~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Jeremiah 51:1-53 ~ Titus 2:1-15
Psalm 99:1-9 ~ Proverbs 26:17
Old Testament - Jeremiah Chapter 51 is diving into Babylon's destruction. Lately we've been basically just looking at Babylon the city & empire and Nebuchadnezzar from the historical perspective - though, certainly seeing where and how God has been interacting w/ Babylon. I think it might be a good point here to consider the spiritual connotations of Babylon. A great place to begin this conversation is in Revelation Chapters 17 & 18 where Babylon is discussed. I won't go into trying to interpret these two chapters of Revelation today... :) We have yet to get to Revelation later this year... But, these two chapters may give you some more insight into the spiritual meaning of the term Babylon. If you do want to read more about Babylon in context of these two Revelation chapters, check out this link for an interesting commentary. Below is an image of Babylon before its destruction...
It is interesting in the middle of Jeremiah 51 we have a few verses of a hymn of praise to God - verses 15 through 19. Again, in verse 18, idols are mentioned and can be assumed as one of the prime reasons of Babylon's destruction - "Idols are worthless; they are lies! The time is coming when they will all be destroyed." Do you believe that idols are worthless? Are they lies? What are some of our modern day idols that are worthless and lies? Are you rejecting worshiping any and all of our modern day idols and focusing your worship and time and love toward God and Jesus? Please.... leave those worthless idols behind.... don't pick them up ever again...
The other thing to note in this chapter is that earlier in Jeremiah we read about the coming destruction of Jerusalem - but always with the note of ultimate redemption. In this chapter with Babylon, and other chapters discussing Babylon, there is no redemption. The city will not be restored.
New Testament - Titus chapter 2 today is jam packed with great wisdom from Paul... let these verses sink in. Verse 14 stands out for me today - "He (Jesus) gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing what is right." Do you believe that Jesus gave his life to free you from every kind of sin? To cleanse you? And to make you his very own? Are you totally committed to doing what is right? Has Jesus' life, death and resurrection freed you from sin?
In Titus 2:11 we read: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all people.” Do you believe this? What does God’s grace mean to you? How have you experienced God’s grace in your life? Has God’s grace brought salvation to your life? I camp out on this verse simply because I recently read an amazing book about “grace”. The book is “The Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning. Have you read this book? If not, I cannot encourage you enough to read this book. It will surely enlarge your view of God’s grace in your life and in our world. It has changed my view on “grace” dramatically and I have been handing this book out to people I know like hot cakes. Since there are 1,258 of you on that read this blog, I can’t get you all a copy. :) But trust me, this book is well worth your investment of time & money.
Psalms - Psalm 99 is a great psalm of praise! This Psalm mentions the word Lord 7 times. I like verse 6 - "Moses and Aaron were among his priests; Samuel also called on his name. They cried to the LORD for help, and he answered them." These were obviously some major characters in the Bible. Do you believe if you cry out to the Lord for help, he will answer you too?
I love Psalm 99 verse 3 - "Let them praise your great and awesome name. Your name is holy!" I think sometimes in our modern world we can forget that God's name is holy. Jesus' name is holy. These holy names change things. They change everything. If ever you are ever feeling like you are being confronted by evil - maybe even in your sleep in a dream - call upon Jesus' name and watch the evil flee from you immediately. It is true... Jesus' name is holy. God's name is holy. I don't know if anyone has a CD by Vineyard Worship with Kathryn Scott singing on it? I forget the name of it. I think it is Hungry, Live in London. This is a great CD and they have a wonderful song that includes lyrics saying, "You are the sovereign I AM, your name is holy!" Beautiful tune... And so true. Actually, I just found a link to this CD with audio clips of songs - check out track #2 "Your Name is Holy" at this link.
Proverbs - Proverbs 26:17 just makes me chuckle. I don't know what it is about this Chapter of Proverbs, but the analogies are cracking me up. (I didn't post up the vomit one yesterday or a day or two ago... you'll have to look that one up, below). Today's verse tells us - "Yanking a dog's ears is as foolish as interfering in someone else's argument." Why would you ever yank a dog's ears?? :) It is of course a true and effective proverb analogy!
What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!