January - Reading 17

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Brother Adam, Jan 17, 2002.

  1. Brother Adam

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  2. Aaron

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    Few verses have suffered at the hands of well-meaning Christians more than the first verses of Matthew 7.

    The common misconception is that if I am liberal in my judgments of others, then God will be liberal in His judgments of me. But where does the word "God" appear in the text? Some of the more dubious paraphrases have inserted "God" there, but "God" does not appear in the original languages.

    We know that God judges righteously, I Peter 2:23. And that gives us hope and an incentive to put our trust in Him. Saith the Lord, "I will repay." Romans 12:19.

    It is as we forgive others their trespasses that God will forgive our trespasses. But God does not withold His judgment of our wrongdoing [or that of anyone else] just because we excuse others.

    No, these verses, again, do not pertain to our evaluation of good or evil, nor are they intended to guide magistrates in civil government. They are intended to guide us interpersonal relationships.

    [ January 17, 2002: Message edited by: Aaron ]
     
  3. Helen

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    I find myself agreeing with Aaron regarding the first two verses of Matthew 7. I think it goes a little further, though. Many times we are told to be discerning, to choose the good, to be able to divide the word correctly, to avoid evil. All these things involve judgements on our parts.

    So while these two verses are probably very truly aimed at interpersonal relationships, they do not contradict the other portions of the Bible where we are commanded to judge doctrine, acts, and words. What we are NOT to judge is the people themselves. That is entirely God's province.

    There might be an added caution implicit in these two verses, as well. Be gentle in your judgements whenever possible, because we all know we would like to be judged gently by the people who know us!

    There is a lovely bit of poetry by Roy Croft called "Love", and part of the middle of it goes,
    "I love you
    For putting your hand
    Into my heaped-up hart
    And passing over
    All the foolish, weak tings
    That you can't help
    Dimly seeing there,
    And for drawing out
    Into the light
    All the beautiful belongings
    That no one else had looked
    Quite far enough to find."

    Maybe this is part of what those first two verses of Matthew 7 mean?

    but, to continue...

    About removing the speck from your brother's eye..

    First of all, "brother" means a brother or sister believer. This is DIFFERENT from 'neighbor' which means anyone the Lord has put in your vicinity (which you are to love as you love yourself!). And we are told never to correct another believer until we have gone to the Lord for our own correction.
    If you think about it, there is something else here. We recognize most quickly the faults we ourselves are most familiar with! A person who does not lie is the easiest person to deceive, because he does not suspect a lie. But a person who knows about lying will recognize a liar pretty quickly.

    Best to get our own planks removed first... [​IMG]

    THEN we will see clearly. And it is interesting that this comes immediately after the 'do not judge.' What I have found in my own life is that when the Lord has cleaned me up of a major fault, I tend to be a lot more forgiving of that fault in others! It's still a fault, but I do tend to see it as the 'speck' it is rather than the plank I had which allowed me to recognize that other speck.

    Verse six, about not giving to dogs what is sacred has posed some big questions for me in my life on the net. How far do I go in trying to present the truth to people who are obviously not wanting it and just waiting to tear it apart? Personally, I think I have realized from the Lord that it is not really those people I am talking to, but the folks who are just reading. Still, this one is sometimes hard for me and I really need the Lord's wisdom at every turn here!

    The famous 'ask, seek, knock,' verses come next. If we go back to Genesis 5:1-2, we see that Jesus is primarily teaching his disciples here. So I do think it is primarily to the believers that the 'ask, seek, knock' verses apply. On the other hand, I also know that anyone who is not suppressing the truth that he or she has been shown, but is searching for more will find it. This is simply something I have seen in my own life among believers and unbelievers.

    The last verses in Matthew today are verses which were instrumental, along with others, in convincing me that the Reformed theology was incorrect. I know I am alienating at least half of the people here, but I can't avoid saying that. When Jesus closes this section saying, "but small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it," that means these people are searching. I'll leave it at that because this is not the time or the place to get into a humungous discussion over the Reformed issue, but I did want to mention that I think this verse has something to say on this issue.

    The Acts passage today is about Cornelius and Peter -- the beginning of the story. Cornelius is a Roman centurion and therefore NOT a Jew (alhtough verse 22 says all the Jews respected him). Interestingly, this would have at least marginally put him in the category of 'dog' to the Jew -- and Peter no doubt remembered that dogs are not to be given what is sacred! So both Cornelius and Peter had something to learn here.

    Cornelius needed to know that works did not save. And yet he feared God and gave to the poor and prayed REGULARLY. His first reaction, as the reaction of just about everyone in the Bible's is, is fear when he sees the angel who tells him to send for Peter.

    Meanwhile, back on the ranch....

    Peter is given a vision. The lesson in the vision is "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." Peter will learn this applies to people, too...

    Peter's reaction to the Spirit is one of obedience. He invites the messengers from Cornelius in to be his guests. I can't help but think this must have been quite a change for Peter!


    Psalm 17 -- David declares himself not guilty of sin! But he still asks for the Lord's protection from enemies.

