TODAY’S READING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT- JEREMIAH 33:1-34:22

The earthly ‘powers that be’ held Jeremiah in bonds in the palace courtyard, but his ministry is not restrained. God will not be confined. He speaks to Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 33:2-3 2  “Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it, the LORD is His name, 3  ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

The things Jeremiah did not know included both the bad news and the good news. The Lord would tell Jeremiah of the Divine judgments coming to Judea soon. The houses of Judah would soon be filled with dead bodies. God would use the Babylonians to slay them because of His righteous anger and wrath (Jer 33:5).  The Lord would tell Jeremiah of His merciful plan to restore Judah and make a New Covenant to all Israel. He promises that Jerusalem will one day house His worship center where He will be honored by all nations (Jer 33:7-9).

The Lord repeats the promise that the restoration would be through the righteous branch (the Messiah).

Jeremiah 33:15-16 15 ‘In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. 16 ‘In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she will be called: the LORD is our righteousness.’

The man who will stand before the people perpetually on the throne of David, and the man who will stand before God the Father as the perfect priest, is the One who will offer the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Himself on the cross (see Jer 33:17-18).

God also makes it clear that He has not forgotten His covenant promise to Abraham- that He would multiply his seed and, through his seed, make a great holy nation (Genesis 15:5; 22:17). However, the seed of Abraham is now referred to as the seed of David. God is not abandoning His plan to give Israel ‘a hope and a future’ and multiply their descendants. He still intends to bless all nations through the coming Promised Seed (Gen 12:3).

Jeremiah 33:22 22 ‘As the host of heaven cannot be counted and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.'”

Jeremiah tells King Zedekiah once again that he would see Nebuchadnezzar face to face, be taken captive to Babylon, and would die there peacefully. (Zedekiah does not yet realize that Nebuchadnezzar’s face would be the last he would see, as Nebuchadnezzar would have Zedekiah’s eyes put out before taking him to Babylon (Jer 39:7).  This would also fulfill the prophecy of Ezekiel:

Ezekiel 12:13 13 “I will also spread My net over him, and he will be caught in My snare. And I will bring him to Babylon in the land of the Chaldeans; yet he will not see it, though he will die there.

King Zedekiah makes a covenant with the people in Jerusalem to emancipate all the Hebrew slaves. The city was about to fall. Zedekiah was attempting to appease God by freeing the slaves. He thought he could gain God’s favor by correcting this injustice. God’s people had been disobeying this law from the beginning.

Leviticus 25:39-42 39 ‘If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service. 40 ‘He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee. 41 ‘He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers. 42 ‘For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale.’ 

The short-lived repentance becomes obvious in the next verse:

Jeremiah 34:11 11 But afterward they turned around and took back the male servants and the female servants whom they had set free, and brought them into subjection for male servants and for female servants.

Jeremiah then pronounces judgment upon them for their disobedience:

Jeremiah 34:17 17 “Therefore thus says the LORD, ‘You have not obeyed Me in proclaiming release each man to his brother and each man to his neighbor. Behold, I am proclaiming a release to you,’ declares the LORD, ‘to the sword, to the pestilence and to the famine; and I will make you a terror to all the kingdoms of the earth.” 

Although the siege against Jerusalem was temporarily lifted, Jeremiah says that the Lord Himself will give the orders for the Babylonians to return to the city and take King Zedekiah, his officials, the priests, and the people, into captivity. The Babylonians will be the Lord’s instrument to bring judgment upon His own people. 

Jeremiah 34:22 22  ‘Behold, I am going to command,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring them back to this city; and they will fight against it and take it and burn it with fire; and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.'”

TODAY’S READING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT – 1 TIMOTHY 4:1-16

Timothy, like pastors today, must protect the flock from false teachers. Some members of the church were propagating teachings, most likely from the Gnostics, who taught that the body was evil and only the soul mattered. They advocated asceticism (abstaining from marriage and a regular healthy diet) as a way to please God. Many wore their practices of asceticism as a badge of their righteousness before God.  There are some today who wrongly advocate their piety, fasting, and meditation exercises as a superior means of gaining intimacy with God. This undermines the truth of the gospel that only faith in the atoning work of Jesus, His substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection, gives us the access that we need to approach a holy God. Strict disciplines cannot remove your sin or improve upon your standing complete in Christ Jesus. Discipline, as an outworking of the Spirit’s ministry, can help us maintain focus, but it can never be a means for our gaining or maintaining a right standing with God.

