Saturday, 8 February 2014

TFTD - 08 February 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

08 February 2014

Exodus 16
Psalms 70; 71
Mark 4

"THY KINGDOM COME"

Today’s chapter of Mark’s Gospel [Mark 4] tells us that Jesus “was teaching them many things in parables” [Mark 4:2] and Mark gives us 4 examples of the parables adding “with many such parables he spoke the word to them” and “but privately to his own disciples he explained everything” [Mark 4:33,34]. Only one of the explanations is recorded and that is the familiar parable of the sower and all the different kinds of hearts and minds into which the “seed” of his message is sown.

Sadly, for some, “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word” [Mark 4:19] and that is more than ever the case in many countries today, it certainly is in Australia.

The short parable in Mark 4:26-29 is one we might wish his explanation had been recorded, but perhaps the explanation can be specially applied to our 21st Century. The seed is scattered and “the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself …” [Mark 4:27,28] We saw this as telling us that the ultimate sower is God; are there other means by which he makes his message known? How does the “earth produce by itself?” All kinds of fertilisers are used today in producing literal crops. Is there a special illustration of this today in the way the Internet now makes it possible for people of virtually all nations to have access to God’s message and be challenged by it? We suspect this is the case!

It is impossible for us to know many of the ways in which the message spreads, truly the sower “knows not how”! The phrase “the kingdom of God” occurs 3 times in this chapter because that is the heart of the message contained in the seed. All those who are dissatisfied with the kingdoms of this world are the ones who are most eager for God’s kingdom - and they pray with fervour, “Thy Kingdom come” Is that how you feel?
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- DC
Exodus 16 we read:
"Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no".

The words "a certain rate" are from the x1 Heb 'dabar' which is translated the majority of times as "word". This is interesting to us as we know that the manna is symbolic of the word.

We notice in the verse:
1. Gather a certain rate, the word
2. That God may prove them
3. As whether they take heed to His word and walk in His ways

The same principle is laid down for us today, we are to daily taken in Gods word, it is then that we are proved and tested in our lives to see if we do really walk in the ways and principles of God.

The Heb 'dabar' which also means word, is used x3 times in this ch, the number 3 reminds of its meaning of bearing fruit (Gen 1:11-12), as well as resurrection. This links the manna as symbolic of spiritual food of the word, through the power of which we are to bear fruit in honour and obedience to our Heavenly Father.

The other occ:
v16 "this is the thing (dabar - the word) which the LORD hath commanded, gather of it every man according to his eating"
v32 "and Moses said, this is the thing (dabar - the word) which YAHWEH commandeth...to be kept for the generations"

We are reminded of the words of Jesus, "give us this day our (spiritual) daily bread". But it's not easy and takes effort, it's sad to hear the comments made today of the study and meditation of Gods word, especially when we live in a generation of the most educated Christadelphains ever, and we consider the time, effort and sacrifices that we given to obtaining qualifications of this world. Would we expect to turn up to university on the 1st day and be able to pass the degree, if we took the final paper we would be disheartened and wonder how we will ever be able to pass it. Yet, through hours and hours of lectures (some very dry and boring), through hours and hours of home study, putting off what we naturally really want to do, through time and care given by those in charge of the studies one is encouraged and guided, again at times we could be doing other things for ourselves. The crux of the question, what we work for/are working for in this world could be wiped away and be of no use to use even today when Christs returns. A question I have to ask myself regularly, how much effort and time am I putting into the things of gain of this world compared to the effort and self sacrifices I make in my spiritual development and meditation and study of the word.

When thinking of the work required to be expended in the study of the word of God and in the context of the manna we are taken to Num 11:7-8.

Thought for the Day

08 February 2014

"God has forgiven us far greater sins than we are called upon to forgive, and in deep thankfulness for His mercy and grace, we ought always to hasten to forgive. The penalty for failure to forgive is disastrous: the unforgiving saint remains unforgiven (Matthew 6:15)."

- John Marshall
Portrait of the Saint