Daily reading for Sunday, October 20, 2013
Jeremiah 35:1-36:32; 1 Timothy 5:1-25; Psalms 89:14-37; Proverbs 25:25-27 (The Voice)
35 This word from the Eternal came to Jeremiah when Jehoiakim (son of Josiah) was king of Judah.
The next two chapters are a flashback to earlier times and circumstances. Jehoiakim is in the last years of his reign as king of Judah. Babylon, along with Aram, is raiding Judean villages. These raids cause many to seek refuge in Jerusalem, which is not yet under attack. Among those who run to the capital city is a nomadic clan known as the Rechabites. Their customs are simple and austere; their lifestyles are not suited to city living. However, they now find themselves in Jerusalem. Their faithfulness to those strict customs is held up as an example for the rest of Judah.
Eternal One: 2 Go to where the Rechabites are now staying and invite them to My temple. Take them to one of the side rooms there and offer them wine to drink.
3 So I took the leader of this clan, Jaazaniah (son of Jeremiah and grandson of Habazziniah) along with his brothers and sons who represented all of the Rechabites 4 to the temple of the Eternal. I led them into a side room that was used by the sons of Hanan (son of Igdaliah), a man of God. This room was right next to the room used by temple officials and right over the room of Maaseiah (son of Shallum), the doorkeeper. 5 Once we were in the room, I set before these Rechabite men pitchers full of wine with some cups.
Jeremiah (to the Rechabites): Have some wine.
Rechabites: 6 We do not drink wine because our ancestor, Jonadab (son of Rechab), gave us very clear commands: “You and your children must never drink wine. 7 You must not build houses or plant crops or have vineyards. You are not to do anything that resembles settling down in this land. Instead, live in tents and roam the land as nomads. Do this, and you will live for a long time in this land.” 8 So we have done just that—we have obeyed our ancestor Jonadab (son of Rechab) throughout these many years. We have never drunk wine, nor have our wives or children. 9 We have never built houses to live in or owned a vineyard or a field or even planted seed. 10 We have faithfully lived as nomads in tents and have obeyed what our ancestor, Jonadab, commanded all those years ago. 11 But when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invaded this land, we knew we could no longer wander the countryside. So we said, “Come on, let’s go to Jerusalem so we don’t fall victim to the Babylonian and Aramean armies.” That is why we are here in Jerusalem.
12 After this encounter with the Rechabites, the word of the Eternal came to instruct Jeremiah.
Eternal One: 13 I, the Eternal One, the God of Israel, Commander of heavenly armies, want you to go and deliver this message to the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem: “Why won’t you hear My words and learn from Me? 14 Jonadab (son of Rechab) told his children, among other things, not to drink wine, and they obeyed him! To this day they still obey their ancestor for this is his command. But I speak to you again and again, and you have never obeyed Me. 15 I have sent My servants, the prophets, to you again and again. They warned you with My words: ‘Turn back from your wicked ways and change what you are doing. Stop worshiping other gods so that you may continue to live in this land that I gave to you and your ancestors.’ But you did not bother to listen to Me. 16 The descendants of Jonadab (son of Rechab) have obeyed the orders of their ancestor and leader, but these people have not obeyed Me.
17 “Listen! This is why I, the Eternal One, the God of Israel, Commander of heavenly armies, will send all the disaster I promised against Judah and all the citizens of Jerusalem. For I spoke to them, but they never listened. I called out to them, but they never answered back.”
Jeremiah (to the Rechabites): 18-19 The Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies and God of Israel, has this message for you and your families: “Because you obeyed your ancestor Jonadab and faithfully followed his instructions for all these years, I promise that Jonadab (son of Rechab) will always have descendants who serve Me.”
36 When Jehoiakim (son of Josiah) was in his fourth year as king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Eternal.
Though prophecy is primarily oral, eventually Jeremiah’s companion, Baruch, records Jeremiah’s sermons and actions on a scroll that in turn becomes critical.
