October - Reading 8

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Oct 8, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Good evening -

    In Jeremiah today the prophet continues his narrative of doom with only a few encouraging words. We read his fourth and fifth "confessions" in 17:12-18 and 18:18-23. These short dialogues show the personal nature of the prophet's relationship to God. The human element of Jeremiah shows through well in his pleas to the Lord, whether they be for the Israelites or himself.
    Chapter 18 - 20 show the lessons that Jeremiah learned watching a potter. The analogy of God being a potter of this world are quite common in the Scriptures in that He is in control of all that occurs. If He is displeased with His workmanship, he obliterates it an dbegins again.
    We can find a description of the potter's work at the wheel in the Apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus 38:
    In the Gospel of John we read of the exchange between Christ and Nicodemus. The passage that always raises questions for Baptist about this passage is verse 5. Does "water" represent baptism in this account?
    Darby
    Gills

    I suppose that's more than enough to chew on in one post. [​IMG]

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lecture 8/24/03

    James 4

    Our final Passage last week of the two types of wisdom leads directly into today’s lesson. From James’ diatribe of earthly wisdom resulting in bitter jealousy and selfish ambition as opposed to the harvest of righteousness from the wisdom from above, he now calls his audience to consecration – the act of making oneself separate from the pleasures of the world. Our first Passage today, 1 – 10, is a collection of maxims, sayings of a proverbial nature. We then deal in verses 11 & 12 with a paragraph dealing with, once again, evil speech, and we then conclude with the necessity of recognizing God’s Sovereignty in the individual believer’s life, a section we will call the sin of presumption.

    While this disjointed style of writing is not prevalent in the rest of the New Testament, it is what characterizes a paranesis. This week I will be asking each of you to read some cross-references as we go through the Passages to show the uniformity of this chapter to the rest of the New Testament.

    The Call to Consecration:

    (James 4:1-10) The first question in verse 1 is set up to condemn the actions of the members of James’ audience that were causing these unspecified conflicts. The second question in verse 1, “is it not that your passions are at war within you,” is arranged grammatically to expect a positive answer. James attributes the outward conflicts among the brotherhood to the inner struggle within each believer. This is the war between the wisdom from above and the earthly wisdom we explored in chapter 3. This is the same inner conflict we discussed in Galatians between the Fruit of the Spirit and the vices of the flesh. James was not the only one to recognize this conflict of the believer. Please read Romans 7:23 and 1Peter 2:11.

    From these verses we see that this theme of the battle of what is good and what is bad is a very recognized part of human nature. We get a glimpse at the nature of the early church from these Passages. It could be viewed as somewhat comforting that these early Christians overcame such difficulties. It gives us hope for today. In verse 2 James speaks of the members “waging war.” It is his intention to make the members recognize and evaluate the nature and source of the conflicts.

    Also, in verse 2 and into verse 3, James reintroduces the necessity of sincere prayer that we discussed in 1:5-8. He goes further here in saying that when we petition God through prayer, it must be done for the right reasons. As servants of God, we must ask what is in accordance to the Will of God. As Christ asked God on the Mount of Olives, “If it be Your Will,, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not My Will, but Yours be done..” The fighting and quarreling the members were displaying could not be squared with a proper relationship to God.

    The reference to “adulterous people” in verse 4 is quite in line with the older Hebrew style of the Prophets who often called the Jews adulterous when they turned to idolatry and apostasy. The concept of friendship with the world being in enmity to a relationship with Christ is another recurring theme in the New Testament and is even addressed by Christ in John 15:19. It should be understood that the term “world” does not necessarily mean the people of the world, but rather the worldly way of living.

    Verse 5 presents us with a few problems, the most obvious of which is that the supposed quote of Scripture is not found in Scripture! However, the intent of such a quote can be found in Genesis 6:3 which says, “Then the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh” or Exodus 20:5, “for I the LORD your God am a jealous God.” Another possible interpretation is that the referenced quote is found in 6b, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” We find this in Proverbs 3:34.

