"God's Word is Living & Active!" ~ Hebrews 4:12
Genesis 16:1-18:15 ~ Matthew 6:1-24 ~ Psalm 7:1-17 ~ Proverbs 2:1-5
~ Click here to read today’s Scripture on BibleGateway.com ~ // Mobile Site Link
~ Listen to today’s Scripture on One Year Bible Online Audio, ESVBible.org: OT, NT, Psalms, Proverbs
Old Testament – Today in Genesis chapter 16 we get another potential Jesus sighting in the OT! 🙂 (Similar to our “potential” with Melchizedek .) I’ll keep you posted on all our “potential” Jesus sightings in the Old Testament – as seen by some commentaries. Some believe that the angel that appears to Hagar in the desert could be Christ pre-incarnate. Why? Because the angel seems to be speaking in the first person, as if the angel is God – (and Jesus is God) – but yet the angel is not described as God the Father. Check out verse 10 on this point – “I will give you more descendants than you can count.”” Next point is that later in this chapter Hagar seems to be giving the angel a bit more credit of the angel “just being an angel”, as you’ll see here in verse 13: “Thereafter, Hagar referred to the LORD, who had spoken to her, as “the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have seen the One who sees me!”” I guess I can see how some commentators go down this path… What do you think?
Below is French painter James Tissot’s watercolor “Hagar and the Angel in the Desert” from the year 1896:
In Genesis chapter 17 we read about the second Abrahamic Covenant! This covenant was is a conditional divine pledge from God to be Abraham’s God and the God of his descendants. The condition? Obedience and consecration to God as symbolized by circumcision. In verse 23 I think we see another example of Abraham’s prompt obedience to God’s will for his life: “On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and every other male in his household and circumcised them, cutting off their foreskins, exactly as God had told him.” Abraham does not hesitate – does not wait one more day – he and every other male in his household get circumcised that very day!
Below is a stained glass image from England made in the year 1435 showing God giving this covenant to Abraham:
In Genesis 18 we see some amazing hospitality from Abraham to God and two angels that appear along with God. Hospitality for strangers was important back in Abraham’s day. Remember that Jesus says to us in the New Testament, “whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto me.” So, yes, maybe Abraham realized he was being hospitable toward God. But – Jesus seems to infer we should be hospitable to everyone – particularly “the least of these” – for in doing so, we will be providing hospitality to Jesus.
Below is an oil painting by Spanish Baroque Era Painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo from the year 1667 titled “Abraham and the Three Angels”:
New Testament – Our readings in Matthew chapter 6 today seem to be focusing quite a bit on the interior motives of why we do things – and to do things sometimes in secret, where only God will know what we are doing. And by giving, praying, and fasting with pure interior motives and in secret, God will reward us! I think there is so much truth in this… I think when we give anonymously or pray for others quietly or fast privately, we are really worshipping God. We are in essence saying, “God I am doing these things because of who You are, how great You are, and to let you know how much I love You. I don’t need to let anyone know about this act of worship between me and You. You knowing is more than enough.” Now, I do think there are times for communal giving, praying and fasting – but I love that Jesus challenges us to make sure we find private ways to worship God and God only – and not to bring glory to ourselves by desiring public praise for our “religiosity”…
What a blessing to read the Lord’s Prayer in today’s readings! I have to confess, I don’t say this prayer very often… and Jesus seems to indicate pretty clearly that this is a good way to pray. 🙂 I do pray often throughout the day – but usually it’s pretty immediate stuff – bless this meal, thank you for this day, bless my time at work, etc. etc. What a great thing it would be if I could remember to actually pray the Lord’s Prayer a bit more… I do think it is good to pray things beyond the Lord’s Prayer – in fact, just take a look at the Psalms for some ranges of prayer. You might infer from verse 7 that we should stick only to the Lord’s Prayer when praying: “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again.” However – I read a commentary that this verse was admonishing against the polytheistic religions where people prayed to every single god’s name they could think of, and would continue to repeat all of the gods names over and over, in hopes that this “babbling” would work to where one of the gods would respond to their pleading. So – I think God loves and enjoys hearing us pray to Him in whatever way we do so – but we should not neglect the fact that when Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer He said (in verse 9): “Pray like this.”
Verse 24 has always always been a verse that’s convicted me and still does today: “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” There is so much truth here in these 3 little sentences…
Psalms – Today in Psalm 7 verse 10 we read: “God is my shield, saving those whose hearts are true and right.” What stood out to me here is that it does not say that God saves those who “do” what is true and right. It says that God saves those whose “hearts are” true and right. As discussed in yesterday’s Matthew 5 post, below, this is getting toward our interior motives and thoughts and hearts – the important thing is not what we do on the “exterior”, but who we are on the “interior”. And then certainly if our hearts are true and right, a natural outflow of this is doing good things on the exterior. But, it’s the interior – our hearts – that matter most.
Proverbs – Proverbs 2 verse 2 today is a fantastic teaching: “Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.” There is so much noise and static and distractions in our modern world today that I think it is often hard for us to “tune our ears to wisdom & understanding.”
Please join us in memorizing and meditating a verse of Scripture today: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Matthew 6:24 NIV
Comments from You and Questions of the Day:
Please Post Your Comments Below
Love, Trust and Obey Jesus,
For More Teachings And Articles Visit Our Website: http://www.wmtlc.org