Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Soul Dare: Day 7



Bible Time 


Genesis 13-14, Psalm 5 and Matthew 5 


Once again in today's reading in Genesis we pick up where we left off yesterday noting that Abram pitched his tent between Bethel and Ai. This morning he goes back to the same spot and pitches his tent once again and worships God.

It's from this place that he and Lot decide to separate camps since the land cannot support all of their livestock and people.

Genesis 13:8-13 - I always thought it was very generous of Abram to allow Lot to choose first. I'm assuming that as the patriarch, he probably deserved first pick. Yet, he steps aside and lets Lot have first draft pick. I guess it's no surprise that Lot choose what looked to be the best of the two choices. However, we find out later that although it looks lush and fertile on the surface, it belies the rot and decadence that is happening in this area. (vs. 13).

Perhaps this is a good warning that what looks good on the surface is not always the best choice. After all, we know that Canaan either is or becomes a beautiful piece of territory because it's where God sends his people after the Exodus from Egypt. It's known as "the land of milk and honey."

Without jumping ahead too far in the scriptures, we know what eventually happens to Sodom and Gomorrah. I think Abram got the far better deal here.

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Psalm 5 - This entire Psalm is a beautiful prayer, but I especially love the blessing contained in the last few lines in verses 11-12:

"But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them sin joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
For you bless the godly, O LORD;
you surround them with your shield of love."
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Matthew 5 - I always enjoy reading the Sermon on the Mount and especially the Beatitudes and the Teaching about Salt and Light. However, this time, I got a little stuck on verse 17 and what followed after it:

"Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heave and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God's law will disappear until its purpose is achieved...unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!"

On first glance, I read this as Jesus saying all the same rules and regs apply as before, which was perplexing to me because I know that in many ways His birth as a man and then death on the cross was so that we could live without fear of not measuring up.

However, as I read a commentary about this passage and what Jesus is attempting to do as he gives specific examples of going beyond the law to love, I started to understand. The commentator wrote that what Jesus said could also be interpreted as this:

"I am not come to destroy the moral law, but to fulfill -- to establish, illustrate, and explain its highest meaning, both by my life and doctrine."

Again. I think Jesus was exposing our human tendency to try to tow the line and be a rule keeper so that we can feel good about ourselves and our place in Heaven. By talking about different Mosaic laws and teachings (Anger, Adultery, Divorce, Vows, Revenge and Hating/Loving Enemies) and showing how simply following the letter of the law is not enough, rather than following the spirit of the law.

Ultimately He is asking, "What would Love do in this situation?"

This is a good reminder for this girl who often takes a black or white view on things.  My willingness to love (or not) exposes my attitude and motivation.

Ouch.

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My Utmost for His Highest snagged my attention in this passage:

"It is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to step more intimately with Him. Fruit bearing is always mentioned as the manifestation of an intimate union with Jesus Christ."

Just like that, we are back to our familiar refrain: "Be fruitful and multiply." And then it all comes together. 

\In Matthew 5, Jesus was inviting the people to walk in relationship with Him and the Father -- not try to strictly follow some rule set as a way to gain favor and eternal life.

Somehow, in all the clamoring to trace lineage to Abraham and boasting about being his descendants, the Pharisees had missed the most important thing about being Abraham's heir. His legacy of worship and fellowship with God. 

What a wonderful reminder of our very great privilege to still have The Law to follow, but the close fellowship and discipleship of Jesus Christ and the Father to help us to not only keep that law, but to exceed it through a Loving Heart.

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What has God been showing you as you dig deeper, go further and love richer during this Soul Dare? 


Also, please join me over on my Mosaic Momma Facebook page and share there or here what God is doing in your life




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