Jeremiah 2:31-4:18; Colossians 1:1-17;
Psalm 76:1-12; Proverbs 24:21-22
Unfortunately, God declares that the most experienced prostitute could learn a thing or two from the promiscuous ways of Israel! What a description. I am beginning to see why Jeremiah had a tough time as a prophet to his people. His job was to hit them where it hurts. He lists the reasons that God is going to punish the nation severely. He calls them on the carpet for greed and oppression of the poor.
God is not pleased that they seek alliances with godless countries, rather than turning to Him for deliverance. Remember that the idol worship in which the Israelites participated was filled with pornographic sexual acts as part of worship. God reprimands their behavior and is disgusted that the whole countryside is polluted with places where the Israelites have had sex under the Asherah poles in order to incite Baal to send rain for their crops. It apparently didn't work as verse 3 of chapter 3 tells us that the spring rains failed. The Israelites have no shame in worshiping in this fashion. Although the Northern Kingdom of Israel has been taken into captivity by Assyria for this behavior, her sister- the Southern Kingdom of Judah does not learn from her mistakes. Judah also prostitutes herself to idols.
After determining that their punishment is coming, God looks into the far future to the day when Israel will be back in the land and the Ark of the Covenant will not be necessary because Israel will be ruled by King Jesus during the Millennial Kingdom. Although a man who divorces his wife will not remarry her if she has taken another man, God is going to come back to Israel eventually, even though she has been disloyal.
Chapter 4 is a call from God for Israel to come back to Him. In the future Israel will be obedient and will bless the nations with her behavior and faith in God.
Next, the alarm is sounded as destruction is coming in their day. A lion who is a destroyer of nations is coming upon Jerusalem. This is the empire of Babylon led by Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah calls out for the repentance of the people in hopes of stopping the coming disaster, but it is not to be. Jerusalem will be surrounded and a battle cry will be raised against the city. The people of Judah are to get a bitter dose of punishment for their behavior. It will pierce them to the heart.
Sin has consequences. Sin results in death. It is only through Christ that our sins are forgiven. All unbelievers are in the same position as the people of Judah. Unbelief results in judgment from God.
Are you protected from God's wrath by the blood of Christ? Have you believed in Him?
Today, we begin the epistle to the Colossians. This is another of the four epistles written while Paul is imprisoned in Rome. The leader of the church in Colosse is Epaphras and that is who delivers this letter from Paul. The theme of this letter is Jesus Christ. We will see the importance of realizing that through Christ all things exist. Learning the truth about Jesus will be the focus of Paul's teaching to this church.
We learn that the Good News that has changed the lives of the believers in Colosse is also changing lives all over the ancient world. With Epaphras as their pastor, Paul prays that the believers in Colosse will grow in spiritual wisdom. Paul prays that they will have the power and joy found only in Christ, who rescues them from the one who rules the kingdom of darkness.
These are extremely important concepts for Christians to understand. Christ is not just some nice teacher or lofty prophet. He is Creator God. He holds the universe together by the force of his essence. We are talking physics and energy here. This is called the Word or Logos in Scripture. It is the essence of God that has always been and will always exist. Everything else can cease existing, but God's essence can never cease to exist. This is the power and might of Christ. The Apostle John describes it this way,
"In the beginning was the Word (Logos) and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." John 1:1-3The Apostle Paul is reteaching these very important concepts to a church that could easily be influenced by Greek philosophy and Roman paganism.
In our day many believe that religion is just the opiate of man. Something conjured up to get us through this life and make us feel good about things. This is not how the Scriptures portray God. In the Bible the whole universe is held together by the essence of this Being.
Are you on board with the Essence/Logos/Christ of this universe?
This psalm speaks of acknowledging God for who He is. This is good to remember.
Fear the Lord and the king. Good advice.
What did you think of today's passages?