Old Testament: Jeremiah 31:27-32:4
Jeremiah 31:27-32:4 The New Covenant
The chart above shows four unfulfilled covenants and promises to Israel. We have already encountered the first three. The last one is here in Jeremiah 31.
The “new” covenant has not been fulfilled for Israel yet. It is explained in verses 31-34 (also Isa. 59:20-21; Jer. 32:37-40; Ezek. 16:6-63; 37:21-28). Notice how it is different than any conditional covenant.
1) It is not just a covenant with Judah or the northern kingdom of Israel. It is a covenant made with all Israel (v. 31).
2) It is not dependent upon the obedience or any other characteristic of Israel as was the Mosaic covenant (v. 32, cf. Deut. 28).
3) It will involve a change in their desire for God (v. 33a, cf. Ezek. 36:26), their relationship with God will be re-established (v. 33b), their doctrine will be correct in their knowledge of the Lord (v. 34a), and they will be forgiven (v. 34b).
4) Everyone in Israel will be saved (cf. Rom. 11:25-27).
The church is now participating in some of the blessings of this covenant though it was made with Israel and will have its ultimate fulfillment in the Millennium (for the Church’s participation in the New Covenant blessing see 2 Cor. 3:6; Heb. 8:6- 13; 9:15; 12:22-24). Israel has not seen the fulfillment of the four elements listed above nor will they till after the “time of Jacob’s Trouble,” that is, the seven-year tribulation and Christ’s return.
McGee calls this the “I will” chapter because Yahweh tells us what He is going to do eighteen times (NASB). There are no stipulations for Israel as in Dt. 28. God is going to do these things for Israel. He hasn’t yet. But He will. There will be a future for Israel.
Chap. 32 Jeremiah speaks in this chapter of the siege of Nebuchadnezzar in 587-586 B.C.
Jeremiah showed his trust in God’s word by buying a field in verses 9-15. It showed that he believed there would be a future for his descendants in the land. Baruch was Jeremiah’s faithful friend and secretary (v. 12).
Jeremiah states that nothing is too hard for God. This sounds a lot like what Mary said as recounted in Luke 1:37. Can God make something so heavy He can’t lift it? No. That is nonsense. God can not work nonsense. But He can do whatever is potentially possible. He can help you and me in whatever difficulty we are in. He was able to help the people of Judah. He asks a similar rhetorical question in v. 27, “is anything too hard for Me?” He again promises an “everlasting” covenant with Israel. It hasn’t happened yet. Israel does not yet have “the fear of God in their hearts so they won’t turn away” from God (v. 40). But He will!
New Testament: 1 Timothy 3:1-16
1 Timothy 3:1-16 Qualifications for Church Leadership
The guidelines for leadership in the Church are laid out by Paul in verses 1 – 13. First, he says that it is good to aspire to be an an elder in the church (v. 1). Personally, I think the ministry is so difficult that no one should attempt to pastor unless there is nothing else they feel they can do honestly (see my story in my blog: Pass Da Joy). I had a seminary professor that said, “If you can be a farmer, be a farmer. If you can be a pastor, be a pastor.” He was saying that no one should feel like one calling was above another. But if you aspire to church leadership, you should prepare accordingly (Prov. 24:27).
“Overseer” is another term for the leader of a local church. In other places, the term elder or pastor may be used for the same office (e.g. Titus 1:5 and Eph. 4:11). An overseer must have an outstanding reputation (“above reproach,” cf. v. 7), not be polygamous, and be hospitable (v. 2). He has to be able to teach (v. 2b). This is often overlooked. If someone can not teach well, he should not be an elder or overseer. He shouldn’t have a problem with alcohol or enjoy getting into fights (v. 3). He should enjoy keeping the peace and not care to amass a fortune (v. 3b). He must have control of his children. If he isn’t able to keep order at home, he won’t be able to keep order in a church (v. 5). He shouldn’t have been recently saved or it can be too easy for Satan to blindside him and cause him to fall due to his lack of experience (v. 6).
