hearing bad news on the phone August 8-9 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Jeremiah 29; 2Kings 24:18-20; 2Chron 36:11-14; Jeremiah. 49:34-39; Jeremiah 23:9-40; Jeremiah 27, 28. Note: Because this is a two day study, it is suggested that today's Bible reading be read on August 8 and the following devotional on August 9.

Accepting Life's Challenges

How do you react when someone gives you bad news like the terminal illness of a loved one, the loss of your house or job, being told that you have will have a long hospital stay, or because of a crime you committed you will have to be incarcerated for a long time? The temptation is to deny it, to grasp on to any hope, and even listen to others tell you what you want to hear. But we know that denying the truth does not really help. The best thing we can do is to accept God’s will and make the best of it. That is what God told the Babylonian exiles to do, and that is what Jeremiah instructed the remnant of people in Jerusalem to do. How did they respond?

Jeremiah, under instructions from the LORD, wrote a letter from Jerusalem to the exiles that were taken to Babylon. Did he write them and say, “see, I told you so”? No, the LORD’s message for those in Babylon was for them to accept their punishment and make the best of it. He told them to

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:5-7, NIV).

There were, however, prophets with them in exile telling them that they would soon be going back home and taking all the articles of the temple with them. What about them? In summary, God said, They are not my prophets. Don’t listen to their lies. After seventy years and when your hearts have changed, I will bring you back to the land. The land and people of Jerusalem you now know will be plagued, wither and die. There is no hope for it or them because of their wickedness. All this has come upon you and them because you have not listened to me and repented. Those who prophesy lies to you will also die. The message was not what they wanted to hear. There was a future hope for Israel and Judah, but it was not near. They did not want to accept words of punishment from the scroll of Jeremiah. If the same message were given to our country, would we want to listen?

God was extremely patient and longsuffering with Israel and Judah, but his righteousness demands that sin must not go unpunished. Have we fooled ourselves into thinking God does not see our wickedness? He will punish those who do not repent. Let us live continually in the fear of God and keep short accounts with him when we sin. “He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1John 1:9; more...).

Not only were the exiles deceiving themselves, but the people still living in Jerusalem were as well. They also had false prophets telling them that very soon the exiles would return and the temple articles would return and the yoke of bondage from the Babylonians would be removed. They did not want to listen to the words of judgment from Jeremiah. Jeremiah responded,

Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the LORD. They keep saying to those who despise Me, “The LORD has said, ‘You will have peace’; And as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, They say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you.’ But who has stood in the council of the LORD, that he should see and hear His word? Who has given heed to His word and listened? Behold, the storm of the LORD has gone forth in wrath, Even a whirling tempest; It will swirl down on the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart; in the last days you will clearly understand it.” (Jeremiah 23:16-20, NIV).

Jeremiah, by the Word of God, therefore, encouraged Jerusalem’s submission to the yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. He instructed them not to resist the punishment so that things would go better for them and they would not be destroyed. God also killed the false prophet, Hananiah, in Jerusalem, for prophesying lies. Unfortunately, however, the king and people of Jerusalem continued in further wickedness and would not listen.

Lessons to live by: How should we accept life's challenges?

  • Accept it from the hand of God, whether it is your fault or not.
  • Submit to it, persevere through it, make the best of it, and wait for God to deliver.
  • If we have sinned, we must confess it and forsake it so that we might have God’s mercy and grace (Jeremiah 29:11-13; more...).
  • Trust the LORD; He is faithful, He is Sovereign, and He will accomplish all He sets out to do.

Today’s Bible memory verses: Isaiah 30:15 “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’” (NIV)

praying girl Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to

Previous Lesson  |  Next Lesson

Back to top of page
Return to Chronological Bible Studies main page
Go to Scriptures main page
Go to Topics main page
Go to Home page

Contact Us