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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB October 19

  • Julie Ferwerda
    Are you ready for change in 2009? Grab a One Year Bible (NLT), commit to reading it daily, and join Julie Ferwerda on an extraordinary adventure that will transform your life as you experience its relevance in a fresh, understandable way. In addition to 20+ years in Bible teaching ministry, Julie is a professional speaker and writer. Her works have appeared in publications such as Focus on the Family, Discipleship Journal, Christianity Today, Marriage Partnership, Brio, and Revolve Biblezines & Devotional Bible (for teens). She's also the author of "The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love," and also the upcoming book, "One Million Arrows for God: Raising Your Children to Change the World." Learn more at www.JulieFerwerda.com.
  • 2009 Oct 18
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Today's One Year Bible Reading

Jeremiah

33:15 "In those days and at that time I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David's line. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. Here's a weird factoid. NASB and YLT translate the last line of this verse as: "He will do what is just and right throughout the earth." All the other versions I checked use "land." The word can be land, but the primary meaning is earth. All of major passages about the earth use the same word, and I think it's an important distinction here. I believe it should be EARTH. Throughout the land is so weak.

33:25-26 I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws that govern night and day, earth and sky. I will never abandon the descendants of Jacob or David, my servant, or change the plan that David's descendants will rule the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, I will restore them to their land and have mercy on them." This is such an amazing passage, packed with meaning on more than one level!

First of all, who are the descendants of Jacob? I recently learned that whenever you see "Jacob" used as opposed to "Israel," the Bible is referring to the old man Jacob, the trickster. I believe this passage is trying to give us a spectrum—the unfaithful and disobedient Jacobs who have not allowed God to mold their character and who use fleshly force to try to bring about the will of God (instead of waiting on God's sovereign deliverance), all the way to the Davids who have been thoroughly molded and shaped into people after God's own heart. The "spiritual descendants" of David are those who will help Christ to rule in the coming ages. They are the overcomers who learn to live by forgiveness, obedience, and God's unconditional love.

34:14-16 "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your ancestors long ago when I rescued them from their slavery in Egypt. I told them that every Hebrew slave must be freed after serving six years. But your ancestors paid no attention to me. Recently you repented and did what was right, following my command. You freed your slaves and made a solemn covenant with me in the Temple that bears my name. But now you have shrugged off your oath and defiled my name by taking back the men and women you had freed, forcing them to be slaves once again. I never remember reading this passage, but I do remember struggling with the concept of slavery! But I noticed something in this passage that might be why God allowed slavery.

If you notice, they were only allowed to have a slave for 6 years, and then the slave must be set free! What big picture principle might God have been trying to teach us through the use of slavery? Partly delivering us from Egypt (bondage to sin and death) but ALSO we are in a sort of slavery to the curse on this world for 6,000 years, at which point creation will be set free! Satan will be bound, and Jesus will be ruling and reigning on earth with peace and justice. It was all a picture. I feel so much happier too, knowing that God never intended slavery to be the end all, but only a temporary thing to paint a picture! Many people have really balked at a God who endorsed slavery, but if you read His rules carefully, slaves had to be treated fairly (not treated harshly) and how we see that they were required to be slaves only for a short period of time.

1 Timothy

4:7-10 On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. Paul is speaking of striving to get in shape and maintain ourselves as overcomers in Christ. He is speaking of the special blessing for continuing in this calling.

Psalm

89:4 "I will establish your descendants as kings forever; they will sit on your throne from now until eternity." First of all, "until eternity" is not even a rational expression since eternity has no ending. But just look at the difference of NLT and NASB on this:

I will establish your seed forever and build up your throne to all generations." NASB

None of the other versions slaughtered this verse like NLT, which fully takes Jesus off the throne (the seed), ruling all generations, and puts some random kings and descendants on His throne. I don't know what they were smoking when they translated that verse, but it had to be fairly good hallucinogens (or bad translating on steroids)!