Jeremiah 28: 1—29: 32
We have said all along as we have journeyed through these prophecies that if the prophet is from God there would be near prophecies that would come true to authenticate the prophet and the far prophecies he makes. That truth plays out in today’s conflict with Hananiah. Jeremiah is even so bold to say, “Hey, I hope I am wrong, and the exile will only be two years!” But alas, God tells Jeremiah that Hananiah will die within the year, and two months later he is dispatched from earth. God does not mess around with false prophets.
God also tells them in 29: 4-14 to get comfortable in Babylon, even to pray for Babylon because this is God’s plan to grow them into people who know He is God. Every time I see Jeremiah 29: 11 on a beautifully lettered sign I run the other way because this scripture tells Israel that God’s plan for them is Exile. No thank you. I’ll take a sign that says, “The Lord is my shepherd I have all that I need,” thank you very much.
1 Timothy 1: 1-20
Moving right along! These next three letters in the New Testament are referred to as the “Pastoral Epistles.” I tell you that so we can all be very fancy when discussing these by say things like, “As I studied the Pastoral Epistles…..” We are nothing if not fancy around here….said no one ever. Anyway, what this fancy word means is that Paul wrote 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus to guys that were Pastoring (leading) NT churches. He will teach them how to deal with things that are going on in the churches and encourage them to lead their people well in truth and love. The information the rest of us get from these letters in priceless. As we move through these letters, we will understand the structure ordained by God for our church, our leadership’s role in our lives and how we can best serve our church. That’s right folks, the church is not there to serve you, you are there to serve the church. As with every letter Paul writes he is also combatting false teaching. This first letter was written after the book of Acts. This was written during a time that Paul has been released from prison and is actually one of his last letters. The date on this beauty is somewhere around 63-66 AD.
Timothy is obviously Paul’s protégé. Can you even imagine being discipled by Paul? The thought is equally terrifying and thrilling. First on the list of things to address is not getting sucked into worthless discussions with false teachers that are living among our friend the Ephesians. He is giving Timothy permission to move on and to stop trying to convince people of wrong thinking who don’t actually care about having right thinking. I imagine Timothy being stuck in endless discussions about the Law and it’s place in the Christians life. That is why Paul then reiterates the point of the Law—to keep lawless people from getting their lawlessness all over us. I think the statement, “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came in to the world to save sinners,” is given by Paul to Timothy, as Timothy’s trump card to end worthless discussions. It’s our Christian Non-Negotiable. If we can’t agree on that point, we don’t waste time talking over endless myths and spiritual pedigree. Tuck in, this book is amazing.