Jeremiah 1:1-2:30, Philippians 4:1-23, Psalms 75:1-10, Proverbs 24:17-20
Today is the 3rd day of October welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I am Brian and it’s great to be here with you today as we gather around the Global Campfire and move forward together. So, we have moved into a new week. We have moved into a new month. Now today because we finished the book of Isaiah yesterday, we’re moving into a new book in the Old Testament. We’ll also be concluding a letter in the New Testament today. So, movement is happening. So, when we get to the New Testament, we’ll finish the book of Philippians.
Introduction to the book of Jeremiah:
But now here at the beginning in the Old Testament, we have reached the beginning of the book of Jeremiah, which is a part of the grouping of books known as the major prophets, just like Isaiah. And Jeremiah is prophesying a couple of decades before and then through the Babylonian attack and conquest things that we read about when we were reading in second Kings and second Chronicles. Jeremiah is a prophetic voice during this time. And as with many prophetic voices and prophetic books that are in the Bible, we have these oracles from God. And so, like with Isaiah, we’re jumping around a lot because the things that he had to say were aimed in different directions at different times. So, it’s not like a linear narrative story - like this happened and then this happened and then this happened and then this happened. Jeremiah is a book of prophecy so it’s like this as well, but it’s intriguing because we…we get a glimpse more into Jeremiah’s mindset and he does not want to be doing some of the things that he’s invited to do, especially at the time that he’s invited to do them. And, so, there is an authenticity to Jeremiah that we get to understand. And we need to see the frustration of a prophet who thinks nobody’s listening and he just wants to be released from the mission. And it wasn’t just making it up. Israel had turned her back on God and for more than two decades Jeremiah was one of the only, if not the only voice of warning the people that the direction they were going in wasn’t going to end anywhere good. They were on the wrong path going in the wrong direction. And this often led Jeremiah to be in conflict with the people. This is a time where there is reasonable prosperity. It doesn’t look like there’s impending doom. And, so, if…you know, if business is good, but there is a doomsayer then the doomsayer probably isn’t good for business. The business people want people to spend their money, right, not be freaked out that something bad is about to happen. And this went up the chain until powerful enough people were just fed up with Jeremiah and all of his interference. And, so, we’ll watch that even though Jeremiah has frustration and even a tremendous amount of sadness his loyalty to God remains true. And as it turns out he was speaking from the Lord and telling the people the truth. Babylon did invade the land in 587 BC. Jerusalem, the holy city, fell. The palace of God that Solomon had made was leveled, completely destroyed. And through it all, Jeremiah is there giving words from the Lord to instruct the people how to navigate what is happening and they’re not listening. So, with that we begin one of the most intriguing prophet in the Bible. Jeremiah chapter 1 verse 1 through 2 verse 30 today.
Okay. So, we’ve already spent some time talking about Jeremiah, this new prophetic book that we are moving into. So, I don’t want to spend a bunch of time right now, but we’ve closed the letter to the Philippians today as well. And Philippians ends with some very, very well worn versus that are very often quoted and probably a good portion of us know them. We’ve all probably heard them but probably know them by heart. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding”, which we would maybe more popularly know, “which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” And we stand on that. And when somebody in our sphere of influence is going through something oftentimes, we’ll say that “the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” as a way of saying it’s gonna be okay. And there’s literally nothing wrong with encouraging each other in this way. It’s just that that’s not all of it. That’s not all that was being said here. Like there’s a precursor and sort of post reflection on this verse that sits sort of in the middle of an idea or a thought. And, so, when we just lift out, “and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” we’re missing most of it. And we can use that verse as a way of encouragement but it’s not some sort of incantation. Like just because we say it doesn’t mean the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds just because we quote this verse. Our participation is actually required. And, so, let’s just look at this again in context so that we see that we have a role to play. And, so, I’m quoting from Paul. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again rejoice.” Okay, so there’s part one, “rejoice in the Lord always.” Then Paul goes on, “let your gentleness be evident to all.” That’s part two. “Be aware that the Lord is near.” That’s part three. “Do not to be anxious about anything.” Part four. “In every situation, by prayer and petition with Thanksgiving present your requests to God.” That’s part five. There are five things before we get to, “and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds.” So, yes, the peace of God that is beyond our understanding that passes our understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Jesus. We have to collaborate in activating that. Rejoice, be gentle, be aware of the Lord’s presence, do not be anxious about anything, and in every situation have a thankful heart, be in conversation with God, let Him know what’s going on, present your requests to God and the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds. Let’s just remember we have to participate on our faith journey. And immediately following that, as Paul is closing this letter, we are told how to aim our hearts and minds. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about those things.” So, indeed, life can be chaos and we can’t think clear, and we can’t see clear sometimes. And indeed, the presence of the Holy Spirit when we become aware of it does calm us down, does indeed bring peace. But to cultivate a life where we are living at peace in shalom, peace that passes all understanding that guards us, our heart and our mind then we have to actively incubate these things. An attitude of rejoicing, gentleness, awareness of God’s presence, not being anxious about anything but in everything, praying with Thanksgiving, thinking about what is truly noble and right and pure and lovely, and admirable and excellent, and praiseworthy. It’s like not that much of a leap to simply understand, yeah, I guess if that…if that’s what I’m focusing on, if that’s what I’m seeking and looking for and that’s what I’m observing in this world and in my life, then yes, that would change things considerably based on the sort of things that I obsess about all of the time. So, let’s understand as Paul is closing Philippians and we are closing Philippians and preparing to move forward tomorrow, it’s all available to us. It’s not gonna just fall in our lap’s as if we could take it or leave it as if you don’t even care about the gifts that are being bestowed. We have to interact. We have to collaborate. And when we do God is putting back together what is broken in us and in the world because shalom, the way things are supposed to be is what God is doing. And we get the opportunity to collaborate with that. May we do that, brothers, and sisters. May we begin to realize there really is a better way to be. We can follow the culture. We can obsess about whatever we want to obsess about or numb ourselves in whatever way we want to numb ourselves or we can press into what Paul is saying, understanding that these postures lead somewhere, and that place is good.
Father, we thank You for Your word and another day. A lot of transition. Transitioning weeks, months, books, and in it all You continue to speak to us and transform us and we are grateful and we need Your help with this. We confess, we’re not rejoicing in You all the time. We’re not being gentle enough to be evident to all all the time. We’re not aware that You are near all the time. Sometimes we can’t figure out where You went, and we certainly can’t claim that we’re anxious about nothing, because we’re anxious about lots of things. And we confess that in every situation we’re not thankful and prayerful. And, so, we realize that we have some work to do in self-discipline, in shifting our orientation, understanding that it is all available. Peace that passes understanding is available but we have to surrender to You and collaborate with You in cultivating what it takes to move in that direction. So, come Holy Spirit into this. May we walk a new path, the path where peace does pass on understanding and guards us we pray in the name of Jesus. 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.
Community Pray and Praise:
Will post very soon. In the process of moving from PA to MA. Stay tuned…