Thursday, October 20, 2011

October 20- Little Strips of Rebellion

October 20, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Jeremiah 35:1-36:32; 1 Timothy 5:1-25;
Psalm 89:14-37; Proverbs 25:25-27

"Maw, I found an old dusty thing high upon the shelf. Just look."
"Why, that's a Bible, Tommy dear, be careful.  That's God's book."
"God's book?" the young one said, "Then, Maw, before we lose it
We'd better send it back to God, 'cause you know we never use it."

Jeremiah 35:1-36:32

I've known people over the years who take certain parts of the Bible and refuse to deal with what it says. They profess to love God and be Christians, but if the truth were told, they want to believe in God on their own terms and with their own ideas intact. They essentially take parts of the Bible, cut them out, and throw them into the trash. Today, King Jehoakim demonstrates this very attitude towards God's Word.

Jeremiah is told to begin with all that God has told him from the time of King Josiah through to the time of King Jehoakim about Judah and Jerusalem and God's coming judgment.  God wants all of the punishments that will come upon Jerusalem and Judah to be spelled out in hopes that the people will repent and avoid judgment.  Jeremiah dictates all of the prophesies and judgments to a man named Baruch.  Because of his imprisonment, Jeremiah asks Baruch to read these words from the scroll to the people in the Temple in Jerusalem.  It happens to be a holy time when people will be coming to the Temple.  Baruch faithfully reads the scroll publicly. 

When certain leaders and advisers to the king hear the prophesies and coming judgments, they ask for a private reading of the scroll.  Baruch obliges and the leaders are very frightened at the revelation from God in the scrolls.  They insist that the scrolls be brought to the king and  read in his presence.  A man named Jehudi is given this assignment.  As Jehudi reads the scroll, after each three or four column section, King Jehoakim takes his knife, slices the parchment, and throws the slices of the scroll into the fire. He does this section by section until the whole scroll is burned up.  Little by little, his disrespect for God's Word is revealed.  Jehoakim is boldly unrepentant in the face of his nation's sins.

The king commands that Jeremiah and Baruch be arrested, but they are hidden away, having anticipated the king's reaction. Jeremiah is told by God to re-dictate the whole scroll and add even more information.  King Jehoakim is given the prophecy that he will die a dishonorable death and will never have heirs sit on the throne of David.  This prophecy came true.  Jesus is not a descendant of Jehoakim.  He is a descendant of Nathan, not Solomon.

Do you ever act like Jehoakim by mentally burning sections of Scripture so that you do not have to listen to what God says?  Are there sections of the Bible that you refuse to believe?  Learn from the story of Jehoakim, be repentant rather than rebellious.

1 Timothy 5:1-25

We are in a gigantic financial mess in the United States because of the way we spend the money our government collects in taxes.  One of the issues facing our country is how to fund and administer programs designed to help the poor.  Initially, Social Security was set up to help widows and orphans.  It eventually expanded to include a retirement pension for every person over 55 years of age in the United States who had contributed in the work force.  Medicare/Medicaid and Obamacare are programs designed to help with medical costs for citizens of the United States. But are these programs biblical?  Today, we get a glimpse into God's ideas of who to help and how to help those in need.

Paul is advising Timothy on how to shepherd a group of Christians.  Part of leading a group is dealing with the financial needs of some of the people within the church.  This is a tricky situation, as churches are often the first place people go when they get in financial trouble.  What is the obligation of the local church to the poor?  What is God's vision for how society is to deal with those in need?

The first thing Paul mentions to Timothy is that all people should be treated with respect.  With regard to widows, here are the stipulations:
  • The church should care for the widows who have no other family to support them. Vs. 3
  • If the woman has family including children or grandchildren, it is their responsibility to care for her first. Vs. 4
  • The widow must be godly in her behavior in order to receive help from the church.  This would include having been a faithful wife, with no cheating, and she must be at least sixty years old. Vs. 9
  • She must be well respected because of the good that she has done. Vs. 10
  • She should have been kind to strangers, raised her children well, served humbly, helped others, and always been ready to do good. Vs. 10
  •  Younger widows should remarry and not be supported by the church. Vs. 11
  • The church can only care for widows who are truly alone. Vs. 16
We learn through this passage that God intends for the family unit to be the primary unit for support of individual needs.  The church is to supplement where there is no family.  Throughout this passage, Paul describes God being pleased when families care for their own and displeased when this responsibility is shirked. 

In light of this, do you think it is Biblical for the government to be supporting all of these individuals through social programs?  Is this God's best plan?  Why do you think God prefers for the family to be independent and self-sufficient?  Why do you think behavior is a key to receiving support from the Church which represents God?

Do we owe our money to the ungodly?  Is giving money to others a legitimate witnessing/missions tool according to Paul? Are you tempted to treat this part of Scripture by cutting it out and throwing it in the fire?  If you ignore these truths, you are doing just that.

Psalm 89:14-37

Read this psalm and picture Christ being an earthly ruler during a time of peace and prosperity on earth.

Proverbs 25:25-27

Compromise is not good and having correct and humble thinking is important.

What did you see today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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