Jeremiah 51:54-52:34 ~ Titus 3:1-15 ~ Psalm 100:1-5 ~ Proverbs 26:18-19
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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 readers of the fall of Jerusalem, and to segue way into the book of Lamentations. Below is the painting "Jeremiah Laments the Devastation of Jerusalem" by Rembrandt. (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 this year? 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 each 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 very short letter to Philemon begins tomorrow. The first couple verses of Titus 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." Paul is reminding the church at that time to submit to governmental authority - to be obedient. And to do what is good. 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?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings titled "Instructions to Live as Good Citizens in the World" is at this link.
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 have read much of “The Life You’ve Always Wanted” by John Ortberg (a great book!) 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!
Worship God: Psalm 100 reminds me of Lincoln Brewster's song "Today is the Day!" Here is a great live version of this song:
Is Today the Day you come to the LORD? Click here Today to meet Him!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs." Psalm 100:1-2 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you shout for joy to the LORD on a very regular basis! Pray that you worship the LORD with gladness and come before Him with joyful songs!
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!
Jeremiah is one of my favorite books and I am sad to see our readings come to an end. My love of Jeremiah has been a growing process. The first time I read through this book way back in 1985 I just read it with no clue or understanding what it was about. I had mad a decision to read the entire Bible and I had set my face toward that end whether I understood what I was reading or not and I certainly didn’t understand Jeremiah. My motivation for my continuation for reading through the Bible came from three sources: 1) my desire to never again allow anyone to interpret or explain the scriptures to me because of being around multitudes of people who twisted scripture for their sick purposes; (2 & 3) an explosive encounter with a passage in Isaiah and Galatians during my first journey through the Bible. The two encounters would leave me a wash in tears, cleansing me as I realized the god I had created in my head because of being in a spiritually abusive church and family, was not the True God.
Reading the Bible can be like chewing wood, an analogy I’ve used countless times. Yet, when one gets a revelation, an understanding that was never seen or experienced before in just one verse or sentence, the remainder of the Book becomes like a piece of land that has buried diamonds. As long as one is willing to put the work in, put the shoulder, and back into finding each valuable gem, then the process of searching takes on a completely new meaning. Jeremiah began coming alive to me in my tenth year of going through the Bible but that first new encounter was scary. I shuddered at the destruction and became confused trying to figure out who was talking to whom and through whom.
Anything built on a lie will collapse and Jeremiah gives proof of that. What becomes scary for us is when we realize that what is surrounding us, what is supporting us is a lie and we decide we would rather not change. When our loved ones won’t change when we have thought about changing and we procrastinate in effecting the change that is needed because they won’t come with us. We at first pray for God’s Mercy to take effect, but Mercy is a gift and is at the behest of the giver. After awhile when we still haven’t changed we then tell God He has to accepts us the way we are because, after all, “God you’re God and I want you too.” The Bottom Line is this: Anything outside of God is a BIG FAT LIE. Us believing that lie will not make it Truth, it is still a BIG FAT LIE.
Jeremiah is a case study in destruction: the underpinnings that lead to collapse. Jeremiah takes always all the excuses we have created for ourselves for not effecting change. We cannot say that God never gave us a warning or lovingly called to us to STOP IT and GET OUT, God’s mercies are clearly evident in the book.
Jeremiah also shows us that God, in a box (Arc of the Covenant) our out of the box is still God. He shows us that despite our big or small buildings where we go to worship, God can choose to vacate the premises before, after and during destruction and He still remains God. Our building projects, our skill in designing beautiful sanctuaries and stain glass windows, parking lots that can hold thousands of cars so their occupants can enter a big or small building to worship, does not mean God is in the midst—God cannot be contained or boxed by man.
What scares us when we read Jeremiah is the realization that we cannot control God.
Posted by: Ramona | October 27, 2012 at 06:28 PM
To me the demise of Jerusalem and the Nation of Judah/Israel just proves that no matter how Great and powerful a Nation may be if they turn against God, God will eventually turn against them.
Posted by: Billy | October 28, 2012 at 03:48 AM