Thursday, October 5, 2017

October 5: Jeremiah 4:19-6:14; Psalm 77; Proverbs 24:23-25; Colossians 1:21-2:7



Overview

            Jeremiah: Jeremiah calls in anguish and pain as he prophecies the coming warfare against Judah and Jerusalem. He asks how long it will last. The Lord answers that his people are fools, stupid, and without understanding shown by the evil they are doing. Jeremiah continues with his vision seeing nothing but a void without light, a shaking earth without people or birds. The land became a desert with ruined cities because of the Lord’s anger.
            The Lord says the land will be a desolation but not totally. The land will be destroyed and he won’t stop as the enemy takes place after place. He asks why the people continue to dress for idol worship. Those lovers only seek to kill them. They will realize they are worshiping murders.
            Jeremiah continues explaining that no one can find a just man in Jerusalem. They swear falsely. He asks God if he doesn’t see that they haven’t repented even though he struck them down. He says they are poor and have no sense so he will warn the rulers but they also have rebelled against God. Therefore, even wild beasts will kill them.
            The Lord answers that he can’t pardon them for even their children worship idols and commit adultery. These things must be punished. Their vines (people) will be destroyed because Israel and Judah have been treacherous and lied saying the Lord will not bring this disaster. The prophets are blowing wind.
            Because the prophets lied, he will bring a nation from far away to take their food, children, herds, trees, and fortified cities. But some will be left. When people ask why, they will say they were forsaken and sent to foreign lands because they forsook the Lord and served foreign gods.
            The Lord asks why they don’t fear him. He is the one that set boundaries for the sea. But they are senseless, stubborn, and rebellious. Their hearts don’t fear the Lord who provides rain and harvest. Their sins are a trap and have taken rain and harvest away. Wicked men are among them setting traps for others. They are full of deceit and have grown rich and fat from their evil and injustice. Should not the Lord punish them? It is horrible to have false prophets and priests who follow them. Not only that, but the people love it.
            The Lord warns Benjamin to flee for safety from Jerusalem before he destroys them. The enemy will attack by day and night. The Lord tells the enemy to cut down trees and build a siege ramp because Jerusalem keeps evil like water in a well. He warns Jerusalem. The attackers will kill like someone gleaning a vine looking for the remnant. Who can the Lord warn? They won’t listen because they scorn his word. The Lord won’t hold back any longer but will kill young men, children, husbands, wives, and the elderly. Their fields and wives will be turned over to others. From the least to the greatest and prophets to priests, they all deal falsely thinking there will be peace when there will be none.
            Psalm: Asaph is in trouble. It may be the nation or it may be personal. When he tries to meditate and call on the Lord, he doesn’t have peace. He can’t sleep and wonders if all God’s promises and steadfast love are gone forever.
            But he starts to remember what God has done in the past and rallies. He meditates on God’s wondrous deeds, holiness, and redemption for his people. He remembers how God led Israel out of Egypt by Moses and Aaron.
            Proverbs: Here are some wise things to ponder: showing favors in judging is wrong; encouraging wicked people by saying they are right will bring disaster on peoples and nations; those who rebuke the wicked will be blessed.
            Colossians: Paul reminds the Colossians that they were wicked in mind and deed but have been reconciled to God by Jesus’ death so they can come before God holy and blameless provided they continue in the faith and don’t shift to some other gospel than the one Paul has been proclaiming.
            Paul rejoices in his suffering for them because it is part of the continuing suffering of the body of Christ, the church. Paul is a minister and steward of the mystery that God hid for long ages but now has revealed to the saints, that God has chosen to save Gentiles through Christ in them. Paul and Timothy proclaim this as they warn and teach with wisdom to present everyone mature in Christ.
            Paul wants the Colossians to know his struggle for them and the church at Laodicea and other who haven’t met him personally. He wants to encourage them and knit them together in love so they can understand this mystery of Christ. All wisdom and knowledge is hidden in him. He doesn’t want them misled by good sounding arguments.
            Since they received Christ, they must walk in him rooted and established in faith with much thanksgiving.

What Stood Out

            Jeremiah: “And you, O desolate one, what do you mean that you dress in scarlet, that you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, that you enlarge your eyes with paint? In vain you beautify yourself. Your lovers despise you; they seek your life” (Jer 4:30).             
            Psalm: “Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?” (Ps 77:13).
            Proverbs: “Whoever says to the wicked, ‘You are in the right,’ will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations” (Prov 24:24).
ESV” (Col 1:24).

