Friday, March 2, 2007

Day Fifteen (15)

Reading today: Genesis 34-35, Psalm 15, Matt 6:16-24, Acts 9:1-19

Genesis 34-35
Chapter 34 is a sad story indeed. I find it so frustrating when people use stories like this to say the Bible "condones" or "approves" of these actions. The Bible is not a moral handbook, dictating right and wrong!! It is a theological story. A story of God and His pursuing of His people. Anyhow...we see what deception does. As Jacob says, "It STINKS!" (v. 30)

In chapter 35, God tells Jacob to return to Bethel. God answers Jacob's prayer (3) and responds by protecting him (5). The covenant passes on to Jacob.

Some quirks - why does God name Jacob Israel again? Didn't this already happen? What's with verse 22 (Reuben sleeping with Jacob's concubine and being caught)?

Psalm 15
Who may enter the Lord's presence? Isn't this the question we all really are asking? All religious attempts to enter God's presence are humankind's attempts to please an arbitrary God. Faith is anything but religion! What does it look like? Notice how prevalent words are - speaking truth, refusing to slander, not speaking evil, keeping promises. Now, what about this despising persistent sinners? A favourite Christian quote is "Hate the sin, love the sinner". This isn't possible!! Sin isn't a thing! It is always in the context of relationship (with God). The problem is that we think hate and love are antithetical. No! As one prof of mine says, "God is a terrific hater!" Indifference is the opposite of love, not hate. God's hatred of sin brings his mercy. If God had no love, he would leave us in our sin. But in his hatred [of sin], He brings His Son!

Matthew 6:16-24
Don't store up treasures here on earth. This is tough! In North America, no matter how short on cash we think we are, we are loaded up with "stuff". Does this mean we treasure it?

V. 22-23 seem out of place to me. What is Jesus saying? Have to think about this some more...

Acts 9:1-19
The powerful story of Saul's conversion.
Note verse 4, Jesus says, "Why are you persecuting me?" Jesus suffers with his followers! Whatever you do to a disciple, you are doing to Jesus. (Think Matthew 25...I believe that's it - whatever you do unto the least of these you do unto me...)

Can you imagine Ananias' trust here? I mean, Saul is going around putting any followers of the Way in jail and God's telling him, go right to him? Are you nuts!!? But God clearly shows Ananias what's going on, and so God's chosen intstrument believes and is baptized...

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