October 19, 2011
Jeremiah 33:1-34:22; 1 Timothy 4:1-16;
Psalm 89:1-13; Proverbs 25:23-24
As our reading begins, Jeremiah is still in prison. Nebuchadnezzar is going to overtake the city of Jerusalem, and Jeremiah has trusted and obeyed the Lord and bought a piece of property in the area, even though he has been told of the future destruction of Jerusalem. Jeremiah is a man who is honest with God. He is able to ask "why?" God gives Jeremiah a spoiler on how the story ends. In answer to his question, God tells Jeremiah that He intends to bring the people of Israel back to the Promised Land in the future, and He is going to fulfill His promise to King David in 2 Samuel 7. One of David's descendants is going to rule from the throne in Jerusalem.
The prophets in the Old Testament are given glimpses of the future. God reveals that His promises will be fulfilled. It is easy to see why the people of Jesus' day were anticipating this earthly rule of Christ on earth. They conveniently ignored Isaiah's book about a suffering and bruised Savior. They fast- forward to the triumphant son of David, who will rule in righteousness. From our perspective, it is easy to only focus on Christ who died on the cross and saved us from our sins. We, too, must look to Scripture to understand the end of the story. We must have faith in the coming King. We must realize that our future is a future where Christ rules in an earthly kingdom for one thousand years. He fulfills His promise to be an earthly ruler.
What do you think of this? Do you look forward to having an earthly ruler who is actually just and righteous? Can you imagine a system where fairness reigns?
1 Timothy 4:1-16
As we look to the letter to Timothy, we see that the Apostle Paul is having to warn Timothy that we are not in the perfect reign of Christ just yet. Paul warns Timothy that in the end times the Church will accept false teachings and will become apostate. To be apostate is to have professed faith in Christ and then turn from the truth of the teachings of Christ. There have always been false teachers in the Church.
Paul describes these teachers as hypocrites and liars. They claim that marriage is wrong and eating certain foods is wrong. This attempt to have spirituality determined by these man made rules infuriates Paul. He encourages Timothy to explain the truth to the brothers and sisters in the church in Ephesus, where Timothy is the pastor.
Paul likens spending time learning about God as spiritual exercise. Just as physical exercise is good for the body and keeps you healthy, time spent in spiritual exercise helps you become fit for eternity. The spiritual work you do on this earth is not time wasted. Your growth will impact how you spend the rest of your time with God in eternity. This is mind boggling. You should all be happy that you have committed to studying the Bible this year. You have developed nice spiritual muscles for eternity!
Timothy is encouraged to be an example of a strong Christian, even though he is a young person. This is an encouragement to all young people that they do not have to live lives of rebellion. Even young people can have a mighty impact for the Lord. His life must reflect holiness and love. How should he pastor? According to verse 13, Timothy should read the Holy Scriptures to the church, encourage believers, and teach them. Our churches today would be good to get back to basics and focus on this.
Paul tells Timothy to throw himself into this work. Always monitor your own progress. Do you do this as a Christian? Do you throw yourself into the study of God's Word?
This psalm focuses on the promise made to David that his descendant will be on the throne forever. This is what God was explaining to Jeremiah today.
Contentious women are intolerable. So are gossips.
What did you see as you read today?