Old Testament: Jeremiah 51:1-53
Jeremiah 51:1-53 Iraq ‘Em Up
Chap. 51:1-53 Jeremiah continues describing the utter destruction of Babylon. Babylon used to be the premiere power in the world. Many believe that the Garden of Eden was in Babylon, the land we know as Iraq today.
God used Babylon to punish Israel but they enjoyed it too much (cf. Jer. 50:11-13; 51:49). Now God is going to punish her. The nations may think they are supreme but God is sovereign over them. He uses them the way He wishes (cf. vv. 20-23). The US is not mentioned in prophecy and it could be that we are observing how that could happen. We seem to be weakening in power as we deny God and His power. Peter describes the attitude of the last times, “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with [their] mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For [ever] since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God [the] heavens existed long ago and [the] earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (2 Pet. 3:3-7 ).
Notice that mankind denies that God made the heavens and the earth. They deny the doctrine of creation (cf. Jer. 51:15-17). People are denying the doctrine of creation today.
The Israelite were commanded to return to Israel (v. 50). Historically, Babylon was punished in 539 B.C. by the Medes and Persians (cf. Dan. 5) and then again in 33o A.D. by Alexander the Great.
It will again be the center of doom and destruction in the end times. Revelation 17 and 18 tell of the ultimate fulfillment of the oracle on Babylon aka modern-day Iraq.
New Testament: Titus 2:1-15
Titus 2:1-15 Teach It, Brother!
I think we underemphasize Paul’s themes of love, thanksgiving and teaching in the church. Someone told me the other day that Oswald Chambers taught the church was mainly a place of prayer. If so, I think he was wrong. Paul keeps mentioning teaching. It is a house of prayer but mainly is a house of teaching (v. 1).
1) Older men (vv. 1- 2):
What Paul teaches about the church seems pretty far removed from what we see today. Older men are to be dignified. I see too many preachers trying to be young and “hip.” Hey, tuck in your shirts! Paul mentions being sound in doctrine and faith twice in two verses! Agape is mentioned once again (v. 2) along with being able to persevere in suffering (“prosperity”: bye!).
2) Older women (vv. 3-5):
Older women are also supposed to be models by being reverent, not gossips (!), and not alcoholics which I would imagine today would mean not to take unnecessary antidepressants (v. 3). Teaching is mentioned for the third time in three verses in verse 3! I overheard a seventy-something man talking to his wife on speakerphone yesterday. They sounded like a couple teenage lovebirds. It was a great model for anyone younger and thinking of marriage (v. 4a). Women should also be models of loving their kids at home (v. 4b). Wives are also to have common sense, live in purity, be great housekeepers, kind, and (care I say it?) submissive to their husbands. They are to model everything to which Gods calls them in His word (v 5).
3) Young men (vv. 6-8):
Young men are also supposed to exercise common sense (v. 6). Timothy was probably about the same age as Titus, perhaps around forty. They were “young men.” They are to model good behavior and have sound doctrine (v. 7). They were to be dignified in their teaching, instructing with “seriousness” (NIV) and “gravity” (RSV). They had to know their doctrine well enough to defend the faith (v. 7c, 8a). They should be able to defend the faith in such a way that they cannot be criticized for the manner of their defense (v. 8b,c).
4) Slaves (vv. 9-10):
Again, it should be noted that slaves were not like slaves in the antebellum era of America. Lawyers and teachers could be slaves in that they were in the employ of various families. Even in the Old Testament slaves might be so happy with their condition that they could have awls pierced through their ears to mark them as life-long slaves at the time in Jewish culture when they could’ve chosen to be freed (cf. Exod. 21:6; Deut. 15:17). Paul used slavery as a metaphor for his commitment to Christ (cf. Titus 1: 1 NASB, for example).
Slaves were to be subservient to their masters (v. 9) and do their jobs well, not giving their bosses a hard time. They weren’t to steal from their bosses, even small things (v. 10a). They were to be good examples of what someone looks like who holds to sound doctrine (v. 10b, teaching again!).
Again in the later epistles we see Paul being more forthright in his presentation of Christ as “God, our Savior” (v. 10c, cf. v. 13).
Obviously, Paul is concerned about teaching. He mentions it again, expecting Titus to teach the doctrine of salvation clearly (v. 11), that it leads people to purity and avoiding ungodliness and lusting after the things of the world (v. 12, cf. 1 John 2:14-15).
We are to live in an “any-moment” anticipation of the Lord’s coming for us in the Rapture (v. 13, cf. 1 Thess. 4:16-17). That is our “blessed hope” which should fuel us through bad times and trials.
Christ is God and man. He is God so He could be a perfect sacrifice, pleasing to His Father. He is man, as a representative of the human race. He gave “Himself for us,” in our place. We deserved the penalty for our sins but He took the punishment for us. The purpose was to have people who would do His will that want a relationship with Him (v. 14).
The teaching nature of Paul’s subject is manifest in his exhortation to speak, exhort, and reprove with the authority given him as a pastor. He was not to be disregarded just because he was younger than anyone else (v. 15, cf. 1 Tim. 4:12).
Psalm 99:1-9 Landing A Promise A Hymn Of Yahweh’s Kingship By Anonymous
Proverbs 26:17 Dog-Eared
You probably aren’t as old as I am. I remember President Johnson. In fact, I saw him in person. At least I was told it was he. It was 1964 at the Boy Scout Jamboree at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. He spoke to our assembly. I’m guessing there were as many scouts there as hippies at Woodstock. OK, there were 400,000 at Woodstock and only about 51,000 at Valley Forge but it seemed about as the same crowd. Why quibble over about 350,000 people?
The President looked to be the size as a pin head from my vantage way, way back in the crowd. As far as I could tell, he could’ve lifted a dog by his ears.
I did appreciate his coming out to speak to us. The only other time I saw a president in person was when I visited Madame Tussaud’s.
Actually, he did pick up his poor dog by his ears.
Did he intervene in small countries’ civil wars?
Just keep your ears where he can’t grab them!
Choose Life: Scripture: Titus 2:13 NASB “The Blessed Hope”
” . . . looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus . . .” Titus 2:13
What is the most important thing in your life? If it’s your relationship with Jesus, and I hope it is, then you should be excited that you are going to get to meet Him face to face! For believers, that will happen when 1) they die and go to Heaven or 2) He comes back in the clouds and sucks you up into the air to be with Him forever (cf. 1 Thess. 4:16-17).
If we are waiting for the next release of the iPhone or getting married or anything other than the coming of Jesus, our priorities are off.
Paul calls Jesus’ Second Coming, “the blessed hope.” Is it your “blessed hope”?
I know I’ve mentioned it before but someone has said we should live as if Christ was crucified yesterday, resurrected today and coming back tomorrow! That would be a “blessed” way to live!
If you do choose to live that way, you will find that you are opting for life (Deut. 30:19)!
Take a few moments to think. (I know that can hurt sometimes.) Is there anything that is more important to you than seeing Jesus face to face? If anything just popped into your mind, you need to reconsider your Christian life. Is there anything you can do to re-adjust your priorities? You will be blessed if you do!
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: Iraq ‘Em Up