October 20

Jeremiah 35:1–36:32

Imagine Jeremiah the Prophet inviting you into the Temple and placing wine right in front of you, enticing you to drink. For some, this would be a tough temptation, but the Rechabites did not succumb. They were strong in their convictions instilled by their ancestor, Jonadab the son of Rechab. They were commended by the LORD.

Warren Wiersbe said this about the Rechabites, “The founder of the Rechabite family had assisted Jehu in removing Baal worship from the land (2 Kings 10:15–17), so they had a godly heritage. When the Babylonian army moved in, the Rechabites had to abandon their nomadic way of life and enter Jerusalem for safety. They abandoned their tents, but they did not abandon their standards.”

God used the Rechabites as an illustration of obedience – if they could obey the words of their human ancestor, why wouldn’t the Jews obey the Lord their God? The Jews would be punished, and the Rechabites would be rewarded (Jeremiah 35:17-19).

In Jeremiah 36 the prophet is confined, unable to go into the House of the LORD, so he has his assistant Baruch take a scroll and write on it all the words of warning from the LORD, as spoken through Jeremiah. Jeremiah then instructed Baruch to read the words in the presence of the people at the Temple. It’s the fifth year of the reign of Jehoiakim, so it’s right around 603 B.C., the final blow of Babylon is still 17 years away. As Baruch reads, Michaiah, the son of Gemariah hears the message and brings Baruch to read the Word in the presence of the princes of the land (Jeremiah 36:11-12). The princes of the land heard the Word and brought it to King Jehoiakim who rejected God’s Word to the point that he burned the scroll in the fire!

Jeremiah finds out; not a problem, he simply rewrites the words of warning, doom, and gloom and adds a bit to it, that King Jehoiakim would be die, his family would be judged, and his kingly lineage would be obliterated.

Throughout the ages there have been many movements to literally burn Bibles. People throughout the ages have basically done the same thing by not obeying the Bible, God’s Word. But God’s Word cannot be destroyed, it will ALL come to pass!

Luke 16:17 (NKJV) “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.”

Luke 21:33 (NKJV) “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”

Psalm 119:89 (NKJV) “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.”

Isaac Taylor, “The deathless Book has survived three great dangers: the negligence of its friends; the false systems built upon it; the warfare of those who have hated it.”

1 Timothy 5:1-25

Paul continues his instruction to young Timothy who finds himself in a variety of ministry “situations”. As a young pastor he was not to personally rebuke an older man or woman harshly, but to encourage them respectfully, as a father or mother. He was to treat the young ladies as sisters which is very important. Tragically nowadays we see many pastors fall into sexual sin. If only they took Paul’s words to heart and viewed the younger ladies in the congregation for what they are, sisters in Christ.

The church was to honor widows who were really widows; this must have carried the idea of somehow providing assistance for them, even to the point of “taking them into the number,” or putting them on a list of those who needed benevolence (1 Timothy 5:9). 

If the widow had a child who could take care of her, this responsibility would first fall on the child’s shoulders. This flows perfectly with the commandment to honor our father and mother. This code of conduct is so deep, that 1 Timothy 5:8 reveals that if a child refuses to take care of their parents, such a person has “denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

If a widow did NOT have children to help her, the church would consider taking her “in” – IF – she met certain qualifications. 1 Timothy 5:10 says that she must be well reported for good works, had been a faithful mother, if she had opened her house up for people to stay when they traveled, washed the saints feet, and relieved the afflicted – in other words – she had to be a dear Christian sister who had lived the life of a servant. If she met those qualifications, and had no children to help her, the church was called to take care of her…and what a blessing she would be! Paul points out in 1 Timothy 5:5 that such women are prayer warriors, trusting in God, continuing in supplications night and day!

As a pastor, I’ll be the first to testify that such women are vital to any ministry! You may remember the example of such a lovely lady in: 

Luke 2:36–37 (NKJV) “Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”

Anna is a great example, even though Paul would preferred that younger widows marry, bear children, and manage the household, for  her natural desires might get the best of her.

Paul closes the chapter with guidelines for pastors in the church. It’s okay to pay him remuneration, if he labors in the Word and faithfully leads.

If someone makes an accusation against an elder, don’t receive it without two or three witnesses, remember the enemy is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). If an elder is sinning, it’s best to bring it out in the open and rebuke him in the presence of the other elders. Paul charged Timothy solemnly to live these things out – to make sure he didn’t show partiality. As a church, we are not to ordain anyone hastily, lest we share in their sins. Timothy had some stomach issues and the water would only aggravate it – Paul suggested he drink wine instead (but keep in mind that the wine back then was eight times weaker than it is today). 1 Timothy 5:24-25 reveals the fact that we don’t always know the  sins or the good works in the lives of others (context refers to leaders). One day…it will all be out in the open.

Psalm 89:14-37

The Psalmist knows well the Davidic Covenant, how David was a gift from God to Israel, anointed and appointed to lead His people to victory.

In 1 Chronicles 17 we have recorded an important conversation that takes place, when David told Nathan that he wanted to build a house for God (a Temple). The prophet Nathan gave him the green light and told him to do all that was in his heart…but then we have a different conversation chronicled, between Nathan and the LORD. The LORD informed Nathan that David was not to be the one who would build Him a house (his son Solomon would). On the contrary, God would build David a “house.” And herein lies the promise of  kings as David’s descendants, and ultimately the Messiah would come through his lineage.

Ethan the Ezrahite, the writer of this Psalm, reminded God of his covenant with David, to beat down Israel’s foes, to be merciful, to keep this covenant to discipline – yes, but not forsake the people.

We’ll see as we finish this Psalm next time that Israel is in a period of punishment; Ethan is asking God to remember His promise, but Ethan (and Israel) also needed to know that ultimately, this Davidic Covenant finds its fulfillment – not in earthly kings, but in the King of kings, Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 25:25-27

Proverbs 25:25 (NKJV) “As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country.”

Many of us are weary. We could sure use some good news – especially from a far country, perhaps a mission’s update.

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “In Bible times news traveled slowly; thus long periods of anxious waiting usually followed the departure of a loved one or friend to a distant land.”

Another way to see this news from a “far country” can even be the good news we hear from heaven (see Hebrews 11:9-10, 13-16).

Proverbs 25:26 (NKJV) “A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well.”

Most bible teachers interpret this passage to refer to a Godly man or woman, who falls into sin and the watching world witnesses it all…it’s as if a pure well has been tainted; hence their excuse NOT to drink from that well.

Net Notes, “The verb מָט (mat) means “to give way; to move.” This probably refers to the integrity of the righteous being lost—comparing it to moving [off course]. T. T. Perowne writes, “To see a righteous man moved from his steadfastness through fear or favor in the presence of the wicked is as disheartening as to find the stream turbid and defiled at which you were longing to quench your thirst”

There is another view, however, and that would include power struggles, people jockeying for positions, and even rigged elections.

Expositor’s, “The comparison is with the righteous person who “gives way” (lit., “is moved”) before the wicked. This verse has often been interpreted to refer to the integrity of the righteous being lost. But the line may refer to the loss of social standing and position by plots of the wicked. For the righteous to so fall indicates that the world is out of joint.”

Proverbs 25:27 (NKJV) “It is not good to eat much honey; so to seek one’s own glory is not glory.”

Too much sweets can lead to weight-gain, diabetes, and many other medical complications, and to seek our own glory is devilish, it’s what led to Lucifer’s fall (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28).

God help us to never, ever touch the glory – it all belongs to God!

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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