II Timothy 3-4
” “””Deceitfully”” (Jeremiah 48:10) indicates someone that cannot be counted on. God needs us to be reliable when He gives us a job to do. As His stewards, God requires our faithfulness (I Corinthians 4:2).
God warned us that things would get worse and worse (II Tim. 3:13); but when they do, we are to “”continue…in the things which [we have] learned”” (v. 14). Those are in the inspired Scriptures (vv. 15–16).”
“Proverbs 16:18 tells us that pride goes before destruction. That applied also to Edom (Jeremiah 49:16), and we can be sure that it is still true today.
Promises have more value when they come from someone who is telling the truth. God’s promises are precious (II Peter 1:4), and He can’t lie (Titus 1:2)!
When there is strife, reproach, and contention, there is sure to be a scorner in the middle of it (Proverbs 22:10). Make sure it’s not you!”
Proverbs 23″With Israel having been so wicked, how could God say that no one would find sin in them (Jeremiah 50:20)? Because when He pardons, sin is taken away!
Paul wanted the older ones to stay in line (Titus 2:2–3) so they could teach the younger ones (vv. 4–6). No lesson is as effective as a good example (v. 7).
The purpose of work is not to get rich (Proverbs 23:4). Beyond providing for our needs, God blesses our work so we can help those in need (Ephesians 4:28).”
“In the middle of a long pronouncement of judgment to come upon Babylon, God says, “”We would have healed Babylon”” (Jeremiah 51:10). God is willing to save the wicked. Only those who refuse His offer are lost.
Paul had won both Onesimus (Philemon 10) and Philemon to Christ (verse 19). As a spiritual father, he couldn’t bear the thought of enmity between two of his “”children.”” Don’t we owe it to our Father to have peace with our brethren?”
“Zedekiah’s wickedness (Jeremiah 52:2) caused his sons to be put to death (verse 10). Our sin causes suffering to those dearest to us.
God spoke to the prophets in various ways (Hebrews 1:1), but then He spoke to man through His Son (verse 2). What Jesus did on the cross says it all.
The lazy man didn’t have to plant thorns (Prov. 24:31). They grow by nature under the curse (Gen. 3:18). We have to work to keep things from falling apart.”
“One of the chief sources of grief when affliction is brought on by sin is the memory of how things used to be when we served God and were blessed (Lam. 1:7). Another is knowing we brought reproach on God as the enemy mocks.
“”He that sanctifieth [Jesus]”” and “”they who are sanctified [us] are all of one”” (Heb. 2:11). We didn’t become God; He became Man (v. 14). Having “”suffered”” the weakness of the flesh, He can “”succour”” (help) us in our weakness (v. 18).”
“If you have ever felt like you were God’s target (Lam. 3:12), it’s not because He wants it that way (v. 33). His compassion is according to His mercy (v. 32), and that is new every morning (vv. 22–23)!
We “consider” our Apostle and High Priest (Hebrews 3:1) for the purpose of emulating Him. Moses proves that humans can do that (verse 2), although we will never reach the level of Jesus (verse 3).
“When God chooses a messenger, He wants someone who will stand (Ezek. 2:1; Eph. 6:11), who is filled with His Spirit (Ezek. 2:2; Eph. 5:18), and who may have to be a little hardheaded sometimes (Ezek. 3:9).
Faith comes from hearing God’s Word (Romans 10:17), but that is not a passive hearing. The Word only profits us if we “mix” our faith with it when we hear it (Hebrews 4:2).
“Israel was God’s witness to the nations of the world how He blesses those who obey Him. When they failed, they became a testimony of His judgment (Ezekiel 5:14–15). One way or another, we are a witness.
The purpose of a foundation is not to hold another foundation (Hebrews 6:1). It is there to hold up what is built upon it. Salvation is our foundation (happens once); we are to build a faithful life upon it.
“For serving dead idols, Israel would lie dead before their altars (Ezekiel 6:5). Jesus said a disciple wanted only to be like his master (Matthew 10:25). Be glad you serve a living God, but remember He is a holy God.
