Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18

OT: Jeremiah 31:27-32:44

Today, Jeremiah says/does two positive things. First of all, he foretells the time of a new covenant, where 1) God will relate to and judge each person individually, and 2) God will put His laws in people's hearts and minds. The passage describing the transition from old to new is beautiful:

"The time is coming," declares the LORD,
"when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah.

32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,"
declares the LORD.

33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time," declares the LORD.
"I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.

34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"
declares the LORD.
"For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more."

It occurred to me that the idea of God writing His laws in our minds and on our hearts is fulfilled by the presence of His Spirit within us. The indwelling of God's Spirit in each individual follower is one of the major differences between the old covenant and the new, and could account for this view of the internalization of God's law.

The second positive thing that Jeremiah did was to buy a field. Apparently, Jeremiah was a kinsman-redeemer, like Boaz was, and so he had a choice/obligation to buy a relative's field. In doing so, though, God helped him to make the bigger point that, "Houses and vineyards will again be bought in this land" (32:15). Seen from this perspective, Jeremiah's purchase was an act of faith in God's promise to one day restore Israel.

NT: 1 Timothy 3:16

Paul gives instructions for overseers and deacons. In verse 11, he talks about deacons' wives, and apparently, an alternate translation for that is "deaconess." To be honest, though, I have a hard time seeing how that translation would work. If that's true, then Paul only gives one verse of instructions on deaconesses, which is oddly placed in the middle of five verses of instruction on deacons. Why would deaconesses have a shorter list of qualifications? Why would Paul not specify, for example, that deaconesses be the wives of one husband, since that qualification is important both for overseers and deacons alike? It really makes more sense to me to read the text as, "deacon's wives."

Paul closes this section with what appears to be an early Christian hymn (16).

Psalm 88:1-18

The Sons of Korah write an incredibly Davidic psalm, in which the author describes the pit he is in and begs God to save him from it.

Proverbs 25:20-22

Regarding verse 20, I don't know why it is that bad to sing songs to a heavy heart. Wouldn't that cheer it up?

And verses 21-22 are the verses that Paul quotes in Romans 12.

1 comment:

  1. I know that it is because we are studying Self Control this week with the kids, but it stood out to me how often that godly character quality came up as a prereq for being a leader in the church, both for men (as elders and deacons) and women (as wives). In the NLT, the words "self control" is used for the elders and the wives of deacons, and the deacons themselves entreated to "not indulge in much wine or be dishonest with money" ..kinna self-controlish :)

    Meshing that together with my current mental emphasis on denial of self, I like that it plays into being a mature christian (an elder cannot be a "new convert")...denying self has a ton to do with being self controlled, which is a "cant do it without the Spirit" thing as well.

    I just found that striking ..since we are talking about that very thing with my little ones.

    Jeremiah ..I was really struck by the phrase (again, NLT) "I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land." vs 41

    ..I like "I will find joy in doing good for them" I totally get that, as a mom who loves to see my kids giddy over something I have given them. I love to see them excited about places we go, or things we do together that are "good". I find joy in doing good for them. :)