JEREMIAH 37:1-38:28 | 1 TIMOTHY 6:1-21 | PSALM 89:38-52 | PROVERBS 25:28
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Jeremiah doesn’t say the things that the people wish to hear, and the result of this is that the people make it quite clear that they don’t like what he has to say!
At first, Zedekiah, the king at the time, appears to wish to heed the word of the Lord via Jeremiah, but after Jeremiah tells Zedekiah that the Babylonians will be back, Jeremiah is falsely charged of attempting to defect to the Babylonians himself and is soon arrested and thrown into prison.
But Jeremiah doesn’t let up even in prison, and continues with the same prophecies.
The people are outraged even more, and with the king’s consent, they forcibly put Jeremiah into a cistern and lower it into an empty well—the idea being that he would starve to death. But the Lord has other plans for Jeremiah, and soon, the king is informed of the exact fate of Jeremiah, and before long, Zedekiah seems to have a change of heart and Jeremiah is pulled up from the well. Jeremiah tells the king everything that he is instructed by the Lord.
Jerusalem will soon fall, but Zedekiah is now fully aware and convinced of the things to come.
We now turn to our reading of Paul’s first letter to Timothy. Paul starts out by giving advice concerning the right attitude and temperament of slaves toward their masters. We will see elsewhere how Paul sends a runaway slave back to his master because it was the right thing to do, and as per the norms of the times, Paul is careful to be a law-abiding citizen. But despite these societal norms, Paul doesn’t lose sight of the greater connection that each person has one to another—when the love of Christ binds two people together, they are fellow-brothers and sisters in Christ.
Furthermore, Paul goes on to give Timothy more advice on the proper way to conduct oneself in all occasions, and warns against engaging in useless banter and such.
He says: 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
And then, he states one of the most oft-quoted lines regarding money. It is the love of money, mind you, not money itself that is the root of all evil. Paul says: 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Paul then prepares to end the letter with these final exhortations. I reproduce these verses in their entirety as they are worthy of careful review and application to each person who is serious in their desire to live the “Christian” life.
Paul says to Timothy: 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18
Paul continues: Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. Grace be with you all.
We turn now to our reading of the Psalms, and find one that David must have written in his darkest hour. He pleads with God to remember his “former great love” for him. We have all most likely felt this way at some time in our lives as well. David says:
46 How long, LORD? Will you hide yourself forever?
How long will your wrath burn like fire?
47 Remember how fleeting is my life.
For what futility you have created all humanity!
48 Who can live and not see death,
or who can escape the power of the grave?
49 Lord, where is your former great love,
which in your faithfulness you swore to David?
Finally, a verse from the book of Proverbs that offers a sharp visual of a person lacking an important quality. Solomon, wise king of Israel, says:
28 Like a city whose walls are broken through
is a person who lacks self-control.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.