Friday, February 23, 2007

Day Nine (9)

Reading today: Genesis 24, Psalm 9, Matthew 4:18-25, Acts 5:17-42

Genesis 24
I have a professor who loves to say that more Scripture is devoted to Isaac finding a suitable wife than to the creation of the entire world! Not that quantity says everything, but this story certainly goes into great details. Why?

I think I often question the kinds of prayers like Abraham's servant's - demanding God answer a prayer through a specific sign. But the servant isn't praying to test God, rather he asks for a specific answer in a specific situation. I would guess more than one woman would have offered to give water to the camels. Perhaps it was simply in the act of praying, God brought Rebekah to the servant while the servant was focusing on God. I find prayer is more often than not a perspective-adjuster. And was the sign a random choice - obviously the actions of a woman who gave water to the camels would have indicated a certain sign of character.

It is also interesting in v. 60, Rebekah's family blesses her with the same blessing as God upon Abraham...hmmm....then of course in v. 67 we see the OT view that having sex with someone = they are your wife. Something our society has certainly lost. Sex no longer occurs in intimate relationship but has become mere mutual pleasuring. But I digress...

Psalm 9
The Psalms are just an awesome way to know the character of God. He reigns forever, judges with justice, rules with fairness, protects the oppressed, never abandons those who search for Him...No wonder David wants to sing publicly all day long! Why do we have such a hard time trusting in God's character? The presence of evil in this world is obvious and terrible, yet it does not change who God is.

Matthew 4:18-25
Simon, Andrew, James and John all leave at once in response to the call of Jesus. What was so attractive in Jesus' call? Was it the opportunity for a different life? Did Jesus have this incredible aura of charisma surrounding him? Most importantly, they listened and obeyed the Word of God (think Abe/Isaac Genesis 22).

Jesus' message: the good news of the Kingdom!!

Acts 5:17-42
Another incredible story. The leading priests "wonder where it will all end" (v. 24). We see the continuing theme that the Jewish leadership was afraid of the people (26) and so didn't act out against Jesus or the apostles (until, in the case of Jesus, he had divided the crowds so that many were against him). Why did God resurrect Jesus? To give the people of Israel an opportunity to turn to Him! (31)

I love this account of Gamaliel - if this thing has to do with God, we are wasting our time trying to stop it!! (38-39)

And then, after being flogged, the disciples rejoice because God considers them worthy to suffer dishonour for the name of Jesus. Wow! What an almost perverse way of thinking most of us would say. But we see in Jesus suffering is the path to glory in a sense. And Jesus had warned them of the upcoming persecution, so in a sense God is affirming their ministry in the face of all this opposition.

No comments: