Old Testament: Jeremiah 39:1-41:18
Jeremiah 39:1-41:18 Eye, Yi, Yi
Chap. 39 The Babylonians broke through the wall in Jerusalem and took Judah just as Jeremiah had predicted. The King, Zedekiah, absconded but was caught. He was made to watch as his children and nobles were slaughtered. That was the last thing he saw. The Babylonians gouged out his eyes right after that and he was taken to Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, commanded his men to take care of Jeremiah. He had apparently heard of Jeremiah’s prophecies to Judah that they should surrender. Ebed-melech, Jeremiah’s Ethiopian friend, was also spared by the Babylonians as promised.
Chap. 40 Gedaliah was appointed governor over Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. Only the poorest of the Jews stayed to till the land in Judah. Gedaliah was warned of a plot on his life but ignored it, unfortunately.
Chap. 41 Gedaliah invited some guests for dinner and was assassinated before they had finished eating. The next day eighty mourners were going to the Temple. Ishmael, the assassin of Gedaliah, met them and killed all but ten of them who had bribed him with stores of grain.
Ishmael fled for the Ammonite country. Johanan, who had warned Gedaliah of the plot against him, returned. The people rallied around him and considered fleeing to Egypt because they were afraid of reprisals from Nebuchadnezzar for the murder of Gedaliah.
New Testament: 2 Timothy 1:1-18
2 Timothy 1:1-18 A Prisoner Of The Lord
Paul was in a Roman prison when he wrote this epistle, approximately 67 A.D. He seemed to know his death was imminent (cf. 4:6-8). In fact, tradition indicates he was beheaded not long after writing this letter.
He again writes about the church falling away from the faith in the last time (cf. 3:1-9), inspiration of Scripture (cf. 3:16). His theme is endurance or being a “good soldier” of Christ (cf. 2:3). He was looking forward to gaining a “crown of righteousness” (cf. 4:8). Paul is certainly a model to us of endurance in the face of persecution.
Once again Paul establishes his apostleship and therefore his authority in writing this letter (v. 1, also 1:1 of every other epistle except Philippians and both Thessalonians). He mentions grace as he always does in the first few verses of each of his works (in Romans it takes till v. 5 and 7).
Once again he models thankfulness in v. 3. Paul served with a clear conscience (v. 3a) and prays for Timothy all the time. He desires to see Timothy again and reminds Timothy of his spiritual heritage that went back as far as his grandmother and mother (v. 5). When Paul had prayed for Timothy, most likely at his ordination, Paul had recognized that Timothy had a pronounced spiritual gift. His gift was most likely the gift of teaching (v. 6). The Holy Spirit would make Timothy bold in his proclamation, not holding back. The Holy Spirit would also enable him to show agape love and be disciplined (v. 7).
Though Paul was locked away in a prison, Timothy should not be ashamed of him (v. 8a). In fact, he should follow Paul’s model in being willing to suffer for the furtherance of the gospel (v. 8b).
The apostle affirms salvation is by grace not by anything we do (v. 9). Salvation was brought to us by Jesus who came to earth to do away with death eternally (v. 10). Paul’s life’s work was to preach and teach the truths of salvation (v. 11). Paul knows he has trusted Christ and lived a life worthy of rewards at the bema seat judgment of the end times (cf. 1 Tim. 1:18; 4:18; also Rom. 14:10, 1 Cor. 3:10-15, 2 Cor. 5:10).
Paul is concerned about the furtherance of the ministry and the church after he’s gone. He tells Timothy to guard the doctrine, “sound words,” which he inherited from Paul and is being entrusted to him (vv. 13-14).
Everyone in western Turkey had defected from Paul and the faith including a couple of yutzes named Phygelus and Hermogenes (v. 15). In contrast, Onesiphorus sought out and encouraged Paul even in prison (vv. 16-17). He also served in Ephesus and will be rewarded (find “mercy”) at the bema judgment (v. 18).
Psalm 90:1-91:16 Life And Death A Lament By The Venerable Moses And A Song Of Trust By Anonymous
Proverbs 26:1-2 It Won’t Even Light!
Snow doesn’t fall when it’s hot outside. Rain usually doesn’t fall in the Fall . . . in Israel, anyway, from June through September. In the same way, an idiot doesn’t usually have ticker-tape parades thrown in his honor (v. 1). It just doesn’t happen.
The technical meaning of idiot is a “mentally handicapped person.” But it also explains what is meant in Proverbs by the term “fool.” A fool is actually an unbeliever. An unbeliever will not receive any honor, ultimately if not now.
Dostoyevsky wrote a book called The Idiot about a good, committed Christian in Russia. The world thinks of Christians as idiots. God thinks of unbelievers as idiots.
Is the Pope usually a Catholic? Does a bear . . . OK, never mind. You get the idea. Anyway, verse 2 says that sparrows and other birds can fly as long as they want. It’s the same way with invective spoken of committed Christians. If people insult you and take your name in vain, it just doesn’t matter in the scheme of things from God’s point of view (cf. Matt. 5:11-12). That’s encouraging, isn’t it?
Being a committed Christian is just like using a popular bug repellent. Their motto in the 60’s was “they don’t bite, they don’t even light.” Their commercials were referring to mosquitoes but curses won’t “light” on you either if you’re trusting the Lord (cf. Prov. 3:5-6, also see the story of David and Shimei, How To Survive A Dusting and What Is Hip?).
If someone curses you, “it won’t bite, it won’t even light!”
Choose Life: Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:7 NASB “A Tough Spirit”
”For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NASB
When we are taking a stand for God, it takes guts to endure and not give up ground. It is not a time for “timidity.” People can think you are arrogant when you represent God. This is especially true in a day where the highest ethic characteristic is to be “tolerant.”
God is not tolerant. God has given us His Holy Spirit to encourage us with His power and His love and discipline.
We are called to be kind and gentle as ministers of the gospel (Col. 3:12) but sometimes we just need to be bold (Eph. 6:19).
When we need to be steadfast, God will support us and enable us to be planted firmly.
Are you in a situation where you need some “backbone”? God will enable to you stand by His power, love, and discipline.
Take a stand for God today.
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Is God calling you to take a stand on something today? Consider what has happened to those who took a stand for God in the Bible. Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son. Jeremiah was thrown in a pit. Daniel was thrown in a lion’s den. Most of the apostles were martyred. Are you now feeling better about the trouble you’re in today? You probably haven’t been asked to trust God in such a big way. But maybe you feel like you have.
That’s OK. That’s how we grow.
Are you willing to take a stand for God today and suffer the consequences?
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: Ei, Yi, Yi