Saturday, March 10, 2007

Day Nineteen (19)

Reading today: Genesis 41, Psalm 18:25-50, Matthew 8:1-13, Acts 10:1-18

Genesis 41
The well-known story of Joseph interpreting Pharoah’s dreams and being restored to a position of high authority. Pharoah calls for Joseph to interpret his dream… “It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph replied. “But God will tell you what it means and will set you at ease” (v. 16)
Yet Pharoah goes on telling him…interesting…does he simply know that Joseph’s words will be empowered by God’s Spirit?
Does God still speak to us in dreams today? I took a course called Spiritual Formation this fall and aprt of our time was psent in dream analysis…definitely interesting stuff but I’m not sure if it’s just psychotherapy with a Christian twist. It was pretty powerful though and definitely opened my eyes. Something to do with great discernment!!
I see repeatedly in the narrative of Genesis the theme of God’s gracious bestowal upon people whome He chooses, not for any merit of their own. Joseph has done nothing to deserve this blessing of God and he knows it. Gratefulness is a key character quality in acknowledging the grace and presence of God. Something severely lacking today…

Psalm 18:25-50
I remember reading this Psalm during the midst of a big debate about whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God. V. 31 stood out with such clarity: For who is God except Yahweh? Of course, our English translations replace Yahweh with the LORD, but Yahweh is the personal name of God as revealed to Moses and forward from that point. Yahweh is irreplaceable, and unsubstitutable as the God of Israel. He is the only God. Can you worship a God you do not know personally? No, then you just fall into religion – humankind’s attempt to appease a capricious God.

v. 25-6 – God reveals himself to the “godly” as godly yet to the wicked he is hostile. In other words, as I see it, God condones, glorifies and encourages the conduct of those who act within his character. It’s not that God’s character changes as He sees fit, but rather in those who reflect God’s character back to Him, He so reflects that character to those people. Whoa, that was confusing. Yet, to the wicked he is hostile, in opposition to, against…

v.30 – what encouragement! God, his way is perfect. All of his promises prove true. Prove necessitates action, not merely mental assent. God acts!

Matthew 8:1-13
In healing the leper, Jesus is restoring this man into the community. Such a powerful image of God’s redemptive purpose – restoration, acceptance, inclusion.
The Roman officer causes Jesus to make quite a statement about the inclusion of Gentiles in the Kingdom of Heaven. To use the image of table fellowship was the ultimate sign of inclusion in one’s family during the first century in Palestine. Gentiles would no longer be “other” or “separate” but would enter into the ‘inner circle’ of fellowship with everyone in the Kingdom.

Acts 11:1-18
I appreciate here the receptivity of the Jewish believers to Peter’s news of Gentiles receiving the gift of the Spirit. It’s easy for us to read vv. 1-3 and be judgmental towards these Jews. But think of how we often react when we hear about the ‘successes’ of other churches – it is easy to become jealous and petty, isn’t it, even though it is completely perverse to be so. Yet, the Jewish believers have a complete change of heart upon hearing of God’s activity among the Gentiles. It is my hoep that I can so easily be molded by the Word of God – it is so easy to become set in our individual viewpoints rather than be open and receptive to being continually changed by the living address of God.

No comments: