Jeremiah 39:1-41:18 ~ 2 Timothy 1:1-18 ~ Psalm 90:1-91:16 ~ Proverbs 26:1-2
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Old Testament - Jeremiah chapter 39 brings the fall of Jerusalem! :( It is sad to read about king Zedekiah's fate. But, he was forewarned many times by Jeremiah of the coming destruction. It is interesting that King Nebuchadnezzar sought out Jeremiah and told his soldiers to free Jeremiah - and give him the option of staying in Judah or coming to Babylon, where he would be taken care of. Almost seemed like Nebuchadnezzar feared God more than Zedekiah? Actually, in Jeremiah 40:2, we do see that the Babylonians did have a good understanding of God's prophecies and they seemed to believe them: "The captain of the guard called for Jeremiah and said, "The Lord your God has brought this disaster on this land, just as he said he would. For these people have sinned against the Lord and disobeyed him. That is why it happened." Is it possible in our lives today that sometimes others can see more clearly than we can of how God is moving in our lives? Below is an image of the fall of Jerusalem from today's readings:
Jeremiah chapter 40 continues with Gedaliah being appointed governor of Judah by Babylon. Gedaliah seems to be a good sort, as he invites the people living in the country side to: "Settle in any town you wish, and live off the land. Harvest the grapes and summer fruits and olives, and store them away." (v. 10). However, things don't go well too long for Gedaliah, which is sad... Ishmael enters the scene in chapter 40 and into chapter 41, and ultimately murders Gedaliah. This definitely made me sad! Things seemed to be getting a bit peaceful in Judah, and prosperous to a degree. And then evil enters the scene once again... How many times have we seen this scenario play out over history? Below is an image of Ishmael's treachery to the remnant of Judah in 41:6 -
New Testament - Today we begin Paul’s second letter to Timothy, which was likely the last letter Paul ever wrote. Some call this letter Paul’s “last will and testament!”
~ Second Timothy ~
Author: Paul the apostle
Place: Probably Rome
Date: A.D. 66 or 67
Content: This letter was probably the last letter that Paul ever wrote, and he addressed it to his former associate Timothy. It is a personal letter that expresses Paul’s deepest feelings and the assurance that though his earthly life might end, God had eternal life waiting for him in heaven. Paul also reflects upon the faithfulness of God (who led him through his entire life) and upon the coming desperate days when men would depart from the truth, refusing to acknowledge God as Lord. He exhorts Timothy to stand firm in the face of the coming persecutions.
Theme: The sovereign control of God over all things is the basic theme of this book. Although distress has come and will continue to increase, God is in control and those who trust him will have nothing to fear. Paul also adds his own testimony of faith, describing how he fought for the truth and will be rewarded by God in the end. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” pp. 29-30) A wonderful commentary on Second Timothy by Dwight Edwards titled “Call to Completion” is at this link.
Second Timothy chapter 1 verse 6 is a very important teaching of Paul's that each of us should consider in our own lives: "This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you." Do you notice that Paul says "fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you"? What does this say to you? This says to me that when God gives us spiritual gifts, they don't typically come in full bloom all at once! The gifts are given, and then we are to partner with the Spirit of God in fanning the embers of the spiritual gifts into full flames! This is really powerful to think about. I think sometimes we think that once we're saved, that's it. We're done. We've got all we need and there's nothing more to do except wait for heaven. Well... I think once we're saved the spiritual adventure really begins! God's gives us spiritual gifts. He gives us Kingdom work to do on this side of heaven! Do you believe that you have spiritual gifts? Do you know what they are? If not, do you suppose that perhaps your spiritual gifts are currently embers and now is the time for you to "fan into flames the spiritual gifts God gave you"? Let us fan the flames folks!
Psalms - Today in Psalm 91:11-12 we read the words quoted by Satan to Jesus during the temptation in the desert: “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” As you read this Psalm, do these words apply to Jesus only? Or to those who trust in the Lord as well? Do you believe that the Lord is guarding you in all your ways? Do you believe this is possible? (I hope your answer is yes!)
Do you recall Jesus’ response to Satan in Matthew 4:7: “It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” What do Jesus’ words to Satan tell you about these words in the Psalm? Can we believe these words of the Psalmist, and also not put God to the test at the same time? As an example, is driving over the speed limit putting God to the test? Is deciding to skip church one week (or for many weeks) because we have some chores to catch up on / or fun stuff to do / or because we’re just tired, putting God to the test in some ways? Think we just might look like this little guy below to God when we come up with all of our excuses of why we don't go to church...? :)
Proverbs - Proverbs 26 verse 2 is a great reminder to not curse anyone! We are not the judge. God is. We cannot truly curse anyone. Any curse we offer is an unfair curse. "Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an unfair curse will not land on its intended victim." Why do we ever behave like fluttering sparrows or a darting swallows by giving unfair curses? Do we realize that any curse we attempt to impose will not land on our intended victim, but could come right back on ourselves like a boomerang?
YouTube: Okay, for some reason 2 Timothy 1:7 in today's readings reminded me of the Zondervan book "The Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Claiborne. (see the full verse in our memorization section below) Have you read this book? Shane's life is such a reminder that God indeed did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline! I actually ended up giving copies of this book to every single staff member of my church a few months ago - and their response to it has been amazing! This book really makes anyone who reads it think deeply about how we are living our lives and, really, how we're "spending" our lives. Below is a YouTube of Shane reading from his book. p.s. thanks for the great Comments a few days ago on "The Bible Experience" video I posted up (see Oct. 19th below). I ended up getting the CD's on Saturday and love it! Just listen to the first CD of Genesis and you'll be more than hooked - listening to it is truly "experiencing" the Bible!
Please join me in memorizing a verse of Scripture today:
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you from today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Grace, love, peace, and joy!