August 17, Friday

The AMI QT Devotionals from August 13-19 are provided by Pastor Barry Kang, who heads Symphony Church in Boston.  Barry, a graduate of Stanford University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Sunny (an amazing worship leader, chef, and math wizard). They are the proud parents of Caleb and Micah.

 

Devotional Thought for Today

“God’s plans are for our good!”

Jeremiah 29:11-14

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Let’s review the circumstances of the Jewish exiles in Babylon:

  • Israel had been living in rebellion against God for centuries, ignoring prophet after prophet who urged them to turn back to the Lord.
  • Finally, God uses Babylon as a means of disciplining Israel. Babylon conquers Jerusalem and destroys the temple.
  • The elites of Jerusalem were uprooted and brought to live in Babylon by their captors.
  • Prophets in Jerusalem and Babylon begin to prophesy that God will bring the exiles back soon and they just need hold on for a little longer. But God, through Jeremiah, categorically denies that these prophets are from Him.
  • Instead, Jeremiah tells the exiles that God wants them to get used to living in Babylon (the enemy state) and even start caring for Babylon (again the enemy).
  • Instead of two years, it will be seventy years before they return. Many of the current exiles hearing this message will not be alive then.

It seems like it’s all bad news so far.  The Jewish exiles were not where they wanted to be, they were not doing what they wanted to be doing, and the when of God’s plan didn’t match their timing.  Then in verse 11, God tells His people that in all of this, He has a plan—a  plan to prosper them, not to harm them, a plan to give them a future and a hope.  His plan was in operation—not in spite of all the bad stuff, but even through the bad stuff.  And this is true for us as well.  God has a plan for us—a plan to prosper us, not to harm us.  A plan for our future and to give us hope.   Sometimes our circumstances may suggest otherwise to our limited perspectives, but the truth is always that God has a plan, and it is always for our ultimate good!  God’s cosmic plan saw its peak in the death and resurrection of Jesus, which means that we don’t have to worry about our tomorrows, because Christ holds that tomorrow in His hands.  Let us seek to submit our plans—all the when’s, where’s, and what’s—to Him today!

Prayer: Father, we thank You for Your love and plan to pour grace and truth into our lives.  No matter our circumstances, help us to trust that Your hands are around us.  I want to be surrendered to Your control, Your timing, and to Your will, knowing that Your ultimate goal is for our welfare.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Esther 6


Lunch Break Study

Read Romans 8:28-31: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Questions to Consider

  1. For whom does Paul say “all things work together for good”?
  2. What kind of “good” do you think Paul is talking about here?
  3. What does passage tell us about the purpose to which we are called (vv. 29-30)?

Notes

  1. Romans 8:28 tells us that the Holy Spirit (c.f. Romans 8:26-27) will work all things for good for “those who love God,” who are also “called according to his purposes.” This is not a general promise of ambiguous good for all people, but specifically for those who love God and live according to His will.
  2. Again, the Bible does not promise general, subjective good for all people. The “good” here in context is our “ultimate good” or “true good”; it cannot mean anything we might see as good, such as pleasure or fame or fulfilled personal ambition.  Rather, the “good” flows out of God’s good purposes.
  3. Romans 8:29-30 tells us that God purposes us through His plan to become like Christ. We are also to become part of one family with Christ as the oldest brother.  Finally, God’s purpose is that we would be justified (i.e. declared “not guilty”) and also glorified!

Evening Reflection

Part of trusting in God’s plans requires that we redefine what we consider to be “good.” Let us reflect upon what we desire (consider to be good) and compare it to what God considers good.  Can we surrender and adopt new definitions of good if necessary?  Journal your meditations.

August 16, Thursday

The AMI QT Devotionals from August 13-19 are provided by Pastor Barry Kang, who heads Symphony Church in Boston.  Barry, a graduate of Stanford University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Sunny (an amazing worship leader, chef, and math wizard). They are the proud parents of Caleb and Micah.

