“The Danger of Small Things” January 17

 

Are there affluenza teens in the Bible?There is a lot in the news lately about the so-called “affuenza teen,” his drunk driving, and the loss of life and devastation that has taken place because of that event. How many other teens (and adults) make the decision to drink and drive every day without giving it much thought, as if it’s no big deal? How many other seemingly small decisions do we all make that can have huge consequences. What does the Bible have to say about those decisions and are there affluenza teens in the Bible?

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 33 & 34
Psalm 9.1-5
Proverbs 3.21-26
Matthew 12.1-21

 

Genesis 33 & Genesis 34:

The danger of small things

Have you ever thought about how “small things” can set the course of our lives, sometimes in ways we never intended.

James, in talking about the tongue, said, it is a small member—a little part of our body, but he went on to say that it’s like the rudder on a ship. It sets the course of our lives (Jas. 3.4-5).

What about other “small things”? What about small decisions, small compromises, small indulgences, small thoughts, “small” sins? How do they affect our lives and the lives of those we love?

In chapter 33 Jacob, now called Israel, continued on toward home after the reunion with his brother Esau after twenty plus years. But on his way, Jacob set up temporary homes first in Succoth and then in Shechem.

Genesis 34 contains a very sad story. Jacob’s daughter Dinah had decided to go into town “to see the daughters of the land.” She ended up being raped, which in turn, lead to the brutal slaughter of all the men in the city of Shechem. Even though Shechem, the young man who raped her, professed his love for and desire to marry her afterwards, it didn’t change what was done.

Dinah, possibly 15 or 16 at the time, appears to be Jacob’s only daughter. Was she the apple of everyone’s eye, especially her mother’s? While it is possible she left the camp without her father knowing, it is unlikely she did so without her mother’s knowledge.

The text says she wanted to see the daughters of the land. Maybe to see what was in fashion, how they dressed, how they wore their hair. Maybe she didn’t just go “to see,” but to be seen. How did she end up unsupervised in a pagan city? Was she spoiled?Did her parents have trouble saying “no”?  Continue reading

“Biology or Sin?” January 16

 

Gentlemen, excuse me for a minute while I talk to the ladies. Ladies, have you been guilty of using biology as an excuse to disobey the second greatest commandment, to love your neighbor as you love yourself?

Rachel had stolen from her father and when he came looking for his property, she used the fact that it was “that time of the month” to cover her sin! Is it possible we do much the same thing in various ways?

Also, what was Jacob’s wrestling with God all about? Did Jacob “win” that wrestling match, why did he go away with a permanent limp, and what does it all mean? Why does God allow us to wrestle with Him in prayer sometimes?

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 31 & 32
Psalm 8.6-9
Proverbs 3.19-20
Matthew 11.1-30

 

Biology or Sin?

 

Genesis 31 & Genesis 32:

Traditions & Unburned Bridges

 

Today we’ll talk about Jacob and his divine wrestling match, but first, I want to comment on a couple of other passages.

Jacob has decided to take his two wives and his children and head home.

In 31.16-20 and 31.35 we see these two sisters, Jacob’s wives, express belief in God, “… whatever God has said to you, do it.”

The next thing we know Rachel has stolen her father’s household gods before they head off (31.19)!

It seems so ridiculous that once she knew the truth she could think there was any power in something made by man’s hands! And yet, don’t we come up with our own man made solutions instead of waiting on and trusting God?

Maybe, she “kind of believed.” How else could she explain how Jacob prospered in spite Laban’s schemes?

Maybe she found it hard to leave behind her family “traditions”? Remember many of the pagan people believed in many gods, not just one. Maybe she didn’t want to “burn any bridges” with those other “gods.”

Again, what about us? Do we say we trust God on the one hand, but “not burn our bridges” on the other? What are you hanging on to “just in case”?

 

The Manner of Women

 

And this one’s for us, ladies:

Jacob had left without telling Laban. Now Laban returns home and finds Jacob and his daughters gone, along with his household god.  Continue reading

“Marriage: Made in Heaven?” + LINKUP

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. If you’re new here, either to the LINKUP or you’ve come for the new series on marriage, I look forward to learning together and growing in the ability to be the husband or wife God has called us to be and to have the kind of marriages that bring glory to Him. And if you’re single, I pray you’ll take away truths that will help you in any future marriage or help you minister to others who are married.

 

“Marriage Made in Heaven?”

