The prophet Jeremiah had warned the king and people of Judah that they should accept Babylonian rule and live. It was because of their sin that the people of Judah would be forced to accept foreign domination. Another prophet, Hananiah, who routinely told the king what he wanted to hear, was promising that God would restore the nation to sovereignty within two years.
Hananiah made a point of confronting Jeremiah with this prophecy in the midst of the Temple with many people present. His purpose was to cause Jeremiah embarrassment and make him appear a fool. Rather than becoming involved in an argument, the prophet Jeremiah stated that it was his hope that Hananiah was right and that everything would work out just as he said.
Later, Jeremiah was given a word from the Lord and delivered that message privately to Hananiah. Because he had told the people what they wanted to hear rather than the truth God would require his life. Hananiah was dead in less than two months and Judah was taken captive just as Jeremiah said.
Talk of death is unpopular even among believers. We prefer to think that we will live to see the rapture of the Church. Even when a person is on their deathbed we find it hard to accept the inevitable. I recall visiting with Shirley Mondrage just before her death and thinking, hoping, and believing that there was still hope. I know we should never lose hope; still it is not always wise or healthy to ignore the imminent possibility of death.
Without exception, we are all here today because God has spared us. But who is to say that any of us will be here next year? The Lord could return and call His Church away. Or death could come and take us. God knows what we have done with our time and He alone knows our potential. If you knew this was your last year on earth what would you do?
A. What about your relationships?*
- Are there people to forgive? To ask for forgiveness?
- What about the world? Would you sever some ties? Renew others?
B. What about your spiritual life?
- Would you pray more?
- Read and study your Bible more?
- Would you witness to your family, friends, and neighbors?
- Would you tithe your time and resources?
2nd Timothy 4:1-5
Paul encouraged Timothy to:
- Preach the Word!
- Be ready at all times for whatever purpose
- Convince, rebuke, and exhort
If we are where God wants us to be then will our behavior not change. We ought to be prayed up and doing all we can for Christ’s and the world’s sake.