October 23, 2021

Jeremiah 42:1–44:23

In Jeremiah 42 the people come to him and ask him to seek the LORD, to pray for guidance on their behalf. Should they stay in Jerusalem, or go to Egypt? They sure seem sincere as they approach Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 42:2b–3 (NKJV) “Please, let our petition be acceptable to you, and pray for us to the LORD your God, for all this remnant (since we are left but a few of many, as you can see), 3 that the LORD your God may show us the way in which we should walk and the thing we should do.”

So Jeremiah seeks the LORD on their behalf, and returns to them with the answer. The LORD revealed to the people that if they remained in Jerusalem, there would be nothing to fear, God was with them, He would protect and provide (Jeremiah 42:11). Jeremiah also made it clear that if they fled to Egypt, they would die by the very things they feared, by the sword, famine, and pestilence.

It’s at this point that their true colors come out. The people never really intended to do God’s will, they only wanted Him to bless the plans they’d already made. Jeremiah knew it, and called them out:

Jeremiah 42:20–21 (NKJV) “For you were hypocrites in your hearts when you sent me to the LORD your God, saying, ‘Pray for us to the LORD our God, and according to all that the LORD your God says, so declare to us and we will do it.’ 21 And I have this day declared it to you, but you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God, or anything which He has sent you by me.”

Isn’t it interesting how some people are willing to do whatever God commands them to do, as long as it doesn’t conflict with their plans, or go against their will? If God commands me to eat pizza, I’m good with that, but if He commands me to eat veggies, now that’s a different story!

In Jeremiah 43 the people defiantly go to Egypt and take Jeremiah with them by force.  They brought the death-sentence upon themselves (Jeremiah 43:11). The people were by no means safe in Egypt; Jeremiah predicted the day the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar would come and strike the land of Egypt, and set up his throne upon these massive stones that Jeremiah had set. People can run, but they cannot hide from God (see Revelation 6:15-17).

Pastor Chuck Smith, “In 1886, British archaeologist, Professor Flinders Petrie, discovered the palace of Pharaoh in Tahpanhes, Egypt. Under the pavement stones in front of the palace, he uncovered these huge rocks that Jeremiah placed there as a sign to the people.”

In Jeremiah 44 our hearts break to see that the people did not learn their lesson. God had judged Jerusalem for the way they had turned away from Him in order to serve other gods…and here they are are continuing in their sin.

Jeremiah 44:5 (NKJV) “But they did not listen or incline their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense to other gods.”

Jeremiah 44:10–11 (NKJV) “They have not been humbled, to this day, nor have they feared; they have not walked in My law or in My statutes that I set before you and your fathers. 11 ‘Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will set My face against you for catastrophe and for cutting off all Judah.’’”

The Jews in Egypt even burned incense to the “Queen of heaven.” This is probably in reference to Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of love and fertility. Nowadays the Catholic church burns incense (prays) to Mary; they refer to her as the mother of God, and see her as the Queen of Heaven. It’s the same lie and demonic spirit we see in Jeremiah.

It’s tragic to read their reasoning in worshipping the “Queen of Heaven,” that while they burnt incense to her they were “well off,” and when they stopped burning her incense and pouring out drink offerings to her, they lacked and were consumed. Since when did the truth of who God is become dependent upon our personal circumstances? Keep in mind he devil is able to make people rich and powerful. He even offered kingdoms to Christ (Matthew 4:8-9).

All this ungodly garbage was the very reason the Babylonians had conquered Jerusalem – it was an absolute tragedy…but it’s a greater tragedy that these Jews in Egypt simply would not learn their lesson.

2 Timothy 2:1-21

We now enter in to what very well may be my favorite chapter of my favorite book of the Bible. I think I could camp out all day on 2 Timothy 2:1, how we are to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus…and here’s Paul, writing this to his “son” in the faith…his final letter before his departure.

Be strong in the G-R-A-C-E – God’s Reward At Christ’s Expense, God’s unequivocal and unmerited favor; we don’t deserve it, we cannot earn it, and yet He lavishes it upon us every single day of our lives. Paul wrote in Romans 5:20 that where sin abounds, grace abounds MUCH MORE! Let’s be strong in that grace. Let’s be good at using His grace, without abusing His grace. Let’s let God’s grace thoroughly convince us that we are forgiven of our sin, but at the same time we are not to continue in sin (Romans 6:1-2). Let’s even let God’s grace change us.

Paul tells Timothy to let God’s grace make him strong as a son, strong as a teacher and mentor, to mentor other men who will pour into others, and others, and others. Strong as a soldier enduring hardship in the war. Strong as an athlete training to win, dedicated to competing according to the rules. Strong as a hardworking farmer who eventually enjoys the crops, and even strong as a thinker so that God would grant him understanding in all things (2 Timothy 2:7).