    The next problem we encounter in this verse is to what “spirit” James is referring. It may be the spirit that God plants in man or the Holy Spirit that is received upon conversion. Erasmus once said, “There are wagon loads of interpretations to this Passage.” The KJV leads one to think that the proper interpretation is the spirit of man. Nevertheless, if we interpret this Spirit as the Holy Ghost, Paul agrees with James once again in the context of verse 5 as we see in 1Corinthians 6:19-20. If this is indeed meant to be the Holy Spirit, it is the only mention of this Member of the Trinity in this Epistle.

    In verse 7 James has acknowledged satan as the tempter that leads us into sin. He affirms us of the power that the Christian has in overcoming the adversary: resist, and he will flee. 1Peter 5:8-9 confirms this as well.

    Verses 7-10 are a call to repentance. We are given 10 imperatives rather rapidly: Any one of them would be sufficient to call the Christian to a right standing with God, but when put together, the call is irresistable:

    1. Submit to God
    2. Resist the devil
    3. Draw near
    4. Cleanse your hands (clean up your conduct)
    5. Purify your hearts {motives}
    6. Get uncomfortable (wretched)
    7. Be depressed, and;
    8. Weep over your sinful condition
    9. Turn joy to gloom (over your wretched condition)
    10. Humble yourself before God.

    [ October 04, 2004, 08:22 AM: Message edited by: Clint Kritzer ]
     
  4. mark brandwein

    mark brandwein
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    Clint , I read and Study the Bible everyday. Great Study.. Thank-you and God Bless
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

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    Mark -

    Welcome to the forum and to the board! [​IMG]
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

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    Sunday Dschool lesson 4/10/05

    Jeremiah 18

    The first 17 verses of the 18th chapter of Jeremiah comprise a rich Passage of Scripture commonly called the “Lessons at the Potter’s House.” In this section we get a brief glimpse at the method of inspiration and revelation used by God towards His prophets and how a truth was born into a prophet’s mind. Oddly enough, this revelation does not occur at a prayer vigil or in the Temple but at the home of a common craftsman – a man who probably did not even know that he was being observed for such a profound experience.

    The symbolic perception of the potter experienced by Jeremiah has become one of the most important Passages of the Old Testament. In it we have revealed to us a model of the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. Man is free only in the response he chooses to make to God. As Irenaeus put it in the 2nd century, “To make is the property of God. To be made that of man.”

    Another significant aspect of this Passage is that it demonstrates the patience and love of God. While some may only see the threat of the coming calamity for Judah, it should not be overlooked that there is also a note of hope in the revelation that God is once again giving His people an opportunity to rise to His purpose. It would be through the discipline of the exile that God would fashion a new vessel to carry forth His plan. Recognizing this truth marks a turning point in Jeremiah’s career. While his message continues to be primarily one of doom, he also begins now to preach about the time beyond the captivity. It is at the potter’s house that Jeremiah recognizes the element of his call to “build and plant (1:10)”.

    Though accurate dating is difficult within the context, it is widely acce3pted that these Passages tell of events during the time of the reign of Jehoiakim, 609-598 BC.

    Even the most steadfast men have their moments of weakness and uncertainty. If our guess at the date is correct, it had been nearly a quarter century since Jeremiah had received a call directly from God to be His agent among the people he obviously loved. He had gone forth into a dynamically changing world. Fully charged with purpose, he used every method available to proclaim the divine word he received. He had used proclamation, condemnation, lamentation, exhortation and even intercession. Yet for all this the people did not get any better. To the contrary they just seemed to get worse!

    God had told the prophet that the inevitable would soon be upon them. The captivity was going to come to pass. There was hopelessness to this situation that stuck in the prophet’s craw. Why on earth would God call him – hurl him – only to face an unconquerable task? Had God been defeated? Was He casting Israel off forever? What of the promise and the purpose? As Jeremiah wrestled these questions and sat in despondency, God once again spoke to him. He answered Jeremiah’s brooding questions through the image of a simple craftsman.

