But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

For the Love of God - Apologetic Report
Saturday, 30 July 2016 22:00

Judges 15; Acts 19; Jeremiah 28; Mark 14

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Judges 15; Acts 19; Jeremiah 28; Mark 14 

EVENTUALLY THE CLASH BETWEEN Jeremiah and the false prophets becomes concretized in one particular contest—that between Jeremiah and Hananiah (Jer. 28). The issue could not be clearer. Jeremiah insists that unless Judah repents, its capital city Jerusalem will be destroyed, most of its population will

Friday, 29 July 2016 22:00

Judges 14; Acts 18; Jeremiah 27; Mark 13

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Judges 14; Acts 18; Jeremiah 27; Mark 13 

IF THE PROPHECY IN JEREMIAH 27 takes place early in the reign of Zedekiah (Jer. 27:1), there are still years to go before Jeremiah is vindicated. At this point King Jehoiachin and the aristocracy have already been transported to Babylon, leaving behind Zedekiah and a ruling remnant. But far from being

Thursday, 28 July 2016 22:00

Judges 14; Acts 18; Jeremiah 27; Mark 13

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Judges 14; Acts 18; Jeremiah 27; Mark 13 

IF THE PROPHECY IN JEREMIAH 27 takes place early in the reign of Zedekiah (Jer. 27:1), there are still years to go before Jeremiah is vindicated. At this point King Jehoiachin and the aristocracy have already been transported to Babylon, leaving behind Zedekiah and a ruling remnant. But far from being

Thursday, 28 July 2016 22:00

Judges 13; Acts 17; Jeremiah 26; Mark 12

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Judges 13; Acts 17; Jeremiah 26; Mark 12 

BECAUSE DEVOUT READERS THINK of the biblical writers as heroes of the faith, they sometimes overlook the fact that in their own day many of these writers were despised, treated as outsiders, viewed with contempt. Of course, some who contributed to the canon of Scripture grew rich or famous or both: Solomon

Wednesday, 27 July 2016 22:00

Judges 12; Acts 16; Jeremiah 25; Mark 11

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Judges 12; Acts 16; Jeremiah 25; Mark 11 

THE PROPHECY OF JEREMIAH 25 is dated to the fourth year of Nebuchadnezzar, i.e., 605 B.C., the year when the Babylonians defeated the Egyptians at Carchemish, forcing Judah to switch its allegiance to the new and rising power. By this time Jeremiah has been prophesying for twenty-three years—from the

Tuesday, 26 July 2016 22:00

Judges 11; Acts 15; Jeremiah 24; Mark 10

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Judges 11; Acts 15; Jeremiah 24; Mark 10 

THE VISION OF THE TWO BASKETS of figs (Jer. 24), one “very good figs, like those that ripen early” (Jer. 24:2—the early ones ripened in June and were viewed as a delicacy, cf. Isa. 28:4) and the other basket full of figs “so bad they could not be eaten” (Jer. 24:2), is plain

Monday, 25 July 2016 22:00

Judges 10; Acts 14; Jeremiah 23; Mark 9

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Judges 10; Acts 14; Jeremiah 23; Mark 9 

MUCH OF JEREMIAH 23 IS A denunciation of the “shepherds” destroying and scattering the sheep of God’s pasture (Jer. 23:1; compare Jer. 10 and meditation for July 14). The long section denouncing the lying prophets (Jer. 23:9-40) is one of the most penetrating presentations of the

Sunday, 24 July 2016 22:00

Judges 9; Acts 13; Jeremiah 22; Mark 8

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Judges 9; Acts 13; Jeremiah 22; Mark 8 

ALL SERIOUS READERS OF JEREMIAH know that the various oracles are not given in chronological sequence. Sometimes the sequence of the oracles is perplexing; sometimes it is clearly thematic. In Jeremiah 22, we find a series of utterances regarding the final kings of Judah, but the list is not in chronological

Saturday, 23 July 2016 22:00

Judges 8; Acts 12; Jeremiah 21; Mark 7

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Judges 8; Acts 12; Jeremiah 21; Mark 7 

JERUSALEM BECAME A VASSAL TO Babylon from 605 B.C. on, after Babylon defeated Egypt at the Battle of Carchemish. Jerusalem revolted and was defeated in 597, when most of the royal family, along with the nobility, the wealthy, and the skilled craftsmen were transported to Egypt, leaving behind Zedekiah as

Friday, 22 July 2016 22:00

Judges 7; Acts 11; Jeremiah 20; Mark 6

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Judges 7; Acts 11; Jeremiah 20; Mark 6 

THE CHAPTER BEFORE US (JER. 20) provides insight both into Jeremiah’s external circumstances at this stage of his ministry, and into his inner turmoil.

(1) Jeremiah’s external circumstances: the priest Pashhur son of Immer is the “chief officer” in the temple, presumably the chief

Thursday, 21 July 2016 22:00

Judges 6; Acts 10; Jeremiah 19; Mark 5

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Judges 6; Acts 10; Jeremiah 19; Mark 5 

THE HEALING OF THE Gerasene man who was demonized by a “legion” of demons (Mark 5:1-20) calls for explanations and reflection at many points. To pick up on six:

(1) The setting is Gentile territory on the east side of Lake Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis (Mark 5:20), the Ten Cities of

Wednesday, 20 July 2016 22:00

Judges 5; Acts 9; Jeremiah 18; Mark 4

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Judges 5; Acts 9; Jeremiah 18; Mark 4 

THE IMAGERY OF THE POTTER and the clay (Jer. 18) recurs in Scripture (e.g., Rom. 9:19ff.). Slightly different emphases are brought forward in the different passages, though all of them emphasize God’s sovereign sway over the people who are likened to the clay. The emphases here may be clarified by the

Tuesday, 19 July 2016 22:00

Judges 4; Acts 8; Jeremiah 17; Mark 3

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Judges 4; Acts 8; Jeremiah 17; Mark 3 

AMONG THE CHORUSES I learned as a boy in Sunday school were these two:

These are the names of Jacob’s sons: Gad, and Asher, and Simeon, Reuben, Issachar, Levi, Judah, Dan, and Naphtali— Twelve in all, but never a twin— Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.

