Context is key in Scripture. This is why it’s so important to read the whole Bible and not just pick out words and phrases that we like or agree with. In 1 Timothy, Paul addresses women, but it’s important to know that there was a significant group of women in the church he’s addressing who were teaching bad doctrine.
- 1-11 – God promises to restore Israel and Judah but also makes it clear that they will still be punished for their sins. He assures them that it will be a lighter punishment.
- 3 – God’s faithfulness to Israel had nothing to do with their ability to reciprocate but simply because of his great love for them. Humanity can never fully reciprocate God’s love for us.
- 10-14 – What beautiful, comforting promises! God promises to turn mourning into joy, give comfort, and turn sorrow into gladness.
1 Timothy 2:1-15:
- 1-4 – We should be in prayer for all people to come to salvation.
- 5-7 – Paul assures his readers of his calling. His words assuring them he’s not lying about his calling are comically conversational.
- 8-11 – Remember that Paul was addressing problems occurring in the church. Here, he was teaching women, who presumably had entered worship with flashy, distracting clothes and jewelry, to dress modestly. He also addresses the men that have become quarrelsome over theological debates.
- 12-15 – This passage, particularly verse 12, can be problematic, particularly in our context where we affirm women in pastoral leadership. Are we practicing the faith unfaithfully or is the Bible wrong? Neither of these have to be true for us to resolve this issue. The main question we need to ask is whether or not we believe this passage was meant for its particular context. In the United Methodist church we have concluded that it was for the particular context Paul was addressing.
- 4 – This verse lists off several surrounding areas of Jerusalem (Zion). Jerusalem, and what would ultimately happen there (Jesus’ death and resurrection), were intended to be a blessing to all people. The writers of this psalm could not have known exactly how yet, but they believed that it would be true.
- 19 – When needed, these things will all ultimately fail you.
When we cheer for or celebrate the tragedies of others, God is not pleased. Today’s proverb reminds us of that. We may disagree with the person or their actions or principles, but we are not to find joy in their misfortune. Try to remember this nugget of wisdom next time you think someone “gets what they deserve”.
- 4-10 – Like several others called by God, Jeremiah has an excuse of why he can’t possibly be God’s instrument. God disagrees and assures him that he will.
- 13-14 – Babylon is to the north and eventually fulfills this prophecy.
- 18 – Jeremiah will be protected by God as long as he is serving God.
- 1-30 – Through Jeremiah, God remembers the connection he had with Israel and then how sharply they turned from him. They cannot deny how much they’ve forsaken him because he gives specific examples.
- 2 – Just so you don’t feel dumb, here are phonetic spellings of the two names here: You-o-de-uh and Sin-te-kay.
- 4-7 – When we release things to God in prayer, we are free not to worry anymore. God’s peace can comfort us and give us confidence that the situation will be resolved.
- 8 – This verse reminds us where our minds should be. We allow so much filth into our thought life, it is hard to be focused on the good, true, and pure.
- 10-13 – Paul doesn’t speak simply in “what if’s”, he had learned to trust God with a little or a lot.
- This psalm delineates the differences in the treatment of the righteous and the wicked.
- 17-18 – Everyone is God’s child. We should not gain joy from another’s misfortunes.
Isaiah becomes one of the most bold, confident mouthpieces for God in his years as a prophet, but in his calling, which we’ll read today, he’s timid. He, like so many others in Scripture, feels unworthy of what God is calling him to do. When God calls us, he also gives us the ability to fulfill that calling.
- 1-4 – This sets the scene for Isaiah’s calling to be God’s prophet. God is described as vast and powerful.
- 5 – It is very common for folks in the Bible to be hesitant to accept their callings. They often have excuses.
- 6-7 – God always has a solution for people’s excuses.
- 8 – Yet another example of a person in Scripture who answers, “Here I am”.
- 9-13 – God is fed up with the Israelites unfaithfulness. He sends Isaiah to speak a message of repentance but knows the people won’t listen.
- 1-9 – Syria and Israel are in cahoots to attack Jerusalem, which is part of Judah. Isaiah is to assure Judah that Syria and Israel will not prevail.
- 14 – This is a clear prophecy of Jesus’ birth, which wouldn’t happen for over 400 years, but is also specifically talking about Isaiah’s son, Immanuel.
2 Corinthians 11:16-33:
- 19-21 – Apparently the Corinthians were very patient with those who wronged them. Paul admits he did not have that kind of strength.
- 22-29 – These are Paul’s credentials. This is what he’s been willing to endure for the sake of Christ.
- David writes this Psalm after being ratted out. He has been betrayed but his hope is still in the Lord because he knows God has taken care of him before and will continue to do so.
How do you respond when God calls you? You may think, “Umm…I’m not sure He has”.
In this week’s reading, we read Isaiah’s call, his immediate response, and then his ultimate response. Isaiah is called to be God’s prophet and, specifically, to tell his own people that God will destroy them and send them into exile if they don’t shape up and repent.
Like many others called in Scripture, Isaiah offers the response, “Here I am”, offering himself as willing to follow God. Also like many others, he then offers an excuse of why he cannot do what God is calling him to.
I, too, am an excuse maker. Are you? Do you continually think up reasons why God’s plan for you isn’t the right one? Are you always able to come up with reasons why you can’t serve, commit fully to God, tithe, or whatever else he’s calling you to?
This week, and in the weeks to come, we can also learn from Isaiah what it looks like to jump onboard God’s plan full steam ahead. Read on. It’s worth it.
This portion of Isaiah isn’t the most uplifting…but ends with hope! Because there is hope! And if you read carefully, you’ll find a number of clues pointing to our ultimate hope – JESUS!!
What are you afraid of? Once again, even though they’d already gotten in trouble and punished for it…not to mention that God had assured them there was no reason to be afraid, the Israelites are afraid of people inhabiting the land God promised them. Though are definitely scary things in life, please don’t ever be afraid of whether or not God will be faithful to his promises to you.
- 10 – The Canaanites were descendants of Noah’s son Ham who was sent away after he dishonored his father.
- 3-4 – In Numbers 26:33 and 27:1-11, Zelphehad’s daughters initiate an agreement so that they too can receive inheritance since their father had no brothers. This is that agreement being enacted.
- 14-18 – Yet again, the Israelites are fearful of the people who already possessed the land. God gave them authority to oust all the inhabitants, but the tribe of Joseph is afraid of the Canaanites because of their fancy chariots.
- 1-6 – The tribe representatives took account of what there was in the various territories of land still left to be distributed. Though casting lots is normally considered a bad thing, Joshua casts lots before the Lord to distribute the remaining land to the remaining tribes. Presumably, because it was done “before the Lord”, it’s an acceptable practice.
- 1-10 – Tax collectors were hated figures because they collected taxes required by the Roman government (already disliked) and added considerable charges on top of the taxes for their own profit. It felt like betrayal to the Jews for Jesus to befriend a tax collector. Note that an encounter with Jesus was all it took for Zacchaeus to change his ways and repent double and even fourfold.
- 11-27 – There is a lot going in this parable. A few key things to note are 1) The parable parallels the coming of the kingdom. Because the king goes away for a while, this explains that Jesus will be gone for a time and the kingdom of God will not be immediate on earth. 2) The nobleman represents Jesus. 3) All followers of Jesus are given callings/commissions and some day we will have to answer for what we did in those realms.
- 2 – Zion is the hill that Jerusalem was built on.
- Most often, wealth gained little by little takes time and effort to grow. This inevitably grows the wealthy person’s appreciation for it.