 

Devotional Thought for Today

“God is in control: in His timing”

Jeremiah 29:7

“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.

During my senior year in college, I was in the throes of looking for a job after graduation.  My recruitment had not been going well relative to many of my peers who already had offers, when I received an unusual offer.  The recruiter called and explained that the company had already completed its recruitment and all of their offers had been accepted for the year, but they really liked me and wanted me for the following year. She light-heartedly suggested that I could go back-packing in Europe while I waited.  I was flattered but quickly and firmly told her no.  One year was far too long to wait; I wanted to get started on my career now.

The exiles in Babylon had been hoping to get back to Jerusalem within a couple of years.  They grasped unto prophets who declared such things (cf. Jeremiah 28).  Instead, God told them to get comfortable in Babylon and actually start investing in Babylon!  Now the news was going to get worse.  Seventy years!  As a 21-year old, I didn’t like the idea of waiting one year.  For the exiles, it would take seventy years before God would bring them home.

God’s plans run on God’s timing.  We have to know that.  His timing is not the same as our timing.  Because his perspective is different than our perspective.  Now that I’ve doubled my age from when I was in college, I have a very different perspective on that one year I declined to take off.  Seventy years may seem like a long time, but not when we view it from the lens of eternity (which we will have).  This morning, let us seek to trust in God’s timing for His plans!

Prayer: Father, with my finite perspective, I can be so impatient.  I ask for Your forgiveness for that impatience.  I want to trust in Your timing because I know You have a perfect perspective.  As I understand this more and more, help me to be faithful today and tomorrow and every day after that, because no matter how long I wait, I know that Your timing is best!   In Jesus name, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Esther 5


Lunch Break Study

Read James 4:13-16: Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is the fallacy that James is warning us against? Why is this foolishness (the opposite of wisdom)?
  2. What, instead, should be our approach?
  3. To what extent are you living for your own plans and timing versus the plans and the timing of God?

Notes

  1. James warns us against the foolishness of making plans apart from God. This is foolishness since even tomorrow is not promised to us.  We are not in control of our futures and we are not even ultimately in control of our lives.  To live as though we can be fully in control is to ignore the reality that we are actually not in control.
  2. Our approach, instead, should be to trust in God who is in control, and seek His will to be done rather than our own. In the end, this is the wise and sensible approach to life.
  3. Please take some time to reflect upon these questions.

Evening Reflection

To what extent are you submitting to the plans and timing of God versus your own?  What is God asking you to surrender?  Where is He asking you to be patient?  Please journal your meditations.

August 15, Wednesday

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

“Who is in Control?”

Jeremiah 29:8-9

For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord.

Jeremiah has been delivering some not so great news to a people who really could have used some encouragement. The Jewish exiles in Babylon were in a city where everything—the food, culture, buildings—all screamed, “Not home”! They were in Babylon because Jerusalem had been brutally conquered and ransacked, and the temple was destroyed. The royal line of David was seemingly no more. Good news in their context might have been news that Babylon was going to be punished by God, or that they would be able to return home soon.

And as we read last week, some prophets did in fact prophesy this very thing. But God makes it very clear that the good news that they are prophesying (that they would be able to return to Jerusalem in two years) was not actually from Him.

The very enterprise of prophecy requires some assumptions: first, that there is a God who can speak to us; and second, that this God is in control. While we know this, we allow our cultural, theological biases and personal needs and ambitions to skew how we hear, read and understand the will of God. We often read what we want to read, hear what we want to hear, and see what we want to see. The Jewish exiles chose to listen to these lies, because the prophets were prophesying what the exiles wanted to hear. In turn, the prophets might have been prophesying what they thought the exiles wanted to hear. When we do that, we unconsciously put ourselves, our needs, thoughts and desires, in control.

God is quite clear—He is in control and we are not. There is good news coming for the exiles (we’ll see this later in Jeremiah 29), but it’s only truly good news if it’s actually coming from the God who is in control. False prophets tell us what we want to hear; true prophets tell us what God wants us to hear.