    There is an interesting line in verse 10, speaking of the wicked people: "They close up their callous hearts..." This reminds me of Pharaoh during the ten plagues of Moses -- for the first five plagues we read, "and Pharaoh hardened his heart." It is not until after Pharaoh has hardened his own heart five times that the Lord finishes the job, and we read "the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart." There is a comment about this kind of thing in Ephesians 4, too. In verses 18-19 we read, "They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the heardening of their hearts. Having lost al sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more." This would then be in line with Romans 1:18 which refers to men who deliberately ignore or suppress the truth that is evident to them. All this does indicate to me that people do choose how they are going to respond to the truth, and that people do choose to harden their own hearts where God is concerned. This is a very, very sad thing.


    Genesis 37 and 38 seem to be paired for one reading simply because someone is trying to gallop through Genesis! They do not belong together at all in a study. Genesis 37:2 closes Jacob's tablet with "This is the account of Jacob." We do not have a signature for the last section of Genesis. However there are a couple of clues as to who is responsible for the original writing of it. It closes with the death of Joseph, a prince in Egypt. It was common for those in authority to have historians and scribes of their own. Thus this section may be part of a semi-official or official history written down by Joseph's scribe. This might be supported by the fact that the private conversations and feelings of Joseph are mentioned and references to the feelings and conversations which took place away from Joseph are more cursory and may have been told to him at some point.

    At any rate, chapter 37 is famous in all the children's Bibles. Joseph, and his richly ornamented coat, or 'coat of many colors;' The dreams that he would be in a position of authority over his family; his brothers' anger and betrayal; and the selling of Joseph to the Midianite traders; and, then, finally, the the lie to Jacob which caused him such great distress and mourning, thinking his beloved Joseph was dead. The chapter closes with the sale of Joseph as a slave into Potiphar's household -- the captain of the guard for Pharaoh.

    It is interesting to note that the entry into Egypt of the Israelites was at the hand of a fellow Israelite who became an authority in court, and that their exit from Egypt was also due to an Israelite who had become a resident of the palace -- as a prince.

    Chapter 38 is an insertion that presents some very interesting material. I would like to quote the NIV notes here, as I think they give some insight into what is going on and why this chapter is included where it is:

    The unsavory events of this chapter illustrate the danger tht Israel as God's separated people faced if they remianed among the Canaanites. In Egypt the Israelites were kept separate because the Egyptians despised them. While there, God's people were able to develop into a nation without losing their identity. Judah's actions contrasted with those of Joseph -- demonstrating the moral superiority of Joseph, to whom leadership in Israel fell in his generation. Joseph was separated from his brothers by force, but Judah voluntarily separated himself to seek his fortune among the Canaanites.

    What is interesting to note, however, is that it was Judah's line which was the Christ-line...
     
  4. Helen

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    I didn't proof it. My apologies. In the poem, please read 'heart' and 'things'... [​IMG]
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

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    Good evening all!

    I'll just add a few notes onto what the other posters have said. I'm glad you made it in last night Helen. Knowing the scientific mindset you have and the cold weather you were griping about, I was afraid you may have tried conducting the old "tongue on the flagpole" experiment! [​IMG]

    I'll pick up on vision of Peter. We will find a theme that runs through Peter's character in that he really wrestles with the concept of eating food that he had learned as a Jew not to eat. Dietary laws were, and still are for the Jews, VERY intricate. It was hard for Peter to overcome his upbringing. His character in the Gospels is that of a very headstrong man.
    By the way, we read the very first dietary law in Genesis the other night relating to Jacob's hip (that is, if we don't count the Tree of Knowledge as a dietary law). I'm just glad to be a gentile so I can eat whatever we happen to run over, ...er, across on the way home!

    I concur with Helen.This was a strange pairing of chapters in Genesis today. As for chapter 37...
    Notice how often dreams are used as a means for Divine communication. This will figure prominently in Joseph's story. This will also be the device with which the angels communicate with Joseph at the conception of Christ. Another theme is that once again the firstborn is not the father's favorite. My notes cite Rueben's demise was rooted in chapter 35, verse 22 when he went in and slept with Bilhah, his father's concubine. Whatever the reason, Reuben was a fairly ineffective leader, despite his status of age. There are other themes that I have picked up on, but I will stop there.
    So, what do you all think? Was Joseph a braggart and a little snotty when he told his family about his dreams, or was it the cavalier attitude of youth?
    Chapter 38:
    I try to find similarities in the Biblical characters to myself. This chapter shows how DIFFERENT these times were. The attempts to impregnate Tamar, the scarlet thread on the wrist of Zerah, and the acceptance of "temple" prostitutes are very alien to me.

    As for Matthew, I think the first 5 verses are dealing with our fellow man. I think we can all find specks in each other's eyes. I'm not certain that any of us would ever get to a point of judging. However, a person can certainly show himself to be unworthy, as is stated in verse 6. It's a conundrum of values and requires asking, seeking and knocking on a constant basis. Remember, even in verse 11, we are called evil by the Messiah Himself. Do be careful on that judging stuff!

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

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