The name “Melchisedec” means “king of righteousness” (Hebrews 7:1–2). “After that” he was king of Salem (peace). We love peace, but we don’t compromise righteousness to get it. That comes first.
“We cannot always prevent the ungodliness around us, but God takes notice when it truly bothers us (Ezekiel 9:4). Don’t get used to sin.
We have better promises than Israel did (Heb. 8:6). Instead of, “Break the Law and die,” He says, “Believe on Jesus and live.” That’s better.
Telling others about matters that are between you and someone else (Prov. 25:9) doesn’t fall into the category of words fitly spoken (v. 11).
” God chastened Israel’s wickedness, but He spoke of their grand future (Ezek. 11:17–20). We are chastened, but we do not perish (John 10:30). When rid of this old nature, we finally serve Him in holiness (v. 19).
Men had no access to God’s presence while the tabernacle was standing (Heb. 9:8), but since it’s gone, the way into the real Holy of Holies is open to all through the blood of Jesus. Come boldly (Heb. 4:16).
“We are called unloving if we point out false teaching, but Ezekiel was sent to do just that (Ezekiel 13:2). God sought one to stand in the gap (22:30), but not someone making up his own message (vv. 3–5).
Firebrands, arrows, and death (Proverbs 26:18) cause irreparable damage. “I was just kidding” (verse 19) doesn’t always fix things. Some jokes just aren’t funny.
“The sin of Sodom was pride, self-sufficiency, and idleness (Ezekiel 16:49). What we call sodomy was the symptom, not the disease. We see the symptoms again today because we have reproduced the disease.”
Don’t boast about tomorrow (Prov. 27:1); you don’t know what will be then (James 4:13–14). And don’t boast about today (Prov. 27:2).Do something really worth talking about; others will talk about it.
“Rebels need not expect that they will prosper or that they will escape (Ezekiel 17:15). It never works that way for long in God’s economy.”
Jesus came for the purpose of doing God’s will (Heb. 10:7). He sends us the same way the Father sent Him (John 20:21)—to do God’s will.
Government was ordained to restrain evil (Rom. 13:1; Gen. 9:6). One reason we have big government is a wicked population (Prov. 28:2).
“Israel had a proverb (Ezek. 18:2) that blamed the prior generation for what they were suffering. God says He judges each for his own works (vv. 5–9). We can overcome what others have handed down to us.
There were so many heroes of faith that the writer ran out of time and space to tell about them (Heb. 11:32). We have lots of time, so that’s our job. He even suggests things we can tell about (vv. 33–38).
” Those who wanted idols could have them (Ezekiel 20:39), but they shouldn’t pollute God’s name by pretending they were serving Him. He would rather have hot or cold than lukewarm (Rev. 3:15–16).
Chastisement is a normal part of the Christian life (Heb. 12:6), and it’s for our benefit (v. 11). It also mirrors the experience of our Master (vv. 3–4). A disciple should want nothing more than that (Matt. 10:25).
” God judged Israel for their sin, but it was not something in which He took delight. His holy nature demands judgment, but merciful side desired a way to avoid it without violating His holy nature. Rather than His people seeking His face (II Chron. 7:14), He was doing the seeking— He just wanted someone to stand in the gap (Ezek. 22:30). He only needed one, but He found none. What a difference that little n makes.
“Judah had the example of the Northern Kingdom as a warning (Ezekiel 23:5–9). Why do we not learn from such warnings (verse 11)?
When you are adding up your assets, don’t forget to count God’s presence (Hebrews 13:5). How could you not be content with that?
The consequences of having a stiff neck can come quickly (Prov. 29:1), but they don’t necessarily go away as quickly.
“The Ammonites celebrated when Israel was carried captive by the Babylonians (Ezekiel 25:3). They were to suffer the same fate (verse 4). Have compassion even when enemies suffer—you could be next!