 

We’ve all heard the phrase “a marriage made in heaven,” but it may bring to mind different thoughts and images. Perhaps, in your case, it’s of your parents’ marriage and whether it was a good one or a contentious one. Perhaps, it’s your own marriage and of the thoughts, dreams, commitments, even preconceptions, you had when you married. Perhaps, it’s the thing to which you look forward or the one over which you’ve become discouraged. Wherever you are, I believe this series will have something for you. So, whether you’re single or you’ve been married 50+ years, I hope you’ll tune in each week for this study, “A Marriage Made in Heaven?”

 

Was Marriage “Made” in Heaven?

 

Where did we get the institution of marriage? Did it start in one particular civilization? Is it the creation of government or prehistoric social engineers?

We have to go back to the beginning, to the book of Genesis to find that answer.

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

God said it was not good that man should be alone and He knew that nothing else in creation could take the place of two human beings in a relationship like the one shared within the Trinity itself.

So, He created a woman that was taken out of man. Then He called them to a “one flesh” relationship. He made two from one and then called the man and the woman to have a relationship that makes them one again.

Marriage was “made in heaven” or perhaps, more accurately, in the heart of God. But many marriages, even Christian marriages, fall far short of God’s design.  Continue reading

“Reality … Before ‘Reality TV'” January 15

 

Reality ... Before "Reality TV" - I would be the first to admit that reality TV is, well, ... real! But when we read some of the stories in the Bible, we've got to admit that nothing much has changed when it comes to human nature. If we were watching a dramatized version of today's reading what might it sound like? Check out today's post to see. But God didn't include these stories just for entertainment value. They are for our benefit, so we might be encouraged and have hope to persevere when things are difficult or seem unfair or we don't understand the why's.I would be the first to admit that reality TV is, well, … real!

But when we read some of the stories in the Bible, we’ve got to admit that nothing much has changed when it comes to human nature. If we were watching a dramatized version of today’s reading what might it sound like? Check out today’s post to see.

But God didn’t include these stories just for entertainment value. They are for our benefit, so we might be encouraged and have hope to persevere when things are difficult or seem unfair or we don’t understand the why’s.

How might God be using the things we least want to remember about our past or we least want to embrace in our present circumstances in the most miraculous ways? It might be our family, how we’ve been sinned against, or something we did or didn’t do.

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 29 & 30
Psalm 8.1-5
Proverbs 3.13-18
Matthew 10.21-42

 

Reality … Before “Reality TV”

 

Genesis 29 & 30:

Love, Deceit, & God’s Plans

 

The Bible is full of stories about love, sex, rejection, envy, jealousy, fidelity, adultery, immorality, scheming, deceit, greed, thievery, contention, even murder (and that’s the short list)!

Reality TV has nothing on our spiritual ancestors, or us, for that matter!

If it wasn’t for the love and mercy and patience of God, He might have given up on the human race a long time ago. Instead, He has carefully carried out the plan He has had since before the beginning of time—to send His Son to rescue us from ourselves.

 

Leah, Rachel & Their Manipulative, Deceitful Father

 

In chapter 29 Jacob has been working for his Uncle Laban for seven years for the right to marry his daughter, Rachel. But Rachel has an older sister, Leah, who is still unmarried.

Imagine for a minute that you are Leah. Apparently, she wasn’t considered beautiful in that culture. Verse 17 says her eyes were “delicate.” The NASB says they were weak.

“And Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face.”

The word translated “delicate” or “weak” probably meant pale and may have been considered a blemish. But the comparison to Rachel says it all, “… but Rachel was beautiful of form and face.”

The desire to look beautiful is nothing new. Even the serving women in Moses day had bronze mirrors (Ex. 38.8). Leah probably felt the sting of comparison and the desire to have someone love her like Jacob loved her sister.

I wonder how she felt as Rachel’s wedding date neared, being the older sister and still unmarried. Now imagine: the wedding party is going on, the wine is flowing, people are singing and dancing.

And her father comes to her with a plan.

22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place and made a feast. 23 Now it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter and brought her to Jacob; and he went in to her (29.22-23).

As we’ll see in the next few verses, Jacob didn’t have a clue who was waiting in the marriage bed.

Imagine how that conversation between Leah and her father might have gone: Continue reading

“Consequences of Favoritism & Deception” January 14

 

Consequences of Favoritism & Deception - Job said that no plan or purpose of God's can be thwarted (Job. 42.2), but He often has to allow the consequences of our sin and self-effort to take effect before we're ready to be used or to receive the blessing without messing it up. Jacob and Rebekah, it seems, had to learn this lesson the hard way. All this should be both a warning and a great encouragement to us: a warning of the consequences of deception, controlling behavior, and selfishness and an encouragement that God can and will use us, in spite of our past mistakes, if we will repent and turn to Him.Job said that no plan or purpose of God’s can be thwarted (Job. 42.2), but He often has to allow the consequences of our sin and self-effort to take effect before we’re ready to be used or to receive the blessing without messing it up. Jacob and Rebekah, it seems, had to learn this lesson the hard way.