    Jeremiah 18:1-12 The Potter and the Clay

    Verses 1-4 describe the trip to the potter’s house. This place may have been a workshop including a kiln, a bin for keeping and treading clay, a refuse dump and a potter’s wheel. This wheel, literally interpreted “two stones,” was a vertical shaft connecting two flat, cylindrical stones held in stand that allowed rotation. The potter would kick the lower stone that would turn the smaller, upper stone and allow the potter to turn his work. Aside from the mechanics of the wheel, the technique for fashioning pottery on a spinning wheel has remained relatively unchanged in all of these hundreds of years.

    The word of the Lord once again came (happened) to Jeremiah. This time he is instructed to go to the potter’s house where he will be instructed. This must have seemed a very curious command. While the potter may have been a fine fellow, he would not seem the type that would impart much insight on the dilemma facing Judah. Jeremiah, however, obeyed. Jeremiah notices first that the potter is working with a purpose. He is making a vessel. The clay with which the potter is working, however, had some type of flaw. Perhaps there was a stone that had not been removed or there was an inconsistency to the clay. For whatever reason, the vessel malformed on the wheel.

    Though the Scripture moves swiftly through the potter’s actions at this point, we must recognize that there was now the issue of what to do with this lump of clay that had failed to become what the potter had intended. He could have removed the entire lump and cast it on to the waste pile. He could have thrown it back into the bin where the clay was sifted and started from scratch. Instead, he took the same mass and began to rework it.

    In verses 5-12 the moral of the living parable is revealed to Jeremiah. The potter is a picture of God. God can do as the potter does. He can adjust to a changed situation. If His people cooperate with Him through obedience, He can shape them into what He wants them to be: a true covenant people. If they do not cooperate through obedience, He can lovingly discipline them in order that they may be re-formed, if possible, into a people that He can use to effectively achieve His purpose. As potter, God is sovereign over this life. Despite the crises, confusion and changes in life, God is in control. Since God has a purpose for life, the highest wisdom a man can follow is to find and fit into that purpose.

    Israel had spoiled in God’s hand. As He formed them into the vessel that would fulfill the promise to Abraham, some substance within them caused them to pervert the Potter’s purpose. Yet Jeremiah recognizes now that the clay – the Hebrews – would not be cast away as refuse. They would be reformed into a new vessel. Indeed, the Biblical accounts that follow the exile show that idolatry and syncretism (the worship of idols and God at the same time) was no longer prevalent among their nation. It would be this return to the Law that would usher the Jews into the time of Christ.

    The words of Jeremiah’s call are skillfully interwoven into this parable. In verses 7-10 Jeremiah alludes to other nations other than just Israel as Jeremiah was called to be a prophet to all nations. Jeremiah’s God’s sovereignty extended beyond the borders of Palestine. He was ruler of the entire world and His purpose includes and involves all nations. Also instructive in this Passage is that the call to repentance is made in verse 11 and that door is left open. It is the people in verse 12 that refuse to enter it.

    In hindsight, we should also learn that Jeremiah himself stands as an object lesson to us all. As far as we can discern, he was never successful at anything he undertook in life. No one heeded his warnings. He was beaten, jailed, humiliated, scorned, and hated. He was not allowed to marry. He was the victim of many would be plotters including even members of his own family. His work was once destroyed by Jehoiakim. Tradition says he was martyred in Egypt during the exile. No one listened, no one was saved. Yet for all this tragedy, Jeremiah through obedience became a vessel that carried God’s message not only to the Hebrews of his time but to the author’s of the New Testament and the modern Christian as well. He stands as a model of one who bore a cross before the significance of doing so was even known.

    Jeremiah 18:13-17 The Unnaturalness of the People’s Apostasy

    This poetic oracle describes the unnaturalness and incomprehensibility of Israel’s actions. Her defection from the Covenant is contrary to the practice of pagans and even nature. Described as God’s virgin daughter, Israel had done a terrible thing. She had forsaken, even forgotten, Him and followed false gods. Her behavior stands in contrasts to her neighboring nations that did not change gods. The snow of Lebanon melted and provided clean drinking water for those around it. It would be ridiculous to leave it to seek water elsewhere.