The Word produces faith (Rom. 10:17), but you are deceiving yourself if that faith doesn’t lead to action (Jam. 1:22). You are a new creature (II Cor. 5:17); just don’t forget what the old one was like (Jam. 1:23–24).
“God said Tyre would be no more (Ezek. 26:21). Critics say it is there today. But there are two destructions: Nebuchadnezzar’s (vv. 7–12) is past, and God’s (vv. 13–14) is future. After God’s it will be no more.
There are two kinds of wisdom. There is that from the world, the flesh, and the Devil (James 3:15); and there is that from God (verse 17). They are easy to distinguish from their descriptions in verses 16 and 17.
” The king of Tyre is only representative of Satan in Ezekiel 28:12–19. Consider the favors God bestowed on him (12–15) and how far he fell (vv. 16–19)—and he’s not done falling yet (Revelation 20:10).
The world wants to promote lust and discourage violence. What they don’t understand is that unrestrained lust will lead to more violence (James 4:1).
“When God has appointed a nation for judgment (Ezekiel 30:4), it can be a dangerous thing to be on their side (verses 5–6). It is far better to be on the side of God’s people (Genesis 12:3).
In our Christian lives we are to be patient the way a farmer is (James 5:7). We sow and wait until harvest. Jesus is coming (verse 8), and then there will be a harvest worth waiting for!
I Peter 1
“Like today, there were those causing terror in the land of the living (Ezek. 32:24). That will end when God causes them terror (v. 32).
When we are born again by seed that will live forever (I Peter 1:23), it’s only natural that we too will live that long.
God gave His Word exactly as He wanted. No man-made change is an improvement (Prov. 30:5–6). Instead, it should change us (James 1:21).
I Peter 2
“Like today, people accused God of being unfair (Ezek. 33:20). He spent the chapter explaining that it was their works that determined His dealings with them. He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).
Christians are a royal priesthood (I Pet. 2:9), but that doesn’t relieve us of the obligation to be subject to the laws of man (v. 13). Part of obeying God’s law is obeying man’s law that He ordained (Rom. 13:1).
I Peter 3
“Edom rejoiced when Israel was judged (Ezekiel 35:15). Therefore, when the whole world is rejoicing (Millennium), Edom will not take part (verse 14). “He who laughs last,” etc. (See Luke 6:25)
The best grooming is not our hairstyle (I Peter 3:3) but the unseen Christlike qualities of the heart (verse 4). God’s church is the best beauty salon in the world.
I Peter 4″
When the breath of God begins to blow, the dead live (Ezekiel 37:9). But He had His prophet do the breathing for Him. Our great need today is for some who can breathe God’s breath into a dry church.
The approaching of the end of the age is the best reason to behave in a sober manner and be faithful to prayer (I Peter 4:7). We don’t want to be ashamed before Him at His coming (I John 2:28).
” Ezekiel 39:1–5 shows the danger of having God for an enemy, even if your army is among the most powerful of earth. God intervened in nature to help Joshua with hailstones before making the sun stand still (Josh. 10:11–13). He did likewise for Samuel (I Sam. 7:10); no wonder he called the stone Ebenezer, meaning “stone of help” (v. 12). Security depends more upon God’s favor than upon the size of our bombs.
I Peter 5
“Starting in chapter 40, Ezekiel begins his description of the Millennium with details of the Temple. God will restore what they lost through sin.
Cast your care upon the Lord (I Peter 5:7), but be sober and vigilant (verse 8). Casting doesn’t mean carelessness.
As women seek more power and influence, they should remember that no woman has more power in society than a mother (Proverbs 31:1).
II Peter 1
Ecclesiastes 1″No matter how intricate the Temple was (Ezekiel 40–42), it was just a building until God’s glory came in (43:2–5).
God has called us to glory in Heaven (II Peter 1:3), but He has also called us to virtue while we are here on earth.
Solomon’s state of mind was because his heart was seeking things “under heaven” (Eccles. 1:13). Set your heart on things above (Col. 3:2).
Notations and thoughts by Terry Frala