I Timothy 4-6
We are in the Church Stream reading from God’s Word Translation.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
“Lord God of heaven and our hearts: Thank you for Paul’s words to Timothy that help US so much. We really want to know you more and imitate you better. This truly helps. Amen”
There is a subtle overtone that surfaces in today’s reading that reminds us to be especially kind and honoring with fellow Believers. There is much talk today about safe space, safe places, safe environments and settings. Well the Church should be the ultimate safe place; shielded from ungodly, putrid etc. and cruelty. God wants it to be a nurturing, encouraging atmosphere. There are millions of people walking the earth today who went to church in the past but don’t go and refuse to return because of how they were treated years ago … in a Church. It’s unfortunate. The treatment was wrong, perhaps accidentally so, but nonetheless- . Let’s be people who create the most wonderful church atmospheres in our home fellowships. There are some who are on their best behavior outside the church because, as they see it, that is where they “have a
tesss-ti-mohhhh-nyyyy”. And then at church they are smacky, sarcastic, gruff because, as they see it, “ahhh, this is just ‘family’ “. Stop that. Let’s be at our best with family, not our worst. Some console their misgivings by tongue-in-cheek saying, “we only hurt the ones we love.” That is illicit. We should not be training everyone around us that the closer you get, the meaner I get. That is not the Kingdom of God, for it is the opposite of Christ Jesus. Let’s allow Paul’s words [to Timothy] sink in to our souls today as we are given guidelines for serving Christ, dealing with others, and living godly lives.
4 – Paul starts by warning Timothy that hucksters and misguided people; agents of darkness were on the loose and attempting to lead people astray. They were not people of the Holy Spirit but duplicitous souls driven by their own twistedness; not of God. The Gnostic group were among these folks. They thought that we were saved by knowledge, not Jesus. The manmade rules they were conjuring were ridiculous and cultic. Be aware of this! 19 centuries later they are still trolling around. I Timothy 4 continues that we are to be immune to myths, silly tales, and to remain godly. As for Serving Christ, our whole lives are to be a reflection of Christ. Read&share Scripture, teach, lead in worship, be an example for others. This is so we are saved and helping others to be saved also.
5 – As for dealing with other Christians – much of this is family matters – meaning the family of God. *address each other respectfully, *care for elder widows in need, *occupy and meet needs v.s. busybody gossiping, *spiritual leaders who excel are to be paid double and leaders who err are to be corrected publicly, *no playing favorites/ double standards, *ordain carefully and solemnly, *stay pure and godly, *take a little medicine/wine as needed, *know that people’s deeds: good/bad – public/hidden will all become obvious to all.
6 – This addresses the ethic of slaves/masters’ attitudes. I.e. work hard, honor one another, and rememberfirst that you are Believers. The greater issue of slavery was later dealt with finally by Christians though it is exacerbated still by nonChristians. Again, for the immediate, don’t treat each other like stray dogs and mask it with resignation-like comments of “oh, he’s just a pest from my church – no one important…” [Revere one another.] The balance of this chapter is ‘guidelines for godly living’ : The pivotal issues are to love God; not to love arguing. Love contentment; not riches. Pursue God and stay on pilgrimage. Seek your righteousness in God. Get your confidence from God. Be a joyfully giving and sharing soul…relax–God keeps account. And lastly, shun fruitless discussions with those who enjoy religious arguments against true Christendom.
The Thread Through the Streams
Looking back over the week, there were things that left us in awe on all spectrums. It is astonishing that people forget who they are dealing with. They must remember who they are dealing with / living under / responding to. This is ultimate seriousness.
~When God Almighty says in Numbers that you are guilty even though you are ignorant and then offers redemption – listen and do it. When he says no work on the Sabbath, one guy shrugs and gathers wood anyway. He is tried, taken outside, and pelted to death with stones. God means it when He says, “you must rest and not work [to death]”. Korah and friends rise up in rebellion. God buries them all. ‘You guys forget who you are fighting here. The Priestly duties and quarters are a sacred realm; not a thoroughfare or some Bon Marche Promenade. Any trespassers will be killed along with those who allow it or fail to supervise against it.
~In Chronicles it’s time for the Ark to come back to Jerusalem. It was to be carried by Priests, not hauled by animals. We remember the sobering judgment that affected all including the King. The Philistines have disdain for the Hebrews and their new king David. They march, charge and are routed like rodents. After this the nations then realized who they were being trifle with. It isn’t smart to fight someone who is listening to and directed by God Himself, eh?! When the Ark is finally brought into Jerusalem, Michal resents such pageantry and worship. So God strikes her infertile. The Priests however have utter reverence for what God has done and lead in rousing worship. God blesses!
~The seven Psalms we read this week: 133-139 show a distinct mindfulness of God’s Providence and power and care and love. There isn’t a hint of casualness, “yea, God made the heavens, yea whatever, I’m hungry – where’s dinner?” The Psalmist in enraptured with God. The only variation in Psalms this week is the grief told of in Babylon where they lacked the fervor to sing in worship; they missed Zion so much. And they are extremely angry at the Babylonians who struck the children of God. They missed the culture that they themselves had sabotaged. The seriousness of it all was hitting them now … finally!
~Lamentations ends yet fully mindful of the horrible cost of disobedience. Jeremiah KNEW who the Judeans were dealing with, though the Judeans were disgustingly cavalier about it all until it was too late. Then Ezekiel starts and the immensity of his awesome God hits him right away in an unforgettable vision. Angels, clouds, fire, lightning, the “wheel within a wheel” apparatus that are segue~ devices (of sorts) that give double-two-way-360 mobility <– how’s that for an attempt to describe the indescribable?! Ezekiel knew that something bigger than he could comprehend was underway. He began to see what was coming for impenitent, and rebellious Jerusalem. This was no time to shrug. His intense assignment had begun. Lord have mercy and give strength!
~Nahum knew that Nineveh’s days were numbered. They had no idea that their attack of Israel “put a timer” on their existence. Nineveh was completely against everything even related to the ways of God. And they were about to slaughtered for it. They did not know the seriousness of their fate. Just a decade or so before their being under siege, they were reveling their glory, oblivious to what God was planning for them. Nineveh had no idea what they were about to deal with. Horrors…
~Did you hear Luke this week and think “what on earth are you doing?!” in regards to Judas betraying Christ, Peter swinging a sword at the head of the Chief Priests, the people socking a blindfolded Jesus-the-Savior? It’s flabbergasting! I couldn’t accost Jesus for any amount of money. That’s because we know who the Savior is. These people didn’t know. They did not know who they were dealing with. Pity their souls.
~The reckless souls who were traversing the Empire and doing their dead-level best to undo what Paul and Timothy were building had devilishly arrogant hearts. We’ve met a few like this in our ministry and mission travels who think they are doing some service to humanity when in truth they are fighting God. They end up the same place Korah did back in Numbers; buried. On the other hand, Timothy is fully aware of the tenants and reminders that Paul is sending to him to instill in the churches around Ephesus. Timothy had been with Paul in Troas, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, even to Rome. Timothy knew the vital importance of Paul’s instruction and he was faithful with it. We need to be faithful with it to. Paul writes the same truth to us today.