Sunday, March 4, 2007

Day Sixteen (16)

Reading today: Genesis 36, Psalms 16, Matt 6:25-34, Acts 9:20-43

Genesis 36
The story of Esau and his descendants. God's promised blessing is fulfilled! I can' make much of the names and places without outside resources...

Psalm 16
What a beautiful Psalm. "You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever" (11). Everything good in David's life has come from God - we often spiritualize these kinds of things, saying what is "good" is the spiritual stuff in our lives, but David clearly states one of the joys is the land God has blessed him with (6)! I think the roots of our tendency to spiritualize everything are probably the influence of Greek philosophy on early Christian thinking which demonized anything bodily or physical and said it is only the spiritual that matters and is of worth. Hebrew thinking would have said no such thing!

In 5 and 6, David says the Lord alone is his inheritance, yet he rejoices in the land he has been given as a wonderful inheritance. What is he saying then? Clearly he isn't blatantly contradicting himself, but sees all that God has given him as an extension of God himself.

Matthew 6:25-34
Make the Kingdom of God your primary concern (33). It is easy to read this passage about not worrying and take on an attitude of passivity. "Well, if the Lord is going to provide, I'm just going to sit here and wait on him to provide me with food, shelter, clothing and all the other basic necessities of life." Clearly, not true. But as we go about our days, rather than focusing on those worries of daily life, have eyes for the Kingdom. See God at work in your life and around you. That is where life is at its fullest, not in being consumed by the superficial pull of modern day society.

The reality of this passage hit me the other day - could you preach this to people in Africa? How would they respond to it? In my short visit to Tanzania, I saw more trust and gratefulness despite poverty than I do here in Canada....hmmm....

Acts 9:20-43
The Holy Spirit throughout Scripture is associated with speaking. Here, Saul becomes more and more convincing after receiving the Holy Spirit. The Jewish people cannot refute his claims about Jesus as Messiah.

V. 31: "The believers were walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit". What an interesting statement!! It is a healthy balance. God deserves our reverence and respect, and yes even a little fear. But we only truly fear what we do not know. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit gives us an intimate relationship with God, that we may know Him and relate with Him.

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