Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 19

OT: Jeremiah 33:1-34:22

It's kind of interesting to read the same things again and again and to be hit by them in different ways. Today, I read, yet again, about Judah's impending punishment and restoration, and yet, they still hit me in a fresh way. To think about such harsh punishment, coupled with such loving restoration, truly is to ponder "great and unsearchable things you do not know" (33:3). In chapter 33, the punishment side was depicted in verses 4-10a, and the restoration was pictured in 10b-26. And the restoration was, if possible, even more wonderful than the punishment was horrible.

When I read the promises in verses 15-16 for Israel to always have a king from David's line and to always have a priest standing before God, I, of course, thought about Jesus. The book of Hebrews, in particular, pictures Jesus both as an eternal king and priest, much like the mysterious Melchizedek from Genesis. Verse 22 does seem to portray numerous priests, although that also reminded me of the teaching of Hebrews that we are all priests.

In chapter 34, Jeremiah brings another specific charge against the Israelites. He accuses them of reneging on their commitment to set their Hebrew slaves free. Not only was the freeing of slaves part of a specific covenant between King Zedekiah and the people, Jeremiah also reminds them that it was part of Deuteronomic law (8, 14). Regardless, the Israelites apparently freed their slaves, and then changed their minds and re-enslaved them. Nice. As a result, Jeremiah reminds them of the "walking between the dead animal halves" part of the covenant and vows that they will end up like those animals.

NT: 1 Timothy 4:1-16

Paul warns Timothy against those who will "abandon the faith" and "follow deceiving spirits," specifically ones which "forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods" (1, 3). Reading these verses reminded me yet again of the danger of adding to God's law or putting rule on rule. As verses 3-4 make clear, God created things to be enjoyed. Granted, we have to enjoy them the right way, but He certainly didn't create things like marriage and food so that we would stay away from them!

This section also has the famous verse 12, in which Paul tells Timothy, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." I know that Paul is talking directly to Timothy here, but as a youth minister's wife, I love this vote of confidence in a young person. We tell our teens the same thing that Paul tells Timothy.

I also appreciated Paul's instruction to "watch your life and your doctrine closely" (16a). It's amazing how easy it is for me to stray off the path, especially in heart issues. Things that start out good can end up empty or prideful...which is why I, like Timothy, always need to watch my life closely. And as far as doctrine, wishful thinking can often cloud what I read plainly in the Bible. Again, that's why I always need to watch it closely, to examine where my beliefs are coming from.

Psalm 89:1-13

A praise psalm from Ethan the Ezrahite. I remember that last time around, I wasn't too enamored with ol' Ethan, but today, I enjoyed the simple ode to God.

Prov. 25: 23-24

Against sly tongues and quarrelsome wives.

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