Eternal One (to Jeremiah): 2 Write down on a scroll all that I have told you over the years about Israel, Judah, and the surrounding nations. Start with the first words I gave you when Josiah was king, and include every message up to the present. 3 Maybe when the people of Judah hear all of it together—every disaster that I will bring upon them—maybe then they will turn from their wicked ways so that I can forgive their sins and wrongdoings.
4 So Jeremiah called for Baruch (son of Neriah) to help him. Jeremiah then dictated the messages and prophecies the Eternal had given him while Baruch wrote it all down on a scroll.
Jeremiah (to Baruch): 5 Since I am prohibited from going to the Eternal’s temple, 6 you must go for me. Go to the temple on a fasting day; and once you are there, read the Eternal’s words from the scroll just as I dictated them to you. That way, people from all the towns of Judah who have gathered for the holiday will hear this message from Him. 7 Maybe they will turn from their wicked ways and seek the Eternal’s forgiveness, because they will realize His great anger and wrath are coming their way.
It is 605 b.c., many years before the siege and fall of Jerusalem. But the increasing power of Babylon is casting its shadow across the region. Egypt has been defeated by Nebuchadnezzar at the battle of Carchemish. The warning signs are clear—Judah is at risk and must heed the words of God’s prophet while there is still time. The following is an account that takes place during this pivotal time, when Judah still has hope. But the reaction of King Jehoiakim—perhaps the fiercest opponent to Jeremiah’s ministry—begins to seal not only his own fate but also his people’s. If they had hope, it quickly fades with his arrogant and outrageous actions. The lesson for this evil king and his people is clear: The power of God’s word always prevails, even when others attempt to destroy it.
8 Baruch (son of Neriah) did everything Jeremiah the prophet told him to do; he went to the Eternal’s temple, stood among the crowds there, and read from the scroll the words of the Eternal.
9 This took place on a day of fasting in the ninth month of the fifth year of the reign of Jehoiakim (son of Josiah). Just as Jeremiah had hoped, people had come from all over Judah for the holiday. 10 Baruch positioned himself in the room of Gemariah (son of Shaphan) who was secretary at the temple. This room was in the upper courtyard of the temple, near the new gate. From here, all the people who had gathered at the temple could listen as Baruch read the fateful words of Jeremiah from the scroll.
11 When Micaiah (son of Gemariah and grandson of Shaphan) heard the words of the Eternal that were written on the scroll, 12 he immediately went to the palace, to the secretary’s room where all the officials were meeting. Elishama the secretary, Delaiah (son of Shemaiah), Elnathan (son of Achbor), Gemariah (son of Shaphan), and Zedekiah (son of Hananiah) were among the officials who were there. 13 Micaiah reported to them everything he heard Baruch read to the people from the scroll. 14 Then all the officials sent Jehudi (son of Nethaniah and grandson of Shelemiah and great-grandson of Cushi) with a message for Baruch.
Jehudi: Bring the scroll you have read to the people and come to the palace.
So Baruch (son of Neriah), with the scroll in hand, made his way to the palace and entered this room where some of Judah’s most influential leaders were waiting.
Officials (to Baruch): 15-16 Please sit down and read this scroll to us.
Baruch then read the entire scroll to them. When they heard it, they were visibly upset. They began to look around the room at each other, each one afraid but knowing what must happen next.
Officials (to Baruch): We must report to the king all we have heard, but first we must ask you some questions. 17 Tell us how you wrote all of this? Did Jeremiah dictate this to you?
Baruch: 18 Yes. He dictated each and every word to me. I simply wrote down his words with ink on this scroll.
Officials: 19 Before we take this to the king, you and Jeremiah should go into hiding. For your own safety, don’t tell anyone where you are!
