Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January 18

Genesis 37:1-38:30; Matthew 12:22-45; Psalm 16:1-11; Proverbs 3:27-32

Sometimes the Bible can be, well, a little disturbing. I don't know which passage of scripture I read today most disturbing. Is it the part where a man's own brothers beat him up, plot to kill him, but sell him into slavery instead? Or maybe it's where a father-in-law unknowingly sleeps with his daughter-in-law, thinking she is a prostitute, and she becomes pregnant? Or it is the part when Jesus heals a man who is blind and mute and the observers contribute this good work to the work of Satan? All this passages of Scripture are a little hard to read. Why are they included in the Bible and given such detail? Sometimes I think it's just so we know the Bible is real and historically preserved. I mean, who would make this stuff up and then expect people to believe and follow?   

When we finally get to Psalm 16, it's like a breath of fresh air. Ah, at last, something cheerful and "edifying." But for me, the real pivot point of all these passages is Jesus' statement in Matthew 12:34-35 in which he says, "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him." We see this played out in all the different scenes in today's Scripture readings.  

First, Joseph's brothers are discontented and ungrateful in their hearts. They feel second-best, tossed aside, disregarded by their father. They aren't getting their due in their own minds.  They are jealous of the gifts of the father to another. So they grumble and complain and plot evil in their hearts. The ingratitude and resentment overflows out in their actions. Second, we see Judah refusing to trust God and taking matters into his own hands. He worries in his mind that his last son may die too. He makes, as Scripture seems to indicate, the unrighteous choice. He lets worry and fear dictate his choices. Third, the Pharisees don't want Jesus to come in and disrupt the way of life they have always known, so they try to find ways of explaining away the power of Jesus. Their desire for control blinds them to the life changing power of Jesus. Finally, in Psalms, we see David's heart of gratitude and contentment. His "heart is glad and [his] tongue rejoices" (Ps. 16:9); he is filled with joy in the presence of the Lord.

"Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."  What is coming out of my mouth, my actions?  What is the fruit by which my tree is recognized?  Is it discontentment, jealousy, complaining, grumbling, controlling, anxious thought, or blindness to the truth of God's power?  What comes out of me is always a good barometer of what's going on inside.  When the yelling at the kids seems to be more frequent, when I find myself brooding over the places I don't get what I "deserve," when I just seem out of sorts with the world around me, I need to look at my heart.  More importantly, I need to stop what I'm doing, and spend time with Jesus, reorienting to the truth of who he is, who I am, and who he's called me to be to others. I need to cultivate a heart of gratitude and thankfulness.  
Holy Spirit, fill me from my inside so that more of you flows out of me each day.

- Mary Matthias

How did God speak to you in Scripture today? Click here to share your reflections on God's word or read past posts. We'd love to hear from you. 

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