Thursday, March 1, 2007

Day Fourteen (14)

Reading today: Genesis 32-33, Psalm 14, Matt 6:1-15, Acts 8:26-40

Genesis 32-33
Jacob wrestles with God...and doesn't lose! Mark Buchanan coins this story as the night Jacob met himself. Up to this point, his whole life has been one of deception, becoming wealthy off of other people. Jacob doesn't know who he is, until he encounters God face to face.
I'm amazed that Esau affectionately greets Jacob!

Psalm 14
Some things never change. One of those things is the folly of humankind, its propensity for evil, to treat humans as objects (like bread) - as a means to an end, to ignore God. Despite his people being oppressed, the Lord will still protect them. What does this mean? Protect them how? Clearly not from oppression. Or He is preserving them until salvation comes?

Matthew 6:1-15
Although our English Bibles separate each of these teachings by topic, I think they are all saying the same thing. And it is challenging indeed. I have come to realize just how many of the things I do, I do in order to receive praise from other people, to be held in high esteem...of course, that's not the only reason I do them, but it is a larger motivation than I realize. Jesus is saying, don't make the things you do an end in and of themselves - don't pray for the sake of prayer, give for the sake of giving or fast for the sake of fasting. Do them to deepen your relationship with the Father. It is only His 'opinion' that counts - of course nothing we do can make God love us more. But we can, on this Earth, undertaken disciplines to deeper our relationship with God.

Verses 14-15 are, love of God and love of neighbour are intrinsically linked. We are forgiven only as much as we forgive! Does this mean God's forgiveness is conditional? I don't think so.

Acts 8:26-40
Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. The Good News of Jesus is for everybody!!
It's interesting that the Scriptures need instruction for the Ethiopian to understand them. Although we affirm that the Gospel is perspicuous (clear), there is a context within which understanding is greatly aided.

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