We start with a sneak peak into Abram’s character and Lot’s character. Abram is giving, and Lot is a taker. Abram is inclined to let Lot take the better land. War breaks out and Lot is taken. So Abram goes after him, and rescues him. On his way home he meets Melchizedek. Now this, (guy, king, theophany) whatever he really is, instantly has Abram’s respect. Abram accepts food and blessings from him. Abram discerns that this guy is good and is someone he wants to take stuff from. He also is compelled to give Melchizedek one tenth of his loot. However mister king sodom shows up and Abram discerns that he wants absolutely nothing to do with him.
The next part might be my favorite of the OT. “Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.’” And all the people who believe that you have to earn your way into a relationship with God, TOOK A COLLECTIVE SIGH OF RELIEF!!! Abram believed God’s words and God gave him His righteousness. You can’t earn it, you just have to believe HIM.
The next section reveals the ratification of the Abrahamic Covenant. We see the God is promising to give Abram’s descendants the promised land, by way of bondage in Egypt. And then the Lord walks through the split carcasses signifying that this promise made by Him is based on his character and therefore will happen.
Ready for self mutilation? Just kidding, that is not what this passage is prescribing. Jesus is again going up against the teaching of the day. The Pharisee’s insisted that the outward had to look right, and the inside did not matter. Jesus is teaching us that if your heart/mind is lusting then you have already lost the battle. I can say amen to this 100 times over. If an idea or feeling is born in my mind or heart, say for example some disrespectful thought about Jesse, if I allow it to go on and on in my heart, then boom! it will eventually come out of my mouth or in my actions. Jesus is challenging us here to be sure our thought life matches what we are doing on the outside.
He is also challenging the Pharisee’s inclination to make vow’s to put power behind their words. They had to do this, I think, because no one believed anything they said. They told you to act one way but they themselves did not adhere. So to make sure people knew they were serious they would make these vows. I find I do this too. If I think someone is not taking me seriously or I am not getting my point across I will say “by Jerusalem!” Just kidding, I don’t say that. But I do, shall we say, “over dramatize?” Jesus is just saying, let your yes, be a yes and no, be a no and just do what you say you are going to do.
Finally he is asking us to turn away from our affinity for “Imma get mine,” “Imma get you back for that,” and “I love my tribe and hate my enemies.” This is a big ask because he is saying instead of just doing the right thing, go above and beyond. I think about what we just read with Abram and Lot. The land was Abram’s, God gave it to him. Abram was mature enough and secure enough to give Lot the better land. And I think that is the point. As we get to know Jesus, we can be secure in His promises. We don’t have to grab for stuff because we don’t have to worry about being let down. Also, for anyone else who panics when they see Jesus ask us to be “perfect,” that word in the original language is more like mature. Whew!
A penitential psalm. Another word that makes you sound real smart unless you say it wrong. King David pours his heart out to the Lord. He asks for God’s mercy and help. He knows God’s character and asks Him to act based on that character. He tells him how he feels. He ends with reminding himself of the assurances of God. I think this is a huge reason to study God’s word. So when you feel like David you can remind yourself who God really is.
Jeez! We are hitting this correction thing hard. Every time I read it I have to remind myself that correction is for my own good. Correction is not failure, its redirection. God says here that simpletons turn away from Wisdom and turn to death. Fools are destroyed by there own complacency. Complacency is something I really can’t stand. Pretending things are fine when you are headed toward death. Maybe this gets me so riled up because I lived it for some many years. Just acting like everything was fine when I was dead on the inside. God had to come in and shake me up! Complacency is the one thing that gets me turning tables over. God has promised you a life that is beyond anything you can imagine. Don’t sit complacent!!! Want more for yourself than death!! Believe God and the let Him do what only He can do!!! That is a lot of exclamation marks for Sunday morning.
I gotta get to church, have great day!😘