All this should be both a warning and a great encouragement to us: a warning of the consequences of deception, controlling behavior, and selfishness and an encouragement that God can and will use us, in spite of our past mistakes, if we will repent and turn to Him.

Also read about the difference between “Righteous Anger & Sinful Anger,” “The Chastening of the Lord,” and the importance of “Defending the Faith in Love.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 27 & 28
Psalm 7.9-17
Proverbs 3.11-12
Matthew 10.1-20

 

The Consequences of Favoritism & Deception

 

Genesis 27 & Genesis 28:

Consequences & God’s Sovereignty

 

Isaac was now 137 years old, blind, and facing his own mortality. Perhaps he was sick since both Jacob and Esau expected him to die soon (27.41). As the story continues we will see that he actually lives forty-three years longer. By the way, Jacob and Esau were not exactly kids either. They were 77 years old!

Isaac planned to give a final blessing to Esau, his favored son, in opposition to God’s declared will (Gen. 25.23). But first he asked him to bring him a meal of fresh game. Instead, Rebekah convinced Jacob, her favorite, to deceive his father into pronouncing the blessing over him.

When the scandal of Jacob’s deception was revealed, it says, “Isaac trembled exceedingly,” perhaps over what Jacob had done or perhaps at the realization that he had favored his rebellious son in spite of what God had revealed to Rebekah before the twins were born.

Esau was already living up to God’s prophecy. He had married two Hittite women, clearly in violation of Abraham’s guidelines (Gen. 24.3). Rebekah and Isaac must have understood all this because 26.35 says his wives were “a grief of mind” to his parents.

And don’t forget the selfish, “I-want-what-I-want-and-I-want-it-now” attitude that had already cost Esau his birthright as the elder son.

Though Jacob’s behavior was completely wrong (and the fact that his mother suggested it, was no excuse), God, in His sovereignty, used it to bring about His desired result—not because of their sinful behavior, but again, in spite of it.

And Rebekah! Wouldn’t you just love to have a mother who gives this kind of advice! Continue reading

“Favoritism, Impatience & Birthrights” January 13

 

Favoritism, Impatience & Birthrights - Isaac’s and Rebekah’s twins, Jacob and Esau, are grown now. Isaac’s favorite is Esau, a hunter and man’s man. Jacob, it seems, was a mama’s boy and homebody. Their favoritism led to manipulation and deceit that would, eventually, split their family apart.

In today’s reading the first cracks appear as Jacob manipulates his impatient, impulsive brother. In the process, Esau throws aside his birthright. His behavior has a great lesson for us as believers in Christ.

Also, read about “God Our Righteous Judge,” the blessings that come from “Honoring the Lord in Our Giving,” and about spiritual and physical healing in “Unless the Father Draws Him.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 25 & 26
Psalm 7.6-8
Proverbs 3.9-10
Matthew 9.18-38

 

Favoritism, Impatience & Birthrights

 

Genesis 25 & Genesis 26:

The Death of Abraham

 

In these two chapters we see Abraham’s remarriage to Keturah after Sarah’s death and the record of other children. We also see Isaac and Ishmael reunited by Abraham’s death. It appears that their love for their father was greater than any differences they might have had.

We also see the confirmation of God’s promise to make Ishmael the father of twelve princes. Ishmael and his twelve sons were the forefathers of many of the Arab peoples. Ishmael plays an important part in Muslim tradition, where he is considered a prophet. While there are differences of opinion about Keturah’s identity, her sons were probably the forefathers of other Arab tribes.

 

Parental Favoritism

 

In Genesis 25.19 Isaac and his family take center stage in the Genesis narrative. We see God using barrenness again to work His purposes. After twenty years Isaac prays for God to open Rebekah’s womb and God answers with the conception of twins. When the pregnancy is difficult, Rebekah prays and asks God why. He answers:

Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger” (25.23).

As the sons grow up they are very different. Esau is a hunter and outdoors-man while Jacob is a homebody. And sadly, Isaac and Rebekah each have a favorite (25.28). Even though, God will use all of this for His divine purposes, we can see from their story some of the problems favoritism causes.

Tomorrow we’ll read more about the consequences of favoritism. If there are similar issues in your family I would encourage you to study these passages carefully and prayerfully, seeking Gods help and wisdom.

But favoritism wasn’t the only family issue.

