Monday, October 23, 2017

October 23: Jeremiah 42 – 44:23; Psalm 92 – 93; Proverbs 26:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:1-21



Overview

            Jeremiah: Johanan and the people came to Jeremiah and asked him to pray for them so they would know which way to go. Jeremiah said he would pray to the Lord and tell them everything the Lord tells him. The people said they would obey whatever the Lord tells them to do. Ten days later, the Lord answered and Jeremiah told the people. They were to remain in the land to build it up because God will plant them. They are not to fear the king of Babylon because the Lord will deliver them. If they disobey and go to Egypt to escape war and famine, everything they fear will follow them. You will die there without survivors. In the same way his wrath was poured out on Jerusalem, he will pour it out on those who go to Egypt. They will die by sword, famine, and pestilence in Egypt.
            Johanan and the other leaders told Jeremiah he was lying. They said Baruch turned Jeremiah against the people to hand them over to the Babylonians and go into exile. They took all the people and Jeremiah and went to Tahpanhes in Egypt.
            The Lord told Jeremiah to take stones and set them in the pavement in front of Pharaoh’s palace in Tahpanhes. The Lord would bring Nebuchadnezzar, his servant and set his throne above the stones. He will defeat Egypt, causing death by sword and pestilence. He will take captive others. He will burn and carry away all the gods of Egypt burning their temples.
            The Lord spoke to Jeremiah about the Judeans who were in Egypt. He saw all the disaster the Lord brought on Jerusalem because they served other gods. They were warned but didn’t listen. The Lord asks them why they still don’t listen but make offerings to the gods of Egypt and bring the curse on themselves. They have not humbled themselves or obeyed the Law. Therefore, the Lord will kill all the remnant of Judah. They will be punished like Jerusalem. They will not return to Judah.
            The men who knew their wives made offerings to other gods and the women told Jeremiah they would not listen to the Lord. The would do what they vowed, by making offerings to the queen of heaven just like everyone did in Judah and Jerusalem. Then they had plenty of food and prospered, lacking nothing. Since they stopped making offerings to her, they have had sword and famine. The women said their husbands knew they were doing this.
            Jeremiah answered them and told them that all the disaster was because God knew what they were doing. The Lord could no longer stand all their abominations and their sins. That is why the disaster came on them.
            Psalm 92: This is a song for the Sabbath. It is a time to praise God for his faithfulness with music and song. It is a time to extol God’s works because stupid people do not understand the end of the wicked, God’s enemies. It is a time to praise God for his care and provision for the righteous to whom he gives long life and declare God’s righteousness.
            Psalm 93: This Psalm praises God for his majesty as he reigns supreme over all creation. God is eternal and has always reigned. He is omnipotent and is greater than floods or thunderstorms. His decrees are trustworthy and he is forever holy.
            Proverbs: Sometimes, you have to whip a horse to make it obey and a bridle is needed for a donkey. So, a fool needs similar physical correction with a rod. Don’t answer a fool with foolishness or you will be just like him. Instead answer the fool simply or he may think he is right.
            2 Timothy: Paul urges Timothy to be strengthened by Jesus’ grace so he can teach others what he has been taught and they, in turn can teach others. Be ready to suffer as a soldier for Jesus. Don’t let worldly goals distract from pleasing the Lord. Like an athlete, keep godly rules including working hard for a harvest like a farmer. Meditate on these things to gain understanding.
            Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead and descendent of David according to the gospel. Paul is suffering and chained for the gospel, but the gospel isn’t bound. Paul endures suffering to share the gospel with the elect so they will have salvation in Jesus. A trustworthy saying is that if we die with Jesus we will live with him. If we endure we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us and if we are faithless, he will still be faithful because he can’t deny himself.
            Timothy is to remind his people these things. He is to command them not to become fussy over words. He is to handle God’s word with truth and not be ashamed. He is to avoid irreverent babble that leads to ungodliness that spreads like gangrene. Some are lying and saying the resurrection has already happened. They upset some people’s faith. But God has sealed his own and they won’t waver. Those who call themselves Christians should leave sin behind.
            In a house there are vessels for honorable use and dishonorable. If you clean up your act after getting saved, you will be like an honorable vessel, holy and useful for the master and every good work.

