“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
This whole chapter is an acrostic in three parts with three verses allotted to each of the 22 letters of the Heb. alphabet. The prophet Jeremiah identifies himself with the chastened people, and in agony and distress, he pours out his heart to the Lord in faith. His laments recall Job’s exercise of soul before the Lord: verse 1 (Job 9:34); 2 (Job 19:8); 3 (Job 7:18); 4 (Job 7:5); 5 (Job 19:6, 12); 6 (Job 23:16–17); 7, 9 (Job 19:8); 8 (Job 30:20); 10–11 (Job 16:9); 12–13 (Job 16:12–13); 14 (Job 30:9); 15 (Job 9:18); 16–18 (Job 19:10; 30:19). We note that Jeremiah likely did not have s readable copy of the Book of Job, but he almost certainly knew of Job and likely was familiar with Job’s story and account that is there contained.
Our verse marks a change in the speaker’s attitude. The contentment he remembers renews the hope lost in v. 18. In view of vv. 22–23, 32, he may be reflecting on Ex. 34:6–7, which these verses echo.
6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6–7)
Jeremiah refers to what followed as he reviewed God’s character.
All the way through V33 the relentless sorrow over Judah’s judgment drove Jeremiah to consider the grace, mercy, and compassion of God. The tone of his thinking changed dramatically.
Notice in V22 the word mercies. This Heb. word, used about 250 times in the OT, and almost always refers to the exercise of God’s gracious love. It is a comprehensive term that encompasses love, grace, mercy, goodness, forgiveness, truth, compassion, and faithfulness.
Notice in 22 the phrase “His compassions fail not”. It is a verse that gave some content to the Christian hymn we know as “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. A man named Thomas O. Chisholm wrote that great hymn toward the end of his life in order to express the great sense he had of this wonderful truth.
As bleak as the situation of judgment had become, God’s covenant lovingkindness was always present (cf. vv. 31, 32), and His incredible faithfulness always endured so that Judah would not be destroyed forever (cf. Mal. 3:6).
3:23 Great is Your faithfulness. The bedrock of faith is the reality that God keeps all His promises according to His truthful, faithful character.
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"Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” - Proverbs 3:17
The first thing that we ought to do is establish the leger context and frame of reference in which the passage is speaking to us:
13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding;
14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And her gain than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand,
In her left hand riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace. (Proverbs 3:13–17)
Solomon is, once again personifying wisdom to make what he says about it more easily related to by his readers. It is much easier to feel a connection and a sense of reality to a “person” that to a concept and so Solomon (and other Bible writers) paints a picture of them as human beings which suggest the qualities that Solomon and the other writers of the particular Book in question want to elicit from the reader. Personification may be defined as the act of attributing a living, conscious, and active personality to inanimate natural objects (from the smallest object to complete portions of the physical world, and even the whole world itself), to forces and phenomena, to manufactured objects, or to abstract ideas and words.
Verse 14 is a good example of Solomon’s use of personification joining wisdom with the picture of a human woman.
14 For her profit is better than the profit of silver
And her gain better than fine gold.
Notice the various references to “she” which points to “wisdom” introduced in verse 13a. then proceeds to attribute human attributes to “wisdom” in order to make the points he is trying to make clear concerning just what is true concerning what wisdom is like and how it works and shows itself in the life of one pursuing and seeking to build it in their lives.
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“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” - Proverbs 22:3 (Cp.14:16; 27:12).
Solomon has much to catch our attention concerning just what prudence indeed refers to. We’ve talked about the idea before this before and come to conclusion that it refers to the taking in of the wisdom and understanding of the Scripture and then learning to interpret the world around us and matters we are faced with in order to arrive at the proper course of action and interpretation so as to proceed in a godly and God glorifying fashion. This verse actually demonstrates the truth of this definition for us. It is not talking about any kind of a psychic foresight, but rather of an accumulated wisdom that givens a kind of warning and enables us to “hide” ourselves from whatever undesirable thing is in the process of approaching. Included in the idea of prudence is that of taking action to forestall or avoid the effect of what negative is coming. Again, this is borne out by the second phrase of the verse: “…foreseeth the evil,”. The word can, as some versions render it, “see”, in the regular sense of perceiving through our physical eyes. But it can also be used in a metaphorical sense and speak of anything from the anticipation and interpretation of some oncoming event or situation in the context of what one has learned from God and His Word.
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“Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.” -
Proverbs19:15 (Cf. 6:9–11; 10:4).
I’ve always been tickled by the Bible use of the word “sloth” or in this case, “slothfulness” in describing either laziness of a failure to pursue a task or objective with appropriate energy. I did a little looking around and discovered that the word comes from the late 12c. And speaks of the "indolence, sluggishness," which formed from Middle English slou, slowe. It actually replaced the Old English slæwð "sloth, indolence." It gives the sense of "slowness, tardiness" and is from the mid-14c. It was considered to be one of the deadly sins, and as such it translates an old Latin word: accidia. Once it began to move over in to common usage, the unfamiliar Latin and Middle English forms changed in a reference to the slow-moving mammal first so called @1610s, a translation of Portuguese preguiça "slowness, slothfulness," from Latin pigritia "laziness" and is comparable to the Spanish word perezosa "slothful," also "the sloth"). In George Washington’s journals, interestingly, we find an attributing of one of his victories to an energetic pursuit of tactics compared to the “slothfulness” of the British General Howe who was his adversary in the battle in view.
