Saturday, October 28, 2017

October 28: Jeremiah 51:54 – 52; Psalm 100; Proverbs 26:18-19; Titus 3



Overview

            Jeremiah: The Lord continues to tell of the destruction of Babylon and stilling its voice. The warriors come upon Babylon for the Lord is repaying it. The Lord declares that its officials will be made drunk and never awake. Its walls will be leveled.
            In the fourth year of Zedekiah, Jeremiah wrote in a book all the disaster that would come upon Babylon. The book was sent to Babylon with Seraiah. He was instructed to read all the words then tie a stone to it and throw it in the Euphrates. He is to say that Babylon will sink to rise no more.
            A summary of the fall of Jerusalem is added as the last chapter of the book. Zedekiah was 21 when he became king. He reigned 11 years. He did evil in the sight of the Lord just as Jehoiakim had done. The Lord removed Jerusalem and Judah from before him.
            Zedekiah rebelled against Babylon. In his 9th year, Nebuchadnezzar came and captured the city in the 11th year of Zedekiah. Zedekiah and his army fled but the Babylonians caught him and took him to Riblah. There, Nebuchadnezzar killed his sons and officials then put out Zedekiah’s eyes. He put him in prison at Babylon where he died.
            Nebuzaradan, Nebuchadnezzar’s captain, burned the temple, palace, and other great houses, broke down the wall, and took captives. He left the poorest in the land to farm. The Babylonians took the bronze from the pillars and bronze sea that was before the temple. They took the utensils used in the temple, especially the silver and gold. Nebuzaradan took officials and sixty men to Nebuchadnezzar who killed them. They took 4,600 people captive.
            After 37 years of exile, Jehoiachin was released from prison by Evil-merodach the new king of Babylon. He was given a place at the king’s table and allowance until he died.
            Psalm: We are to praise God gladly and loudly with noise and music. We must remember he is our make and we belong to him. When we worship, it should be with thanksgiving and praise because he is good and his love endures forever. He is faithful to all generations.
            Proverbs: A person who makes a joke out of lying to his neighbor is crazy and only stirs up a war.
            Titus: Paul continues to instruct Titus about teaching the churches of Crete. They are to be in obedience to the government and doing good work. They are not to get into fights with others but be kind, gentle, and courteous to everyone. The reason is that we were all dreadful sinners with bad relationships with others. But God our Savior saved us not because we were or did good, but it was because of his mercy. He cleaned up all that sinful stuff and remade us through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit generously fills us through Jesus Christ or Savior. His grace justifies us so we become heirs of eternal life.
            Make sure people know this so that those who have believed will do good works. Good works are profitable but not controversies and quarrels over the Law, which should be avoided. If anyone causes division, he should be warned only twice then shunned because he is depraved.
            Paul is going to send Artemas or Tychicus to Titus so he can meet Paul at Nicopolis where he will spend the winter. He is to help Zenas and Apollos on their journeys. He again reminds Titus to help people to do good works especially urgent needs.
            Those with Paul send greetings and he asks Titus to greet other believers for him.

What Stood Out

            Jeremiah: “Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he became king, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison” (Jer 52:31).
            Psalm: “Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture” (Ps 100:3).
            Proverbs: “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, ‘I am only joking!’” (Prov 26:18-19).
            Titus: “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:4-6).

Insight

            Jeremiah: An amazing thing happened to Jehoiachin, the exiled king of Judah. The new king of Babylon took him out of prison, treated him kindly, honored him above other kings at his table, gave him royal garments, fed him at his table, and took care of his daily needs.
            Jehoiachin didn’t do one thing to deserve this treatment. It reminds me of what God has done for us when we are saved. Previously we were captive and imprisoned by sin. There wasn’t anything we could do to get out of it. But our God, who is rich in mercy saved us. It is only by grace we are saved. But it doesn’t stop there. God speaks kindly to us. He tells us we are his children and that he loves us. He has seated us with Christ in the heavenly realms. Every day, we are in his presence. We will reign with him and be seated with all the other kings of his kingdom. He has taken off our filthy garments of our own righteousness and clothed us with his own righteousness through Jesus Christ. He cares for all our needs. Jehoiachin enjoyed the presence of the Babylonian king until he died, but we will enjoy the presence of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit forever.
            Psalm: It seems odd that the Psalmist would tell us to know that the Lord is God. We generally interchange the Lord and God when we talk about him. But the Lord is actually God’s name. It is Yahweh. God is a general designation of what he is and not who he is. The Hebrew word is elohiym. It is the word used for any god. So telling us the Yahweh is Elohiym is important because it is setting him apart from all other gods. Just to make sure we understand that he isn’t just another god, we must recognize that Yahweh is the one who made us. No other gods can make anything, much less a person. When we know that Yahweh is God and he made us, then we must acknowledge that we belong to him. But we aren’t like an object that is made, but we are made to be his people. That means we have an intimate relationship with him. Other peoples had gods, but those gods were not intimate with the people. We know Yahweh is intimate on a different level because we are his sheep. He looks after us and takes care of us just like a shepherd watches over and feeds his sheep making sure they are safe.
            That’s why we enter his presences with thanksgiving and praise. We know his love endures forever and he is faithful to all generations.
            Proverbs: We usually underestimate the damage that lying does. It is especially damaging when a person does it on purpose to gain some advantage over a neighbor or other person. Little white lies are those that are designed to protect us and make us look better than we are. But this proverb is talking about a lie that intends harm to another. What makes it worse is when the lie is discovered and in the confrontation, the liar says it was only a joke. This can even happen in family relationships. One member of a family says something very hurtful to another and then says he was only joking. It was a lie, but it was said to vent some sinful need to get even, put down, or otherwise hurt the other person. The biggest part of the lie is to say it was only a joke.
            Titus: Titus 3:4-7 is a very great theological passage. I love it and the way Paul speaks of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in all of his letter. He often interchanges God our Savior and Jesus Christ our Savior. This can leave no doubt in our minds that Jesus is God just as the Father is God. God calls himself Savior and Redeemer in the Old Testament and we see the same being attributed to God and Jesus in this letter. These verses are theologically sound because it is clear that our salvation depends totally upon God’s mercy and grace; there is nothing we can do. It shows that the Trinity is involved in out salvation as the Holy Spirit renews and regenerates us. We find out that we are justified by his grace. Because we are justified, we become heirs of eternal life.
            What a great God we have.

Application

             I want to be able to praise and give thanks to God every day. He has saved me taking me out of my prison to sin. He has renewed me by the Holy Spirt. All glory goes to him, and nothing of my own.

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