While Ezekiel 18.20 tells us that each person is responsible for his or her own behavior, we also see in Scripture that children learn from their parents. And in chapter 26.7 Isaac tells Abimelech’s men that his wife is his sister, just like his father Abraham did. So while we’re not responsible for their choices, we are responsible for the example we set.

 

Selfishness, Impatience & Birthrights

 

But for now let’s look at chapter 25.29-34,

29 Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom.

31 But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.”

32 And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?”

33 Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.”

So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

The writer of Hebrews had this to say about Esau:

12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.

14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears (Heb. 12.12-17).

I don’t know about you, but, on the surface, that sounds pretty harsh to me. What was it that Esau did? Or does it go deeper, to who he was?  Continue reading

“Are you hiding who you are?” January 12

 

Are you hiding who you are? - In today's reading, one young woman traveled hundreds of miles on camel back to meet her future husband. He must have been waiting expectantly to see her, but as they approached, she covered herself with a veil. Today, if we wear veils at all, it's part of a traditional wedding outfit or a fashion statement, but that doesn't mean we aren't still hiding who we really are. It may be in a dating relationship or a social situation or in the business world.What if, as a young woman, someone showed up and said, “God wants you to go to another country to marry a man you’ve never met—and by the way—he’s your long lost cousin!”

In Biblical times, people didn’t just meet, date, fall in love, and decide to get married. Even if there was “love at first sight,” marriage still had to be arranged with parents or guardians.

In today’s reading, one young woman traveled hundreds of miles on camel back to meet her future husband. He must have been waiting expectantly to see her, but as they approached, she covered herself with a veil.

Today, if we wear veils at all, it’s part of a traditional wedding outfit or a fashion statement, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t still hiding who we really are. It may be in a dating relationship or a social situation or in the business world.

Also, read about how God can keep us “Safe in Persecution,” and how He wants us to “Depart from Evil,” and to “Walk in the Light.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 23 & 24
Psalm 7.1-5
Proverbs 3.7-8
Matthew 9.1-17

 

Are you hiding who you are?

 

Genesis 23 & Genesis 24:

Hiding Who We Are

 

Sometimes as we read about the unusual customs in the Bible, it’s difficult to see the connection to us in our time. Like, “Put you hand under my thigh …” (in v. 24 as a way of swearing an oath)—aren’t you glad men shake hands these days! And what if, as a young woman, someone showed up and said, “God wants you to go to another country to marry a man you’ve never met—and by the way—he’s your long lost cousin!”

Many marriages were arranged in Biblical times. People didn’t just meet, date, fall in love, decide to get married, and live happily ever after. Even if they did “fall in love” which seems to happen with Jacob and Rachel a few chapters from now, things still had to be arranged with the potential bride’s family. In Jacob’s case that arrangement took fourteen years.

And what about Isaac? He’s a grown man by now, yet his father sent his servant to find him a bride. And it wasn’t that he fell instantly in love when he saw her, as if God was some supernatural cupid. When Rebekah realized it was Isaac coming to meet her, Continue reading

“What’s your Isaac?” January 11

 

What's your Isaac? Is there something you've been holding too closely, something God is asking you to put on the altar? A grudge, a relationship, a career, a lifestyle, even a child that you haven't fully given to God?What’s your Isaac? Is there something you’ve been holding too closely, something God is asking you to put on the altar? A grudge, a relationship, a career, a lifestyle, even a child that you haven’t fully given to God? What blessings are you missing, as a result?

Also, read “From Tears to Trust” and “Lean Not on Your Own Understanding.” And in “Exposed Hearts” from Matthew 8, Jesus delivered two demon-possessed men from the power of Satan. But the people of the region were more concerned about their herd of pigs than what Jesus was doing.

Are there any “pigs” in your life that occupy more of your concern and attention than the work of God?

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 21 & 22
Psalm 6.6-10
Proverbs 3.5-6
Matthew 8.18-34

 

What’s your Isaac?

 

Genesis 21 & 22:

His Trustworthiness When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

 

As I read and meditate on these two chapters, they can be challenging to fully understand. While the truths of God are, on the one hand, so simple a child can understand, parts are so profound that we can spend a lifetime trying to fully understand.

15 And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— 16 speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction (2 Pet. 3.15-16 NLT).

As mothers and fathers and sons and daughters it’s difficult to understand the sending away of one child (21.8-14) and the offering up of another (22.1-14). But I couldn’t help but rejoice as I thought about our Proverbs reading today:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path” (3.5-6).

When we don’t fully understand all the “whys and wherefores” of Scripture, we can always rely on His trustworthiness (“Trusting God in Suffering”). That doesn’t mean we should seek to glean all that we can from God’s Word.

