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Genesis 31:17-32:12 ~ Matthew 10:24-11:6
Psalm 13:1-6 ~ Proverbs 3:16-18
Old Testament - Today's Genesis chapter 31 readings take us through Laban's pursuit of Jacob and his family and Laban & Jacob's treaty. Verse 42 jumped out at me in today's readings as Jacob spoke to Laban - "In fact, except for the grace of God--the God of my grandfather Abraham, the awe-inspiring God of my father, Isaac--you would have sent me off without a penny to my name." I like seeing that Jacob is realizing that the grace of God has blessed him! I wonder if sometimes in our lives the grace of God is blessing us, and we don't realize it? Do you ever have those moments when you look back on a day, or a week, or even a year and realize that God's grace was so there - and yet... you didn't realize it at the time? Can we try to live more like Jacob in this verse - and recognize awe-inspiring God's grace more and more frequently in our lives? And can we give praise to God for this ever-present grace available to us?
In Chapter 31 we see Jacob preparing to met his brother Esau. And - we see Jacob praying to God an awesome prayer! Verse 10 is beautiful - "I am not worthy of all the faithfulness and unfailing love you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home, I owned nothing except a walking stick, and now my household fills two camps!" Do you believe that God has been showing faithfulness and unfailing love to Jacob in our readings? Do you believe that God is showing faithfulness and unfailing love to you today?
New Testament - Matthew chapter 10 closes out today with what might be considered some hard teachings of Jesus. I think what jumps out in my mind of reading these teachings is that while Jesus is certainly the Prince of Peace, he also has come into a world that is full of darkness - and the darkness fights against Jesus' light. So, if we decide to align ourselves with Jesus, and his eternal goodness and light, the darkness will also then fight against us - just as it fights against Jesus. As students and servants of Jesus, we will face the same persecutions that Jesus did. And while this is certainly true, think about the alternative - not following Jesus.... and not walking in the light of God's love. I'd much rather spend 1 day in Jesus' light than 1 thousand days elsewhere...
Verse 38 is the first mention of the word cross in the gospel of Matthew - "If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine." What strikes me about this verse is that Jesus is teaching that we do have a cross to bear. We just do. And we then have a choice to make of whether we will take up the cross and follow Jesus. So, now may be a good time to ask yourself - what is your cross in your life? Do you think you know what it is? If not, will you ask Jesus to reveal to you what your cross is? And then, will you bear it daily? And will you follow Jesus daily?
Matthew 11 starts off with an interesting question from John the Baptist to Jesus - "Are you really the Messiah?" I read an interesting commentary that said this is the beginnings of where we see that people are starting to wonder if Jesus is really the Messiah, because he hasn't overthrown the Roman government "yet". Many in Jerusalem were expecting a Warrior-King Messiah that would free the Jewish people from the oppression of Rome. And Jesus' ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing was bringing up the questions of, "are you really the Messiah?" People were starting to wonder... Instead of the Warrior-King, they are seeing a Suffering-Servant.... not what was expected. And what do you personally believe the answer to John's question was and is - is Jesus the Messiah?
Psalms - Psalm 13 is thought to be a prayer by David for recovery from a grave illness, based on verse 3 - "Restore the light to my eyes, or I will die." Yet, even in the midst of this serious illness, David amazingly proclaims in verse 5 - "But I trust in your unfailing love." How about us? When we are sick or in the midst of a very challenging or sad situation, do we trust in God's unfailing love? Always? No matter what is going on around us?
Proverbs - I love Proverbs chapter 3 verse 17! "She (wisdom) will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying." Amen! What a great choice of words - delightful paths and satisfying ways. Do you believe that wisdom will lead you down delightful paths and that wisdom proves to be always satisfying to you?
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!