JEREMIAH 35:1-36:32 | 1 TIMOTHY 5:1-25 | PSALM 89:14-37 | PROVERBS 25:25-27
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We have an interesting story here about a nomadic people by the name of Rekabites.
We know that nomads aren’t respected too much for their lack of conviction in how they choose to live their lives in moving about as and when the seasons or their moods change, and yet, there is just such a nomadic tribe that is used by God as an illustration for their steadfast principles based on the laws given to them by their forefathers.
Where is your loyalty, the Lord seems to say. Look at these nomads who know better, and yet, you have not had the good sense to heed my direct words or the words of my prophets over the course of these many generations.
Well, this is how the Lord says it through the words of Jeremiah: 13 “This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?’ declares the LORD. 14 ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me. 15 Again and again I sent all my servants the prophets to you. They said, “Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them. Then you will live in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you have not paid attention or listened to me. 16 The descendants of Jehonadab son of Rekab have carried out the command their forefather gave them, but these people have not obeyed me.’
Next, we learn of an even more fascinating account of Jeremiah’s commission by the Lord to have all these prophecies written in a scroll and presented to the reigning king of the day, Jehoiakim. But Jehoiaikim is a foolish king who has the contents of the scroll read to him, but so great is his denial of the things to come that he burns the scroll, page by page, after it is read to him!
However, that is not the end of things because the Lord instructs another scroll to be prepared, and Jeremiah with the help of Baruch, the scribe, prepares yet another scroll with the very same prophecies.
For Jehoiakim, there couldn’t be a worse moment of his reign than when the Lord tells Jeremiah to convey this message to him.
The text tells us this: 29 Also tell Jehoiakim king of Judah, ‘This is what the LORD says: You burned that scroll and said, “Why did you write on it that the king of Babylon would certainly come and destroy this land and wipe from it both man and beast?” 30 Therefore this is what the LORD says about Jehoiakim king of Judah: He will have no one to sit on the throne of David; his body will be thrown out and exposed to the heat by day and the frost by night. 31 I will punish him and his children and his attendants for their wickedness; I will bring on them and those living in Jerusalem and the people of Judah every disaster I pronounced against them, because they have not listened.’”
Turning now to our reading of Paul’s letter to Timothy, his much younger colleague, Paul starts out this section of the letter with these simple instructions on conducting oneself in a certain manner to the various folks in the community.
Paul says: 1 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
Next, he offers some detailed advice for widows—these are, of course, to be taken with the understanding that the advice is specific to that era. In a time and age when a woman was entirely dependent on a man, this is sensible advice for one who might have lost her husband.
Paul is a most down-to-earth man who is thoughtful about everything, even Timothy’s own personal health. He writes concerning Timothy’s stomach ailment. He says: 23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
And then he reverts to a more abstract observation which contains much depth and meaning. Paul says: 24 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.
Next, we turn to our Psalm for the day, and find the most passionate rendering of the Lord’s love and support for David. This is not an impersonal God, nay, this is a God who is a father to his children.
Substitute your own name in David’s stead, and feel the great love of the Almighty God for you. David writes about himself in the third person here:
20 I have found David my servant;
with my sacred oil I have anointed him.
21 My hand will sustain him;
surely my arm will strengthen him.
22 The enemy will not get the better of him;
the wicked will not oppress him.
23 I will crush his foes before him
and strike down his adversaries.
24 My faithful love will be with him,
and through my name his horn will be exalted.
25 I will set his hand over the sea,
his right hand over the rivers.
26 He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, the Rock my Savior.’
27 And I will appoint him to be my firstborn,
the most exalted of the kings of the earth.
28 I will maintain my love to him forever,
and my covenant with him will never fail.
29 I will establish his line forever,
his throne as long as the heavens endure.
Finally, a few of verses from the book of Proverbs which are worthy of record and rumination. Solomon, wise king of Israel, writes:
25 Like cold water to a weary soul
is good news from a distant land.
26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted well
are the righteous who give way to the wicked.
27 It is not good to eat too much honey,
nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.