Old Testament: Jeremiah 14:11-16:15
Jeremiah 14:11-16:15 Get Back To Where You Once Belonged
Jeremiah continues to prophesy judgment for Judah.
Chap. 14:11-22 Jeremiah warns of false prophets. The sword in verse 18 is the Lord’s even though it comes through the enemy’s army. God can even use evil to his own purposes. He uses false prophets to test our commitment to him (cf. 1 Kings 13). Our ears must be attuned to Him (cf. John 10:26).
Chap. 15 The Lord had decided the fate of Judah already. Judgment is coming even if Moses and Samuel were to intercede for the people, God was going to bring devastation (vv. 2-3). Mannaseh, the evil king of Judah, had brought on the judgment through his idolatry (cf. 2 Kings 23:26; 24:3). Jeremiah wishes he hadn’t been born to see all this happening (v. 10) but the Lord comforted him (v. 11).
Jeremiah “ate” God’s words as did Ezekiel and John after him (cf. Ezek. 2:8, 3:1-3; Rev. 10:9). Eating God’s words is symbolic of accepting and learning what God has to say. When we digest and assimilate God’s word, it becomes a part of us.
Is Jeremiah schizophrenic? No, but he is human. He is saying at one moment how God’s words fill him with joy (v. 16) and in the next moment is whining like a baby (v. 18) about his incurable wound and pain. God seems to be rather harsh by telling him to quit bellyaching. Yahweh actually threatened to take Jeremiah’s ministry away! (v. 19). But then He comforts Jeremiah again in vv. 20-21 by saying his enemies will not defeat him and that He will deliver him.
Chap. 16:1-15 Jeremiah is forbidden by Yahweh to have a wife or children. The reason is it would not be good to have a family in such a day and time (cf. 1 Cor. 7:9, 28 where Paul believed he lived in a similar time).
In the midst of the message of judgment and destruction, the Lord promises to bring all Israel back to prosperity in the land (vv. 14-15). God always places a rainbow at the end of a storm. Though Israel may be scattered and taken away to Babylon, they will be preserved and restored by Yahweh. By the way, this hasn’t happened yet. There will be a literal fulfillment and a future for Israel.
New Testament: 1 Thessalonians 2:9-3:13
1 Thessalonians 2:9-3:13 Pride And Joy
Paul exhorts the Thessalonians as if they were his own natural children (v. 11) in hopes that they would live lives worthy of God who had drawn them to eternal life with Him (v. 12). Paul and his cohorts had sustained themselves so they wouldn’t be a burden to the Thessalonians (v. 9). They also set themselves up as a standard of righteous behavior to them (v. 10).
The Word of God is exactly that though God may have used men as the instruments of His communication (v. 13). Living lives worthy of God and consistent with the Word oftentimes may result in persecution (cf. 1Pet. 4: 12). We should not be surprised and follow the model of other believers as the Thessalonians had been encouraged by the examples of other churches (v. 14). God will allow men to commit as many sins as they would like during their lifetimes but will be punished accordingly (vv. 15 -16).
Paul had been taken away from the Thessalonians though he later tried to see them again (cf. Acts 17:1-9 for the story of Paul being removed from Thessalonica). Satan kept him from it (v. 18). The Thessalonians are Paul’s pride and joy (vv. 19-20).
Chapter three recounts the visit of Timothy to Thessalonica to encourage the believers there. Paul had been removed from the town and had warned the church there that he would no doubt suffer persecution (v. 4). With a pastor’s heart, he had to send Timothy to make sure the believers were doing alright and progressing in their faith (v. 5). He was afraid Satan had tempted them from the straight and narrow path (cf. Matt. 7:13).
Timothy assured Paul that the Thessalonians were growing in love and faith as they should have been and that they were also wanting to see Paul as badly as he wanted to see them (v. 6). The news of their growth was a comfort to Paul and his fellow-ministers (v. 7) in the midst of their pain. When Paul’s team heard about the Thessalonians, they felt like they had accomplished something (v. 8). Notice how Paul again emphasizes thanksgiving in verse 9. It is a favorite theme of his in this epistle and all his epistles (cf. 1 Thess. 1:2, 2:13, 3:9 and 5:18). Paul is a great prayer warrior, praying that he can teach them again to plug any holes in their thinking and doctrine (v. 10). He continues to hold out hope that he can visit them (v. 11) and prays that their love would increase even more for each other (v. 12). Paul’s prayer is that God would purify them to be ready when Jesus returns with His host of believers (cf. 4:14).