    Because Israel had forsaken the ancient roads (paths) and had traveled the byways, her land would become a thing of horror, a thing to be hissed at. Like the hot sirocco wind scatters sand, God would scatter her inhabitants before her enemies. Just as she had turned her back and not her face to Him, He would now turn His back and not His face to her. In short, because of the unnaturalness of her conduct, Israel would face the judgment of a holy God.

    Jeremiah 8:18-22 A Plot and a Protest

    Verse 18 tells us about a plot against the prophet. The culprits were the religious leaders, namely, the priests, the sages and the prophets. Jeremiah had been quite caustic in his preaching against them so it is little surprise that such a plot was conceived.

    In verses 19-20 Jeremiah pleads his innocence. He was a patriot and a man of God who proclaimed just instructions. None was more deserving of praise and respect but instead he received hatred and animosity.

    In verses 21-23, Jeremiah asks God to avenge him in what is the fifth of his six “confessions.” As we spoke about the nature of the request for revenge in our lesson of chapter 7, we will bypass this redundancy. A word should be interjected here about the confessions as a group, however.

    Not until the writings of Paul do we have such a rich treasury of autobiographical information about a Biblical author. Though this is not their intent, Jeremiah’s wrestling with the Lord over his treatment and his purpose show us a great deal about the humanness of one of the Old Testament’s most powerful figure. Though an oracle of the Most High and an instructor of kings, here we have a man with which we can identify.

    We find Jeremiah’s final confession in Jeremiah 20:7-18. We find the prophet here in deep distress. He has undergone torture, humiliation, and mental anguish – all for doing the will of God! As far as anyone could discern, his opponents were in control. It is in this deep despair that Jeremiah cries out to God that he had been deceived. Basically he is saying, “God, you got me into this. You took advantage of a simple country boy and never told me the cost of this responsibility. I have become a laughingstock!”

    In verse 9 Jeremiah indicates that he had considered leaving his ministry and returning to the laity but when he does something inside him catches fire and prevents him from leaving. He is completely overpowered by the God he serves and the people He opposes.

    These six confessions are a very valuable piece of literature. They shed considerable light on the personality of the prophet. They show us that he was sensitive, shrinking, somewhat impatient, introspective, and torn by a sense of inadequacy. This reveals to us that the true power of his ministry was not in his personality but in his sense of duty to his call from the Lord.

    Secondly, the confessions reveal to us the two sides of the revelatory process. There was the divine constraint and the human complaint. The divine compulsion in no way robbed Jeremiah of his free will. He was allowed to protest, to pray, to employ a variety of literary forms and methods to get across his message. God spoke through Jeremiah, but He spoke through a very human man, not a puppet.

    Third, the confessions teach us about prayer. For Jeremiah, prayer was a dialogue with God. It is also not the prerogative of a select group or profession. His prayers were an expression of honesty. They were not a way to get what he wanted but a way to bring his feelings and emotions before God in order to bring his purpose and God’s purpose into harmony.

    Fourth, the confessions reveal to us the concept of piety in the Old Testament. There is no doubt that Jeremiah had a personal and dynamic relationship with God. He viewed grace as expressing itself through an obedient and serving life. This lesson is as evident in his confessions as it is in his sermons.

    Finally, the confessions teach us of the better way we learned from Christ. Jeremiah never really speaks of an afterlife. For him it was all now or never. Hence the need for vindication against his enemies. Despite his close communion with God, Jeremiah had not learned to love and pray for his enemies. Jeremiah, the man, the very human man, could not teach us the lesson of “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Though his ministry foreshadows a bearing of the cross, it does not teach us the lesson of the cross. It would take One greater than Jeremiah, who would remind us of Jeremiah, to teach men to pray in that spirit.
     
  7. Clint Kritzer

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  8. Clint Kritzer

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