Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 51:1-53; Titus 2:1-15; Psalm 99:1-9; Proverbs 26:17
Babylon was a mighty and powerful nation that conquered and controlled what is now the entire Middle East, eastern Turkey and Egypt to the Nile River. Yet, they were not too powerful that God could not destroy them at the hands of an underdog.
Babylon had conquered what was left of Israel and mistreated God’s people. He let them do that in order to punish wayward Israel. But that didn’t make it right for Babylon to do this (Jeremiah 51:24). They were still evil. But God is the master of using man’s evil to bring about good.
God had never forgotten Israel and Judah even though He disciplined them (Jeremiah 51:5). As we’ve read a few times in other, similar, prophecies – it was always God’s plan for the Jews to return to their land.
Jeremiah 51:11 (and 51:28) contains a very bold prophecy. At the time it was written Babylon had not conquered Judah and the Medes (aka Persia) were a blip on the map. Yet God predicts that Persia would someday conquer Babylon and in-turn completely wipe them off the map (Jeremiah 51:25, 37). History, of course, proves that this happened just as described. The next major empire on the face of the earth was the Persian Empire which stretched even further than Babylon (it included all of Turkey, some of Greece and stretched eastward to modern-day India).
One thing we can learn by reading the Bible is just how devoted and fiercely loyal God is to those who love Him. By watching the way God deals with Israel in the Bible we learn how He deals with His children today. Remember, not every human being is God’s child. Only those who are born-again believers does God consider His children (John 1:12).
God’s devotion to us is shown in the fact that He avenges us against the wrongs that are done to us. He is our lawyer, pleading our case (Jeremiah 51:36). God is on our side. He is not against us. He is constantly looking out for our good. This is one of the many benefits of choosing to be adopted into God’s family.
Titus was a young pastor on the island of Crete who had been trained by Paul. Paul’s letter gives Titus some further instructions on how he is to conduct his ministry. Even though most of us who read this letter are not pastors, we can still learn from it, especially this chapter which addresses the expected behaviors of various gender and age groups.
Notice that Titus was to teach older groups and younger groups as well as male and female groups differently. Despite what our culture says, men and women have different needs and different susceptibilities. Men and women are not interchangeable.
Its interesting that Titus was instructed to teach older men to live wisely and to exercise self-control (Titus 2:2). This type of living does not come naturally as we age. We have to be taught this. As I get older I am finding this out for myself. I am not as mature or wise as I think I should be at this point in my life. Hopefully I’ll make progress in the next few years.
Notice too that Paul instructs Titus, who was a young man, not to instruct the young women but to leave that up to the older women (Titus 2:4). It would have been a temptation for Titus to get too close to younger women. So instead he was to teach the older women who would, in turn, teach the younger women. This is wise teaching.
One thing the Bible teaches Christians is how we should live. Once a person commits their life to Jesus and becomes an adopted child of God, he/she should turn away from the sinful life they lived prior to that point and live a life devoted to wisdom and righteousness (Titus 2:12). Jesus gave (voluntary) His life (all He had to give) to free us from sin (for our benefit). The least we can do in return is live godly lives (Titus 2:14).
God deserves our praise for many reasons. He is completely fair (Psalm 99:4). He answers prayer (Psalm 99:6). He gives direction to His people (Psalm 99:7). He forgives all our wrongs (Psalm 99:8). He also disciplines us when we go off course (Psalm 99:8). For all these reasons, God is worthy of our praise.
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