Insight

            Jeremiah: What is very disturbing about the condition of Judah is the way they continued to ignore and even scorn God’s word (Jer 6:10). Their belief in and worship of idols was so bad that they even dressed specifically for their idol worship when disaster was right in front of them (Jer 4:30). They didn’t know that it was no more than demon worship and that those demons were out to kill them. They fell prey to it because they weren’t simply making a mistake, they knew what was God’s word about their conduct and they purposely did it. They also thought that God wouldn’t do anything about it. Their prophets falsely preached peace when God was clearly telling them he was bring war (Jer 5:31, 6:14).
            This is the deceitfulness of sin. It convinces us that what we are doing will not be judged by God. Some of our modern-day prophets and priests are pastors of churches that claim homosexuality is a blessing from God because he made them and they were born that way. They have convinced themselves that the Lord will not punish those who engage in it. They completely ignore the Scripture that pronounces it as sin and that they will be punished (Rom 1:26-27). It isn’t just homosexuality either. It is the compete scorn for the word of God. The new religion of evolutionary science, which isn’t really science anyway, has taught us we are just products of nature not any better than any other animals. They have destroyed moral values allowing for doing what feels good, abortion, drug use, adultery, and other evils.
            The only answer is repentance and turning back to the Lord. If this world doesn’t, if this country doesn’t, then the Lord will bring all the disaster on this world he has promised. It doesn’t have to happen in this generation, but it could.
            Psalm: When we see problems in the world, country, or our lives, we need to remember that the Lord is holy and there is no one like him. Though the world is broken by sin, the majority of people like it just the way it is. God is holy. He won’t let his creation go on forever in this broken and evil state.
            We may think he doesn’t care when we look only at our circumstances but he does care because he is holy. As Asaph remembered the way he led Israel out of Egypt, even performing the impossible by dividing the sea, so the Lord will rescue us and this world by his miraculous power. He has already provided the way for us to become holy by the blood of Jesus. We can trust him for our salvation from sin and into his holiness. That is available for us right now. We have the promises of a new heaven and a new earth as well. Asaph only had some of the prophecies. We have all of Isaiah as well as Revelation to let us know there is hope. Not hope in mankind redeeming ourselves but in our holy God restoring all to the way it should be.
            Proverbs: One of the big problems for Jeremiah was the false prophets who were condoning and encouraging idol worship. They were telling the people they were right and that God would not punish them. The Lord assures us that when this kind of thing happens, the nation will suffer. On the other hand, when we rebuked evil people, we will be blessed. It doesn’t mean that we will be immediately blessed though. Jesus clearly explained that the blessing is in heaven (Matt 5:10-12).
            Colossians: Colossians 1:24 can be a puzzling verse. When reading it in the ESV it sounds like Paul says that Christ’s suffering on the cross was not enough and that Paul is finishing up what Jesus didn’t finish. Our immediate thought when talking about Jesus’ suffering is his suffering for our sins. That isn’t the case here. My simple answer is to read the NLT translation. The NLT often translates the concepts very clearly and this is one of them. “I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church” (Col 1:24).
            The problem with interpreting this is understanding what could possibly be lacking in Christ’s suffering. The complete passage from verse 28-29 speaks of the body of Christ, the church. The Bible has many verses that say Christians must suffer. That means Christ’s body must suffer. There is a certain measure of suffering that is still to be accomplished in the Church before Christ returns. So, Paul is taking his share of those sufferings on behalf of other members of the body (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary). We can’t forget that Paul isn’t talking about Christ’s suffering for sin, and the application to our lives is that our suffering is not about us but God’s plan. “Believers should reard their sufferings less in relation to themselves as individuals, and more as parts of a grand whole, carrying out God's perfect plan (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary).
            We can thank the Lord Jesus that he suffered once for all for sins so that we could have eternal salvation. We should also be willing, as was Paul, to suffer here to show that we really are part of Christ’s body, the church.

Application

             I don’t want to have the Bible be only a text book that I read and ignore. Judah knew what was right and didn’t do it. I want to increase in my knowledge of the Bible and therefore, to know the Lord better. That should result in godly living and not ignoring what I’ve read. It also prepares me to suffer for the church if necessary.

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