Jeremiah 14:11-16:15, 1 Thessalonians 2:10-3:13, Psalms 80:1-19, Proverbs 25:1-5
Today is the 10th day of October. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. It is a pleasure and a joy to be here with you today around the global campfire where we can come in out of the cold coming out of whatever’s going on in the storms of our lives and just allow God’s word to speak, allow it to wash into whatever’s going on and speak life to us. So, we’re reading from the Amplified Bible this week. We’ll pick up where we left off yesterday, Jeremiah chapter 14 verse 11 through 16 verse 15 today.
Okay. So, at this point in our journey through the letter to the Thessalonians, the letter that we’re calling first Thessalonians, while Paul isn’t revealing like grand vistas of faith that we’ve grown accustomed to as we moved through some of the previous letters. And he’s not offering, like, complex theological understandings. Right now we’re simply reading an encouraging word to ordinary believers just like us. These new believers had formed a congregation together in Thessalonica and they had been experiencing opposition from the get-go. And Paul was concerned that persecution would eventually stamp out the work that had been done in their hearts, which was something that Paul was continually burdened about overall the churches. Paul told the believers in Thessalonica how deeply he and his companions had desire to spend more time with them if they could have and how they had been trying to get back to them, but unfortunately, they’d been unsuccessful. And, so, Paul writes in this letter, for this reason, when I could no longer endure the suspense I sent someone to find out about your faith how you are holding up under pressure for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our work among you would prove to be ineffective. So, Timothy coming back from Thessalonica with good and hopeful news inspired Paul to write this letter, in part, because he wanted the Thessalonian congregation to deeply understand that they were not alone. They were not the only ones facing opposition. I mean, it’s true. They were experiencing intimidation and they were being harassed from their own countrymen, but Jewish believers were experiencing the same thing from their own fellow Hebrews. And Paul wanted the Thessalonian believers to know that they had not been abandoned. Rather, they had locked arms and hearts in a struggle for spiritual freedom with thousands of other brothers and sisters going through the same thing. So, if you’re in a season where you feel like you’re facing spiritual opposition, maybe even marginalization, then the first thing to become aware of is that you’ve taken your place in a long and unbroken line of brothers and sisters who have all endured the same thing over all of these thousands of years. Opposition is how the gospel spread throughout the earth and the Scriptures repeatedly tell us not to be surprised by opposition. But the Scriptures also tell us repeatedly that we’re not alone. The brothers and sisters of the early church all faced this. And Jeremiah, 600 years earlier that we’re reading through in the Old Testament, faced this as well. Jeremiah cried out to God just like we do and he received comfort and context from the Lord when he cried out. And, so, we can receive from God the same words that were spoken to Jeremiah - if you repent and give up this mistaken attitude of despair and self-pity then I will restore you to a state of inner peace so that you may stand before me as my obedient representative. And if you separate the precious from the worthless, examining yourself and cleansing your heart from unwarranted doubt concerning my faithfulness you will become my spokesman. Let the people turn to you and learn to value my values. But you, you must not turn to them with regard for their idolatry and wickedness and I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze. They will fight against you but they will not prevail over you, for I am with you always to save you and protect you, says the Lord. Centuries later, Paul prayed a prayer over the Thessalonians who were facing similar obstacles, a prayer that we can also receive over ourselves. And may the Lord cause you to increase and excel and overflow in love for one another and for all people, just as we also do for you so that He may strengthen and establish your hearts without blame in holiness in the sight of our God and Father of the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. So, remember this prayer from first Thessalonians. Remember God’s words spoken through Jeremiah when you’re feeling alone or overwhelmed or opposed. Come back to these things. There, sitting here. They’re in the Bible. You can find them every single day. Say out loud the words spoken by God. Say out loud the prayer of the apostle Paul, you are not alone. Do not mistake challenge for abandonment, right? Don’t mistake opposition for desertion by God. God’s presence and the presence of our brothers and sisters is not a recipe for making these easy, it’s the promise that we can rise to the challenge and become stronger through the challenge and we are not alone in any of it.
Father, we invite Your Holy Spirit into those places that are feeling like we’re walking alone, like we’ve been deserted, like we are abandoned. We know these things are false and yet sometimes they feel so true and they pull us in all kinds of directions. And, so, You have brought us through Your word, back to this bedrock truth, we are not alone. We will never be alone and we are the ones that have to reorient ourselves to that fact because we can go on living a lie that we have been abandoned and we can live that lie the rest of our lives and it was never true. We have never been abandoned. We are not alone. Your presence is here and You’ve given us the gift of each other to walk out this life in community. So, we thank You for this reminder in Your word and now the ball is in our court. Now we have some choices to make, whether to believe it or not, whether to walk in that direction of wholeness or not. Come Holy Spirit we pray. In Jesus’ name we ask. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.