Interestingly, the actual word “slothfulness” (or laziness, depending upon what version you are reading) appears only 18 times, as “lazy” or “laziness”, 15 of those times in Proverbs, one other in Ecclesiastes, and two in the NT, once in Matthew and once in Titus. It is not surprising that all of the OT references occur in the writing of Solomon, who had a great concern that men conduct themselves in a way that best and most fully serves the purposes and end goals of their Lord and Master, Yahweh. The Hebrew word translated here actually refers to slackness (as opposed to rope or line being pulled tight). It can speak of sluggishness, thinking of the idea, perhaps of a stream or river that is not moving as rapidly as it might, but his little current. One can see that it is a very graphic or picturesque word that carries a very powerful, useful and instructive concept for us to take to heart and to put into action.
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One of the more famous statements we read in the Psalms comes at the end of what we are considering here – verse 5b.
1 I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my enemies rejoice over me.
2 O Lord my God,
I cried to You for help, and You healed me.
3 O Lord, You have brought up my soul from Sheol;
You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit.
4 Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones,
And give thanks to His holy name.
5 For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:1–5)
There are four figures of speech used in this little section:
· Weeping –
· …for the night
· …shout of joy
· …the morning
“Weeping” does, of course, often refer to the human act of shedding tears as a function of sadness, pain, or the like. But in the metaphorical sense it is used frequently to speak of sadness in the general sense, intense sorrow, but sorrow never the less. It does not always involve tears, but it does speak of serious sorrow, regret, repentance, or a strong sense of lacking, or the desire to see things become well again. Very often, it can be a mourning over sin, our own, or that of those who are dear to us, or even the society in which we live. It is frequent that we experience such sorrow in an ongoing fashion. This surely so in at least several fashions:
- Many parents or spouses are grieved over a loss in their family and sometimes, even the barest thought of the lost one brings sorrow.
- Believers often mourn over their failure in spiritual matter, or perhaps in the “lost news” of others in the families or circles of friends.
- Likewise, believers can mourn over the state of the church or of people in their spiritual circle of friends who are not living as they ought to live.
- So also, many believers (an those still in the world as well) endure grief over the state of the society and world around them. We recently saw ANOTHER mass murder down in Florida with near 100 deaths and serious woundings all as an expression of terror and despite for those in the crosshairs of the weapons of the killer.
I am certain that David went through several (if not all) of this circumstances of mourning. I suspect that he, himself, in his own personal life, brought forth his mourning at times as well. BUT, David was one who knew and walked with the Lord. God spoke to him (he was a Prophet and God used him to write the Scripture and we have to believe that there was a real communication, David and his Lord, that was meaningful and constructive insofar as his experience in life.
The out working of this is what we see in this verse (V5). Just to set the actual context here, it is apparent that what we see in verses 1-3 is the statement that God has healed David in some fashion, with verses 4-12 records David lifting up praise to God for that healing. The title, btw, tells us that this particular Psalm was composed by David for the celebration of the dedication of the Temple. Now we know that David was not permitted to build the Temple because he was “a man of war”. Solomon was the one who actually built the Temple (hence it is called the “Solomonic Temple” as opposed to Herod’s Temple on Jesus’ day). So this Psalm, apparently, was written before David’s death (not really hard to figure as is written and attributed to David) for the opening of the Temple. Interestingly, the Temple itself does not figure much in the text of the Psalm.
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20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age.”
This phrase is one of several verse passage (18-20) with which most believers are well familiar. The passage names in most renditions of the Bible have named it “The Great Commission”. It is a part of the final words from the Lord Jesus to His disciples as He was leaving this world and return to heaven upon the finishing of His mission here in the world:
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18–20)
It is profitable to take this unit as a whole, see how it moves from beginning to end and then, consider His final statement as the summary to the entire (admittedly short) farewell. It builds on itself, phrase by phrase and leads us to the wonderful and a fabulously assuring statement there in verse 20.
Let’s take a moment and lay the groundwork to the final little bit of this farewell. We’ll not be spending an immense amount of time on the preliminaries and will just use them to direct our thinking so that we can get a full and accurate understanding of just what His real and full intent was in this final bit of His farewell.
The beginning of the chapter speaks of a number of familiar things:
- The appearance of Jesus to Mary and Mary Magdalene after their coming the tomb and experiencing of the earthquake that was a portion of the Resurrection.
- An angel descended and moved the stone and then sat on it as they approached. He (the angel) had a countenance like lightning and clothing white as snow (v2-3).
- We’re told that they Roman guards faint for the fear of the angel (v4).
