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Jeremiah 51:54-52:34 ~ Titus 3:1-15
Psalm 100:1-5 ~ Proverbs 26:18-19
Old Testament - We reach the end of the book of Jeremiah today! :( This has been a fascinating book for me to read this year. I definitely learned a lot more about prophets, the fall of Jerusalem and Babylon. I hope this has been a good learning experience for you as well. Jeremiah chapter 51 closes out Jeremiah's prophecies, ending with his prophecies against Babylon. Tomorrow we start the book of Lamentations. And actually, we're getting a good set up for Lamentations in Chapter 52 of Jeremiah today. I think as you read the end of chapter 51, you might think - okay, this should be the end of this book, correct, as verse 64 in chapter 51 tells us - "This is the end of Jeremiah's messages." But... chapter 52 is in here to remind the readers of the fall of Jerusalem, and to segueway into the book of Lamentations. Below is the painting "Jeremiah Laments the Devastation of Jerusalem" by Rembrandt. (Panel, 1630. Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum.)
Chapter 52 is sad to read - particularly when you think back to all of the work of the Israelites in Solomon's day in creating the temple. Also I think back to the work of others earlier in the Old Testament who built up the walls of Jerusalem. All of this destroyed and burned. I read somewhere that it's speculated that the Ark of the Covenant was probably destroyed during this time period, in the fire at the Temple. It is so sad to think about this day in Jerusalem's history...
At the very end of chapter 52 we see a few verses giving hope for Israel's line to continue. So, how has been reading the book of the prophet Jeremiah been for you? What have you learned from this book? How can you apply these learnings to your life today? Whenever we reach the end of any book in the Bible, I like to take a few moments to sit back and think about what God taught me through that particular book. I hope you can find this time to do the same whenever you reach the end of reading or studying a book in the Bible.
New Testament - Today we also finish up Paul's letter to Titus. The first couple verses of chapter 3 are interesting to me - "Remind your people to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not speak evil of anyone, and they must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone." It looks like Paul is reminding the church at that time to submit to governmental authority - being obedient. And doing what is good. Obeying laws of the government seems to be implied here. This reminds me of Jesus saying in the Gospels - "give to Caesar what is Caesar's. And to God what is God." So, there does certainly seem to be a call to be good citizens of the communities we live in - as we strive to be good citizens of the kingdom of God simultaneously. Do you think these two can happen simultaneously? Or are there points where there may be a conflict between our obedience to God and obedience to the world's civil laws & governments?
Psalms - Today we read Psalm 100! I will copy this short Psalm below. Does this Psalm speak to you? Do you feel joy while reading this song? I recently read much of “The Life You’ve Always Wanted” by John Ortberg – a great book by the way - and he has a great chapter on JOY being a spiritual discipline. It is amazing to realize that Joy is a gift from God we should be experiencing every day. I pray you are experiencing joy as a spiritual discipline! Think this Psalmist in Psalm 100 was?
A psalm. For giving thanks.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
When is the last time you shouted for joy to God? Do you regularly worship God with gladness? Do you come before our Heavenly Father with joyful songs? Do you know that you are God’s? Is this fact alone worth being joyful about each and every day?
Proverbs - Proverbs 26 verses 18 & 19 are so true... "Just as damaging as a mad man shooting a lethal weapon is someone who lies to a friend and then says, "I was only joking." Please don't lie to your friends ever as a joke... this is such a bad idea... In my past I did lose a friendship this way, which I deeply regret. Lying jokes aren't funny at all!
What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!