What Stood Out

            Jeremiah: “As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you” (Jer 44:16).
            Psalm: “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High” (Ps 92:1).
            Proverbs: “Answer not a fool according to his folly … Answer a fool according to his folly” (Prov 26:4-5).
            2 Timothy: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15).

Insight

            Jeremiah: It is very evident that those who survived Jerusalem’s destruction had not repented from their sins in any way. Twice, they unashamedly tell Jeremiah that they won’t listen to what God tells them. The first time, they swore they would obey what the Lord told them but when it turned out to be something they didn’t like, they accused Jeremiah of lying so they could go to Egypt as they wanted. The second time, Jeremiah warned them they were going to be wiped out while in Egypt. They didn’t even make an excuse this time. They had become so hardened that they told Jeremiah they would not listen to God’s word but would continue to make offerings to the queen of heaven.
            Have you ever encountered people who do this? How about the “Christian” couple who are living together? They tell you that they know that they should be married but won’t do it. How about “Christian” homosexuals who lie by saying that their sin is not an abomination to God. How about the “Christian” who gives little or nothing to the Lord because tithing is “legalistic?” How about each of us when we act selfishly when we should be helping others?
            Every time we make an excuse for our sinful behavior, we are doing the very same thing that the survivors in Egypt were doing. We are telling God we know better than he does and we will continue to do what we want regardless of what God says. The only remedy is to admit our sin, confess it, repent, and ask for God’s forgiveness. We have the assurance that he will forgive and we will be cleansed from our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
            Psalm: Why is it good to give thanks to the Lord and sing his praises?
            One reason is that it reminds us of who God is. He is the Most High. There is no one else like him. He is worthy of our praise and adoration because of who he is. He is robed in majesty and is beautiful beyond our imagination. Even if he didn’t provide one thing for us, he would still be worthy of praise. However, he is who he is, and that is why he does provide for us.
            Another reason to give thanks and sing his praises, it reminds us of who we are. We are totally dependent on our mighty God who has made all things and holds all things together. It reminds us that without him, we wouldn't even exist. It reminds us that we are not holy and can’t save ourselves. He is the only Savior and without salvation through Jesus, we wouldn’t even be able to thank him or praise him.
            Proverbs: Proverbs 24:4-5 seem to be contradictory instructions. Which am I supposed to do, answer the fool or not? These verses are like two sentences with the same words but commas placed between different words. The commas change the meaning of the sentence. The proverbs have a “not” place in the first that makes its meaning quite different.
            Answering according to his folly in Proverbs 26:4 is simply arguing and acting just like the fool. You see it all the time when arguments are nothing but name-calling and insults without any facts or reason.
            Answering according to his folly in Proverbs 26:5 is just the opposite. The fool will make his statement that is foolish. The answer should be clear, concise, and without the emotional excess that stirs up the fool. When the fool responds with fury and foolishness, abstain from any further response. You’ve made your point and you don’t need to have the last word, after all, you are dealing with a fool.
            2 Timothy: Paul keeps spitting out these short instructions and statement about faith. It’s like Proverbs without one idea being necessarily connected to the others. With all of these different instructions, it is important for us do our best to handle God’s word correctly. It is easy to focus on some minor point and get distracted from the major points. I can do that very easily. I would love to write a thesis on irreverent babble or quarreling over words – maybe they are the same. These are important because they are in God’s word, but it is more important to be able know how to handle God’s word. Understanding how to study the Bible and to teach others who can then teach others will go a long way to silencing irreverent babble. It will go a long way to keep people from coming up with false doctrines like the resurrection has already happened or naming a day when Jesus will return.
            Some will not have a desire to be good workmen. They will have their own agenda, just like the survivors who fled to Egypt. The will want to distort and teach lies to deceive and sway some from the faith. However, we can trust the Lord to know who is to be saved and who is not. Our job is to continue to teach the truth and stay away from iniquity.

Application

             I want to be an obedient Christian. While I know that I sin because of my own evil desires, I also know that I can confess and repent when convicted. I want to be able to correctly handle God’s word so that I don’t head of in the wrong direction. I will praise and thank the Lord for who he is.

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