Friday 10 January 2014

TFTD - 10 January 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

10 January 2014

Genesis 19
Psalms 22
Matthew 12


'Big Joke' is a saying you use when you scoff about something that is impossible to believe. This saying came to mind when we read of the reaction of the prospective sons-in-law of Lot when he told them that God was about to destroy the city and they need to get moving fast. It would have been a 'natural' reaction, humanly speaking, but there is a reason why they should have taken him seriously.

There had previously been the remarkable incident involving Lot's uncle, Abraham who, with a band of just 314 men, had surprised and defeated 5 Kings and all their soldiers who had ransacked Sodom and the neighbouring cities and carried off goods and people [Genesis 14:11,12] including Lot.

Abraham had restored to Sodom all its losses. At that time another remarkable thing happened. The King of Salem, Melchizedek had got involved in this; he was not just a King, but is also described as "Priest of God Most High" and speaks of this God as being "Possessor of Heaven and Earth" [Genesis 14:18-19] and Abraham gives him a tenth of everything. Thus Lot, as the nephew of Abraham and who had had such great possessions that he had moved to live separately, he was a man that deserved respect! So the prospect of marrying this man's daughters was quite something.

Today's reading in Genesis 19 also tells us that the depraved men of the city said of Lot "This fellow came to sojourn and he has become the judge" [Genesis 19:9] So the prospective sons-in-law, when told by Lot, "Up, get out of this place, for the LORD is about to destroy this city" should have given more thought than they did, for the text says, "he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting" [Genesis 19:14] In today's language, 'that's a big joke'!

Let's put this in the context of recent Centuries. When the Bible was first translated into English and other languages, it was held in very high esteem. The King gave an order that every church should have a Bible for people to come and read - and they flocked to do so. When Abraham was first told by God that he intended to destroy Sodom he thought there could be 50 righteous people there! [Genesis 18:26] It was natural to think there should be some kind of belief and fear of God.

The situation is so parallel to attitudes today where respect for the message of the Bible and the real meaning of its message has sunk so low. Do we really believe it to such an extent that we would act to save our lives?

Later this month we will read, " … and they will see the Son of man coming … he will send out his angels and they will gather his elect …" [Matthew 24:30,31] Will some 'believers' treat it as a big joke?
- DC

Thought for the Day

10 January 2014

"When much else has been forgotten the fragrance of that room in Simon’s house lingers with us still. Wherever the page of the Gospel is turned with reverent fingers as man contemplates the culminating sacrifice of the Saviour’s dedicated life, Mary appears quietly on the scene, a picture of deep understanding and deeper love. At the very threshold of our Lord’s suffering and death, as we are able to see the magnitude of his love and to realize what we owe to him, we are met by this woman who by a tender act of loving devotion, did what she could. And, meeting her here, we are confronted by the challenge, "What have I done? Have I done what I could?"

- Melva Purkis
A Life of Jesus

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