Old Testament: Jeremiah 8:8-9:26
Jeremiah 8:8-9:26 A Bomb In Gilead
Jeremiah continues to cry and cry out for Judah.
Chap. 8:8-22 Jeremiah the weeping prophet, continues to weep for Judah. They are going to go into captivity to the Babylonians and there is nothing he can do about it. There is no balm (medicine, symbolic of a solution to Judah’s plight) in Gilead (v. 22, not that far from Judah, cf. Gen. 37:25 for a reference to “balm in Gilead”).
Chap. 9 Jeremiah is now weeping quite a bit (v. 1). Ryrie points out that verse 4, “supplanter, deceiver,” is a pun on Jacob which is literally “supplanter” or “deceiver.” Everyone in Judah is a deceiver.
Verses 23-24 are great verses: “Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord.” If anyone thinks to boast they should be boasting about Jesus. Paul uses this idea twice in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:31 and 2 Cor. 10:17).
New Testament: Colossians 3:1-17
Colossians 3:1-17 An “Equal-Access” God
The first two verses of chapter 3 are such magnificant verses! “Since” is a better rendering (cf. Wuest, “In view of the fact . . .”) we have been raised with Christ, which should be continually (the sense of the Greek) seeking the things above where Christ is seated next to God! Would that the contemporary church would have half this attitude, half the time! The key to growing in the Christian life is by having our minds renewed and set on spiritual things (cf. Rom. 12:2; Rom. 8:5-8). Paul says the same thing here, we should set our minds on the things of the spirit not on things of the “flesh” (v. 2).
The reason for setting our minds on the things of the Spirit is because we have died and now our lives are with God (v. 3). When Christ comes back and we see Him, we also will have our new bodies without the old nature (cf. 1 John 3:2).
Our bodies are dead to things like “immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed” (v. 5). Greed and wanting more and more stuff is actually idolatry if we do not submit all our purchases to God and if we are using things as a substitute for God. Wrath came on Judah for such things (see blog above) and will come upon the US for the same things (v. 6). We all used to be involved in these evil practices but as Christians should be growing in “putting them aside” (vv. 7-8).
My daughter pointed out to me that Gilligan’s Island illustrates the seven deadly sins. Who would have thunk it? Here are a few of them in verse 8 that are related to being ticked: “anger, wrath, malice, slander and abusive speech.”
No one should be lying who has dumped the old self and has put on the new self (v. 10).
Verse 11 explains how there is no differentiation amongst race, classes, and or backgrounds. That includes those who bear the mark of Judaism or don’t, those from pagan backgrounds and the hoi-polloi, slaves or freemen. Christ is an “equal-access God” (cf. Gal. 3:28).
We can know we are exhibiting the characteristics of our new nature if are compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient (v. 12). We should capitulate to others and forgive others just as God has forgiven us (v. 13). Unity is what we strive for which is a result of our love for each other (v. 14).
Peace ruling in our hearts could be a means of guidance but, in context, indicates that we should strive to have peace without fighting in the fellowship (v. 15). Paul mentions giving thanks 36 times in his epistles and once it is mentioned in Hebrews (v. 15c).
Of course we should all know the word (see first paragraph above, v. 2, 16). Notice that being immersed in the Word has similar effects (Col. 3:16-4:1) to being filled with Spirit (cf. Eph. 5:18-6:9), singing psalms and spiritual songs, being thankful. Being filled with the Spirit is not exactly the same as having the Word dwell in us but it is very similar. We should both be filled with the Spirit and have our minds set on the Word.
Psalm 78:32-55 Don’t Know Much About History? Part 2 An Historical Wisdom Psalm by Asaph
Proverbs 24:27 Mow The Lawn!
Don’t ever minister unless you mow the lawn first! Also, make sure you trim the bushes. That’s the meaning of verse 27.
OK, not. It means that you study a little first and learn some things and then go and try to help people with their relationship with the Lord. Get some training, in other words!
A young lady, when I was a young man, came up to me when I was at a fellowship meeting to tell me that God had given her a Scripture especially for me. It was this one, Proverbs 24:27.
That was a little bit of a shock. First of all, I didn’t know God would do something like that, give a Bible verse for someone to specifically share with someone else. Secondly, I didn’t know I was going to go into the ministry. In fact, I didn’t think I was called into the ministry until about ten years later!
The point of this verse is that we are expected to learn the Bible (cf. John 8:31; Rom. 12:2; 2 Tim. 2:15 KJV). We are also expected to help others in their relationship with the Lord (cf. Col. 3:16; 1 Thess. 5:14).
This verse doesn’t mean that you have to go to Bible college or seminary, exactly. God may want you to do that. But you can certainly study on your own. There are also churches that have their own institutes to teach prospective ministers. It’s rare but I know of a few.
So in essence, you do need to mow your lawn and tidy up the grounds as well!
Choose Life: Scripture: Colossians 3:2 NASB “Look Up!”
“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2 NASB
In Colossians 3:2, Paul tells us to “seek the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Then he tells us how in verse 2, by set[ting] our mind[s] on things above.” Then he tells us where those things are exactly. They are the opposite of the things that are “on earth.”
- Here’s what we set our minds on these days (me, too!):
- things that being with the letter “i” like iPods, iPhones, iPads, iMacs, iTunes, etc. (maybe I’m “projecting,” here, using a psychological term)
- houses, vacations, raises, our spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, TV shows, movies, etc.
- amassing the above and/or money
- amassing power or authority
- education to amass the above
None of these things is bad in itself but it is bad if it has become an idol, that is, it has taken the place of God. We are not to prioritize the “things on earth.”
How are you doing in this regard? Memorizing Scripture is a great help to keep your mind “set on things above.” This particular verse would be a good one to start with for memorizing.
Remember if you are worshipping an “idol” you are robbing yourself of life.
Set your mind on things above!
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Our natural tendency is to take care of ourselves here on earth. If only we can get a decent job, we’ll be happy. If only we can find the perfect mate, we’ll be happy. If only we were financially secure, we’d be happy. After all, didn’t we separate from England so we could have the pursuit of happiness? We declared ourselves independent from them for that purpose.
So are you happy? If not, it could because happiness only comes from our relationship with the Lord. Everything else will let us down. It all begins with setting your minds on things above. You’ll find those things in your Bible.
The purpose of the 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: A Bomb In Gilead