July 12, Thursday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Two Lives Lived Differently: Jeremiah and Pashhur” 

Jeremiah 20:1-4, 6

When Pashhur the priest, the son of Immer, who was chief officer in the house of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, 2 Pashhur had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put him in the stocks that were at the upper Benjamin Gate, which was by the house of the Lord. 3 On the next day, when Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “Pashhur is not the name the Lord has called you, but rather Magor-missabib. 4 For thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I am going to make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; and while your eyes look on, they will fall by the sword of their enemies. 6 And you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house will go into captivity; and you will enter Babylon, and there you will die and there you will be buried, you and all your friends to whom you have falsely prophesied.’”

In this morning’s passage, we get to see how Pashhur the priest finishes his life. Pashhur had great influence being the chief officer in the temple of the Lord. However, his role in Jerusalem did not spare him from the destruction and years of exile that Judah was about to face. After hearing of Jeremiah breaking the clay jar as a message to Judah of impending judgment, Pashhur was angry at Jeremiah and put him in prison overnight. After a painful and humiliating night, Jeremiah was released and foretold Pashhur the terrible pain he was about to experience. He would not only be taken into exile along with Judah, but he and his household would also die in exile. The main reason for a painful end to his life is that he falsely prophesied to many people while being entrusted with the role as a priest. The words he spoke stuck with many of his friends, and they also would be buried in exile.

The name Pashhur means “ease, tranquility,” and the name that the Lord is now giving him is Magor-missabib, which means “terror on every side.” Pashshur’s ministry for a length of time brought him great ease and freedom as his hearers like what he prophesied. Though his words sounded good to them, they were false prophecies resulting in blindness towards the uncomfortable, yet true words of God and the need to repent and return to the Lord. As a result of opposing God and misleading God’s people, Pashhur now faces the terror of the exile.

In contrast, though Jeremiah faced overwhelming opposition in fulfilling God’s call, he treasured God’s message in his heart and was faithful to proclaim it in his lifetime. In a previous passage, Jeremiah proclaimed to God regarding the unpopular message he would have to say to Judah, “Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts” (Jer. 15:16). This morning, let us consider the example of Jeremiah, who persevered in following God’s call in the midst of unease and hardship.  

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank You that You have called me by Your name to be in a relationship with You and to fulfill a special purpose in my lifetime. Increase my strength to complete the work that You have entrusted to me, and enable me to persevere faithfully until the end. In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Daniel 3


Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22: Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.

Questions to Consider

  1. Why did Paul emphatically instruct them to not quench the Spirit?
  2. Why is it important not to despise prophetic utterances?
  3. How does Paul instruct the Thessalonians to respond to those who give words of prophecy?

Notes

  1. Evidently, some people in the church displayed the attitude of despising prophecy. A likely reason is that some people in their midst had misused the gift in some way, leading to hardened hearts; therefore, they wanted to get rid of prophetic utterances altogether.
  2. When we despise or resist prophetic utterances, we quench (put out, extinguish) the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst. The Holy Spirit has given prophecy as a gift to the church to build up the church.
  3. He instructs them to examine and to discern, instead of to reject. To discern means to recognize that there are both genuine prophetic utterances that the Holy Spirit gives to church members, but there are also utterances that are not from the Holy Spirit. The key is to discern the words in light of the truth of Scripture. If the utterances and the one speaking exudes the fruit of the Spirit, then that is “good” and we must hold fast to it; otherwise, we shouldn’t tolerate anything that doesn’t align with the truth of Scripture or reflect the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control).

Evening Reflection

1 Peter 4:13: “But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

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