Today’s Reading: Jer 12:1–13:27, Philem 8–25, Prov 14:15–35
Today’s Theme: Profit well
There are lots of good lessons today, one that we find in all three readings is that of profiting well through hard work and toil. When we work hard and in the right spirit we will profit, God wants us to be fruitful.
Paul could make his appeal to Philemon because of the investment he had made in his life.
Don’t grow weary
If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?(Jeremiah 12:5, ESV)
We should remember that all we have to do or contend with could be more difficult so we should not complain. Don’t grow weary with whatever you are going through because it may be preparation for larger battles ahead.
They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns; they have tired themselves out but profit nothing. They shall be ashamed of their harvests because of the fierce anger of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 12:13, ESV)
Lord please keep us from this horrible fate, we want to sow well and profit well in Your name. Jesus taught us about this all the time letting us know that fruitfulness and abundance is crucial to our lives and the kingdom of God.
God’s electing love
And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land. (Jeremiah 12:15, ESV)
God loves His elect people Israel and shows them compassion. We can take confidence from this because we too are elect, subject to His electing love and compassion.
A national warning
But if any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 12:17, ESV)
Many nations have gone this way, Lord keep our nation in Your grace and mercy.
Don’t be a useless loincloth
This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who stubbornly follow their own heart and have gone after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be like this loincloth, which is good for nothing. (Jeremiah 13:10, ESV)
Dear Lord, keep us from stubbornly following our own heart. We don’t want to be like useless loincloths (shorts).
Listen to God
For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen. (Jeremiah 13:11, ESV)
Man is in control of his own mind and is guilty before God for not listening or wanting to listen.
More than hearing
Hear and give ear; be not proud, for the Lord has spoken. (Jeremiah 13:15, ESV)
It’s more than just hearing, we also need to listen when God speaks.
God seeks glory
Give glory to the Lord your God before he brings darkness, before your feet stumble on the twilight mountains, and while you look for light he turns it into gloom and makes it deep darkness. (Jeremiah 13:16, ESV)
We must give God what He seeks, which is His own glory. God deserves all the glory.
Man’s finite ability
Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil. (Jeremiah 13:23, ESV)
This is not said in a negative sense, just to point at man’s finite ability, he can’t just do whatever he wants.
It is possible that God saw ahead and knew the black god’s teaching (the heresy that says “black” people are gods) of our day could be spoken to directly from this verse. These black gods are not free to do just anything therefore they are not gods.
The following is the introduction to this letter from the ESV bible and is helpful in understanding the characters involved
Philemon is about reconciliation and relationships between Christians. Onesimus (which means “useful”) was a slave of a believer named Philemon in Colossae. Apparently Onesimus had stolen from Philemon and fled. At some time while Paul was under arrest, Onesimus met him and became a Christian. Paul apparently wrote this letter at the same time as Colossians and gave it to Onesimus to carry back to Philemon (see Col. 4:9). Paul appealed to Philemon to accept Onesimus back into his household, but as a brother in the Lord rather than a slave. In Paul’s estimation, Onesimus was far more “useful” (v. 11) now that he was a Christian. Paul even promised to pay whatever debt Onesimus might owe Philemon.
For loves sake
yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— (Philemon 9, ESV)
Love should be our motivation as brothers and sisters in the Lord.
We should be able to appeal to each other for loves sake.
Refresh someone’s heart
Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ. (Philemon 20, ESV)
Ask the Holy Spirit how you can refresh someone’s heart in the Lord today.
Don’t be gullible
The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. (Proverbs 14:15, ESV)
We must not be simple, we need to look into things ourselves. For example we can’t just take someone else’s word for it because we all have a responsibility to read and study the bible ourselves.
Don’t be reckless
One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless. (Proverbs 14:16, ESV)
Being either reckless or careless is foolish. It is wise for us to be careful, measured and consider what we say, where we go and what we do.
Don’t have a short temper
A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated. (Proverbs 14:17, ESV)
A quick temper is bad because it causes you to act foolishly.
Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor. (Proverbs 14:21, ESV)
We are called to generosity, we were saved by God’s generosity.
There is profit in toil
In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23, ESV)
Rolling up our sleeves and working hard will always profit us.
A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. (Proverbs 14:30, ESV)
Envy will make you ill and even age quickly through poor health.
Righteousness exalts a nation
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. (Proverbs 14:34, ESV)
We need righteousness in our nation. Lets pray for righteousness in our nation today.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on Philemon 1