Friday, January 20, 2017

January 20

Genesis 41:17-42:17; Matthew 13:24-46; Psalm 18:1-15; Proverbs 4:1-6

The word of God often contains hard and/or confusing things.  Situations like Joseph's response to his brothers (harshness [Gen. 42:7], attack [vs. 9, 12, 15], and incarceration [vs. 17]).  Words like Jesus' parable of the weeds (Mt. 13:24-30), which speaks of the destruction of "everything that causes sin and all who do evil" (vs. 41). It's so tempting to focus on these difficult bits, haranguing at God for being unfair or unclear.  

(As an aside, I sometimes think that those who quibble with God or Scripture deal with such a small portion of God's revealed word, losing the much, much bigger picture of a God who is loving and just.  Imagine looking at 10-15 lines from Shakespeare and ignoring the rest of his body of work! Pardon my digression.)

Though ambiguity remains, so much of Scripture is yet specific and certain.  Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dreams reveals "that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon" (Gen. 41:32).  The kingdom of heaven is highly desirable and produces great joy (see Mt. 13:44-46).  The pursuit of wisdom "will protect you...[and] will watch over you" (Prov. 4:6), paving the way to a rich and full life.

Clear, comprehensible words from God.  Doesn't that offer security?  Like a child who thrives with boundaries or an employee who flourishes when she understands the expectations of her boss, we all long for sturdy, consistent direction. 

Look at Psalm 18 again.  See how God is described: my strength (vs. 1), my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, giver of refuge, my shield, the horn, my salvation, my stronghold (vs. 2).  Look at how God responds: he hears (vs. 6), and he has an emotional reaction (vs. 7-8) to the distress of his people.  And look what God does: he shakes the heavens on behalf of the psalmist (vs. 9-10), involves himself actively in the world (vs. 11-13), and takes up arms in defense of his loved one (vs. 14). Tomorrow, we'll see the tenderness of the Lord's direct interaction with the psalmist and also the provision he gives for the writer's future.

That is serious involvement.  This is the God who desires relationship with us, who is for us, and who is with us.  We will never comprehend all of God; we will not understand why he did/does/will do what he did/does/will do.  But we can be confident in his love for us; we can know that he hears our voices (Ps. 18:6).  And we, too, can thus declare: "I love you, O Lord" (vs. 1).

- Sarah Marsh

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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