Old Testament: Jeremiah 26:1-27:22
Jeremiah 26:1-27:22 Don’t Kill The Messenger
Chap. 26 Jeremiah gave a similar message at the gate in chap. 7 but now is giving the same message in the court. God is giving them the chance to repent.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “don’t kill the messenger”? That is what Jeremiah says to the court after they threaten to kill him.
Talk about the tail wagging the dog, the officials of the city rescued Jeremiah from the priests. Their reasoning was that Micah prophesied repentance in the days of King Hezekiah (vv. 18-19; Mic. 1:1; 3:12) and the people were saved. Another part of their reasoning in vv. 20-23 was that Uriah had also prophesied destruction under King Jehoiakim. Unlike Jeremiah, he absconded for Egypt but was brought back and executed. The point was the same, a prophet had prophesied doom but had been faithful to God and the nation should have heeded him.
Jeremiah was spared.
Chap. 27 Jeremiah tried to warn the nation on more than one occasion that they should surrender and submit to Nebuchadnezzar. In v. 16, Jeremiah warned the people that the valuables from the Temple would be taken. Normally, the idols would have been taken but Judah had no idols. False prophets said everything would be OK and the people didn’t need to worry. They were wrong. Jeremiah was right.
New Testament: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18
2 Thessalonians 3:1-18 Work It Out
Paul closes the letter to the Thessalonians by asking for prayer that the Word would spread and that Paul and his cronies would be spared from their enemies (vv. 1-2). We saw from Jeremiah in today’s reading that prophets are not always welcomed because they have a message from God. If we are true to God, though, we will keep trying to spread the Word. Paul was confident that God’s spokesmen would be protected from the devil (v. 3) and that they would be obedient as they grew in love (cf. 1 Thess. 1:3; 3:6; 3:12; 4:9) and stability (vv. 4-5).
Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to stay away from “unruly” or perhaps “idle” (NIV, ESV, “laziness,” LB) believers (v. 6). They were perhaps waiting for the end of the world or just living off the more wealthy in the congregation. That was not what Paul had taught them (“tradition,” v. 6). They were to work. Paul paid for everything he had while with them and was disciplined and hard-working (vv. 7-8). He wanted to be a model to them of being self-sufficient (v. 9). Anyone who was not “willing” to work should not be allowed to eat the church’s food (v. 10). The problem was that they weren’t “willing” to work. Paul was not speaking of those who could not work for some reason. Some of the congregants were not only idle but in their idleness they were creating trouble in the body. This wouldn’t be happening if they were working (v. 11).
Notice that Paul, as an apostle, had every right to be paid but he set aside his privilege (vv. 8 -9). Wiersbe says, “We must not use Paul’s example as an excuse not to support God’s servants.” I have heard many people use Paul as an example of a pastor who deferred remuneration. They were actually just being irresponsible in not paying those who served them. The Scriptures and Paul are clear that pastors should be fed as they are feeding others (Luke 10:7; Gal. 6:6; 1 Tim. 5:17-18).
If anyone was not working and disrupting the body, they were to be disassociated from the body (v.14). The purpose was not to punish as much as lovingly correct them for their own sake (v. 15). They were to be re-admitted to fellowship if they had exhibited sufficient change (cf. the man disciplined in 1 Cor. 5 was most likely readmitted to the body in 2:6-7, see blog: Honest Engine).
In Philippians 4:11-12, Paul explained how he lives trusting God no matter what the circumstances. Here he asks God to give peace to the Thessalonians no matter their circumstances (v. 16a). The Lord will never leave us or abandon us (v. 16b, cf. Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5).
Though Paul usually dictated his letters, he signed off on this one personally. He may have written in somewhat of a scrawl due to poor eyesight (v. 17, cf. Gal. 6: 11, Rom. 16:22; 1 Cor. 16:21-23).
Once again he reminds his readers of God’s unmerited favor, that they receive things of great worth but with no payment on their part. It’s called “grace” (v. 18).
Psalm 85:1-13 Kissing Disease A Song About Jerusalem By The Sons Of Korah
Proverbs 25:16 The Land Of Honey And Honey
I’m so old that I remember when MP3’s first came out. I could pick and choose all my favorite music and put it together to burn on the same CD. Wow. Near Heaven. But . . . after hearing it all without all the other songs on the albums in between, I got sick of my favorite tunes. Well, I didn’t but I burned CDs for other people who got sick of their favorite music.
Maybe you can’t relate. How about this? My daughter got four birthday cakes this year for her birthday. Count ’em, four . . . four birthday cakes. Now even the most avid birthday cake fan can get sick of too much birthday cake. Well, I can’t. OK. You come up with your own illustration of having too much of what you like.
In Solomon’s case, he must’ve really liked honey. And apparently, I haven’t tried it, if you eat too much honey, it can make you regurgitate. I love honey but I haven’t tested that theory. I haven’t consumed too much.
I have eaten too much food.
I’m working on it, though.
Choose Life: Scripture: Jeremiah 27:15 NASB “Take God Seriously”
” . . . I have not sent them,” declares the LORD, “but they prophesy falsely in My name, in order that I may drive you out and that you may perish, you and the prophets who prophesy to you.’” Jeremiah 27:15 NASB
I am astonished that there are so many people listening to false prophets these days. I ask myself, “Why do people believe this stuff?”
The answer may be found in yesterday’s passage 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12, “For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”
When people continue to reject the light they are given, God allows them to sink even deeper into darkness. Romans 1 says, ” . . . the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” and “God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity” (Rom. 1:18, 24).
Many people today don’t believe that God means business.
On the other hand, if we take God seriously, we can reap the benefits. We will find the meaning of life and we can have inner peace and joy.
Today, trust God and His Word alone.
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
It is not only unbelievers who are following false prophets today. There are many prideful Christians who think they can have some “deeper” insight into the Christian life that others just aren’t smart enough or privileged to understand. Recently many fell for the “blood moon” prophecies. I was just watching an online presentation about how the end of the world will occur before January, 2017 when President Obama would be leaving office.
Too bad they won’t heed the words of one of my seminary professors, “the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things.” This doesn’t mean there aren’t “deeper” things in Scripture but they are usually mined at the expense of some hard work. But they are always true to the proper interpretation using the historical, grammatical, cultural method. Peter said, “No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation . . . .” (2 Pet. 1:21). Yet some of the craziest interpretations come from people reading their own times or own ideas into the Scripture (President Obama is the “king of the south” in Scripture because he was born in either Kenya or Hawaii!).
Don’t be fooled by false prophets. Stick to a normal reading of Scripture! Keep the main things as the plain things and the plain things as the main things!
The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: Don’t Kill The Messenger