, too, but if he chooses not to, he will help us bear our circumstances. That story had a happy ending, and God was glorified.

While God was sovereignly working in Babylon, Jeremiah was still in Jerusalem having some terrible, horrible, no good very bad days of his own. He had been commissioned by God to deliver messages of judgment upon the nation of Judah and its surrounding nations and was, therefore, extremely unpopular with the people. By this time, Nebuchadnezzar had already raided Judah twice, carrying away the most prominent people and treasuries, and yet Jeremiah was still telling the people that they would be destroyed unless they repented. The time of God’s long-suffering patience had just about ended.

The people did not like Jeremiah’s words. They deceived themselves into believing false prophets, who said they would soon have deliverance, and that Babylon would return all the people and possessions which Nebuchadnezzar had taken. When Jeremiah spoke of further judgment and destruction they wanted to shut him up – permanently. Time after time, however, God protected him, and they failed. On a particular day, after completing a mission to preach to the city of Topheth, he returned to preach at the temple in Jerusalem.

When the priest Pashhur son of Immer, the chief officer in the temple of the LORD, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin at the LORD's temple.

The next day, when Pashhur released him from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “The LORD's name for you is not Pashhur, but Magor-Missabib. For this is what the LORD says: ‘I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; with your own eyes you will see them fall by the sword of their enemies. I will hand all Judah over to the king of Babylon, who will carry them away to Babylon or put them to the sword. I will hand over to their enemies all the wealth of this city-- all its products, all its valuables and all the treasures of the kings of Judah. They will take it away as plunder and carry it off to Babylon. And you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house will go into exile to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you have prophesied lies,’” (Jeremiah 20:1-6, NIV).

As one might expect, Jeremiah was tired of being harassed and persecuted for being God’s messenger. In fact, he tried not to speak the words of God, but the words of God were like fire within him - he could not remain silent. He had to do God’s bidding, though he would suffer hardships and shame. Our next lesson shows us one of the ways God destroyed Judah.

Lessons to live by:

  • God is with believers through the fires of their tribulations. Are you a believer in God? He can give you forgiveness, spiritual life, and peace in your soul, even in times of trouble (more...)
  • God is sovereign; he rules over all kingdoms and people.
  • God is able to deliver us, but if he chooses not to, he will help us bear our circumstances.

Today’s Bible memory verse: 1Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (NIV)

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