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Dec 3, 2018

JOEL 1:
I feel the need to comment about chapter 9 of Esther and how the Jews “got rid” of their enemies. Remember that those Jews were not Christians. (I know how silly that sounds, but it is actually a common supposition among naive Christians.) The revelation of God’s will did not come all at once, and the Jews did not have the pleasure of knowing what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount or other pertinent NT passages. They most certainly did NOT ‘get rid’ of their enemies, except in the short run. All the relatives of the enemies slain raised up succeeding generations of people who hated the Jews even more fiercely than the first enemies did. We Christians must read Esther 9 remembering how the Jews had been slaughtered and then taken away from their land by force put into slavery in Babylonia. It is just amazing to me how the cycle of ‘getting rid of enemies’ has continued, right up to Hitler (the modern Haman), and right up to the conflicts in the middle east today. The cycle will stop and real peace will only happen when the True King returns.

Joel is the second book of the minor prophets in the Old Testament. We read the first one— Hosea, about two months ago. From now until the end of the year, we will start every day with a reading in the minor prophets. Joel’s name means “Yahweh is God.” It is quite possible that Joel is one of the earliest of the prophets. He is called the ‘prophet of Pentecost’, since Peter quoted from Joel in his speech in Acts 2. The occasion of Joel’s message was a devastating plague of locusts which foreshadows the ‘Day of the Lord’— a time not for comfort for God’s people, but for punishment because of their sins.

ISAIAH 44a:
According to the NLT, in Is. 43:14 God said,

14 “For your sakes I will send an army against Babylon,
forcing the Babylonians to flee in those ships they are so proud of.”

This is a very difficult verse to translate, and GNT’s translation can also be defended:

43:14 Israel's holy God, the Lord who saves you, says,
“To save you, I will send an army against Babylon;
I will break down the city gates,
and the shouts of her people will turn into crying.

God said that the people of Israel had become tired of God and tired of bringing sacrifices. God will do something new:

43:25 NLT “I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake
and will never think of them again.

These frequently quoted words are from the beginning of the chapter:

43:1b NLT “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.

2TIMOTHY 2:
What was the spiritual gift that Timothy received when Paul placed his hands on him? Paul wanted Timothy to fan that gift into flame. (2Tim. 1:6) Is there a clue to what the gift was in the next verse?—

2Tim. 1:7 NLT “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

Paul says,

2Tim. 1:12 “I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.”

What has Paul entrusted to the Lord? Is it a clue when Paul says,

2Tim. 1:14 “Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.”

GNT Translation notes:
2Tim. 2:21 Those who make themselves clean from all [the evil taught by false teachers//those evil things], will be used for special purposes, because they are dedicated and useful to their Master, ready to be used for every good deed.
22 [Run away to escape from//Avoid] the passions of youth[.//, and] Strive for righteousness, [full belief//faith], love, and peace, together with those who with a pure heart call out to the Lord for help.
26 And then they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the Devil, who [0//had] caught them and made them obey his will.