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Jeremiah 23:21-25:38 ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17
Psalm 84:1-12 ~ Proverbs 25:15
Old Testament - Jeremiah 23 continues on from yesterday's readings with the problems of false prophets. Verses 21 & 22 really stood out to me here - "I have not sent these prophets, yet they claim to speak for me. I have given them no message, yet they prophesy. If they had listened to me, they would have spoken my words and turned my people from their evil ways." I think the key word in these verses above is "listen". The false prophets' problems all started because they were not listening to God. How well do we listen to God today? Think we should slow down our lives a bit and create some time and space to listen? When we pray - are we speaking or listening more? Let us have ears to listen! :)
Verse 29 is a great one - "Does not my word burn like fire?" asks the Lord. "Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes rock to pieces?" In your life today does God's Word burn like fire? In your life today is God's Word like a mighty hammer that smashes rock to pieces?
Jeremiah Chapter 24 and the good and bad figs is interesting. It's interesting in that the captives that end up in Babylon are the good figs - and those that stay behind in Judah & Jerusalem are the bad. You might think the opposite would be true. But, it seems that the 70 years of captivity coming up in Babylon will be a "refining" process for those Israelites, and will bring them back closer to God, before returning to the land. In verse 1 we read - "After King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon exiled Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon along with the princes of Judah and all the skilled craftsmen, the LORD gave me this vision. I saw two baskets of figs placed in front of the LORD's Temple in Jerusalem."
Jeremiah Chapter 25 is the bit of a tough read at first. I would certainly like to study more of the theology on the "cup of the Lord's anger." The best I can tell is that the land was so full of sin & rejection of God, that the cup of anger and the coming judgment was the only option for God. My thought is that God showed graciousness time and time and time again - and was ignored, and things got worse. So, keep in mind that God didn't just go ballistic here in Chapter 25 - it was a long time coming and I think a lot of grace & mercy & compassion was shown for a long time - but eventually this had to happen. Actually, this does remind me of a sermon I heard actually last year. The pastor was preaching from the "feast of the wedding banquet" in Matthew where a king (God) invites his townsfolk to attend the wedding feast for his son (Jesus). But people refuse the invitation - saying they have to work / they are too busy, etc. The 2nd time the king extends the invitation, the people even beat up his servants! Well, the pastor's point in preaching was that God does continue to show us grace and pursue us, but at some point we have to accept the invitation from God! We have to accept the invitation of faith in his son Jesus. We have to accept the invitation to repent of our sins. We have to accept the invitation... While God will extend his grace and the invitation time and time and time again - he won't do so forever for us if we keep rejecting him. Israel, leading up to chapter 25, did not accept the invitation from God to repent. In our lives today, are we accepting the invitation from God to repent through faith in his son Jesus? Do you believe that you have been invited? Have you accepted the invitation?
New Testament - Second Thessalonians chapter 2 is a good look at the 2nd coming of Jesus. Verse 7 is interesting - "For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way." Seems that this is alluding to sin and the temptation to sin that pursues people in our world today. The lawlessness is at work - secretly - and will remain secret until it comes out in the open in the form of the anti-christ? Again, I'm not big into end times stuff. But, clearly, there will come the day of Jesus' return. And the Bible is preparing believers for what to expect and to know that God is bigger than whatever evil comes in those days. God is bigger...
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Second Thessalonians chapter 2 titled "Challenges to Believers in View of the Day of the Lord" is at this link.
Psalms - Today in Psalm 84:5 we read: “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.” Where does your strength come from? God? Or your own will-power? Why might it be a good idea to rely on God for your strength rather than yourself? Have you set your heart on a pilgrimage? Is the pilgrimage toward God? Do you think this will be a life-long pilgrimage? Later in this Psalm, verse 10, we read: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” This is a song many of us have probably sung before at church. What does this verse mean to you? What does one day in God’s courts look like for you? Why would one day in God’s courts be better than one thousand days elsewhere? Do you look forward to spending an eternity in God’s courts? Is your heart on a pilgrimage to God’s courts?
Proverbs - Proverbs 25 verse 15 is a beautiful meditation in the midst of our hussle-bussle world of today - "Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can crush strong opposition." Basically this Proverb tells us that we don't need to be in a hurry or be loud! Are you a patient person? Do you speak softly / humbly? Well, since I opened up today's post with an image of a cute dog with big ears, mind if I close the post out today with an image of a dog demonstrating patience with a cute kitten? Thanks... :) Do you demonstrate patience regularly like this dog is demonstrating below?
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!