First, Ishmael—Ishmael was fourteen years older than Isaac and Isaac was probably about three years old when he was weaned (no sippy cups back then). Imagine this seventeen-year-old mocking a three-year-old.

Proverbs 20.11 says, “Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right.”

But, God’s mercy was still at work here. God had not forgotten His promise to Hagar to protect Ishmael and to make a great nation of him. But it’s in the “sending out,” the consequences of our sin, that we are often brought to the end of ourselves and begin to look to God.

This is true in the lives of our children, too. Yet we are so prone to try to protect them from the natural consequences of their actions.  Continue reading

“When It’s Time to Go” January 10

 

When It's Time to Go - While we're not of this world, we are to live in it. But there are times when we may need to remove ourselves and our families from certain environments, whether that is a workplace, a school system, a circle of friends, or a city. Let's pray for God's wisdom and grace to know how can we stay strong enough in the Lord to be salt & light, yet discerning enough to know when it's time to go. And what about in a marriage? Is there ever a time to go?While we’re not of this world, we are to live in it. But there are times when we may need to remove ourselves and our families from certain environments, whether that is a workplace, a school system, a circle of friends, or a city. Let’s pray for God’s wisdom and grace to know how to stay strong enough in the Lord to be salt and light, yet discerning enough to know when it’s time to go. And what about in a marriage? Is there ever a time to go?

Also, read about God’s view of authority in “Respect for Authority = Great Faith,” His “Mercy in Our Weakness,” and the importance of allowing God’s Word to control our inner attitudes, as well as, our outward actions in “Mercy & Truth Inside & Out.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 19 & 20
Psalm 6.1-5
Proverbs 3.1-4
Matthew 8.1-17

 

When It’s Time to Go

 

Genesis 19 & 20:

Justify, Justify, Justify …

 

As I read and meditated on this portion of Scripture, I was reminded of Romans 15.4 which says:

“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

I love the book of Genesis, because it does instruct us, but it often does so by allowing us to see truth through the lives of very real people.

Here in Chapter 19 we see through the lives of Lot and his family how easy it is, even though we may be believers, to compromise and “live” in places and situations where we shouldn’t. 2 Peter 2.7 calls Lot “righteous.” That doesn’t mean everything he did was righteous. He was righteous by faith—faith in the One True God—just as we are made righteous by faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross.

Yet he chose to live in a city so wicked that God destroyed it!

He had apparently tried to do some good there. When the men of the city came to, basically, gang rape the angels, thinking they were travelers, they said: Continue reading

“Scary Words: ‘I never knew you'” January 9

 

Scary Words, "I never knew you" - Jesus gave a pretty serious warning in Matthew 7 when He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven ..." Are there people, sitting in church every Sunday, who believe they are headed for heaven when they're really in danger of hearing those words, "I never knew you, depart from me ..."? Read today's post to see what won't save us. Don't let pride or fear of what people might think keep you from seeking answers if you think that could be you!Jesus gave a pretty serious warning in Matthew 7 when He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven …” There are people, sitting in church every Sunday, who believe they are headed for heaven when they’re really in danger of hearing those words, “I never knew you, depart from me …”

Read today’s post to see what won’t save us. Don’t let pride or fear of what people might think keep you from seeking answers if you think that could be you!

Also, read about the importance of removing the logs from our own eyes before we can be any help to others in “Judging Hearts & Log Removal,” what it really means to live “Life on the Rock,” about “God’s Favor,” “Our Higher Standard,” and from our Old Testament reading, “Why did Sarah laugh at the promise of God?”

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 17 & 18
Psalm 5.8-12
Proverbs 2.10-22
Matthew 7.1-29

 

Scary Words: “I never knew you”

 

Matthew 7.1-29:

Judging Hearts & Log Removal

 

logs

Verses 1-5 remind us of the dangers of judging the hearts and motives of others (although we are to judge sin and even, at times, to lovingly rebuke one another, more about that in a later commentary).

Verse 5 points out that we must first judge ourselves! We are to see the sins of others as specks in comparison to ours. Our sins are the “logs” or “planks” that keep us from seeing clearly!

 

I never knew you!

 

Verses 21-23 should serve as a serious warning to us:

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'”

This passage should remind us that there are many people sitting in churches who think they are right with God, but who Jesus says are in danger of hearing, “I never knew you!”

Believing in God, coming to church, reading your Bible, teaching in church, serving in ministry, taking sacraments, doing good works, prophesying (God spoke through pagans and even a donkey once so this is not a test of spirituality), casting out demons, and doing wonders cannot save you!  Continue reading