OCTOBER 20- TODAY’S READING FROM THE ONE YEAR BIBLE- JEREMIAH 35:1- 36:32; 1 TIMOTHY 5:1-25; PSALM 89:14-37; PROVERBS 25:25-27
TODAY’S READING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT- JEREMIAH 35:1- 36:32;
The Rechabites were a nomadic tribe related to the Kenites who descended from Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro (1 Chronicles 2:54-55) and they assisted Jehu in gathering Baal worshipers and eliminating Baal worship from Israel (2 Kings 10:15-27).
The Lord gives Jeremiah instructions to go to a family of nomads, the Rechabites, and invite them into one of the side rooms of the temple and give them wine to drink.
The Rechabite men refuse because they have been given commands from their forefathers not to drink wine, build houses, sow seed, or plant vineyards. They remain obedient to their forefather, Jonadab, to fulfill their calling as nomads. They explain, however, that they came to Jerusalem to seek protection from the Babylonian invaders. (Jer 35:1-11). Jeremiah gives them the Lord’s assurance that Jonadab will never fail to have a man that serves Him due to his sons’ faithfulness.
The Word of the Lord comes to Jeremiah, instructing him to use the example of the Rechabites’ faithfulness to their forefather Jonadab as a dramatic contrast to the unfaithfulness of the men of Judah to the commands of their God (Jer 35:12-17).
In chapter 36, Jeremiah is instructed to write down on a scroll all the words that the Lord has spoken concerning Israel, Judah, and all the nations from the time he began to prophesy during the reign of Josiah until now. He hopes that when the people of Judah read what is predicted, they will repent and that the Lord would forgive their wickedness and sin.
Jeremiah calls Baruch, son of Neriah, to write down all the words that Jeremiah will dictate to him. He is then to go to the Lord’s temple in Jeremiah’s stead because Jeremiah is still under restraining orders, confined to the courtyard.
A time of fasting is proclaimed for all the people of Jerusalem. Baruch reads the words of Jeremiah to many of the leaders. They are alarmed and resolve that the King, Jehoiakim, must hear Jeremiah’s message. The officials tell Jeremiah and Baruch to hide.
As the King has the scroll read to him, he cuts the scroll up and puts it into the fire until it is destroyed.
Jeremiah 36:24-26 24 Yet the king and all his servants who heard all these words were not afraid, nor did they rend their garments. 25 Even though Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah pleaded with the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26 And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son, Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the LORD hid them.
After the King destroys the scroll, the Lord tells Jeremiah to make another one. He is then to go to Jehoiakim and pronounce this judgment:
Jeremiah 36:30-31 30 ‘Therefore thus says the LORD concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah, “He shall have no one to sit on the throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat of the day and the frost of the night. 31 “I will also punish him and his descendants and his servants for their iniquity, and I will bring on them and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the men of Judah all the calamity that I have declared to them—but they did not listen.”‘
TODAY’S READING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT – 1 TIMOTHY 5:1-25
Paul gives Timothy instructions to pass on to the church pertaining to how older men and women are to be treated. He gives detail to the care of widows, parents, and grandparents who may have no source of income.
Sometimes we can be blind to the needs of those who are outside our age group. Timothy was relatively young (late 30s or early 40s), and he may have needed a reminder of the needs of the older men and women.
Why was it important that the church take care of widows? Families were to support each other, but widows without families were often left in a vulnerable financial condition. There were no pension plans, life insurance, and few honorable jobs for older widows. A woman who had no children or extended family members would most certainly be in need. The church is the family of God, and every member is related to the whole, and therefore, it is important to provide the counsel, comfort, encouragement, and, when necessary, practical material support.
Family members are to look after their own.
1 Timothy 5:8 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Timothy is also given instruction as to how the church is to support their teachers who serve as shepherds feeding the flock. They must also be aware that Satan will often target the leaders to bring the gospel into disrepute. They must give an account, and any charge against their behavior should be carefully examined.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS – PSALM 89:14-37
The throne of God is established on two strong pillars- Justice and Righteousness. Mercy and truth walk before the Lord. How blessed are those who know the joyful sound of the gospel declaration- Jesus is Lord! Worthy is the Lamb!
