OT: Jeremiah 10:1-11:23
Like Isaiah, Jeremiah is less than impressed with the concept of idols (10:3-9, 14-15). He also spends much of his time today contrasting the worthlessness of those idols with the power of the God who created the world, and who will bring wrath on those who do not seek Him.
11:1-8 struck a chord with me today, as it is all about God's frustration at His people's unwillingness to obey Him. I am working on the concept of obedience with my kids this week, and I have been talking to them about how we all have to obey God.
My favorite verse of today's reading, however, was 10:23:
"I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own;
it is not for man to direct his steps."
So true, and such a good reminder. My life is God's, and He is in control of all things.
NT: Colossians 3:18-4:18
Wow, Colossians is sooo much like Ephesians. I knew they were similar, but their parallels have struck me with particular force this time around. As in Ephesians, Paul finishes his "practical application" passage with some "household rules." As with Ephesians, those rules concern wives and husbands, children and parents, and slaves and masters, in that order.
Speaking of slaves and masters (and once again ignoring the problematic nature of the text for a modern day audience), I found it interesting that Paul gave the famous instruction in 3:23 directly to slaves:
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance form the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
The way I have understood slavery at that time was that it was more like a servant position than what I think of as a slave. I know that slaves could buy their freedom, and I'm pretty sure that Israelite Law commanded the people to set all their slaves free every seven years anyway. I'm not saying this to justify the practice; I'm saying it to justify the way I apply it to my own life. When I think of the work of a servant, I think of menial labor that is not glorious or glamorous in anyway. In other words, I think of the type of tasks that take up so much of my time as a stay-at-home mom of two young children. And thinking of the way Paul describes these type of tasks in this verse really inspired me today as I cleaned, vacuumed, mopped the floor, cleaned all the bathrooms, and did a mountain of laundry. Yes, those things are menial. No, they aren't glamorous in any way. And yet, when I worked at them with all my heart, as a service to the Lord Christ, they became a form of worship for me. It kind of reminds me of my favorite Thomas Merton quote: "A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all." If that is true--and for that matter, if 3:23 is true--then that means that mopping the floor and folding clothes can be spiritual activities. I know that sounds weird, but I do believe that it is true.
After the household rules, Paul gives some final, personal remarks.
Wow, Asaph is really letting Israel have it. He is still calling them out on all their past sins, although he ends on a positive note, with God saving His people and installing David as their king.
Proverbs 24: 28-29
One against giving false testimony, and one against vindictiveness.