Old Testament: Jeremiah 22:1-23:20
Jeremiah 22:1-23:20 Opening A New Branch
Chap.22 Judah still is not listening to Jeremiah’s warning of impending doom. So he continues and also warns the King, Jehoiakim in vv. 13-19. He was disgraced in death. His body was dumped on a garbage heap (cf. v. 19).
Jeremiah then denounces his son, Coniah (cf. Jer. 37:1), aka Jeconiah (cf. Jer. 24:1; 27:20). He is usually called Jehoiachin. That’s a lot of names for a guy who only ruled for three months (cf. 2 Kings 24:8- 15; 25:27- 30).
Notice the last verse of this chapter is a curse on Coniah (aka Jehoiachin aka Jeconiah). He was going to be childless and none of his descendants was going to sit on the throne of David. That yields a dilemma of sorts. The throne of David was supposed to last forever (cf. Jer. 33:17, also 36:30). But the line of David through Coniah was cut off. Now what? The answer is that there are two genealogies in the New Testament. One traces Jesus’ lineage from David through David’s son, Solomon, to Jeconiah/Coniah to Joseph. Joseph was Jesus’ legal father. But the other genealogy is found in Luke and traces Jesus’ genealogy from Mary back through a different son of David, Nathan, to David (Luke 3:23-38). In that way it bypassed the line of Jeconiah. So Jesus is a blood descendant of David through Mary. Isn’t God amazing? If that weren’t so, the prophecies of Jeremiah would have been false and Jesus would not have qualified to be Messiah.
Chap. 23:1-20 The “shepherds” in verse 1 are the political leaders. Have you ever thought political leaders are “shepherds”? They are supposed to take care of the people they serve. The leaders in Judah were not doing their job.
Verse 5 is a prophecy of Jesus, “the Branch” (cf. Isa. 4:2). He is “righteous” in contrast to the political leaders of Jeremiah’s day. He is the hope of Judah.
In verses 9 – 20, the false prophets are again chastised. The Living Bible says in verse 18, “But can you name even one of these prophets who lives close enough to God to hear what he is saying? Has even one of them cared enough to listen?” They were supposed to be the ones close to God and hearing directly from him but they were deaf. Christians today should be able to hear from the Lord (cf. John 10:4) but how many are really listening to His voice?
Verse 16 is a warning, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination . . . .” We have false prophets today with detestable theologies that are leading the world into a worse destruction than was coming on Judah. They were not to listen to the false prophets and neither should we. How can we avoid them? We must know the Word.
New Testament: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
2 Thessalonians 1:1-12 Hill No
2 Thessalonians was written not long after 1 Thessalonians. There was a misunderstanding about what Paul meant when he explained the “Day of the Lord” in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11. Some had stopped working thinking that the judgments of the Lord had already arrived. There have been times in church history when similar things have occurred. The Millerites in the mid-1800’s thought that the Day had arrived so they all went up on a hill to wait for the Lord. When the “Day” never arrived, they came back down the hill and formed part of Seventh Day Adventists.
Paul assures the Thessalonians that they should be working and rebukes the church leaders for allowing people to be idle.
Paul once again gives thanks for those in his charge (v. 3). Pastors, do you give thanks for those God has given you no matter how much of a blessing or how difficult they may be? The Thessalonians were known to Paul as loving people whose love grew more and more toward each other (vv. 1 Thess. 1:3; 3:6; 3:12; 4:9). They were persevering despite the persecutions they were enduring (v. 4). Their perseverance in suffering was a proof of their salvation (v. 5).
When Jesus returns in retribution, he will repay those who have been harming the Thessalonians as well as all who have rejected His message of grace (vv. 6-8). Norman Geisler has described Hell as a bunch of people in a room all selfishly wanting their own way. Verse 9 says they will be “away from the presence of the Lord.” I have had some friends that thought that Hell was going to be like one big party. It will not.
Jesus will come back to be “glorified in His saints” (v. 10). The word “saints” literally means “holies.” God sees all His believing children as holy in Christ. They are still obligated to become practically holy (cf. Phil. 2:12-13) but God sees them through Christ “positionally” and sees them as pure. If He didn’t, no one would get into Heaven. God will be “glorified” in them, that He has extended them His grace.
Paul doesn’t pray that the Thessalonians might “prosper” (v. 11). His prayer is that they will live up to the life God has for them, to be “good” and that they will exercise their faith in works empowered by the Holy Spirit. The result will be that Christ will be glorified in them because of His own grace through Jesus Christ (v. 12).