Who is the prophet mentioned in Psalm 89:19? Some say Samuel, who anointed David as king of Israel (1 Sam 16:1-13). Some say Nathan, who was a prophet to David when David became king (2 Sam 7:4-17). But we must keep the Anointed One, the Greater and Truer David, in view.
Psalm 89:27-29 27 “I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth. 28 “My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall be confirmed to him. 29 “So I will establish his descendants forever And his throne as the days of heaven.
God is faithful to His covenant. Verses 30 and following show the result of the descendants of David who have forsaken the Law of God.
Psalm 89:32-33 32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes. 33 “But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS – PROVERBS 25:25-27
Proverbs 25:25-27 25 Like cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a distant land. 26 Like a trampled spring and a polluted well Is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked. 27 It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glory to search out one’s own glory.
In Proverbs 25, verse 25, we have a proverb of contrasts. Good news of victory from a place unseen is as refreshing as ice cold water from the springs of Mt. Hermon. However, for a brother or sister, at one time in the right (that is walking in a right relationship with the Lord) to turn away from his or her former fidelity corrupts their potential to refresh others as they might have done in the past.
It is possible to suffer from too much of a good thing, such as honey or success People suffer the consequences of over-indulgence and a preoccupation with self-advancement and recognition.
PRAY FOR THE NATIONS
If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. – John 14:14
Area: 2,240,000 sq. km
The main portion of the Arabian Peninsula; almost entirely desert but contains 25% of the world’s known oil reserves.
Population: 26,245,969 Annual Growth: 2.14%
HDI Rank: 59 of 182 (UN Human Development Reports 2009)
Peoples: 42 (62% unreached) All peoples
Unreached Peoples Prayer Card
Official language: Arabic Languages: 20 All languages
Largest Religion: Muslim
Pray with those from Saudi Arabia
Challenges for Prayer
Saudi Arabia is the birthplace and stronghold of Islam. From Mecca, Islam holds sway over billions and permeates many cultures. Pray that the Lord would shake this center of spiritual influence and make His Lordship known. If a spiritual breakthrough glorifying Jesus Christ would happen here, it would transform Islam and those subject to it.
All Muslims must pray toward Mecca five times daily. Yearly, over two million make the Hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca, required of all Muslims once as one of the five pillars of Islam. This is the culmination of many people’s religious life. Pray that many, as they go seeking God, might encounter the living Christ.
Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s worst religious freedom and human rights records. Freedoms of speech, press, or worship are virtually nonexistent. King Abdullah (1995-2015) worked to modernize the nation through social and economic initiatives. Elections were first held in 2005, and in 2015 women were allowed to vote, with some winning seats on municipal councils. Salman bin Abdelaziz Al Saud became king in 2015 and named his son, Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the Crown Prince. Vowing to leave behind “extremist ideologies” for a “more moderate Islam,” the Crown Prince has worked to give women more freedom while purging political and business corruption. The nation is even opening its doors to tourism and cinemas – both unthinkable a few years ago. Even so, Saudi Arabia continues to invest billions of dollars exporting Wahhabi Islam, a fundamentalist sect that produces many extremists. Additionally, strict laws against male and female interactions have led many to secret lives of homosexuality, the penalty of which is imprisonment and death. As the country becomes more dependent on oil, the gap between rich and poor grows. This nation is also heavily involved in multiple proxy wars that are destabilizing the region (i.e., Yemen, Syria, and Libya).
Saudi Arabia is the epicenter of Islam and one of the world’s most oppressive nations. Most Saudis are Wahhabi Sunnis, following a strict and literal interpretation of the Quran. People of other faiths are forbidden to practice openly, and most Christians are migrants. Strict religious laws make it extremely difficult for believers to practice their faith, and Saudis who follow Jesus face ostracism, discrimination, harassment, and even death. Recent changes in leadership and policy have led some to believe the country may become more open to Christianity. Though numbers are unreliable, the secret Church is growing, and believers are present in every city.
PRAYER: Merciful Covenant-Keeping God, may we be faithful to live out our commitment to Your desires, as the Rechabites were faithful to live according to the desire of their ancestors! May we never despise or belittle the value of Your Word, but may we count it as our greatest treasure and habitually respond to it with obedience. We want to make Your faithfulness known to all generations! Open doors of opportunity to share the good news of Who You are and what You have done in the person of Your Son. In His Name, we ask it. Amen.