Paul tells Timothy to always remember the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (how He gutted the grave, defeated death, conquered the coffin (2 Timothy 2:8). This message must always be preached, even though it will be opposed every step of the way. This is why Paul was facing death at this point in time (2 Timothy 2:9), but the truth is, he’d been persecuted for the past 30 years. The ministry is definitely challenging, there are innumerable sacrifices to be made, there is mental, emotional and spiritual suffering that comes with it, but we are to be obedient and go forward enthusiastically, for the Lord our God and the sake of the elect (those who will be saved and built up) (2 Timothy 2:10).

The “faithful saying” found in 2 Timothy 2:11-13 was probably an early Christian saying – maybe even a song.

Timothy’s job as a pastor has a lot to do with preaching, teaching, and reminding the people the truth of God’s Word. It’s sad to see pastors bringing in other material into the pulpit, they want to fill the pews when our only job is to fill the pulpit with God’s Word. Next thing you know arguments arise, and no one is being built up in the Word – some are even being ruined!

Timothy was to work hard at rightly interpreting and preaching the Scriptures – he had to have a heart for God’s approval and not man’s! Timothy was to turn away from the foolishness that tries to find its way into the church. Paul shares with Timothy that those lies only increase to more ungodliness, and spread like a disease among the disciples – Hymenaeus and Philetus were an example of this. No doubt there was a time when these guys were right-on, but now they had turned away.

There’s so much to glean as Christians and ministers. Who knows if a person is truly saved? God  does (2 Timothy 2:19). If you say you’re a Christian, stop sinning (2 Timothy 2:19). Let’s get right with God so He can fully and completely use our lives (2 Timothy 2:20-21). 

Psalms 92:1–93:5

Psalm 92 was a song for the Sabbath Day. The list of things to do is very appropriate, from sun-up ’til sun-down.

Give thanks to the LORD, sing praises to His name, declare His lovingkindness in the morning, God’s faithfulness every night (Psalm 92:1-2).

The Psalmist was a musician, able to play multiple instruments, but even if you’re not gifted in this way, you do have a voice, and a heart you can use to bless the Lord. Sing to Him with the choice of your voice.

The Psalmist acknowledged that God was the one who made him glad, he was even confident in his triumph (Psalm 92:4). He also knew the wicked would be defeated, destroyed forever…no doubt about it.

Do I know all these things? Am I aware of the innumerable reasons I have to praise God for the past, present, and future?

If you’re a Christian, you have a wonderful name/title, not only connected to Christ but anointed with the Spirit of God. Christ means “Anointed one.” We are “anointed ones,” (1 John 2:20). We can even echo the words of the Psalmist, “I have been anointed with fresh oil.” (Psalm 92:10)

To “flourish” (Psalm 92:12) means to “grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.” The environment God speaks of is the house of the LORD, the courts of God, the Temple back then…today it’s church. Even when we age, we will still bear fruit (moral and ministry) fresh and flourishing…to do what? Enjoy my retirement? Put it in cruise control? Rock back and forth on a chair? No – to declare!

Psalm 92:15 (NKJV) “To declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

Psalm 93 is a Psalm reminding us that the LORD is on the throne, and that throne is established. Since His throne is established, the earth is established (under His rule) and it cannot (I cannot) be moved.

The enemy will rise up against us like a flood, but the LORD is mightier than the enemy; God will have His way, and grant His children the victory!

Isaiah 59:19 (NKJV) “So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.”

Does it encourage you to know in Christ you win, that God has defeated ALL of your enemies and work everything out for good?

Proverbs 26:3-5

Proverbs 26:3 (NKJV) “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the fool’s back.”

Why a whip? Why a rod? Often necessary for the back of fools, applied only with the hopes of eventual brokenness 

The best way to the learn life’s lessons is by reading God’s Word. Another way to learn is from the mistakes of others. The third way to learn is from our own mistakes (this is where the rod of God comes in). May we “learn” from one of these three ways…but tragically there are some who never learn.

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “… so a fool needs to be controlled by a rod (physical punishment) because he does not respond to appeals to his intellect (cf. 10:13; 14:3; 19:29).”

Proverbs 10:13 (NKJV) “Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding, but a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding.”

Proverbs 19:29 (NKJV) “Judgments are prepared for scoffers, and beatings for the backs of fools.”

 (See also Psalm 32:8-9)

Proverbs 26:4-5 (NKJV) “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.”

The Scriptures tell us that there is a time to be silent, and there is a time to speak (Ecclesiastes 3:7 – we must be Spirit led).

The Spirit will give us discernment at times NOT to answer (v. 4), this person is unreasonable.

The Spirit will lead us if we ARE to answer (v. 5) for sometimes it’s necessary for their own good.

“These two sayings belong together; they complement each other. Their point is that one should not be drawn down to a fool’s level (v. 4) but at times he must use the fool’s language to refute the fool so he does not become conceited (v. 5; cf. vv. 12, 16). Wisdom is needed to determine when to apply verse 4 and when to apply verse 5. The Jewish Talmud suggests that verse 4 pertains to foolish comments that can be ignored and that verse 5 refers to erroneous ideas that must be corrected.”

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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