Miracles Aren’t Enough (Matthew 11:20)
Surprisingly, observing supernatural miracles didn’t typically lead people to repent and follow Jesus’ teaching. Throughout his ministry, Jesus showed annoyance with crowds who flocked to see a popular leader do something supernatural. He wanted from the spectators not applause, but commitment. Gradually, he relied more and more on parables, which he explained to his disciples in private (13:11–17).
Taken from NIV Student Bible
You Were Made for God
For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. (1 Samuel 12:22)
The name of God often refers to his reputation, his fame, his renown. This is the way we use the word name when we say someone is making a name for himself. Or we sometimes say, that’s a “name” brand. We mean a brand with a big reputation. This is what I think Samuel means in 1 Samuel 12:22 when he says that God made Israel a people “for himself” and that he would not cast Israel off “for his great name’s sake.”
This way of thinking about God’s zeal for his name is confirmed in many other passages.
For example, in Jeremiah 13:11 God describes Israel as a waistcloth, or belt, God chose to highlight his glory, but which turned out to be temporarily unusable. “For as the waistcloth clings to the loins of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.” Why was Israel chosen and made the garment of God? That it might be a “name, a praise, and a glory.”
The words praise and glory in this context tell us that name means “fame” or “renown” or “reputation.” God chose Israel so that the people would make a reputation for him.
God says in Isaiah 43:21 that Israel is “the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” And when the church came to see itself in the New Testament as the true Israel, Peter described God’s purpose for us like this: “You are a chosen race . . . that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
In other words, Israel and the church are chosen by God to make a name for him in the world.
After they settle in different regions, Abram rescues Lot when he is captured during an attack on the city of Sodom.
When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he mobilized the 318 trained men who had been born into his household. Then he pursued Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan. There he divided his men and attacked during the night. Kedorlaomer’s army fled, but Abram chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. Abram recovered all the goods that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives.
Lot’s greedy desire for the best of everything led him into sinful surroundings. His burning desire for possessions and success cost him his freedom and enjoyment of life. As a captive of Kedorlaomer, he faced torture, slavery, and possibly death. In much the same way, we can be enticed into doing things or going places we shouldn’t. The prosperity we long for is captivating; it can both entice us and enslave us if our motives are not in line with God’s desires.
When Abram learned that Lot was a captive, he immediately tried to rescue his nephew. A much easier and safer route would have been to not become involved. Abram could have just dismissed Lot with, “That’s what he gets for being so selfish.” But with Lot in serious trouble, Abram acted at once.
These incidents portray three of Abram’s characteristics: (1) He loved and cared for his nephew, not allowing Lot’s previous behavior to keep him from acting. (2) He had courage that came from God; facing a powerful foe, he attacked. (3) He was prepared; he had taken time to train his men for a potential conflict. We never know when we will be called upon to complete difficult tasks. Like Abram, we should prepare for those times and take courage from God when they come.
Sometimes we must get involved in a messy or painful situation in order to help others, even those whom we may not like very much or who have hurt us in the past. We should respond immediately when others need our help. Who is God calling you to help today?
K-love Digging Deeper: Stay Connected Through Serving
Loving Without Getting Tired by Joyce Myer
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry…and sustains the fatherless and the widow…
PSALM 146:7-9 (NIV)
God speaks frequently in the Bible of our responsibility to the oppressed, hungry, widows, orphans, fatherless and foreigners. He mentions those who are lonely, neglected, forgotten and devalued. He cares deeply for the oppressed and the hungry.
People can be hungry in many ways. They may have plenty of food to eat but still be starving to feel valuable and loved. God lifts up those who are bowed down with sorrow; He protects the stranger and upholds the fatherless and the widow. How does He do this? He works through people. He needs committed, submitted, dedicated people who live to meet the needs of others.
LET’S LOVE WITHOUT GETTING TIRED
Mother Teresa once said, “Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.” I have come to understand that many people we encounter daily are just trying to survive until someone rescues them—and that someone could be you or me.
Let’s allow God’s love for the hurting and broken to work through us, meeting the needs of those who are hurting spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Let’s love without getting tired.
Prayer Starter: Holy Spirit, empower me to love without getting tired. Give me Your heart for the hurting and the needy and show me how to meet their needs.