Prayer: Father, I want to hear truly from You. As I read Your word and spend time in prayer, I ask that I would be hearing what You want me to hear, even if it doesn’t seem like good news in that moment. Give me discernment! I want to do Your will, not mine. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Esther 4

 


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read 2 Timothy 4:1-5: I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does it mean “to be ready in season and out of season” to preach the word?
  2. Looking at verse 3, what is a constant danger that people will fall into?
  3. How does Paul encourage us to handle this challenge?

Notes

  1. This means being ready to preach the word regardless of circumstances. Whatever we may feel we are going through, we need to be ready to preach the word, rather than to pursue teaching the things that just suits our needs or desires. As Jeremiah experienced, sometimes God’s word seem contrary to our needs, but still, we are called to preach His word, knowing that it truly is good, regardless of the season.
  2. People often just want to hear what they want to hear. Paul says that people will surround themselves with voices that affirm everything they do. We do not like to be challenged, because it disrupts our comfort. This is a challenge for us as well. What voices are we listening to? Do we ever listen to voices that challenge us in different ways? May we become a people who humbly listen to voices that challenge us in our blind spots!
  3. Paul says to “be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” There is a focus that is required to endure suffering. If our goal is our own comfort, we will be swayed by all voices that affirm our comfort. But when our goal is to pursue Christ, regardless of circumstance, we can endure suffering because we know that it is only temporary. We can see past the short-term pain and see the long-term joy we have with Jesus.

 


EVENING REFLECTION  

Do you seek to control God or are you surrendered to His ways? Is your obedience or faith at all conditional upon certain circumstances or outcomes? Let’s seek to surrender those to the Lord today!

August 14, Tuesday

The AMI QT Devotionals from August 13-19 are provided by Pastor Barry Kang, who heads Symphony Church in Boston.  Barry, a graduate of Stanford University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Sunny (an amazing worship leader, chef, and math wizard). They are the proud parents of Caleb and Micah.

 

Devotional Thought for Today

“Do I care about the city?”

Jeremiah 29:7

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

If we read God’s message to the Jewish exiles in Babylon in Jeremiah 29:1-6 and stopped there, we might think that God was telling Israel to make the most of a bad situation: “You’re going to be here for a while, so make yourself comfortable.”  This, in itself, would have been bad news, especially the news that they were going to be in exile for a while. But verse 7 changes everything!

It was one thing to tell the exiles that they were going to be in Babylon longer than they expected or hoped—but now God was telling them to care about Babylon also! This was like telling Jonah to pray and work for the welfare of Ninevah, or telling Palestinians to pray and work for the welfare of Israel, or telling U.C. Berkeley grads to work for and pray for the welfare of Stanford University!

But what if God is asking us to actually care about and for people we don’t want to care about?  What if He’s asking us to care for people who we may feel are like our enemies?  What if He’s asking us to care for the city in which we live (assuming you live in a city)?  I asked “what ifs,” but of course, these aren’t hypothetical questions—because God loves the world and He is asking us to care about the people around us!

Prayer: Father, I want to learn to pray for my city and its welfare.  Show me today aspects of Your will for where I live. Teach me to love my neighbors (even the ones I don’t like) as myself and to know that in their welfare, I will also find mine.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Esther 3


Lunch Break Study

Read Jonah 4: But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” 10 And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?

Questions to Consider

  1. Compare Jonah 4:2 with Exodus 34:6-7. What do you think Jonah is accusing God of, and why is Jonah so angry?
  2. Why do you think God grew a plant to give shade to Jonah?
  3. What is the lesson that God wants to teach Jonah?

Notes

  1. You may have noticed that Jonah repeats the description that God gives of himself, but omits “but who will by no means clear the guilty….” Jonah is accusing God of being big on grace but soft on justice.  Jonah is angry that God has chosen to forgive Nineveh instead of destroying them.
  2. God grew the plant as a way of giving Jonah something to care for.
  3. God wants to teach Jonah that everything is worthy of his care and mercy. Jonah was upset when a plant that gave him shade was destroyed, but God wanted him to see how much more precious were the many people of Nineveh.  

