Monday, September 29, 2014

On 10-5-14, Habakkuk 2:1-5; 3:17-19 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as Rejoice Anyway or Yet I Will Rejoice

Rejoice Anyway
Or
Yet I Will Rejoice
 Habakkuk 2:1-5; 3:17-19
International Sunday School Lesson
October 5, 2014
                                                                                 


Commentary
By
Jed Greenough

Let me begin by saying that the book of Habakkuk is very short and you must read all of it to take today’s scripture into context.  Additionally, you must know that Habakkuk was a contemporary of Jeremiah so what he has in his heart and mind are his current times and the Babylonians who were being used by God to punish Israel.
Having said that we can take today’s scripture three ways:
1.      God’s answer to Habakkuk was about the Babylonian king at that time.
2.      God’s answer was about the end times only.
3.      God’s answer was a double fulfillment and dealt with both.
My gut tells me God was speaking past Habakkuk and was referring to the time of the end but I have no trouble accepting other possibilities.
Last week I equated the warning that Jeremiah gave to the Israelites of their impending doom as serving as warning to us of the end times.  Certainly we are told twice in 1 Corinthians 10 about these examples including verse 11 which says, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.”  So I certainly have no trouble making that connection here when God says what He is about to say is a revelation that speaks of the end.
God is speaking of someone; He says that this individual will gather to himself all the nations and all people except earlier on to note that the righteous will live by his (their) faith.
As with this scripture we must be open to interpretation as prophesy is only fully understood in hindsight.  Having said that please be open as I say the issue of whether Christians will be taken away and not have to endure must be treated in the same way.
My goal is that whether you do or do not have to deal with the worst of times that Christ says will only be shortened for the sake of the elect (Matthew 24:21-22) that you be prepared to endure should you have to.  That way you will be righteous as He says and live by your faith.
Habakkuk said in verse 17 that he would endure and live by faith waiting patiently (verse 16) even “though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.  The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.”
God will enable us to endure if we live by faith even though times are the worst. Telling yourself you might have to endure or in fact being certain of it is a better defense than letting your guard down and insisting we won’t.  Don’t be mad if you think I’m wrong and I will hope you are right.  I will be glad to face God to “discuss” my stand for our preparedness.

For Discussion:
1.      Discuss that Habakkuk was complaining.
2.      Discuss your view of God’s answer.
3.      Discuss the righteous living by faith.
4.      Discuss verses 17-18.
5.      Discuss what you think it means to be prepared to endure.
6.      Discuss God’s use of Babylon.
7.      Read chapter 1 of Habakkuk and see if you think God would have answered this complaint or whether God was speaking past Habakkuk.

Upcoming Lessons
10-12-14   Even So, My Redeemer Lives or I Know That My Redeemer Liveth , Job 19:1-7, 23-29
10-19-14   Hope Complains or I Will Call on God, Job 24:1, 9-12, 19-25
10-26-14   Hope Satisfies or Things to Wonderful for Me, Job 42:1-10
11-2-14     God’s Divine Glory Returns or God’s Glory Fills the Temple, Ezekiel 43:1-12
11-9-14     The Altar, A Sign of Hope or The Altar Offers Hope, Ezekiel 43:13-21

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved


Monday, September 22, 2014

On 9-28-14, Jeremiah 33:1-11 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as Future Peace and Joy or Improbable Possibilities

Future Peace and Joy
Or
Improbable Possibilities
 Jeremiah 33:1-11
International Sunday School Lesson
September 28, 2014
                                                                                 


Commentary
By
Jed Greenough

How many times did Jeremiah share what God had given him about the fate of Jerusalem and its people?  I haven’t gone back to add them up but this system of warning and encouraging must be important to God and therefore must be to us too as the tally we can add up not just in Jeremiah but throughout the Bible are beyond numerous.
Today we all love to revel in the fact that one day Christ will return and we will join Him forever and what a wondrous joy that will be but we seem to forget this other part that will happen also.
Matthew 24 tells us first how dreadful it will be.  That the distress will be unequaled from the beginning of the world and but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened or no one would survive.
God shows His consistency by revealing what will happen if we fall away and what the reward will be if we don’t.  He told the Israelites generations before as we can read in Leviticus 26 that if they failed to obey He would bring upon them this sudden terror, wasting, fever and destruction they were now experiencing in Jeremiah’s time.  The list of God’s hostility towards them takes many paragraphs so the seriousness is apparent.  But again, consistently, the reminder of the great rewards for obedience is in the same chapter.
For us these books like Jeremiah should be a reminder and an example not just of the rewards but the inevitable punishment that will come for disobedience as God will not tolerate sin.  Like Leviticus or today’s Jeremiah 33 show both the punishment and the rewards, the aforementioned Matthew 24 in Jesus’ words also tells us both.  Will we listen?  The difference is all the other examples such as Jeremiah lead up to this coming moment.   Last chance!

For Discussion:
1.      Discuss tearing down the city to fight the Babylonian invaders.
2.      Discuss God’s wrath.
3.      Discuss God’s turning His face towards them in forgiveness.
4.      Discuss those who follow God bring honor or dishonor to Him.
5.      Discuss examples such as these for us today.
6.      Discuss our warnings are for the last time.
7.      Discuss verse 8.

Upcoming Lessons
10-5-14    Rejoice Anyway or Yet I Will Rejoice, Habakkuk 2:1-5; 3:17-19
10-12-14   Even So, My Redeemer Lives or I Know That My Redeemer Liveth , Job 19:1-7, 23-29
10-19-14   Hope Complains or I Will Call on God, Job 24:1, 9-12, 19-25

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved