October - Reading 4

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Oct 4, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Good evening –

    An important thing to remember in our reading of Jeremiah tonight is that the Book is not necessarily organized chronologically. This leaves scholars the task of trying to decipher at what point in time Jeremiah may be preaching these prophecies. Remember the prophet’s ministry lasted nearly 5 ½ decades and spanned the reins of five different kings. If we cross-reference back to the Book of 2Kings, we see that this message against false religions in chapter 7could have been at any point after the rein of Josiah up until the exile itself. In verse 12 the reference to Shiloh is referring to the establishment of the Tabernacle in Joshua 18:1. The Tabernacle remained there throughout the Book of Judges and remained even until the time of 1Chronicles 21:29. We then lose it in the Scriptures. At some point we recognize that it has ceased to exist. The Jewish people had gained such a false confidence in Solomon’s Temple being the deity itself that Jeremiah points out that it too will pass. The main point being that the people bring it upon themselves.
    I was also struck by the phrase “Queen of Heaven” in verse 18. My NIV textnotes say that this may be in reference to Ishtar, a pagan goddess, but I have to wonder why the words are capitalized in this version. I wonder if the translators of this version are hinting at another possible interpretation that was far beyond Jeremiah’s horizon.
    In 9:12 we once again see the weeping prophet (9:1) pleading to the lord on behalf of the Israelites. These literary intrusions are a brilliant literary device that give us a glimpse at the personality of the prophet and his deep concern for his countrymen. One further note is that verse 9:22 is the primary basis for the personification of death that we know as the Grim Reaper.

    In the Gospel of John we see that this Gospel points to two of the initial disciples being originally disciples of John the Baptist. One is Andrew and the other is believed to be the author, John. It follows to reason that the disciple would not use his own name in these narratives. We also see that this Gospel immediately assigns Simon the new name of Peter, or rock, from Christ’s first meeting with him. In Matthew this does not occur until Peter makes his proclamation of Christ’s Messiahship (Matthew 16:17).

    James today deals with the issue of favoritism. For an example, James uses favoritism towards the rich but bear in mind that it is just that: an example. James expands his instructions beginning in verse 2:8. He refers to the “Royal Law” as it appears in Leviticus 19:18 and was later quoted by Christ (Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27). The Law represents the Will of God and therefore whoever breaks the Law goes against God’s Will. The “law that gives freedom” is the completion and fulfillment of the Law through Christ. Since Christ fulfilled the Law He embodies the moral teachings of the Old Testament, therefore those moral codes are still prevalent for the believer to do God’s Will.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lecture 7/27/03 - conclusion.

    9. Prejudice in Action (2:1-7) – Again, to accurately understand this passage, we must recognize the view held of the rich in a paranesis of James’ era. The rich were the oppressors who reviled the church. In contrast we must recognize the acceptance that Christ showed the poor. James tells us that partiality or favoritism and faith in Christ are incompatible. Dress in that time, as now, was a display of status and James contrasts the white raiment and gold rings of the rich man with the dirty and shabby clothing of the poor man. While the situation being described is likely hypothetical, something similar was already occurring in the early assemblies as we see evidenced by verse 6, “you have dishonored the poor man.” This could be a hangover from the old Jewish system of the synagogues in which the Pharisees and people of prominence were given seats of honor as shown in Christ’s rebuke of this class in Matthew 23 saying that they “love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues.” Having such a caste system within the church was dishonoring to Christ as well as the poor believer. An interesting parallel can be made to the magnificence of Christ in contrast to the rich man’s raiment. Interestingly, the word “assembly” in this text is usually translated “synagogue.” The Greek “ekklesia” which is normally translated “church” is more literally “assembly.” This text shows a support for the theory of James being such an early writing.

    10. Prejudice and Law (read 2:8-13) – The Royal Law is referring not only to Leviticus
    19:18 but to the summation of all of the Old Testament Law. As James is writing in a diatribe style, that is to say as if he were in a debate, he may be presenting a counter to ones who may claim that they were showing love to the rich at a time that they were not well received. This interpretation is supported by the phrase “you do well.” In other words, James is saying, “if that really is your intent, then you are indeed fulfilling the Royal Law.” However, it is likely that the early Christians were seeking to recruit members who could boost their status and influence. The Royal Law, as James views it, forbids partiality. He then switches to the Jewish presupposition that the Law (any Law) is viewed as a whole, not as separate components. Paul addressed this same issue in Galatians. As the believers were transgressing this one command to love their neighbor as themselves, they were in danger of transgressing the Royal Law as a whole. He shows the blackness of this sin by equating it with adultery and murder. This passage up to this point is unquestionably Jewish in nature. However, James now moves on to a premise that could be appreciated by all audiences, Jewish and Gentile alike. James tells his audience that Christians will be judged under the Law of Liberty. We can summarize the Law of Liberty as the Gospel. Albert Barnes in his 1840 commentary had this to say about the “law of Liberty”.

