All of God’s Word is valuable for teaching us to live a God-honoring life, but today’s New Testament reading contains a great synopsis of the basics of the Christian life including our responsibilities whether older men and women or younger.
Also read about God’s incredible patience and the reason God may be allowing some unpleasant circumstances in our lives.
Jeremiah 51 & 52
Basics of the Christian Life
Great Practical Truths
As I said yesterday, Titus is full of great practical truths. Chapter 2 gives instructions on the proper biblical behavior for older men and women, as well as, younger ones. It also gives instructions for employees and for believers in general.
1 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;
Older men are to be sober (serious, especially about the things of God), reverent (respectful of God and others), temperate (not given to excesses), sound in faith (mature in faith and good doctrine), full of love for others, and patient.
3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
Older women, whether older in years or older in spiritual maturity, are to be godly examples and disciplers. That means they should first exemplify the character qualities they are to encourage in younger women.
6 Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.
Younger men and women are to be teachable and growing in their walks with God, especially in the areas where God has given them specific responsibilities. Wives should love their husbands, love their children, be sexually and morally pure, and keep their homes in order. Young men should be serious about their integrity and spiritual growth, respectful, and incorruptible (steadfast in their integrity).
9 Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
Christians should be the best employees. We should be respectful and obedient to our bosses and supervisors, never stealing (even little things or time), and be loyal.
No matter where we are in our walks with God, we are to be growing and becoming more and more like Christ (Rom. 8.29). All of this is to be done so that we will bring glory to God and not cause the word of God to be blasphemed by a hypocritical lifestyle.
Jesus summed up the Christian life and all of God’s law in two commandments: Love God and love others (Matt. 22.37-40). But without the Spirit of God working in us and an understanding of God’s forgiveness and grace when we fail, that’s an impossible task. Yet, with Him, we can walk in grace-powered obedience.
Today’s Other Readings:
Jeremiah 51 & 52:
God’s Remarkable Patience
God’s patience truly is remarkable. When we read a story compressed into a few verses or a chapter or two of Scripture it’s easy to lose sight of the time frame, so let’s take a closer look. Chapter 52 begins:
“Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem … He also did evil in the sight of the Lord” (vv. 1-2). Verses 4 & 5, “Now it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign … that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and encamped against it; and they built a siege wall against it all around. So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.”
Year after year God had been calling His people to repentance, sending prophets, giving victory when they were following Him and allowing them to suffer losses when they turned to other gods. Jeremiah had been warning them of coming judgment if they didn’t repent and finally Zedekiah comes to power—one more wicked king! Yet God waited 9 years before this final siege and, even then, waited another year and a half before He allowed the total destruction of the city!
What about the consequences we sometimes experience? I wonder how many times we have gotten upset, even angry, with God for allowing something. We’ve, conveniently, forgotten that He had been patiently waiting and warning, trying to keep us from having to suffer the results of our own actions.
Instead of blaming Him once we’re seeing the consequences, we need to be sensitive to His warnings and conviction and quick to repent and cry out for His mercy, wisdom, and grace.
Weeping over Sin
Verse 136, “Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law.”
Do we weep over sin and unrighteousness in the lives of others and in our nation as a whole, or do we feel self-righteous and secretly rejoice when others reap the consequences of their actions? And what about our own sin; how many of us are truly broken when we come face to face with our own wretchedness?
I’m praying that each of us would take time to stop and think about our attitude toward sin. Are we truly broken over sin and unrighteousness in our own lives and do we seek to have God’s heart, mind, and patience with others?
Compassion for the Poor
Verse 8, “One who increases his possessions by usury and extortion gathers it for him who will pity the poor.”
Galatians 6 says it this way:
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
We need to have pity on the poor, whether they are poor financially or poor spiritually, and we especially need to look for ways to do good to those in the family of God.
How has God spoken to you today? Did you see a passage in a new light? Did you see an area where you need to grow and change? Did you find a promise to hold on to? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In the next few days, we’ll talk about national sin, the loss of restraining grace, putting your past behind you, truth, politics, God’s standard and more.
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