20 After the officials put the scroll in the room of Elishama the secretary, they approached the king in the palace and told him everything they had heard. But the king was not satisfied. 21 So he ordered Jehudi to go and get the scroll. Jehudi brought it from Elishama’s room and read it to the king and all his officials as they stood around him. 22 Since it was the ninth month and the colder winter weather had set in, the king had moved to a more sheltered apartment in the palace where he could stay warm by the fire. 23 The king listened as Jehudi read column after column of the scroll. As soon as he finished reading three or four columns, Jehoiakim would take a knife, cut that section out of the scroll, and then throw it on the fire. This happened again and again until the entire scroll was burned in the fire. 24 Neither the king nor his advisors seemed to be concerned about what they had just heard. They weren’t afraid. They didn’t tear their clothes in remorse and repentance.
The king shows everyone, including his advisors, exactly what he thinks of God’s message written on the scroll.
25 Even when Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah pleaded with the king not to burn the scroll, he ignored them. 26 Instead, he ordered his son, Jerahmeel, along with Seraiah (son of Azriel) and Shelemiah (son of Abdeel), to arrest Baruch the secretary and Jeremiah the prophet. But the Eternal had already hidden them.
27 After the king burned the scroll containing Jeremiah’s prophecies, which Baruch had carefully recorded, the word of the Eternal came to Jeremiah.
Eternal One: 28 Take another scroll and write down all the words that were on the first one King Jehoiakim destroyed in the fire. 29 As for Jehoiakim king of Judah, this is what I want you to say: “You burned this scroll and asked, ‘Why have you written that the king of Babylon is coming to destroy this land and will leave it a lifeless wasteland?’” 30 That is why I, the Eternal now declare this about Jehoiakim, king of Judah: His reign will soon end, and none of his descendants will sit upon the throne of David. His dead body will be tossed out and exposed to the heat of the day and the frost of the night. 31 I will punish him, his children, and his advisors for their wickedness. Because they did not listen to My word, I will bring about every disaster I predicted against them, the citizens of Jerusalem, and all the people of Judah.
32 Jeremiah did just as God instructed—he took another scroll, gave it to Baruch (son of Neraiah) the secretary, and dictated everything that was on the first scroll. This new scroll had all the words that Jehoiakim, king of Judah, had burned in the fire, plus many more prophecies.
1 Timothy 5
Paul instructs Timothy not to let his youth cause distraction: meet this objection with loving speech, faithful conduct, pure action, and transparent living as an example for all.
5 Respect an elderly man. Don’t speak to him sharply; appeal to him as you would a father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 elderly women as mothers, and younger women as sisters in all purity.
3 Honor widows, but be discerning about which ones are truly widows. 4 If any widow has children or grandchildren, then go to the descendants first and teach them that it is their spiritual responsibility to care for their own family, to repay their parents and grandparents because this is what pleases God. 5 Here’s how you know if she is a true widow: she is all alone with her hope fixed in God, crying her pleas, prayers, and appeals to God day and night. 6 But the woman who is living for pleasure is dead as she stands. 7 You should command these things to everyone to keep them free of blame. 8 And listen, if someone is not providing for his own relatives and especially his own household, then he is denying the faith and is worse off than an unbeliever.
Family members have a duty before God to support their relatives. But when a widow has no family to support her, the church must step in to be her surrogate family. Paul, of course, is thinking of those widows who have served faithfully in the ministry of the church. The elderly are easily forgotten, especially those without caring families. The church is called to honor those who have been faithful servants by maintaining relationships with them and helping them when they are in need.
9 Now only these should be put on the widow registry: a woman who is at least 60 years old, was a faithful wife to one husband, 10 is well thought of for her good works, has raised children, was hospitable, has washed the feet of the saints, has tended to the sick and suffering, and has devoted herself to do good wherever possible. 11 Don’t add younger women to the widow roll because when their desires for pleasure overtake them, they get careless in their devotion to the Anointed One. Their constant thoughts become, “I want to get married,” 12 and such thoughts disqualify them because they have tossed aside their first commitment to Him. 13 Plus, they get into the habit of being idle. Not only are they idle, but they band together and roam from house to house, gossiping about and meddling into other people’s business; they talk about all sorts of things that should never be spoken of. 14 That’s why I think it’s best to have the younger widows remarry, have children, and take care of their households so that the enemy gains no opportunity to come with accusations. 15 (Unfortunately some have already lined up behind Satan!) 16 Tell any woman of faith: if you have a widow in your family, help her so the church is unencumbered and is free to extend aid to the widows who are truly in need of its help.
