Reflection (1 Timothy 6:11–19)
- King Zedekiah secretly met with Jeremiah to get a clear word from the prophet concerning the imminent invasion by the Babylonians. When Jeremiah urged him to surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, he told the king that his life would be spared and Jerusalem would not be destroyed.
- Sadly, Zedekiah refused to heed Jeremiah’s counsel because he was more afraid of being harmed by the Jews who had gone over to the Babylonians than he was of disobeying the prophetic words of God.
- The quest for wealth can kill contentment and turn people’s hearts away from the Lord. True wealth is found in righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
- If God has given us much, we must be generous and willing to share with those in need.
Taken from Once a Day Morning & Evening
Don’t Serve God
The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show his might in behalf of those whose heart is blameless toward him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)
What is God looking for in the world? Assistants? No. The gospel is not a “help wanted” ad. Neither is the call to Christian service.
God is not looking for people to work for him. “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show his might in behalf of those whose heart is blameless toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
What does God want from us? Not what we might expect. He rebukes Israel for bringing him so many sacrifices: “I will accept no bull from your house. . . . For every beast of the forest is mine. . . . If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world and all that is in it is mine” (Psalm 50:9–12).
But isn’t there something we can give to God that won’t belittle him to the status of beneficiary?
Yes. Our anxieties.
It’s a command: “Cast all your anxieties on him” (1 Peter 5:7). God will gladly receive anything from us that shows our dependence and his all-sufficiency.
Christianity is fundamentally convalescence. Patients do not serve their physicians. They trust them for good prescriptions. The Sermon on the Mount is our Doctor’s medical advice, not our Employer’s job description.
Our very lives hang on not working for God. “To one who works, his wages are not reckoned as a gift but as his due. And to one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness” (Romans 4:4–5).
Workmen get no gifts. They get their due. If we would have the gift of justification, we dare not work. God is the workman in this affair. And what he gets is the glory of being the benefactor of grace, not the beneficiary of service.
Isaac has grown old, and the time comes for him to bless his son Esau—but Rebekah has something else in mind.
A Hairy Plot
“Now, my son, listen to me. Do exactly as I tell you. Go out to the flocks, and bring me two fine young goats. I’ll use them to prepare your father’s favorite dish. Then take the food to your father so he can eat it and bless you before he dies.”
“But look,” Jacob replied to Rebekah, “my brother, Esau, is a hairy man, and my skin is smooth. What if my father touches me? He’ll see that I’m trying to trick him, and then he’ll curse me instead of blessing me.”
But his mother replied, “Then let the curse fall on me, my son! Just do what I tell you. Go out and get the goats for me!”
When Rebekah learned that Isaac was preparing to bless Esau, she planned to trick him into blessing Jacob instead. Even though God had promised her that Jacob would become the family leader (Genesis 25:23), Rebekah took matters into her own hands. She resorted to doing something wrong to bring about what God had already said would happen. For Rebekah, the end justified the means.
How we react to a moral dilemma often exposes our real character. Frequently we are more worried about getting caught than about doing what is right. Jacob hesitated when he heard Rebekah’s plan—not because it was deceitful but because he was afraid of getting caught.
Although Jacob questioned Rebekah’s plan for the wrong reason, his protest gave Rebekah one last chance to reconsider. But Rebekah had become so wrapped up in her plan that she no longer saw clearly what she was doing. Sin had trapped her and was degrading her character.
If you are worried about getting caught, that’s a good sign that you are probably being less than honest. Let your fear be a warning to do right. Backing out in the middle of doing wrong may bring hurt and disappointment, but it will also bring freedom from sin’s control. Both Jacob and Rebekah paid a huge price for carrying out their deceitful plan.
No matter how good we think our goals are, we should not attempt to achieve them by doing what is wrong. Would God approve of the methods you are using to accomplish your goals?
Streams in the Desert – May 8
Walking in the midst of the fire (Daniel 3:25).
The fire did not arrest their motion; they walked in the midst of it. It was one of the streets through which they moved to their destiny. The comfort of Christ’s revelation is not that it teaches emancipation from sorrow, but emancipation through sorrow.
O my God, teach me, when the shadows have gathered, that I am only in a tunnel. It is enough for me to know that it will be all right some day.
They tell me that I shall stand upon the peaks of Olivet, the heights of resurrection glory. But I want more, O my Father; I want Calvary to lead up to it. I want to know that the shadows of this world are the shades of an avenue the avenue to the house of my Father. Tell me I am only forced to climb because Thy house is on the hill! I shall receive no hurt from sorrow if I shall walk in the midst of the fire.
‘The road is too rough,’ I said; ‘It is uphill all the way;
No flowers, but thorns instead;
And the skies over head are grey.’
But One took my hand at the entrance dim,
And sweet is the road that I walk with Him.
“The cross is too great,’ I cried–
‘More than the back can bear,
So rough and heavy and wide,
And nobody by to care.’
And One stooped softly and touched my hand:
‘I know. I care. And I understand.’
“Then why do we fret and sigh;
Cross-bearers all we go:
But the road ends by-and-by
In the dearest place we know,
And every step in the journey we
May take in the Lord’s own company.