Old Testament: Jeremiah 8:8-9:26
Jeremiah 8:8-9:26 A Bomb In Gilead
Jeremiah continues to cry and cry out for Judah.
Chap. 8:8-22 Jeremiah the weeping prophet, continues to weep for Judah. They are going to go into captivity to the Babylonians and there is nothing he can do about it. There is no balm (medicine, symbolic of a solution to Judah’s plight) in Gilead (v. 22, not that far from Judah, cf. Gen. 37:25 for a reference to “balm in Gilead”).
Chap. 9 Jeremiah is now weeping quite a bit (v. 1). Ryrie points out that verse 4, “supplanter, deceiver,” is a pun on Jacob which is literally “supporter” or “deceiver.” Everyone in Judah is a deceiver.
Verses 23-24 are great verses: “Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.” If anyone thinks to boast they should be boasting about Jesus. Paul uses this idea twice in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:31 and 2 Cor. 10:17).
New Testament: Colossians 3:1-17
Colossians 3:1-17 An “Equal-Access” God
The first two verses of chapter 3 are such magnificant verses! “Since” is a better rendering (cf. Wuest, “In view of the fact . . .”) we have been raised with Christ, which should be continually (the sense of the Greek) seeking the things above where Christ is seated next to God! Would that the contemporary church would have half this attitude, half the time! The key to growing in the Christian life is by having our minds renewed and set on spiritual things (cf. Rom. 12:2; Rom. 8 5-8). Paul says the same thing here, we should set our minds on the things of the spirit not on things of the “flesh” (v. 2).
The reason for setting our minds on the things of the Spirit is because we have died and now our lives are with God (v. 3). When Christ comes back and we see Him, we also will have our new bodies without the old nature (cf. 1 John 3:2).
Our bodies are dead to things like “immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed” (v. 5). Greed and wanting more and more stuff is actually idolatry if we do not submit all our purchases to God and if we are using things as a substitute for God. Wrath came on Judah for such things (see blog above) and will come upon the US for the same things (v. 6). We all used to be involved in these evil practices but as Christians should be growing in “putting them aside” (vv. 7-8).
My daughter pointed out to me that Gilligan’s Island illustrates the seven deadly sins. Who would have thunk it? Here are a few of them in verse 8 that are related to being ticked: “anger, wrath, malice, slander and abusive speech.”
No one should be lying who has dumped the old self and has put on the new self (v. 10).
Verse 11 explains how there is no differentiation amongst race, classes, and or backgrounds. That includes those who bear the mark of Judaism or don’t, those from pagan backgrounds and the hoi-polloi, slaves or freemen. Christ is an “equal-access God” (cf. Gal. 3:28, 3:25).
We can know we are exhibiting the characteristics of our new nature if are compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient (v. 12). We should capitulate to others and forgive others just as God has forgiven us (v. 13). Unity is what we strive for which is a result of our love for each other (v. 14).
Peace ruling in our hearts could be a means of guidance but, in context, indicates that we should strive to have peace without fighting in the fellowship (v. 15). Paul mentions giving thanks 36 times in his epistles and once it is mentioned in Hebrews (v. 15c).
Of course we should all know the word (see first paragraph above, v. 2, 16). Notice that being immersed in the Word has similar effects (Col. 3:16-4:1) to being filled with Spirit (cf. Eph. 5:18-6:9), singing psalms and spiritual songs, being thankful. Being filled with the Spirit is not exactly the same as having the Word dwell in us but it is very similar. We should both be filled with the Spirit and have our minds set on the Word.