17 Elders who are leading well should be admired and valued. Double up on the honor shown them; care for them well—especially those constantly and consistently teaching the word and preaching. 18 For the Scripture agrees, “Don’t muzzle the ox while it is treading out your grain,”[a] and, “The worker deserves his wages.”[b]
19 Listen, when or if a charge comes against an elder, don’t even acknowledge the accusation unless there are two or more witnesses. 20 Bring any believers who persist in sinning before the community and publicly scold them so that all the rest will know to fear sin and its consequences. 21 I challenge you—in front of God, Jesus His Anointed, and His select heavenly messengers—to keep these instructions. And don’t do anything out of favoritism. 22 Don’t be too quick to lay hands upon anyone or share in the sins of others—stay clean.
23 Concerning your health, Timothy, don’t just drink water; drink a little wine. It is good for your stomach and will help with your frequent ailments.
24 Some people’s sins are clearly on display before the world. They lead the way to the final judgment. But it’s not so easy with other people because their sins trail behind and don’t catch up to them until later. 25 The same is true regarding good works; some are there for all to see. Other people’s works can be inconspicuous; but at the final judgment, they cannot remain hidden.
14 Your rule is rooted deeply in justice and righteousness—
unfailing love and truth lead from the way ahead of You.
15 How happy are those who have learned how to praise You;
those who journey through life by the light of Your face.
16 Every hour of the day, they rejoice at the sound of Your name.
They are lifted up and encouraged by Your righteousness.
17 For You are the beauty of their strength.
On account of Your favor, our strength, our horn, is increased.
18 For our shield of protection comes from the Eternal,
and the Holy One of Israel has given us our king.
19 Long ago You spoke through a vision to Your faithful followers, saying,
“I have given help to a warrior;
I have chosen a hero from among My people.
20 I have found David, My servant.
With My holy oil, I have anointed him king.
21 My strong hand will stay with him and sustain him, regardless of trial or foe.
My mighty arm will be his strength and shield.
22 The deceit of his enemies will not outwit him.
The wicked will not defeat him.
23 I will pound his enemies right in front of him.
I will strike down all those who hate him.
24 My faithfulness and unfailing love will never leave him;
through My name, strength and power will be his.
25 I will extend his rule over the oceans,
his right hand will control the rivers.
26 He will cry out to Me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, and the Rock of my salvation!’
27 I will make him My firstborn;
no earthly king shall be greater.
28 My unfailing love will always be with him, protecting him;
My covenant with him will never be broken.
29 I will ensure his family’s future forever;
his dynasty will last as long as the heavens.
30 If his children turn away from Me and forsake My law,
if they refuse to walk according to My judgments,
31 If they disobey My instructions
and ignore My commandments,
32 Then I will use the rod to punish their sins
and stripes to deal with their iniquity.
33 And yet My unfailing love of him will remain steadfast and strong.
I will not be unfaithful to My promise.
34 I will not violate My covenant,
nor will I alter even one word of what My lips have spoken.
35 These words I have pledged in My holiness once and for all,
and I will not lie to David.
36 As long as the sun lights the day before Me, his descendants will continue to rule.
His kingdom will last forever.
37 His dynasty will stand firm for all time like the moon,
the faithful witness that stands watch in the night sky.”
25 Like cool water to a weary soul,
so is good news from a distant country.
26 Like a muddy spring or a polluted fountain,
so is a righteous person who gives in to the wicked.
27 Eating too much honey is not good for you,
nor is it good to seek one honor after another.