    [ October 02, 2004, 09:41 AM: Message edited by: Clint Kritzer ]
     
  4. computerjunkie

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    Interesting comment, Clint. When I was reading this morning, I also noticed the capitalization. In looking further into it, the only translations I find that capitalize it are NIV, Living Bible, and the New Living Translation.

    I also believe it refers to Ishtar, a pagan goddess. Also notice it was the entire family who participated.

    Would you elaborate on what you think the translators are "hinting at"? I would be interested in hearing what you think.

    In Jer. 7:16, why do you think God told Jeremiah not to pray for them? Does God ever tell us today NOT to pray for somebody because they are so far from Him?

    Just some thoughts...
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lesson 3/20/05

    Jeremiah 7

    Jeremiah 7:1-15 constitutes a section of the Book commonly referred to as “The Temple Sermon.” It is commonly accepted that this Pasage coincides with the events described in chapter 26 in which Jeremiah stood in the Temple and boldly proclaimed the message that “rites do not make right.”

    Assuming the widely held view that the events in chapters 7-10 happened during the reign of Jehoiakim, much had changed politically and religiously since we turned the page on chapter 6. Josiah’s reform, which started with the greatest of intentions, had fallen into pure legalism and as the momentum of the movement ebbed, Jeremiah became disillusioned with it. When Josiah went out to battle Pharaoh Neco II of Egypt, he was killed on the battlefield ushering in a new era for the Hebrew nation of Judea (2Kings 23:29). At that time Neco became the dominate power in Palestine, deposing Jehoahaz after a mere three months and putting Jehoiakim on the throne (2Kings 24).

    Now the paganism and idolatry that marked Mannaseh’s reign and which had been creeping back into the culture returned in full force. The people worshipped false gods and performed even the most horrendous pagan practices while all the while hanging on to a belief that the Lord would protect them because of the covenant. They centered their hopes around the Temple believing that because God had put His Name there it would be protected against any adversarial assaults.

    And so we glimpse now into history as Jeremiah makes a complete break from the cultus that grew from the Josianic reforms and takes his very life into his hands by standing up in the Temple and once again admonishing his countrymen for their abandonment of the covenant.

    Jeremiah 7:1-15 A Sermon on the Source of Security

    The occasion for this speech was probably the fall festival of 609 BC. As noted, the political climate in Judah was tumultuous. A superstition regarding the Temple had arisen from the Josianic reform as the people turned towards external forms of religion. The false prophets and the priests may have fallen into the habit of calling “the Temple, the Temple, the Temple! Here is the edifice that has stood the tests of storms and assaults in the past and here will be our refuge!” From Jeremiah’s sermon we can gather that the opinion had become that an increase in sacrifices and religious rites would bring the people more into favor with God and place God somehow in their debt.

    It was into this atmosphere that God called Jeremiah to stand and proclaim His message. This was an extremely dangerous mission (Jeremiah 26:7-9). In this Passage, Jeremiah denounces the Temple worship that had grown so popular and told the people that only an ethical, internal religion that would renew and reflect the Siniatic Covenant would be acceptable to God. While the Levitical Law included sacrifice, ceremony and rites, the basis of men’s obligation to the covenant was to love the Lord – a love that would be reflected in their treatment of their fellow men.

    Verses 1-2 are the introduction to the sermon, which is in the form of a legal brief. In verses 3-4 the case is stated. Basically the message is, “Do not listen to the lies being told to you by the priest and false prophets that the Temple is the basis of your security. This is a falsehood. The only true security you will find is with God’s blessing and the only way to that blessing is if you repent.”

    Verses 5-7 state God’s demands. Here we see what the Lord expects and the reward for fulfilling that obligation. In essence the message is, “God expects an ethical and spiritual transformation from His people, not just lip service through cultic activity. If you really execute justice as dictated by the code of the covenant, if you really refrain from idolatry as the covenant demands, then I will allow you to remain here in this land.”

