Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 39-41:18; 2 Timothy 1:1-18; Psalm 90-91:16; Proverbs 26:1-2
As predicted, Jerusalem was besieged by Babylon and ultimately fell (Jeremiah 39:1-2). History confirms that this happened in 586 B.C. thereby fulfilling prophecy God had given through the prophets year before.
History also confirms the name of at least one of the Babylonian officers mentioned in Jeremiah 39:3. In 2007 a cuneiform tablet, dating to 595 B.C., was discovered with the title “Nergal-sharezer” on it, giving more proof that the Bible is accurate. Archaeology has yet to discover any artifact that contradicts or disproves anything written in the Bible.
Today we begin reading Paul’s second letter to Timothy. Paul wrote this letter while he was imprisoned in Rome for the second time. This time he would be not be released. He would be beheaded by Nero’s government for being a follower of Christ. Certainly things picked up for Christians in the centuries following Nero. But they seem to be coming back full circle. The world hates Jesus and His followers. All over the planet Christians are martyred for their faith in numbers that far exceed the martyrs for any other religious or non-religious group. Even countries that have historically promoted religious freedom, such as the United States, are intentionally eliminating Jesus and Christianity from their societies.
Apparently Timothy was not confidently professing Jesus as his savior. Otherwise Paul would not have had to encourage him to be brave in this regard (2 Timothy 1:7-8). It seems that fear of repercussions prevented Timothy from being bold. He was not willing to suffer so that others could hear the Good News about Jesus.
This is certainly understandable. But we do not have to live with such fear. Such fear is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7). If someone is born-again and has the Holy Spirit living inside them then they have the full power of God living inside them (the Holy Spirit is God). And God does not fear anything man can say or do. Therefore neither should we.
Its no fun to be laughed at or, worse, suffer physically, for teaching people about Jesus. But Christian’s are God’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). We act on His behalf. Therefore, if people laugh at us or physically abuse us (I’ve suffered both) it is really God they are persecuting.
Notice that God does not save anyone because they deserve it (2 Timothy 1:9). No one can “earn” God’s forgiveness. None of us are worthy of it. Forgiveness is something God offers out of His own gracious love for us. Because He knows that if He doesn’t, we’re screwed for all eternity.
As an example to Timothy, Paul points out that he wasn’t even ashamed to be in prison (2 Timothy 1:12). I’m not sure I could say such a thing if I was ever put in prison. But Paul knew he was there by God’s will (2 Timothy 1:1) and that God could be trusted with his life.
Those who trust in God get many benefits including His protection (Psalm 91:9-14). Verse 11 tells us that there really are such things as “guardian angels” (at least in some form or another) who are with us wherever we go. Its interesting to imagine just what these angels do. I’m sure that they have done some amazing things to protect me over the years – things that I don’t even realize they are doing.
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