II Timothy 3
I feel this way sometimes. Lover of self. Lover of money. Proud, arrogant, and abusive. Ungrateful, unholy, heartless, and unappeasable. Slanderous, without self-control, brutal. Reckless. Swollen with conceit. Loving pleasure rather than loving God.
LORD, please forgive me for I am an unclean man.
I do find it encouraging that Timothy was “from childhood … acquainted with the sacred writings,” (verse 15). Sometimes I feel like less of a Christian because I don’t have a dramatic conversion story. I grew up in the faith, and while it certainly becomes more real to me daily, there’s no “before” that I can remember. But Timothy is the same way. He grew up in the church. He became a laborer and a pastor. He served God well without some incredible origin story.
II Timothy 4
I always wonder what caused Paul to leave his cloak, his books, and his parchments behind. It is instructive, though, that he wants the books and especially the parchments — perhaps they contained the scriptures?
Can you imagine how it feels to receive a prophetic vision concerning the destruction of your home and people, and then be ordered by God to take that message and stand with it against them? I cannot imagine the courage.
”…But you said, ‘it is hopeless, for I have loved foreigners, and after them I will go.’”
It is not hopeless to repent and to follow the Lord. God loved us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). He desires us to come to repentance.
In the midst of his lament, Jeremiah speaks of a woman giving birth.
For I heard a cry as of a woman in labor,
anguish as of one giving birth to her first child,
the cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath, stretching our her hands,
“Woe is me! I am fainting before murders.”
That reminds me of this:
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
I wonder if the two are connected? If the downfall of Israel is part of the labor pains that lead to the elevation of Christ in His kingdom?