Saturday, 26 July 2014

TFTD - 26 July 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

26 July 2014

2 Samuel 12
Jeremiah 16
Matthew 27

“AND WE WILL BELIEVE …”

What is the evidence that leads to belief?  Well it depends what is  the object of belief - the urgency of our minds in searching for evidence to convince us of belief!  For some it is the opposite, the searching for evidence to convince our disbelief - this is seen in those who do not want to believe in a Creator. In God’s wisdom he has allowed for us to need a degree of faith, the need for us to put together the evidence - and then appreciate how it all dovetails together.

Our meditation on this arose from today’s reading of chapter 27 in Matthew and the dreadful account of the unjust trial and crucifixion of Jesus.  They had seen and heard of so much evidence of the remarkable God-given heavenly powers that Jesus could exercise, also, if they had really known the words of the prophets,  they would have realized the clear evidence that Jesus was their expected Messiah.   The climax of the determined scepticism came when “the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself … let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in him.” [Matthew 27:41-42]

What does it take for us to believe?  Just as important if not more so, do we possess such a conviction of belief that it makes a profound difference to our way of living?  Our chapter in Jeremiah today [16] provides a very interesting piece of evidence to encourage the faith of Jeremiah.  He is told, “the days are coming, declares the LORD, when it shall no longer be said, ‘As the LORD lives who brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt’, but ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them, ‘For I will bring them back to their own land …” [Jeremiah 16:14-15]

That this refers to more than the return from Babylon 70 years later is made even clearer in Jeremiah 16:17-18 “ … afterward I will send for many hunters and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill …”   Then we read a wonderful prayer by Jeremiah in reaction to this vision of the future, ‘O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble, for to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say: ‘Our fathers have inherited lies,  worthless things …” [Jeremiah 16:19]

Let us echo Jeremiah’s prayer and say, “O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble” … we do believe in your Son O LORD, we wait to see the wonder of your revealing of yourself to Israel, we are increasingly sure the time is near when, as God’s words at the end of our chapter state, “… I will make them know my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is the LORD.”
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- DC
We read 2 Samuel 12:4 of Nathan's parable of what David had done:
"And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he SPARED to take of his own flock and of his own herd..."

David's response:
"the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no PITY"

BUT, the rich man had shown pity, the words "SPARED" and "PITY", are both the same Hebrew. The rich man had shown pity for his own, but no pity towards another. It can be easy to show compassion for our own, that which we have a vested interest in, but how compassionate are we outside of that, and to others?

Let us never forget the great pity that has been shown unto us, and that it is our duty to show pity and compassion to all:
"But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful" (Luke 6:35-36)

Thought for the Day

26 July 2014

"To those early disciples who sought the company of the Lord Jesus when he was on earth, the coming Kingdom seemed far off. To us who strive to follow in faith, the return of our Lord seems long delayed. But the end is sure, for all who call upon the Father, not only in times of trial but in all the changing scenes of life. For those whose constant practice is to seek the Father’s presence day and night in prayer, the Kingdom is near."

- David Walters
Prayer and Faith (1968)