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bible reading aug 18-19



Bible reading for Aug 18 -- 19

Aug 18 -- Jeremiah 47 and Psalms 23-24

Aug 19 -- Jeremiah 48 and Psalm 25

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"We have heard of the pride of Moab- he is very proud- of his loftiness, his pride, and his arrogance, and the haughtiness of his heart. " (Jeremiah 48:29)


JUDGMENT UPON PHILISTIA (ch 47). We are reading the section in Jeremiah which related God's judgment upon the nations around Judah. Often, when the nation of Israel or Judah was humbled, the surrounding nations would take advantage and raid the land. This chapter concerns the affluent sea-trading cities of the coast: Tyre, Sidon, and Ashkelon. These prophecies were fulfilled around the year 605 BC, when Babylonian forces drove back the Egyptian army from Palestine. On "gashing" themselves (v 5), see 1 Kings 18:28. Ascetic practices such as self-flagellation do not bring deliverance from divine judgment.

JUDGMENT UPON MOAB (ch 48). As a nation Moab, to the east of the Jordan and Dead Sea, was a longtime adversary of Israel. They dwelt in security within the mountainous terrain of what is now the nation of Jordan. The Moabites were secure, undisturbed, and smug (vv 11, 28). But she, too, would fall. "The reason for Moab’s destruction was her self-confidence in her deeds and riches. Yet even she would undergo capture. Moab’s chief god, Chemosh, would go into captivity along with his priests and the princes of the nation. It was customary for conquerors to carry off images of the gods of the people they defeated" (Constable, NET Bible notes). Despite the longtime adversarial relationship between Judah and Moab, Jeremiah mourns their loss and suffering (v 36). There was yet to be a good future for Moab (v 47), and perhaps that awaits the Millennium. But even today, Jordan is a stable country, at peace with Israel, and home to Christian exiles in the region. We may expect to see ethnic Moabite believers gathered into God's great kingdom (Rev 5:9-10).  

"COME DOWN OFF YOUR THRONE." That phrase, from Stevie Winwood's song, "Can't Find My Way Home," came to mind as I read Jeremiah's words, "Come down from your glory..." (48:18). As we read about God's judgments upon the nations there is no nation that can exalt itself over any other nation. "Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways..." (Luke 3:5; cf Isa 40:3-5). And, "Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust" (Isa 40:15). Even Babylon will fall. Read Nebuchadnezzar's own words in Daniel 4:34-35. Christians can be thankful for the nations wherein they dwell, and they should be praying for their leaders to have wisdom and humility, for God's holiness makes no room for human pride.  

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"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul." (Psalm 23:1-3a)

THE SHEPHERD'S PSALM (Ps 23). This is one of the all-time favorite psalms of believers down through the ages. It's not a psalm only for the deathbed, but it's a song extolling the Lord's protection throughout life. We are "the sheep of his pasture" (Ps 100:3). We need food, water, guidance, care, and protection from predators. Here's a question for thought: which of these needs are you most aware of at this time... food (spiritual or physical), water for your soul, guidance in doing God's will, protection from enemies, or an awareness of the Lord's loving care for you? (Or, maybe all of the above?) Give thanks to the Lord today that he cares and provides for you all through life!  

THE VICTOR'S PSALM (Ps 24). In this psalm the people are told to open the city gates for the victorious King of glory (vv 7, 9). "The occasion that inspired the composition of this psalm is unknown. However in view of its content many interpreters believe David may have written it when he brought the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6). Perhaps he wrote it when he returned from some victory in battle" (Constable, NET Bible notes). Students of Scripture have noted also that this psalm about the Lord's coming to Zion follows the suffering of the Lord's servant (Ps 22) and the Lord's pastoral care for us (Ps 23). Perhaps then, these three psalms may be viewed as a) Christ's suffering for us at his first coming; b) Christ's relationship to us now; and c) Christ's triumphal return in the future. Jesus is the suffering Servant, the faithful Shepherd, and the returning King.

THE ADDICT'S PSALM (Ps 25). Some years ago, I served as a pastoral counselor at an alcoholic and narcotic rehab facility. This psalm seemed to resonate with so many of the residents in treatment there. One client said to me, "I think this is the addict's Psalm." Why? It's a psalm about getting your feet on the right path (vv 4, 10). There are images here that addicts relate to: sins of youth, great guilt, shame, troubles, and having one's feet entangled in a net (v 15). And there is great hope here, too: the Lord instructs sinners in his way (v 8); if we humble ourselves and are teachable, we will find our feet on a good and solid path; and our "souls shall abide in well-being" (v 13). But really, this psalm is not only for substance abusers but for everybody who has felt the addictive power of sin. We may be in bondage to fear, lust, anger, deception, ingratitude, materialism, envy, unbelief, or any net that has entangled our feet (v 15). The solution is the same: confess, repent, trust in the Lord and his forgiveness, be willing to put our feet back on God's path, and have an ongoing teachable spirit. God then promises us that we shall experience his covenantal friendship: "The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant" (v 14).

SINGING THE PSALMS. A reader reminded me of two simple, easy-to-learn Scripture songs based on the psalms we have been reading. From Psalm 18 there is "I Will Call Upon the Lord." And from Psalm 19, "The Law of the Lord is Perfect." Great songs! 

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Image credit. Photo above of mountain near the entrance to Wadi Rum in Jordan, by Daniel Case on Wikimedia Commons. About this newsletter: I post three times a week on my Bible reading, following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Subscribe for email at Buttondown.email/Sandy. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. A very helpful resource is the NET Bible with its excellent notes at netbible.org.  







 

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