The word “deacon” translates diakonos which can mean “servant” (v. 8). It is usually considered a position lower than pastor or elder and more concerned with the work of the church (cf. Acts 6:1-6). Though this might be a lesser position, note the deacons in Acts 6 were men of considerable character and Stephen was a teacher par excellence. Though teaching is not specified as essential necessarily, deacons are still required to be of high character (cf. v. 10, “above reproach), not alcoholics, completely trustworthy, and not greedy (v. 8). They must be sound in doctrine (v. 9) and must be tested before they can serve (v. 10). Women deaconesses or wives of deacons (I had a church once time where the wives of the deacons were automatically deaconesses) must be reputable and balanced, not gossips (v. 11). Deacons also could not be polygamous and must be good parents, able to control their children and their households (v. 12). Deacons will receive rewards in Heaven if they have fulfilled their duties as good stewards. They will also be respected in the church (v. 13).
Verse 14 states the the church is the “pillar and bulwark of the truth” (RSV, so look up “bulwark” if you don’t know it!). That is exactly what the church is. It exists to safeguard the truth about salvation, Jesus, and our relationships. People should learn about God there or it shouldn’t exist. Many churches have lost sight of the purpose of the church these days. It is not entertainment. It is not a social club. It is teaching and worship.
Verse 16 is an ancient hymn stating the doctrine of Christ as becoming man, validated by the Holy Spirit, worshipped by angels, preached around the world, trusted for salvation, and taken to Heaven in a cloud. Wow.
Psalm 88:1-18 My Hero A Lament By Heman
Proverbs 25:20-22 Don’t Get Buca Anyone!
I ate at a crazy popular Italian place for my birthday this year. It has nutty pictures on the wall and even a bust of the Pope’s head in the middle of one of the tables! What’s so crazy is the Pope’s pate exactly resembles the face of one of my good evangelical friends in the ministry! It’s disconcerting to say the least!
Anyway, the waitress was rather boisterous. She reminded me of Proverbs 27:14, “He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him.” Every time she entered the room, she greeted us loudly and I jumped up in my seat!
Strangely, she then put some baking soda on the table and poured some vinegar on it! Just kidding. I’m making that up. But she could have! That would be just like verse 20! Except I wasn’t troubled (v. 20). Until she entered our room. Well, when I got the check. Actually, that wasn’t so bad. I had a good coupon and we got a free little cake.
You probably already know verses 21 and 22. You’ve heard it or seen it in Romans 12:20. Paul uses Deuteronomy 32:35 in the previous verse in Romans to explain the meaning of piling “burning coals” on the head of your enemy. It doesn’t mean that you should empty the used contents of your grill on his dome. Back in the Jewish olden times, sometimes people would run out of glowing coals to cook or warm themselves. Imagine how an antagonist would feel when his pilot light went out and you bring him a spark. He might feel bad about what he’d do to you. You might even make a friend!
Nevertheless, God will bless you for it (v. 22)!
Don’t forget, God does good things for sinners all the time (v. 21, cf. Matt. 5:43-48; Rom. 5:8).
You should, too!
Choose Life: Scripture: Jeremiah 31:33 NASB “Taking It To Heart”
” . . . ‘I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’” Jeremiah 31:33 NASB
God says that the future covenant with Israel will be a time when He will write the law on their heart. That’s a lot of writing and who could read it other than heart surgeons? Maybe it’s somewhat figurative . . . ya, think?
The Bible Knowledge Commentary says it is “an inner inclination to obey” (Heb. 8:10). The ESV Study Bible says “this new covenant involves a transformation of the inner life of its recipients by writing God’s laws into their minds and hearts so that all know him.”
Jeremiah 31:33 is quoted in Hebrews 8:10 and applied to us, now, in the Church age. What does it mean? Certainly both commentaries above are correct. It involves our new nature and our inner being. Not only have we been transformed (cf. 2 Cor. 5:17) but now we have a new power. The new power is the ability to please God by performing righteous acts when we cooperate with God’s Spirit. One of the best ways to do that is by memorizing Scripture that can enhance our new inclination to obey and please God.
It is a powerful combination to combine Scripture with our new selves.
Find a Scripture that you’d like to obey today.
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
When you come across a Scripture that you’d like to memorize, here is a helpful hint, as they say. Try committing to memory right before you go to bed at night. Usually, it will be right there in the front of your mind when you wake up and you try to remember it. If you can’t memorize all of a long verse like 1 Cor. 10:13, then just lop off a part of it and tackle that first. The rest of the verse will wait for you till the next day.
Here is a warning: when you start using this method, it can give you funny dreams. It will work to root out things from your subconscious while you are sleeping. That’s OK, though. Those things probably need to be extricated.
The benefit of memorizing Scripture cannot be underestimated. Give it a try tonight!
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: Fight The Good Fight