~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Jeremiah 22:1-23:20 ~ 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
Psalm 83:1-18 ~ Proverbs 25:11-14
Old Testament - Today in Jeremiah we read about the very last Old Testament era king to sit on the throne of David in Judah! This was King Jehoiachin and God makes it clear that this is the Judah's last Davidic king - well, until Jesus comes that is - in chapter 22 verse 30: "This is what the Lord says: ‘Let the record show that this man Jehoiachin was childless. He is a failure, for none of his children will succeed him on the throne of David to rule over Judah.’" Immediately after reading about the last king of Judah before Jesus, Jeremiah 23:1-8 gives us a great Messianic foreshadowing of Jesus. Verses 5 & 6: "For the time is coming," says the Lord, "when I will place a righteous Branch on King David's throne. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. And this is his name: `The Lord Is Our Righteousness.' In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety." Great stuff... a righteous branch on King David's throne.... rules with wisdom... will do what is just and right throughout the land... Think this is Jesus?
The remaining verses in Jeremiah 23 go after false prophets. I know in reading Jeremiah I've been pondering how tough it would be to be Jeremiah, a prophet with some tough messages. Looks like being a false prophet is really the wrong way to live. If you're gonna be a prophet, make sure you're prophesying the truth... :) Do you think there are any false prophets in our world today? Do you avoid listening to the teachings of false prophets in our world today? (other than if you need to listen to what they say to repudiate it) Can we sometimes even be false prophets to our own selves on occasion? Who can free us from the lies of false prophets? (see the image above - not the false prophets image below)
Some other verses that stood out at me today included Jeremiah 22:15-16 - "But a beautiful palace does not make a great king! Why did your father, Josiah, reign so long? Because he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. He made sure that justice and help were given to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn't that what it means to know me?" "Isn't that what it means to know me?" Justice and help were given to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Is that what it means to know God?
New Testament - Today we begin Paul's second letter to the church in Thessalonica! Below is a modern day photo of Thessalonica's harbor:
~ Second Thessalonians ~
Author: Paul the apostle
Date: A.D. 51
Content: Either Paul’s first letter or a forged letter purporting to be from him had disturbed the Thessalonians concerning the second coming of Jesus. Perhaps adding to the confusion was the continued persecution that they were enduring. Paul writes to assure the believers that Jesus will certainly return to comfort the believers and to punish those who are troubling them. He also tells them that the great Day of Judgment (the Day of the Lord) will not take them by surprise but will be preceded by a series of events. In the light of Jesus’ sure return, Christians are to live above reproach.
Theme: Throughout this short letter the promise of God’s victory over evil is stressed. Believers may suffer now, but God has planned comfort and reward for them. For those who refuse to obey God, however, there will be distress and judgment. Paul also stresses the need for living in such a way that God is honored. Some people at Thessalonica may have stopped working because they believed Christ would return soon. This does not honor God and Paul says concerning it, “He who does not work shall not eat.” (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” pp. 28-29) A wonderful commentary on Second Thessalonians by J. Hampton Keathley, III, titled “The Struggles and Growth of a Church” is at this link.
Paul's encouragement during times of persecution is powerful in chapter 1 verse 5 today: "But God will use this persecution to show his justice. For he will make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering." If there is persecution in your life today, I hope this verse is encouraging to you. It reminds me of the old adage - "it builds character." I know this is tough to realize in the midst of persecution - that God is working in the midst of it to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom. Your suffering is for His Kingdom. You are not suffering alone.
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Second Thessalonians chapter 1 titled "Commendation and Comfort in the Face of Persecution" is at this link.
Psalms - Ever feel like the Psalmist in Psalm 83 verse 1 - "O God, don't sit idly by, silent and inactive!" I think the beauty of the Psalms is seeing some of our human emotions expressed so well. Considering this verse - I don't think that God is ever sitting idly by, silent or inactive. I believe God is a Living God who is always with us. But, perhaps sometimes God's perceived silence in our lives is for a purpose that we may not fully understand now, but will later. If God seems very "silent" to you now, I would encourage you to pray to God - and really listen in your prayers - don't just speak. I believe you'll soon hear Him...
Proverbs - The 4 verses in Proverbs today are all spot on. How about the last one today, "A person who doesn't give a promised gift is like clouds and wind that don't bring rain." Don't be that person! Make sure you give promised gifts. And how about giving unexpected gifts? Gifts for no particular reason? When is the last time you surprised someone with a gift out of the blue?
Comments from you - What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!