JEREMIAH 22:1-23:20 | 2 THESSALONIANS 1:1-12 | PSALM 83:1-18 | PROVERBS 25:11-14
Click on the arrow below to listen to a recording of this post:
Jeremiah has been instructed to warn the children of Israel about their ill-doings, and he is carrying out his mission. This is what he tells the king of Judah:
3 Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. 4 For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then kings who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people. 5 But if you do not obey these commands, declares the LORD, I swear by myself that this palace will become a ruin.’”
Later, Jeremiah goes on to predict the coming of the Messiah in these lines:
5 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.
6 In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The LORD Our Righteous Savior.
But Jeremiah is apparently not the only prophet in town. There are others evidently, who are offering up prophecies, and nicer ones at that. And to this, Jeremiah says:
“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
they fill you with false hopes.
They speak visions from their own minds,
not from the mouth of the LORD.
17 They keep saying to those who despise me,
‘The LORD says: You will have peace.’
And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts
they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’
Turning now to our reading of the New Testament, we commence another epistle by Paul. This is the second letter to the church at Thessalonica, today a city in modern Greece. This is one of the earliest churches that Paul had established as a result of his missionary travels, and these are some of his earliest recorded letters.
Paul says to them so affectionately: 3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.
Paul goes on to comfort them on their newly-found faith in Christ. His words might have been in response to the opposition that they might have been facing.
Paul says to them: 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
Paul’s prayer and hope for his fellow-brethren is a fervent one, and one that we ought to have one for another.
Paul says to them: 11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Turning now to our Psalm for the day, we find another one by Asaph, the Psalmist, who so very plaintively and humbly beseeches God for help on behalf of his people. He says:
1 O God, do not remain silent;
do not turn a deaf ear,
do not stand aloof, O God.
Finally, a few proverbs from Solomon, wise king of Israel, who was also a consummate poet. The poetry in these lines is so graphic, that beyond the deep meaning of the sayings, they are beautiful in the images that they conjure up in the mind’s eye. Solomon writes:
11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver
is a ruling rightly given.
12 Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.
13 Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time
is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him;
he refreshes the spirit of his master.
14 Like clouds and wind without rain
is one who boasts of gifts never given.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.