Psalm 83:1-18 Asaph, Circa 2016 A Lament By Asaph
Proverbs 25:11-14 Fruit And The Fruity
I heard Billy Graham preach a sermon years ago and he used an illustration about how he saw some fruit on a table. He thought it was real and almost took a bite out of one of the bananas or an apple. But it was really wax fruit. I might have made the same mistake but I don’t think I would have told a crowd of thousands and then broadcast it around the world. I would just have kept my mouth shut!
On the other hand, verse 11 mentions an apple made of gold. But, it’s actually a good thing! Can you imagine taking a chomp out of an apple made out of gold? That’s going to be a hefty dentist bill!
But if you have a pretty apple made out of gold, it’d be worth a fortune. So is complimenting people (v. 11). Coincidentally, I’ve spent the afternoon writing commendations for people I’ve met the past months that have done a good job for me. It makes me do it. I love to see people who do their work with quality and distinction.
I might want a golden apple but I don’t think I’d like an ear made out of gold. Ick. Wait. I guess that means an an ornament for an ear, an ear ring. Never mind. That would be a good thing.
An elder of a local church once told me that I was an “active listener” (v. 12). I was really flattered. It was not always that way. I used to care much more about what I was going to say next than to listen to others. I worked on being a listener. I studied my wife. She is a good listener. Sometimes I am still chomping at the bit to tell someone else how much I know instead of listening. I’m a work in progress. Others just say I’m an acquired taste. (I heard that. I heard you say, “Yeah!”)
The other day my new audio receiver came via UPS. My old one was shorting out. When the new one came, I was on the phone so all I could do was mouth, “I love you” the delivery man. He ignored me and just turned and went back to his truck. Maybe he didn’t hear me. Anyway, I still appreciated that he delivered the receiver. That was like a great message to me from God (v. 13). And I was refreshed. I hope he didn’t take my remark in the wrong way.
Don’t you hate a boastful, arrogant person who tells you all about his achievements and how much money he makes (v. 14)? Ugh. A lot of those people seem to be like the people Zig Ziglar talks about. They are people who have nothing to do and want to do it with you!
Choose Life: Scripture: Jeremiah 23:16 NASB “I’m Angry!”
“Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you.They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the LORD.’” Jeremiah 23:16 NASB
Steve Martin, the comedian, used to do a routine on being angry. He would end his routine by shouting, “EXCUUUUUUSE MEEEEEEE! I’m angry!” but in a Martinesque way that would have his listeners in hysterics.
I got angry yesterday in our church meeting but it probably wasn’t very funny. As I was explaining a couple heresies, I began to think about the groups that had personally robbed me of spirituality by their bad doctrine. Then I got angry. Maybe I just hate that I got “hoodwinked” but Satan had done a pretty good job of pulling the “wool over my eyes.” So EXCUUUUUUSE MEEEEEEE!
Jeremiah warned the people of Judah not to listen to the false prophets who were prophesying peace when in actuality destruction was coming.
My gripes mainly concern the groups that have preached false doctrine regarding salvation and sanctification or even no doctrine at all! I think it was possible I was saved through one group but there was no teaching. I didn’t know what had happened though I was pretty sure that something had indeed happened. I asked the pastor and he didn’t have a clue. I ended up marking a different time, later in life, that seemed to be the time I was saved, only because I was given some Scripture and teaching at the time. Because of the false teaching years earlier, I was robbed of the happiness I could have had in my salvation.
Later I was taught bad doctrine regarding living the Christian life. I was once again robbed of the joy I could have had living the Christian life. I understand that God is sovereign and allowed me to experience these things but I also know that He will hold false teachers accountable (cf. James 3:1).
Seminaries are some of the worst culprits. They often teach “heady” doctrines that don’t impart life. Their effect is to actually rob believers of joy and the assurance of their salvation (cf. 1 John 5:13).
Trust God and just as you received Him in grace and faith, so live your Christian life in the power of the Spirit (Col. 2: 6).
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
If we are living in the last times, and I believe we are, the Scripture warns that more and more false preachers and anti-Christs will be appearing (1 John 2:18-20). Fortunately, there are still some good teachers to help aid believers in their journey through the Word. We are promised the Holy Spirit Himself as an aid in our search for Truth (cf. 1Jn. 2: 20).
So be careful how you walk. The King James warns in Eph. 5:15 that we should walk “circumspectly,” in other words, carefully (NASB). Peter says and he would know, “Be of sober [spirit], be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).
Satan wants to eat your lunch or maybe even have YOU for lunch (cf. Luke 22:31). Don’t be taken in by bad doctrine on prosperity, works being necessary for salvation, or even works being necessary for the assurance of salvation. Study some good doctrine by people like J. Vernon McGee or Warren Wiersbe (this blog has a search engine on the main page). If you have an inkling that something you hear or read is “off,” check it out. Don’t let Satan rob your of your joy.
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: Opening A New Branch