Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Wed 9-Dec-2020 23rd of Kislev, 5781
Ge 38:1-30 1 Sa 25 Ps 70-71 Mk 16 (1 Co 14:1-19)
Memory Verse: 2 Timothy 2:1 Therefore, my child, be strengthened in the grace that is in Messiah Yeshua. 2 And what you have heard from me among many witnesses, entrust to faithful people who will be capable to teach others also.
246 12/10 Monday: 1 Timothy 1-3
247 12/11 Tuesday: 1 Timothy 4-6
* 248 12/12 Wednesday: 2 Timothy 1-2
249 12/13 Thursday: 2 Timothy 3-4
250 12/14 Friday: 1 Peter 1-2
Question of the Day: What does Paul mean when he says in 2 Timothy 2:5b …he is not crowned victorious unless he competes according to the rules?
Answer: Paul is describing what it means to serve in the Lord’s army. He writes to Timothy, how a soldier must be focused on the military battle at hand (and not on the cares and concerns of this world). Paul then turns his attention to comparing serving in the Lord’s army to winning a prize in an athletic competition. That’s when he says (in effect) that you can’t be “crowned victorious” unless you compete according to the rules.
What rules? What competition? What prize (victorious crown)? The “rules” to which Paul is referring are the principles of the kingdom of God. At the end of Paul’s first letter to Timothy (yesterday’s reading), Paul tells Timothy to avoid the love of money (which is again, a distraction from serving in the Lord’s army). Then he writes this, telling Timothy to…
1 Timothy 6:11b …pursue righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love, perseverance, and gentleness. 12a Fight the good fight of faith! Take hold of the eternal life—you were called to it. These are the “rules” of the kingdom of God. Paul is describing the fruit of the Spirit.
We don’t often think of eternal life as something to “take hold of.” But that is Paul’s instruction. Paul mentions this again when writing to the Philippians. Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my loved ones, just as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence—work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
I want to bring this to a closing point. God is our commander. We are in His army. We must obey the commander. His word is always speaking to us. The greatest commandment “Shema Yisrael” means more than listen (hear), it means to “take heed.” Obey in a way that changes behavior. We do that, and God promises the “prize” of eternal life. That’s the victorious crown.
Jacob 1:12 Happy is the one who endures testing, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love Him.