October 15, 2021

Jeremiah 26:1–27:22

Once again the Lord commanded Jeremiah to go to the Temple and deliver His message to the people who were there – he was not to diminish a word. It was a simple, yet heavy message of warning intended to turn the hearts of the people back to God.

Jeremiah 26:4–6 (NKJV) “And you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you, 5 to heed the words of My servants the prophets whom I sent to you, both rising up early and sending them (but you have not heeded), 6 then I will make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.’’”

Shiloh was the city where the Tabernacle was located earlier in Israel’s history. It was a city where the LORD placed His name – but He forsook that city because of Israel’s sin.

We read in:

Psalm 78:60 (NKJV) “So that He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent He had placed among men.”

Jeremiah 7:12 (NKJV) “But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel.”

Jeremiah had warned the people on this matter many times:

Jeremiah 7:14 (NKJV) “Therefore I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.”

When the people heard the words of Jeremiah they seized him and sought to put him to death. Jeremiah’s “defense” was simple. He explained to them the fact that the LORD had sent him. He explained to them that it wasn’t simply a message of doom and gloom, it was a message of hope – IF – they amended their ways, IF they made a choice to obey the voice of the LORD. He also explained to them that if they killed him, they would be killing innocent blood.

At that time, advocates rose up on behalf of Jeremiah. Certain elders pointed to the prophet Micah and King Hezekiah. Micah issued a  similar message of warning, but Hezekiah didn’t hold it against him, King Hezekiah took the message to heart, he feared the Lord and spared the city.

Compare that to the practice of the current king, King Jehoiakim who was so evil that he extradited a prophet from the land of Egypt and had him put to death. Jeremiah had reason for concern. 

The words of this elder were certainly true of them then, and to any of us now, who are not open to God’s rebuke:

Jeremiah 26:19b (NKJV) “…but we are doing great evil against ourselves.”

We only have ourselves to blame.

In Jeremiah 27 we have more visual lessons, this time for the nations of Edom, Moab, Ammon, and Tyre, that God was raising up the nation of Babylon to rule the world, and anyone who refused to surrender willingly, would be punished with the sword, famine, and pestilence.

Jeremiah warned the people not to listen to the lies of the false prophets:

Jeremiah 27:9–11 (NLT) “Do not listen to your false prophets, fortune-tellers, interpreters of dreams, mediums, and sorcerers who say, ‘The king of Babylon will not conquer you.’ 10 They are all liars, and their lies will lead to your being driven out of your land. I will drive you out and send you far away to die. 11 But the people of any nation that submits to the king of Babylon will be allowed to stay in their own country to farm the land as usual. I, the LORD, have spoken!’”

Jeremiah spoke this warning to King Jehoiakim as well as Zedekiah. 

Tragically the people did not listen to Jeremiah. Babylon had already plundered the city twice. Jeremiah prophesied that Babylon would come again, siege the city and carry away all the valuables of the temple that remained.

And yet, in the midst of wrath, God remembered mercy…and after seventy years of captivity the vessels would be restored to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 27:22).

God’s amazing grace – how He gives us promises to hold on to even in periods of punishment.

2 Thessalonians 3:1-18

Paul’s prayer is that the Word of God would spread and be honored, just as it had been with the Thessalonians. Remember what we read back in: 

1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NKJV) “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”

Do I still see the Bible that way? Am I reading this with the understanding that this is God’s Word? If not, let’s get back to reverence for God’s Word (Psalm 138:2; Isaiah 66:2).

Paul also asks the church to pray for their protection from wicked men – men who wanted them dead. Imagine living in that danger every day of your life.

It’s interesting how Paul then turns the tables and promises protection for the Thessalonians, based upon the fact that the Lord is faithful, who would establish them and guard them from the evil one. Thank You Lord!

Paul prays for protection, he also prays for direction (2 Thessalonians 3:5) that God would direct their hearts to love like God and have the patience of Christ. A while back I was listening to an old song that asks God to rid themselves of all but love. Isn’t that what it’s all about? All the law and all of life hang on the two commandments of love, to love God and everyone else! (Matthew 22:36-40; Acts 13:22).

But what about those so-called brothers who were leeching off of the rest of the congregation? Apparently there were some among the Thessalonians who didn’t want to work; in doing so they were walking disorderly.

Warren Wiersbe strikes a wise balance, he said, “Those who cannot work must be cared for by others, but those who will not work must be disciplined.” For some reason we’ve come to think of hard work as bad and yet Dorothy Sayers said, “Work is not primarily a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do…”

Henry Halley explains the background, “The idle (2 Thessalonians 3:6- 15) were lazy people who took advantage of the charitable disposition of the church (see 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10) and used the expectation of the immediate appearance of the Lord as an excuse for abandoning their ordinary occupations. They claimed the right to be supported by the members in the church who were well off. Paul was an ardent advocate of charity toward those who were really in need, and he spent a good deal of time collecting gifts of money for the poor. But he spared no words in condemning the able-bodied who could work but would not. In these verses he positively forbids the church to support such people—he even commands the church not to associate with them.”

When Paul was there in Thessalonica he worked hard, he labored day and night, he and his companions paid for their own food, so that they could be an example and not a burden to any. The command to the able-bodied person is simple, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). 

And then there’s the word of encouragement and closing prayer for the “obedient” brethren

2 Thessalonians 3:13 (NKJV) “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NKJV) “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.

Psalm 85:1-13

This Psalm seems to have been written after the exile – Israel has returned to the land (Psalm 85:1) her iniquity has been forgiven (Psalm 85:2). But they still find themselves in dire straits – there was a need of restoration for the nation (Psalm 85:4).

It’s one thing to have land, to have a building, to have a “church,” but that’s not the same as being in right relationship with God. Survival is different than revival.

Psalm 85:6 (NKJV) “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”

Do you ever long for more? The power of the Holy Spirit leading to a passion for God? He is willing to bless us in that way, if we are wanting and willing to ask. (Luke 11:13)

At the intersections of mercy and truth, and righteousness and peace, God brings it all together for the benefit of the people – it’s the kiss of God upon His children. It would one day be demonstrated on a cross of love that would be able to bless all who believe.

Proverbs 25:16

Proverbs 25:16 (NKJV) “Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, lest you be filled with it and vomit.”

Proverbs 25:16 (NLT) “Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!

Have you ever done that? Ate too much and threw it all up? I’ll never forget, when I was in Jr. High I ate one of those extra-big bags of Taco flavor Doritos and I paid the price – I vomitted it all up in the middle of the night.

Every morning I put a teaspoon of honey in my coffee. If I put ten teaspoons it would probably taste better, but I now know better.

Everything in moderation.

This can be a passing problem for some people, or a major issue for others. Have you ever heard of the 7 deadly sins? The list consists of pride, greed, lust, envy, wrath, sloth, and gluttony. This Proverb highlights that last word, “gluttony.”

Sometimes we have a hard time knowing when enough is enough.

Derek Kidner, “A parable of the fatal difference between healthy appetite and greed. Since Eden, man has wanted the last ounce out of life, as though beyond God’s ‘enough’ lay ecstasy, not nausea.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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