    Verses 8-11 state the indictment against the people. The charges are as follows: “You engage in theft, murder, adultery, perjury and idolatry and then you have the gall to come to this house and claim you are safe, only to leave it and continue in your abominable actions! You have made the house of God a refuge for robbers, a hideout to which you retreat after perpetrating your crimes!” God had noted the hypocrisy of the people and through His prophet He was now letting them know that it would no longer be tolerated. Verse 9 makes allusions to the Eighth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, First and Second Commandments. The people of Judah had made an almost total breech of the covenant relationship with God.

    This section ends in verses 12-15 with an indictment - a description of the impending destruction. We can paraphrase it in this way: “Because you are indulging in religious practices devoid of any real faith or fidelity towards me, I am going to destroy this house which is called by my name and in which you have put your faith. I did it at Shiloh and I will do it here as well. Further, I will send you into captivity just as I did your Israeli brothers.”

    About twenty miles north of Jerusalem, Shiloh had been established as the center of worship soon after the Israelites entered the Promised Land (Joshua 18:1). It was destroyed by the Philistines in about 1050 BC. The analogy is very strong and persuasive. At that time, the Hebrews had put their faith in the Ark above their faith in God. Again they had looked at a religious object as their security, not the God for Whom it had been established (1Samuel 4:3).

    The expression “I will cast you out of my sight” is very fitting for a people who believed that God dwelt in the house and in the land. If the people were taken away into exile, they would indeed be “out of His sight.” That fate had already been visited upon the Northern Kingdom in 721 BC.

    Most scholars conclude that the Temple sermon ends at verse 15 as the parallel in chapter 26 has the sermon ending with Jeremiah’s announcement that the Temple would be destroyed. This attack upon the false faith of the priest and prophets led them to seek his execution (Jeremiah 26:3-6).

    It is easy for us to point at and criticize the people of Judah during Jeremiah’s time. However, the modern believer must always be on guard of falling into the same trap. While it is important to hold reverence for a holy Book, it will not bring us security. While it is important to come to church, it will not save us. While the many nuances of our faith are important – the Lord’s Supper, baptism, missions – these too should never be viewed as the basis of our security. The only true security we can hope for is from a right relationship with God expressing itself in a right relationship with our fellow man. This relationship can only come about through submission to God’s call to repentance, faith and obedience. Our religion should never be seen as a foxhole. Our religion is an ethical relationship with a living and present God.

    Jeremiah 7:16-20 A Prohibition of Prayer for a Profligate People

    This is a very interesting Passage for the simple reason that it has God commanding Jeremiah to cease praying for the people of Judah. Again, the reader should remember how much Jeremiah loved his country and he acted as an intercessor for them time and time again. However, because the people had become so corrupt, repentance was so seemingly impossible, and judgement was inevitable, God forbade Jeremiah from further intercession. In spite of this, it appears from the remainder of the Book that Jeremiah continued.

    The Passage centers specifically on the cult worship of Ishtar or Astarte, “the queen of heaven.” This was the goddess associated with the planet Venus worshipped by the Assyrians and Babylonians as the goddess of love and fertility. While this type of worship had been removed by Josiah’s reforms, it must have been renewed under Jehoiakim. The cakes used the cultic practices were probably made in the likeness of a woman or in the shape of a star, the goddess’ symbol.

    Jeremiah 7:21-28 Cultic Conformity or Complete Commitment

    In this Passage, God is stating through Jeremiah that if the people do not have a complete commitment to Him, their sacrifices are nothing but flesh and they may as well eat them as set them aside for religious ceremony. Throughout their history from the time God delivered them from Egypt, His primary demand was that they hear and obey His Voice. In the interim He had sent them prophets but they refused to listen. Instead, they grew harder and more stubborn and would not obey. Therefore, they would soon be cut off. Again, religious ceremony without its real purpose is meaningless. Religious rites are not magical incantations but a form of worship. Sacrifices and ceremony are no substitute for self-surrender.

    Jeremiah 7:29-8:3 The Valley of Sacrifice

    Here the people are chastised once again for their apostasy. They are told to cut off their hair and cast it away, a symbol for mourning in the culture. The reason for the mourning in this case was God'’ rejection of His people. The reason for the rejection in this case is twofold. First they have defiled the Temple with their abominations. Secondly, they have committed the heinous crime of sacrificing their children at Topheth. As a judgment, these people themselves would be slaughtered in Topheth. The slaughter would be so great that the acceptable burial grounds would be full and Topheth itself would be used. Even then, the land will not accommodate the dead and some will be left above ground and be eaten by the birds and beasts. This would have been a horrible concept for Jeremiah’s audience. The justice in it is that they would be under the heavenly bodies they had worshipped.
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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