Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 16- For I Know The Plans I Have For You

October 16, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Jeremiah 28:1-29:32; 1 Timothy 1:1-20;
Psalm 86:1-17; Proverbs 25:17

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good 
and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." 
~Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 28:1-29:32

Do you ever wonder what in the world the future holds for you?  I remember when I graduated from college the economy was bad.  Jobs were scarce.  I got a job offer from ABC television in Dallas, Texas for a management training position, but the details of the contract were oppressive.  I did not feel that the Lord was leading me to take that job.  There were many question marks in my life.  I wanted answers from God on what direction I should take.  What was God's will for me? Looking back, I see that life is a journey of faith.  As we trust God, the details unfold before us.  Today, Jeremiah has the privilege of unfolding the details of God's will for the people of Judah.  His prophecies include comforting words from our detail-oriented God.

Before the comforting words, Jeremiah has uncomfortable words for a man named Hannaniah.  Hannaniah is a false prophet who was well respected in Jerusalem.  Both he and Jeremiah are left in Jerusalem when the majority of the people have been exiled to Babylon.  Hannaniah prophesies that the people will return from Babylon in just two years.  Hannaniah boldly takes the wooden yoke that Jeremiah was told by God to wear and he breaks it in two.  God tells Jeremiah to go to Hannaniah and say that he has broken a wooden yoke, but that the Lord is going to put an iron yoke on him, the yoke of death.  Hannaniah dies within two months.

After this incident, Jeremiah is compelled by God to write a letter to the exiles in Babylon, which include King Jehoiachin, the queen mother, the court officials, and the leaders of Judah. It also includes the craftsmen and skilled artisans. The letter encourages the Jews to settle in the land of Babylon.  They were to work, marry, and have children.  God even commands that they pray for Babylon and the cities in which they live. God warns them not to listen to false prophets and mediums. The truth is that they will live in the land for seventy years. God promises to bring them home again after that time. There is a look into the far distant future when Israel will seek God and find Him.  This is a reference to Christ's millennial reign. Here is where God promises that He knows the plans He has for His people.  They are plans for good and not for evil. Ultimately, they are plans to prosper those who love Him. God intends to gather the Jews from the many nations, where they are scattered, and bring them back to the Promised Land.

Now we have a prophecy about the mistreatment of Jews that we have seen in modern times, including the Holocaust.  In Jeremiah 25:18 it says,
"Yes, I will pursue them with war, famine, and disease, and I will scatter them around the world. In every nation where I send them, I will make them an object of damnation, horror, contempt, and mockery." 
This is also part of God's providential plan for Israel.  Sometimes, God's ways are hard to comprehend.  Jeremiah's prophesies are designed to show us that God is in control of His Story.  Can you accept this?

1 Timothy 1:1-20

Today, Paul asserts his apostleship in a letter to Timothy, his spiritual son.  As a matter of fact, Paul explains that he is an apostle by the command of Jesus.  This is a strong statement and confirms that Paul is the twelfth apostle upon whom the foundations of the Church are built.  This is appropriate because the next three epistles we will read are written by Paul and concern how one is to pastor the Church.  1 and 2 Timothy and the book of Titus are the pastoral letters of Paul.

We see that Paul has left Timothy at the church established in Ephesus.  In the early church, Christians did not build independent buildings for their churches.  They met in homes or in public buildings. Paul is encouraging Timothy to deal with the wrong doctrine that is cropping up in the assembly. Paul emphasizes that teaching should encourage people to be filled with love that develops from a pure heart, clear conscience, and sincere faith. 

There has always been a tendency for people to argue over points of doctrine and miss the larger goal of developing love for one another. Knit picking about points of the Law are not useful for instruction in faith.  Paul explains that the Law is really designed to convict the lawless.  It is to point us towards our need to be saved.

Paul uses himself as an example of a hopeless sinner who hunted down and harmed Christians.  By God's mercy, Paul was saved out of this ignorance and unbelief. Jesus came to save sinners of which he was the chief. Jesus is the eternal King and unseen God in the flesh.

Timothy will have to fight battles as a pastor. He must cling to his faith in Christ in order to do this. It is also important to have a clear conscience about his behavior.  Otherwise faith can be shipwrecked.  Apparently, two men named Hymenaeus and Alexander are examples of men whose behavior shipwrecked their faith and their public testimonies.

Do you have a similar testimony to Paul?  Has God saved you from a life of sin?

Psalm 86:1-17

This is a prayer for God to act in the psalmist's life.  Go back and circle the actions that this person is requesting of God. This person wants to know the plans that God has for them!

Proverbs 25:17

Good advice.  Don't visit your neighbors too often.  You will wear out your welcome!

What did you notice as you read today?  Did certain verses jump out at you?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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