~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Jeremiah 2:31-4:18 ~ Colossians 1:1-17
Psalm 76:1-12 ~ Proverbs 24:21-22
Old Testament - Harsh words today from God to Israel in Jeremiah chapters 2 & 3 - calling the nation a prostitute and an adulteress. These are not words a person wants to hear from God - much less an entire nation hearing these words! Jeremiah wrote this book during the last 40 years of Judah's existence, which is not surprising to consider when we read this in chapter 3 verses 8 through 10 - "But now Judah, too, has left me and given herself to prostitution. Israel treated it all so lightly--she thought nothing of committing adultery by worshiping idols made of wood and stone. So now the land has been greatly defiled. But in spite of all this, her faithless sister Judah has never sincerely returned to me. She has only pretended to be sorry," says the LORD." Again, not words you want to hear from God. Can you imagine a much worse insult from God? A prostitute? An adulteress? As harsh as these words are - I almost hesitate to ask this - But I think I should - Today, are we ourselves ever a "prostitute" or an "adulteress" to God? Do we give ourselves over to sins and lusts and false loves that break God's heart because of his love for us? Well, when we act in such a bad way, we are fortunate that God says things like he did in verse 1 of chapter 3 of Jeremiah today - "But you have prostituted yourself with many lovers, says the LORD. Yet I am still calling you to come back to me." Even though we may sin gravely against God, he still calls us to come back to Him! Through Jesus today we can come back to Him! Do you need to come back to Him in any way in your life? Will you? Will you leave behind any and all "adulteress" or "prostitute" behaviors, and return to Him simply as the child of God that you were always made to be?
New Testament - Today we begin Paul's letter to the church in Colosse! You can see in the map below that Colesse was about 100 miles west of Ephesus - and very close to Laodicea. You can also see the island of Patmos on this map below where John wrote the book of Revelation.
~ Colossians ~
Author: Paul the apostle
Date: A.D. 60 or 61
Content: Paul wrote this letter while a prisoner in Rome to a city he had never visited. He had come to know of these believers while living in Ephesus on his second missionary journey, and now he was concerned because he had heard of some strange pagan theories that were creeping into the church. The views that were troubling the Colossians were a mixture of astrology, magic, and Judaism, which downgraded Christ to being just some sort of angel. Paul wrote to correct this error by showing that Christ is none other than God and possesses the fullness of the eternal God. Instructions follow concerning Christian living.
Theme: In this important letter of Paul’s we are presented with a carefully worked-out defense of Christ’s deity and glory. He is all in all and the believer has everything he needs in Christ. Paul warns that believers out not to be led astray by the foolishness and the false wisdom of men. Instructions for Christian living stress the power of God for men and the joy that believers may have by making use of all the resources that are theirs in Christ. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” pp. 27-28) A wonderful commentary on Colossians by J. Hampton Keathley, III, is at this link.
Colossians chapter 1 verses 15 through 17 are some of the most powerful statements in all of the Bible about Who Jesus truly is - "Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see--kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him. He existed before everything else began, and he holds all creation together." Do you believe these words of Paul's are true? Do you believe that Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God? Did Jesus exist before God made the Earth? Do you believe that Jesus holds all of creation together? Does Jesus hold you together?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Colossians titled "The Supremacy of the Person of Christ" is at this link.
Psalms - I love Psalm 76 verse 4's reflection on God - "You are glorious and more majestic than the everlasting mountains." I wonder how often we look at nature and forget that God created nature? I think so often we can look at a beautiful sunset or a mountain or a forest or an ocean and temporarily forget that God created these beautiful things. If God created these beautiful things, then doesn't it stand to reason that God is more glorious and more majestic than all of his created things? I've said this one before on this blog: before I believed in Jesus or really even God, I honestly think I was evangelized by creation. Meaning - I would look at a starry night with my friends and say things like, "How could there be so many stars up there like that and there not be a God? Things like that can't just happen by chance!" Praise God for his creation that was evangelizing me toward Him! Has creation ever evangelized you? Do you think creation might be able to evangelize your friends who do not yet know God? Let us pray that we don't ever end up worshiping creation instead of the Creator. Let us be impressed and thankful and admire creation - but let us give the glory and the worship to the Creator, God, who is more glorious and more majestic than the everlasting mountains...
Proverbs - Interesting Proverb in chapter 24 verses 21 & 22 today - "My child, fear the LORD and the king, and don't associate with rebels. For you will go down with them to sudden disaster. Who knows where the punishment from the LORD and the king will end?" I find it interesting that this Proverb says fear both God and the king. This is interesting that "fear" of the king - essentially the government - is put on equal footing with fear of God. I think this is important for us to pay attention to. God cares about governments. God though is of course above all governments. (I think it is important here to note that this Proverb does not say "worship" God and the king - we most definitely should not be worshiping the government....) It's interesting that we are instructed here to fear the king and don't associate with rebels. Or else you'll go down with them to sudden disaster. Generally speaking, I can agree w/ this Proverb. But, this is also one of those Proverbs where I think to myself - "well, wait a second - what about this type of situation....." I am sure we can all think of some situations where we should be associating with "rebels" of the government - and where that association is actually the moral high ground - the right thing to do. (if the government was a Nazi government for example) What are your thoughts on this Proverb? Should we always / sometimes / never fear both God and "the king"?
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!