- The angel that had been sitting on the stone that had been in front of the entrance to the tomb spoke kindly and reassuringly to the two women (5-7) and The women ran to bring the disciples to the tomb.
- As they were running to tell the disciples, Jesus met them and told them “…do not be afraid…” thus reaffirmed the command that they had been given by the angel to go to the disciples.
- He added that they we to tell Jesus’ disciples that they were go to Galilee for they would see Him there. (9-10).
- We are also told in this chapter that the Roman soldiers were bribed by the Chief Priests and Elders to spread the lie that they had fallen asleep and that the disciples had come and stolen Jesus’ body (11-15).
- Finally, just before and setting the scene for the giving of the “Great Commission” we’re told that the disciples did, indeed go to Galilee to “…the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them” which seems to imply that the entire following matter was planned by the Lord as what His final interaction with them would be. It was here that we are told that when
- There “…they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some doubted”.
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"Now acquaint now thyself with Him,
and be at peace; Thereby good will come to you.
This is what, by looking at the Book’s text as a whole – is Eliphaz’s third speech. Eliphaz is referred to as from “Teman”, apparently to the SW of a town known as Sela in Edom at a place called “Taliwan”. Of course, if you are me, you need to scout up a map of the land to see just where that is. He had concluded and spoken out at what one of the common themes put forth as a reason for Job’s suffering – that is that Job was, obviously, a great sinner (ch. 1-5) and he charged Job with greed and cruelty (ch. 6-11), and in some (not so little bit) of hypocrisy dwelt throughout his speeches dwelt on God’s omniscience and man’s wickedness (ch. 12-20), and summarizing his speeches urged Job to get right with God (ch. 21-30) because God just doesn’t do that kind of thing to man without right cause.
Our verse in question (22:21) is a part of that last referred to section and theme. In these verses(17-18), Eliphaz essentially quotes some of Job’s words from 21:14-16:
Yet they say to God, ‘Depart from us,
For we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways.
Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him?
And what profit do we have if we pray to Him?’
Indeed their prosperity is not in their hand;
The counsel of the wicked is far from me.
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“The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”
– Proverbs 18:10 (Cf. 14:26; 29:25).
The idea of a “strong tower” is a familiar one in the Bible. In Judges 9 we read the account of the downfall of Abimelech who ruled Israel for some 3 years. Verse 23 of this chapter says that God sent a “evil spirit” between Abimelech and the men of Shechem, speaking of a real hatred and distrust that ultimately resulted in the men of Shechem “dealing treacherously with Abimelech (not that he was any prize himself). In the course of God’s providence, there appeared this jealousy, distrust and hatred and God allowed it to work as punishment for the idolatry and mass murder that had been occurring.
Abimelech attacked Shechem (v34f), He “lay in wait” for them in “four Companies”. Gaal the son of Ebed stood in the entrance of the city gate and Abimelech rose up and attacked them. Gaal resisted with those who were with him and ultimate the army of Israel drove them from the city. The next day ones described as the “people” went out into what is described as “the field”. In response, Abimelech saw them and rose against them and slew them. Then Abimelech and the ones with him dashed into the city and they fought against the city all day and captured the city. Viciously, Abimelech killed many people and then razed the city and salted the grounds. When the so-called leaders of the city, called the “tower of Shechem” heard of this, they they fled and entered the “Temple of Elbereth”. El was supposedly the father of the gods in the Canaanite pantheon. It is suspected that this was a reference to the same God mentioned at 9:4. It was this temple that had supplied Abimelech with money and it seems that now Abimelech returned to destroy it. This seems to be the tower that is mentioned in 9:51, the “strong tower” that stood in the center of the city. They eventually ended up on the roof of the tower.
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"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” - Proverbs 18:21 (Cf. ver. 20; 21:23).
As I’m sure many people know, there are quite a number passages in Proverbs that are very, very familiar. This is one of those passages, both completely familiar and, interestingly, somewhat misunderstood. For instance, the idea of death, in this passage, need not be taken to refer to literal death on every occasion that it appears in life. There are a couple ways, in basic for to begin, that we can see it:
1. It can be seen to refer to metaphorical “death”. That is, it can refer to encouragement or discouragement and the like. The words of the mouth can speak that which gives life, or that which badly discourage and cause the falling away from any goal or the pursuit of useful purposes.
2. Second, it can be used to instruct and/or direct others to actions that either useful and beneficial; or it can direct them to activities and that are harmful and/or destructive.
3. In the life of one who has the power of a superior, as in the instance of King like Solomon, such useful or destructive activities can literally result in living or even dying as a result of that “speaking”.
The meaning of the word “death” underscores the truth of what we have said. It is used 160 times and is translated simply as either death or die 150 of those times (with 128 of those as “death”). Other uses or a little more use oriented. For instance it is given as “die” some 22 times, as “dead” 8 times. It is given as the adjective dead 8x and “deadly’ and “to slay” 1x each. Interesting forms of the word are rendered in a personified fashion as well; referring to the realm of the dead. As such it can refer to personal death, death by violence (at times as a penalty). It is also used to refer to the state of or the place of death.
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