Morning
December 16

Jeremiah 23:3-5 (NIV) 3"I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the LORD. 5"The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.


The chapter begins with the LORD rebuking the unfaithful shepherds for scattering the flock of God. Then the LORD says that He will gather them from wherever they have been scattered and place shepherds over them. Like many prophecies, this has an immediate and final fulfillment. The people of Judah were soon to come back from Babylon and would become fruitful and increase. They were gathered from wherever they were scattered in 1948 and became very fruitful and increased. Ultimately this may refer to Second Coming. In the rapture, Jesus will gather His sheep from wherever they are scattered. Is there any other way to see the total lack of fear and none missing? In the other restorations not all returned. Fear was a daily part of life then and now. But when the LORD returns, He will sit as a King and reign in righteousness and justice. We can look forward to that day with hope and expectation.

He is referred to as the righteous Branch that is raised up from David. Jesus was the lineage of David. Several places in Scripture we have a picture of a lineage as a tree. There has never been a king over Israel, descended from David, who was righteous, since that prophecy. But that day is coming.

Consider: We can look forward to the just and righteous reign of our King, the King of kings, the Branch of David.


Evening
December 16

1 John 2:15-17 (NIV) 15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.


John breaks down for us three categories that describe everything in the fallen world: cravings of sinful man, lust of the eyes, and boasting of what he has and does. When the Bible speaks of the world, there are several meanings. One is mankind itself. The other is this definition that God has given. If we love the world that John has described, or anything in it, the love of God is not in us. The love that comes from God will be in direct contrast to worldliness. The world is focused on selfishness and pride, but God's love is giving and humble.

We must keep ourselves in check, watching to see if love for the world is slipping into our lives. This is a command to refuse to allow that to happen, because it is part of what is passing away. Not only is worldliness destructive, but it is shortsightedly temporal. It is an investment in a doomed venture.

By contrast, investing your life in the will of God, allowing the love of the Father to flow through your life, is an eternal investment. It is a manifestation of eternal life within you. It will reap dividends forever and ever.

Consider: Does this definition of the world describe any part of your life? The love of the Father will counteract any weakness if you will yield to His life within you.