The Jews who defiantly fled to Egypt against the Word of God through Jeremiah, were also resolute in their worship of the Queen of Heaven. After all that had happened, they still refused to obey the LORD and turn from their idolatry, so Jeremiah pronounced judgment upon them. Most would die in Egypt, the one place they thought they would be safe. They could run…but they could not hide. We read God’s sentence:
Jeremiah 44:27 (NKJV) “Behold, I will watch over them for adversity and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them.”
In Jeremiah 45 we travel back in time, close to twenty years, it was the fourth year of Jehoiakim – 604 B.C. This conversation most likely took place after King Jehoiakim had burned the copy of the letter Baruch had written (Jeremiah 36).
Baruch was lamenting, it wasn’t easy being the servant to the most hated man in the nation. Baruch could have had an easier life, maybe even a great life, after all his brother Seraiah was an officer in the king’s court (Jeremiah 32:12; 51:59), this could have opened doors for a job at the palace. Was Baruch regretting his place in life?
Servants of God must guard their hearts from that double-edged sword of doubt and discouragement. All believers must make sure we don’t seek great things for ourselves, only great things for God. Jeremiah informed Baruch that if he had a great position in the land, he would have died – life as a servant’s servant, had actually spared his life.
Jeremiah 45:5 (NKJV) “‘And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh,’ says the LORD. ‘But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go.’”
C.H. Spurgeon missed being admitted to college because a servant girl inadvertently showed him into a different room than that of the principal who was waiting to interview him. Later, he determined not to reapply for admission when he believed God spoke to him, “Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not!” Spurgeon determined to seek great things for God, who used him immensely…without ambition or human education.
In Jeremiah 46 we have prophecies of the punishment of Egypt, and the preservation of Israel.
Warren Wiersbe commented on this chapter, “Jeremiah was a prophet to the nations as well as to Judah (Jeremiah 1:5), and his book closes with prophecies concerning the nations, beginning with Egypt. Josiah, Judah’s last good king, was slain at Carchemish when he fought Egypt (2 Chronicles 35:20–27); but now Egypt would be defeated at Carchemish by the Babylonians. The Egyptians thought they were like the Nile, rising up to flood the enemy, but they would fail.”
The day of judgment on Egypt and the other nations has undertones of the ultimate judgment of God.
Jeremiah 46:10 (NKJV) “For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that He may avenge Himself on His adversaries. The sword shall devour; it shall be satiated and made drunk with their blood; for the Lord GOD of hosts has a sacrifice in the north country by the River Euphrates.”
Egypt would be defeated at the hands of the Babylonians, but the Babylonians were only weapons in the hands of God. This was a big blow, Egypt was a great nation, but God determined to defeat them – them and all who trusted in them (Jeremiah 46:25; Isaiah 31:1).
We read frequently in the prophets, the contrast between all other nations…and Israel. God told Israel NOT to fear, He would save them, and bring them back to the land where they would have rest and be at ease. God was with them – all other nations would one day end, but Israel and Jerusalem will go on forever (Jeremiah 46:27-28).
In Jeremiah 47 we have the declaration of judgment upon Philistia. The Egyptians had defeated Philistia, but now the Babylonians would defeat both of these nations. Jeremiah described the invasion as waters from the north that would overflow throughout the land. We can almost hear the cries of the people, the sounds of horses and chariots. Fathers wouldn’t even attempt to rescue their children for lack of courage (Jeremiah 47:3). The death and mourning would be overwhelming as the people shaved their heads and cut their bodies (Jeremiah 47:5).
Pastor Chuck Smith explains, “The pagan sign of mourning was to cut their body. If a loved one died, they would cut or slash their body as a sign of grief.”
But the Day of the LORD, God’s just judgment had come.
Jeremiah 47:6–7 (NLT) “Now, O sword of the LORD, when will you be at rest again? Go back into your sheath; rest and be still. 7 But how can it be still when the LORD has sent it on a mission? For the city of Ashkelon and the people living along the sea must be destroyed.”
One day this will be the case for the whole wide world, for all who have rejected God’s love as expressed through His Son, Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2:22–3:17
Flee youthful lusts; pursue Christ and His character. That happens a lot easier if you hang out with people who have the same heart (2 Timothy 2:22). Timothy, Paul says, be faithful to rescue those who have been captured by the devil (2 Timothy 2:25).