Evening Reflection

What is the state of your heart in regards to the city in which you live?  What do you love?  What do you hate?  Are you thinking about your long-term impact?  How is God asking you to pray for the city?  Please journal your meditations.

August 13, Monday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from August 13-19 are provided by Pastor Barry Kang, who heads Symphony Church in Boston.  Barry, a graduate of Stanford University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Sunny (an amazing worship leader, chef, and math wizard). They are the proud parents of Caleb and Micah.

 

Devotional Thought for Today

“Are you living like a renter or an owner?”

Jeremiah 29:1-6

These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem. 3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. It said: 4 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.

Do you currently rent or own your home?  Does it matter?  Of course!  No matter how considerate and responsible you may be, you probably won’t care as much about your home as you would if you owned it.  Here’s the thing: whether we own or rent, spiritually speaking, all of us are actually exiles in a foreign land (1 Peter 2:11). We live here, but this isn’t truly our home—which naturally leads to the question: if this is all temporary, why should we care about where we live?

To the exiles in Babylon who were yearning to return home, God is about to give some extraordinary instructions: build houses and live in them—in other words, don’t rent, but buy.  Make an investment! Plant gardens and eat their fruits. Marry and have sons and daughters, that they may have children too. Stick around in one place for a while. Perhaps you might wait to see your children to grow up and have grandchildren. You may recall in Genesis 1, God created humanity with a purpose—to be fruitful and multiply.

While the world we live in is temporary, God does not want us to consider it to be disposable.  Rather than escaping to heaven, our goal is to invest in such a way that the kingdom of heaven comes to earth.  So here’s the question:  how are you investing?

Prayer: Lord, we know that we are spiritual exiles, and that this world is not our true home.  At the same time, we want to see Your kingdom come to earth.  Help me to know how to invest in Your kingdom, to store my treasures in heaven.  Give me eyes to see how I can use my resources for Your purposes.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Esther 2


Lunch Break Study

Read Luke 14:25-33: Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is Jesus asking of the crowd?
  2. What two examples/illustrations does He use? What is the point?
  3. Have you counted the cost of following Jesus? What is He asking you to surrender?

Notes

  1. Jesus is asking that the crowd be willing to sacrifice everything they have in order to follow Jesus.
  2. The two examples Jesus uses here are: (1) someone who began building a tower before calculating if they had the resources to complete it; and (2) a king who surveys whether he can actually win a battle before fighting it. Jesus’ point is that the crowd needs to know whether they are able to pay the cost of following Jesus before they actually do so.
  3. Please pray and supply your own answer.

Evening Reflection  

While we are spiritual exiles in the land, we are still ordered to care and invest in those around us.  Spend some time reflecting and journaling upon the ways that the Lord is asking you to invest for His Kingdom.

August 12, Sunday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The Power of Words”

Jeremiah 28:12-17

Sometime after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke-bars from off the neck of Jeremiah the prophet, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 13 “Go, tell Hananiah, ‘Thus says the Lord: You have broken wooden bars, but you have made in their place bars of iron. 14 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I have put upon the neck of all these nations an iron yoke to serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and they shall serve him, for I have given to him even the beasts of the field.’” 15 And Jeremiah the prophet said to the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie. 16 Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will remove you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have uttered rebellion against the Lord.’” 17 In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hananiah died.

James 3:1: Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

There’s an old John Mayer song in which the chorus says, “My stupid mouth has gotten me in trouble.” When I was in high school, I used to think how true that was, because I would often regret something I had said frivolously. I wonder if Hananiah would have thought that to himself—“My stupid mouth has gotten me in trouble.” Unfortunately, because he spoke foolishly, and there were consequences—he died.

