Jeremiah 49:23-50:46; Titus 1:1-16;
Psalm 97:1-98:9; Proverbs 26:13-16
Make it so!
~Daddy Warbucks from Annie
~Daddy Warbucks from Annie
|Here are the kids in their costumes.|
As Jeremiah prophesies, God gives him messages for Damascus, Kedar and Hazor. These places are in God's cross hairs of judgment. God will use Nebuchadnezzar to punish these nations for their rebellion against God and their relationship to His chosen people, the Israelites. Damascus claims to be the oldest city on earth that is still in existence. They could be correct in their claim. Although the city has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, it still is the capital of Syria. This is not the case for the other places mentioned in this prophecy.
Next, Babylon is up for judgment. We see that God had a good purpose for Babylon. He allowed Babylon to rise and be the first great world empire. Remember that the tower of Babel was in this area. But, having served her purpose as an instrument of judgment upon Israel and her neighbors, God now predicts the demise of Babylon.
Israel is described as a group of lost sheep who were led astray by their shepherds. God intends to find His lost sheep and bring them home. They are to flee Babylon in the future and return home. God describes Babylon as becoming the least of the nations. It will be a dry and desolate land. People who visit the ancient ruins of Babylon today can see that God fulfilled this promise. One of the greatest empires the world has ever known is simply a desert wasteland.
We see mention of times in the far future, "no sin will be found in Israel or in Judah, for I will forgive the remnant I preserve." Obviously, there is sin in Israel in our present day. This part of the prophecy has not been fulfilled. It behooves us to understand that just as Babylon was indeed defeated, the day when the remnant in Israel will have no sin is also going to occur. How? By the power of God.
God mentions that he will punish Babylon for their many sins which include worshipping the gods Bel and Marduk. Here we go again with idol worship. The ancient world was familiar with the God of Israel. It was CNN Headline news when 1 million people left Egypt after the plagues. No person had any excuse to be following pagan idols. God makes His invisible qualities known through His creation. Therefore, God is justified in judging the Babylonians.
The other picture that God wants to paint for us is His role as Israel's redeemer and rescuer. Although He sent Israel into captivity to punish her for her rebellion against God, He must also fulfill His role as her redeemer. Remember, God is our redeemer, also. He rescues His children from the Babylon of this world system. It is through His death that we are redeemed from our sins and the world system that fuels itself on pride. When God promised Adam and Eve that He would solve the problem of sin with a child who would save the world, the prophesies that we are reading about in Jeremiah are part of the process of bringing us to that solution.
Babylon will be defeated by the Medes and the Persians. This is ancient history to you and me. When Jeremiah wrote this this prediction seemed unlikely. If God wants to, He can "Make it so!"
Do you rely on God's promises and prophesies? Do you believe future events will happen that God has laid out for us in the Bible? Have you studied God's Word enough to know what He says about the future? Keep reading, my friends. We will be talking about all of this!
Once again, Paul is writing a pastoral letter to a man named Titus. We just finished reading his letters to Timothy. Timothy was Jewish and was a pastor to the church in Ephesus. He was younger and needed encouragement to stick to a strong message with a church that was surrounded by goddess worship.
|The Isle of Crete as it looks today.|
Paul begins his letter by calling himself a bond servant of Christ and by establishing his authority and position as an apostle of Christ. You know that the position of apostle is limited and unique. The church is founded on the testimony and teaching of the apostles. Paul knows his purpose and is clear that he has been sent to bring faith to those whom God has chosen to be His and to teach them how to live godly lives that reflect God's truth.
Titus is called Paul's true child in the faith. Both Timothy and Titus are Paul's spiritual children who do not fall from their faith.
Paul instructs Titus to appoint elders in the various towns of Crete. Again, just as we discussed in the letters to Timothy, elders must be a certain kind of man. He should be married to one wife, have raised children who did not rebel, he should not be arrogant or quick tempered. He cannot be a heavy drinker, violent or greedy about money. He should be hospitable and live self-disciplined life. He must be able to encourage others in their faith.
We learn that the people of Crete have a reputation of being liars who are like cruel animals and gluttons. Not a good portrayal, in my estimation. Paul does not refute this reputation, but encourages Titus to rebuke the people sternly when necessary. Again, Paul warns against false teachers who attempt to ruin peoples faith with rules like insistence upon circumcision.
Do you think the modern church sticks to these strict standards for picking elders?
Here is a psalm with a wondrous God who controls the lightning and has power over heaven and earth. Sing Him a new song!
Have you seen people on this earth who are so lazy that they won't do any work to earn money to feed themselves? We must be wary of promoting this sort of behavior. The Bible does not condone this or condone supporting people who behave this way.
What did you learn?