Friday, October 27, 2017

October 27: Jeremiah 51:1-53; Psalm 99; Proverbs 26:17; Titus 2



Overview

            Jeremiah: God will cause a destroying spirit to come against Babylon to winnow it. Israel and Judah are not forsaken but Babylon is full of guilt. Everyone should flee from Babylon so they don’t get caught up in the punishment. God used Babylon to punish other nations but suddenly Babylon is broken. Leave her because God is vindicating Zion.
            The Lord is going to use the Medes to destroy Babylon in vengeance for his temple. This is planned by the Lord and it will be done. The Lord created the world by his wisdom so that nature works the way it does. Men are stupid and their idols are worthless. They are not like the God of Jacob. Israel is God’s inheritance.
            Babylon was God’s hammer to destroy nations but now it will be repaid for the evil done in Zion. It will be a complete waste. The kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz will be summoned against it. The soldiers stop fighting and messenger run to the king to tell him Babylon has failed on all sides.
            Nebuchadnezzar devoured Zion and now Zion will call for its blood to be taken out on Babylon. It will become a heap of ruins. Its god, Bel, is punished. Nations will no longer follow him.
            God’s people are to leave and not be afraid when one ruler after another captures Babylon. The days are coming when God will put the whole land to shame killing all in its midst. Heaven and earth will sing for joy at its destruction. It must fall because of what it did to Israel.
            God’s people who escape are to remember Jerusalem for they have been put to shame. The Lord will judge Babylon’s images and will not escape.
            Psalm: God is exalted and mighty in his reign. He is enthroned on cherubim. He is holy and loves justice. He establishes righteousness in Israel. He is to be exalted and worshiped.
            Moses, Aaron, and Samuel all called upon God’s name and he answered them. When they did wrong, God forgave them but avenged their wrongdoing. He is holy and to be worshiped.
            Proverbs: Interjecting yourself into someone else’s quarrels is as dangerous as grabbing a strange dog by its ears.
            Titus: Paul instructs Titus to teach sound doctrines and how older men and women should behave in godly ways, self-controlled, and dignified. Older women should teach younger women how to love thier husbands and children as well other godly behavior such as being self-controlled so that people will not speak against the word of God. Younger men should be self-controlled.
            Titus is to be a good model for others. He should make sure his teaching and speech is correct and dignified so that no one can complain or speak evil about him.
            Slave should be submissive to their masters and not causing problems. They should not steal and show good faith, thus showing that God’s doctrines are good.
            God’s grace has come bringing salvation for everyone. It trains us to live godly lives instead of living for our self and our passions. It helps us wait for the return of Jesus who redeemed us from sinfulness and purified us as his own people making us eager to do good.
            Titus is to proclaim these things and rebuke with authority not letting anyone look down on him.

What Stood Out

            Jeremiah: “For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the Lord of hosts,
but the land of the Chaldeans is full of guilt against the Holy One of Israel” (Jer 51:5).
            Psalm: “O Lord our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them,
but an avenger of their wrongdoings” (Ps 99:8).
            Proverbs: “Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears” (Prov 26:17).
            Titus: “It [grace] teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:12 NIV).

Insight

            Jeremiah: The destruction of Babylon for their guilt against Israel and Judah is a reminder to us not to become arrogant. The Lord explains that even though Israel and Judah had done abominable things, they aren’t forsaken but Babylon was.
            God made a lot of promises to Israel and David. Unless God has changed his mind and decided to ignore those promises, we should expect to see them fulfilled at some time in future. Balaam’s rhetorical question in Numbers 23:19 assures us that God doesn’t change his mind or go back on his promises.
            Yes, many of the promises to David are or will be fulfilled in Jesus, but many were made to the nation and haven’t been fulfilled. Many faithful Jews are still looking forward to a time when Israel will be completely restored as a nation and will live in peace. On the other hand, we have many Christian who look at the Bible and say that the promises for Israel are all spiritually fulfilled in the church. I have to take God at his word and if he says Israel is not forsaken, then that means he will bring about a future restored Israel that far exceed their return after the Babylonian captivity and the present-day state of Israel.
            If we doubt the good promises God gave to Israel and those of destruction for Babylon, then how can we trust in his promises of salvation for those who receive Jesus Christ and the promises of eternal hell for those who don’t? The destruction of Babylon is a historical fact so there is no doubt about it. Rather than trying to make up reasons why the promise to Israel hasn’t been completed, we should trust that it will happen and rejoice because the completion of our salvation for eternity with Jesus is sure as well.
            Psalm: Moses, Aaron, and Samuel are three examples of godly men in the Bible. While they were mostly obedient, each had some flaws. Moses struck a rock instead of speaking to it. Aaron was complicit in that as well as molding a golden calf for worship. They both had previous sins as well. The only bad thing recorded about Samuel was his inability to keep his sons honest. They took bribes and perverted justice (1 Sam 8:3). Even though God forgave them, they still had to face the consequences of their sins. We know Moses and Aaron didn’t get to enter the Promised Land. We don’t know what personally happened to Samuel, but Israel wanted a king as a result of his wayward sons.
            God’s holiness, righteousness, and justice will never be compromised. That is why Jesus had to die for our sins. Someone had to pay the penalty and our sinful lives are never enough.
            Proverbs: There are time when we must get involved in another person’s quarrels and there are times when we need to evaluate the situation and know it is better for us to keep out of the picture. An example of the need to help is when there is danger to the quarrelers or those around them. There are times when we see injustice and must step in. However, the warning is still there. We must be prepared and understand we may be injured in the process. There are other times when we see that neither physical harm or injustice will occur because of the quarrel and we should just mind our own business.
            You might say that while we were still sinners, we had a quarrel with God. But Jesus stepped in to resolve the quarrel and he paid the price so that we could be reconciled with God.
            Titus: God’s grace is amazing. We often think about it entirely in the realm of salvation and Paul affirms this (Titus 2:11). However, he brings out the fact that grace also trains or teaches us how to live in this messy world (Titus 2:12). Paul just gave Titus some instructions about how we are to live, but without God’s grace, we’d never be able to do it.
            One of the key factors for men is self-control. Paul mentions it for both older and younger men and women. If we were to really think about it, grace and self-control would be all we need to live godly lives. If we have learned from grace what is right and wrong, and grace gives us the ability to be self-controlled, then we would be doing what the Lord wants and avoiding all the temptations of the world.
            But then, we aren’t perfect and we do lose control of our selves. That’s where we need the grace to confess our sins and the grace to receive God’s forgiveness. God’s grace is sufficient for all our needs. If his grace is rich enough to save us in the first place, then it is rich enough to keep us until the day when we are with him in heaven.

Application

             I need to rely on God’s grace through the power of the Holy Spirit to live a self-controlled life. I’ll rest on his promise that his grace teaches me to live a godly life in this evil world.

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