In the book of James, the apostle warns about taking lightly the role of a teacher. Teachers have a platform to speak and their words have power. Hananiah, though not a teacher per se, was a prophet who spoke to people, and thus taught people. But his message was false and he was judged for that. James says that teachers will be judged with greater strictness, because their words have power to lift up others or tear them down. That is a scary warning.

Words have power and the extent to which we have a platform to speak to others, our words have greater power. This is why we all need to be careful with our words. James says that words have the power to bless and also the power to curse (see James 3:9). Each time we speak, we should ask ourselves, Will these words bless or curse those who are listening? Will they build up or tear down? Especially for those in some position of power—whether as a leader, a teacher, or even a parent—ask yourself this: How will my words be received by those under me? Will they instruct and edify, or will they confuse and bring fear?

Though James says that not everyone should be teachers, a teacher is a noble calling. Teachers are necessary to build up others, especially within the church. This is why we should pray for our leaders, pastors, and teachers. We need to pray for God to use the words of those God has called to continue to build up His church. May God use our words and the words of our leaders to bring glory to Jesus and to bring blessing to others!

Prayer: Lord, may the words of our mouths be pleasing to You. So often we speak frivolously and flippantly without realizing how our words may affect others. May we be careful with our words, knowing that our words have the power to both bless and curse. May we see to use our words always to be a blessing to others, all for your glory. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Esther 1

August 11, Saturday

The AMI QT Devotionals for August 5-11 are provided by Doug Tritton. Doug, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is currently serving as a staff at Symphony Church (Boston), while pursuing a M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary.  He is married to Cindy and they are proud parents of Audrey.

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Prophesy!”

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, 6 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. 7 Yet hear now this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. 8 The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. 9 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.”

Prophesying is a dangerous task. Throughout the Bible, and especially in the Old Testament, we read of people prophesying the word of God and paying dearly for it. Old Testament prophets like Jeremiah often were rejected by the people and faced constant threats and abuse. Proclaiming God’s truth is dangerous, because sometimes the truth is not easy to hear. And when people do not like the message of God, they turn their anger toward to one speaking His words. Prophesying truly is a dangerous task.

Yet, though dangerous, prophesying is a crucial task. Throughout history, God has chosen to speak through His chosen people. He didn’t need to use humans, obviously—God has used literal bushes to send his message through. Yet most of the time He has chosen to speak through people. And now, those who believe in Jesus and are filled with the Spirit are all called to prophesy. When the Spirit first fell on the early church, the Apostle Peter preached to Jerusalem by quoting Joel, “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17). Not many prophesied before Christ, but through the Spirit, all believers can serve as messengers of God. We are all called to this dangerous task. Though we should be careful about preaching painful messages like Jeremiah, we should be listening to the voice of God and be willing to boldly speak the words He gives us.

Unfortunately, in our passage, Hananiah was a false prophet. He avoided the danger of prophecy by prophesying a message of peace, a message that was not from God. But Jeremiah confronted him, by declaring that Hananiah was not sent by God. By sharing only what the people of Israel wanted to hear, Hananiah exposed himself as a fraud.

For us, let’s be a people who are bold to prophesy God’s truth. But how? It starts with God. We can only speak the words of God if we actually share a relationship with Him. We can’t expect to prophesy if we are not actually meeting with God and talking with Him regularly. Prophesy requires intimacy, and from a place of intimacy God speaks to us, that we may turn and proclaim His words. Hananiah likely did not have much of a relationship with God, which was why he spoke lies. But as we draw near to God, He will speak to us. So, let’s draw near to God, and let’s seek to be a people who share His words. Prophesy is dangerous, but it is crucial to the faith of God’s people, and it’s a task that builds Jesus’ church.

Prayer: Lord, help us to be bold enough to speak Your words. We do not want to listen to messages of only comfort and peace, but we want to be challenged; we want to grow. Help us to hear You speaking over us, and give us boldness to share what we hear from You. May You use us to build up your church through prophecy. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 12-13