Satan obscures the gospel with false teachings. Teachings that contradict the gospel of Jesus Christ are doctrines of demons (1 Tim 4:1). Those who subscribe to them are influenced by deceiving spirits.

The Apostle John, who later serves as a pastor in Ephesus, will tell the Ephesians to test the spirits with the truth about Jesus’ identity as God incarnate and the efficacy of His once and for all sacrifice for sin.

1 John 4:1 1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

These Gnostics teachers honored Jesus but denied the truth of His person (His hypostatic union- the union of his full humanity and full deity).  They believed that the God of creation was evil and therefore the creation itself was evil, and therefore Jesus was not truly human.

Have nothing to do with godless myths (1 Tim 4:7), such as a creation without God as Creator or a worldview that puts man as the center and measure of all things.

Jesus is the Savior of all men, in the sense that He currently is saving men from immediate judgment by His mercy. Judgment is delayed until after death (Hebrews 9:27). This is common grace. But He is the Savior of believers, in a special sense, in that He saves them from the wrathful judgment of God for all eternity (1 Tim 4:9-10).

Are you growing as a Christian? Can people see your spiritual progress? (4:15) Paul tells Timothy to watch his life and doctrine closely. Notice the order. People tend to change their doctrine to fit their life choices and habits. There is a danger that people will make life choices that accommodate their sinful desires and love of the world.

Paul reminds Timothy of the importance of his example (his speech, his life, love, faith, and purity). He must champion the Word, publicly reading it, preaching it, and teaching it. The salvation of others depends upon it (4:16).

TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS – PSALMS 89:1-13

The Davidic covenant is proclaimed here, and God’s faithfulness to fulfill it:

Psalm 89:3-4 3 “I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, 4 I will establish your seed forever and build up your throne to all generations.” Selah.

There is no one like God. He stands above all and beyond all in all His attributes.

Psalm 89:8 8 O LORD God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty LORD? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. 

TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS- PROVERBS 25:23-24

Proverbs 25:23-24 23 The north wind brings forth rain, And a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance. 24 It is better to live in a corner of the roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman. 

As inevitable as a change of weather with an incoming cold front is the trouble that comes with gossip, complaining, and backbiting.

No one likes the company of a contentious person, male or female. Better to live in the corner of the roof and have some peace! 

PRAY FOR THE NATIONS-

St Kitts and Nevis

Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis

Caribbean

Geography

Area: 269 sq. km

Two volcanic islands in the Caribbean Leeward Islands. St Kitts 176 sq. km; Nevis 93 sq. km.

Population: 52,368    Annual Growth: 1.28%

Capital: Basseterre

Urbanites: 43%

HDI Rank: 62 of 182 (UN Human Development Reports 2009)

Peoples

Official language: English    Languages: 2 All languages

Religion

Largest Religion: Christian

Religion

               

Pop %

Ann Gr

Christians

48,676

92.95

1.1

Evangelicals

11,390

21.7

1.5

Challenges for Prayer

Women lead 45% of households. Teenage mothers account for 19% of the total number of live births nationally. Pray that God might work to restore the strength of family life in this nation. 

St Lucia

St. Lucia

Caribbean

Geography

Area: 617 sq. km

Windward Islands between Martinique and St Vincent. One of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean.

Population: 173,942    Annual Growth: 1.04%

Capital: Castries

Urbanites: 28%

HDI Rank: 69 of 182 (UN Human Development Reports 2009)

Peoples

Official language: English, but 80% speak French Creole (Kweyol)    Languages: 2 All languages

Religion

Largest Religion: Christian

Religion

               

Pop %

Ann Gr

Christians

165,384

95.08

1.0

Evangelicals

25,303

14.5

3.2

Challenges for Prayer

Evangelically oriented churches have multiplied – as have divisions. Pray for true unity amid the increasing diversity so that churches can offer a united front for the gospel’s sake. The Fellowship of Gospel Preaching Churches is working to develop that unity in practical terms. 

PRAYER: Lord, You keep Your promises. We can rest in Your perfect faithfulness. We thank You that we who believe have a Savior who will save us to the uttermost! We confess our failures, acknowledge our sins, and embrace the mercy shown to us at Calvary. We thank You for washing our slate clean and delivering us once and for all from the condemnation and curse of the Law. Fill us with the Spirit, establish our hearts in the knowledge of Your grace, and cause us to walk in humble surrender and joyful obedience this day. In Jesus’ Name. Amen 

Pastor David