There were twelve disciples Jesus called to

Monday, 18 July 2016 22:00

Judges 3; Acts 7; Jeremiah 16; Mark 2

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Judges 3; Acts 7; Jeremiah 16; Mark 2 

THREE OBSERVATIONS ON Jeremiah 16:

(1) The opening section of this chapter probably occurs quite early in Jeremiah’s ministry. He is forbidden to marry, not merely because women and children will within a few decades face an extraordinarily difficult time under siege warfare and subsequent exile, but as a

Sunday, 17 July 2016 22:00

Judges 2; Acts 6; Jeremiah 15; Mark 1

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Judges 2; Acts 6; Jeremiah 15; Mark 1 

JEREMIAH 15 PROVIDES SOME OF the most haunting insights into the inner life and thought of the prophet Jeremiah:

(1) Jeremiah has been interceding with God on behalf of the covenant people (Jer 14). God tells Jeremiah to stop, that he will not listen (Jer. 14:11-12). Indeed, he now says that even if Moses and

Saturday, 16 July 2016 22:00

Judges 1; Acts 5; Jeremiah 14; Matthew 28

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Judges 1; Acts 5; Jeremiah 14; Matthew 28 

THIS CHAPTER, JEREMIAH 14, oscillates between poetry and prose, and between God’s speech and Jeremiah’s response. The occasion is the calamitous drought devastating the country. Some reflections:

(1) A disaster may be no more than the effluent of the Fall, and not God’s specific judgment

Friday, 15 July 2016 22:00

Joshua 24; Acts 4; Jeremiah 13; Matthew 27

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Joshua 24; Acts 4; Jeremiah 13; Matthew 27 

MATTHEW TELLS US THAT AT THE moment Jesus died, “the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matt. 27:51). The immediate cause was apparently the earthquake that accompanied Jesus’ death. Yet it is impossible for the thoughtful Christian not to nestle this brief and

Thursday, 14 July 2016 22:00

Joshua 23; Acts 3; Jeremiah 12; Matthew 26

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Joshua 23; Acts 3; Jeremiah 12; Matthew 26 

IN THE EIGHTH CENTURY BEFORE CHRIST, Hosea experienced the terrible betrayal of a woman joined to him by the covenant of marriage who was tragically committed to prostitution. He learned thereby something of how God perceives the spiritual prostitution of the people to whom he was covenantally linked. In

Wednesday, 13 July 2016 22:00

Joshua 22; Acts 2; Jeremiah 11; Matthew 25

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Joshua 22; Acts 2; Jeremiah 11; Matthew 25 

THE OPENING LINE OF JEREMIAH 11 shows that what follows is a new prophecy, a new oracle from God, the fourth reported in this book. It is difficult to be certain exactly when it was preached. Many have suggested, plausibly enough, that it was delivered not too long after Hilkiah rediscovered the scroll of

Tuesday, 12 July 2016 22:00

Joshua 20-21; Acts 1; Jeremiah 10; Matthew 24

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Joshua 20-21; Acts 1; Jeremiah 10; Matthew 24 

TWO REFLECTIONS ON Jeremiah 10:

First, the catastrophic punishment about to befall Judah is traced to her incompetent leaders: “The shepherds are senseless and do not inquire of the LORD; so they do not prosper and all their flock is scattered” (Jer. 10:21). “Shepherds” in this

Joshua 18-19; Psalms 149-150; Jeremiah 9; Matthew 23 

ONCE AGAIN JEREMIAH CYCLES around some of the themes he has already introduced (Jer. 9). For instance, the closing two verses pick up on true and false circumcision (cf. Jer. 4:4). But here, too, a new facet of the sin of the people is explored (Jer. 9:23-24). About these verses I must say four

Joshua 16-17; Psalm 148; Jeremiah 8; Matthew 22 

AT EACH STAGE OF JEREMIAH’S description of the rebellion of God’s people, some facets of their sin are reiterated while others are refined and some new ones introduced. Here I focus on two of the latter (Jer. 8).

First, Jeremiah focuses on the sheer unnaturalness of the people’s

Joshua 14-15; Psalms 146-147; Jeremiah 7; Matthew 21 

THIS TEMPLE ADDRESS (JER. 7), delivered in prose to the people coming through the gates “to worship the LORD” (Jer. 7:2), is famous for its powerful insistence that no rite or institution or building can shield a guilty people from the wrath of God. To think otherwise is to descend

Joshua 12-13; Psalm 145; Jeremiah 6; Matthew 20 

SOME REFLECTIONS ON the warnings of Jeremiah 6:

(1) Benjamin (Jer. 6:1), which with Judah remained loyal to the Davidic dynasty and therefore had not been transported by Assyria along with the other ten tribes, lay to the north of Jerusalem. So when marauding hordes loomed “out of the

Thursday, 07 July 2016 22:00

Joshua 11; Psalm 144; Jeremiah 5; Matthew 19

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Joshua 11; Psalm 144; Jeremiah 5; Matthew 19 

HERE I SHALL BRIEFLY REFLECT ON a number of elements of the depravity to which the citizens of Judah had succumbed (Jer. 5):

(1) God challenges Jeremiah to find a single honest man on the streets of Jerusalem (Jer. 5:1), anticipating the search of Diogenes in the Greek world. Even one such person would

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