The perilous times described by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 sound a lot like the present times – don’t they? Lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (big time). In southern California many people would rather go to the beach than attend church on Sunday morning. They’d rather hit up the mall, than hear a message at a midweek service. They’re way more excited about Disneyland than they are about discipleship. Tragically, it’s become much more about pleasing self (pleasure) rather than pleasing God! The downward spiral starts with that selfish love described in 2 Timothy 3:2, and what we find at the end of the day, is our problems are people rooted in narcissism – Paul commands Timothy to turn away from such people, to withdraw from them.
When he describes men who creep into households to take gullible women captive, he’s writing about men who come into the church (remember, they met in houses back then) as wolves in sheep’s clothing. They learn the truth, intellectually, but they never come to the truth personally, because they resist the truth internally.
Pastor Timothy would be able to survive perilous times by being ready for them and following the right examples. Paul had paved the way with his solid teaching and solid living. Timothy had witnessed Paul’s life, he not only heard God’s Word, he saw God’s Word – lived out loud – in spite of the many, many persecutions, Paul never gave up, and God never let him down. Paul wanted to prepare Timothy for the persecutions he was sure to experience if he aspired to live a godly life (that’s the promise of 2 Timothy 3:12). As a matter of fact, evil men and imposters will only grow worse.
How would Timothy get through these perilous times? How will we?
1. Be ready for the trials and perilous times (2 Timothy 3:1-9, 13)
2. Follow good examples (like Paul) (2 Timothy 3:10-12)
3. Stick to the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
As Paul closes this chapter he reminds Timothy that he had learned the Bible from his mother, his grandmother, and from his spiritual father (Paul – 2 Timothy 3:14). This is why it’s so important to plant God’s Word into the hearts of our children ASAP! The Scriptures have all the wisdom we need in life – even bearing the power of salvation. It’s not just a portion of the Bible, it’s all the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God (God-breathed) and is profitable for us (see Psalm 119:160 and Isaiah 48:17-18).
Doctrine teaches us what’s right, reproof tells us what’s not right, correction tells us how to get right, and instruction tells us how to stay right. If want to be complete, mature, and ready to serve, we need to love God and His Word with all of our hearts.
The children of Israel had been defeated, they now find themselves in captivity. The Psalmist cries for vengeance and questions God:
Psalm 94:3 (NKJV) “LORD, how long will the wicked, how long will the wicked triumph?”
Israel’s persecutors thought that God didn’t hear or see, but can the Maker of the ears and eyes not hear and see? Of course He can, and He will punish the wicked accordingly.
The Psalmist knew enough of the Bible to know that somehow, someway, someday, God would work it out for good, and hence He writes:
Psalm 94:12 (NKJV) “Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O LORD, and teach out of Your law.”
The Psalmist knew (as we all should know) that the LORD would cut them off Israel’s enemies in their own wickedness. He will do the same to all the enemies of God’s people!
Anxiety has always been a deep struggle and anguish. The Lord our God will comfort us as we look to Him in times of anxiety. Here are a couple of truths to memorize…to internalize:
Psalm 94:19 (NKJV) “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.”
Philippians 4:6–7 (NKJV) “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Proverbs 26:6-7 (NKJV) “He who sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. 7 Like the legs of the lame that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of fools.”
Trying to get a message to someone through a fool, is pure foolishness. Not only will the message not be delivered accurately, it will ultimately do damage to the sender.
Verse 7 reminds us that effectiveness in the message has to do with content AND character; it’s not simply what they say, but who says it. (Proverbs 26:9).
Proverbs 26:8 (NKJV) “Like one who binds a stone in a sling is he who gives honor to a fool.”
We saw similar a principle in Proverbs 26:1. And yet we live in days where many fools are honored and esteemed. As Christians we must beware who we honor.
If we bind a stone in our sling it very well might come back to bonk us on our heads.
Bible Knowledge Commentary, “It is senseless and possibly harmful to tie a stone into a sling. The stone might slip out and damage the thrower. So bestowing honor on a fool, for whom honor is inappropriate, is senseless and may damage the reputation of the one giving the honor. His wisdom will be questioned.”
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.