OT: Ex. 15: 19-17:17
I think it's easy to shake our heads at the Israelites' grumbling and think, "Oh, how quickly they forget!" But to their defense, they didn't have water for three days. And at other times, they were out of food. I mean, I really like water, and I get a bit cranky if I miss a meal! I find their relationship with God to be interesting. You know, these people had been in slavery for 430 years. They were not open to Moses at first. They didn't seem to have a lot of hope in his intervention. I get the feeling that, as a people, they were pretty distant from God. And so, even after they see His amazing power, they still don't feel comfortable crying out to Him themselves. Maybe the people think, "Apparently, God only listens to Moses, because He sure didn't listen to us that whole time we were in Egypt." Regardless, they grumble and get mad at Moses whenever they are starving or dying of thirst. And to their defense, I can kind of understand that, too. After all, Moses, have you not noticed that we are quite literally dying here? At what point do you think you might want to ask God for some food or water? Why let it get so desperate?
Of course, to me, it seems like God is working with them, testing them, building up their reliance on Him. Yes, they saw some fancy sights back in Egypt and the Red Sea. They are still light years away, however, from any kind of relationship with God, from any kind of real, unfailing trust in God. It takes more than one good show for God's goodness to be settled in a human heart. It takes continual sustenance. And God provides them that in the desert. He repeatedly gives them water. He gives them quail and manna (literally, "What's it?" Gotta love the Israelites:). I imagine them saying, "Have you picked up that "what's it" this morning?" "This "what's it" is pretty good stuff." They make me laugh.) What is interesting to me is that God always immediately grants their requests and usually in pretty cool ways. It is like He is just waiting for them to ask Him.
NT: Matt. 22: 1-33
Just the other day, Greg and I were talking about this parable. We had never really understood the part about the dinner guest who is not wearing wedding clothes and who gets kicked out. I guess my knee jerk, 4th grade level interpretation has always wondered, "What does it matter what the guy is wearing? Does this mean men should wear ties to church?"
The other day, though, I had the woman caught in adultery on my mind. I have grown to love that Jesus tells her, "Go and sin no more." He is so gracious to her, and yet, at the end, He's still like, "Oh, yeah, one more thing: Stop sleeping around." The statement underscores the fact that God is SO gracious...but He still has standards, for goodness sake! Just because you are graciously invited to His wedding banquet doesn't mean you can come strollin' in, wearing whatever you want! It is a celebration for His son! Show some respect, people:)!
To me, this parable demonstrates the relationship between God's grace and our actions. The fact that we are invited to the feast shows that His grace has been lavished on us. We are, in turn, called to act the part of a person invited by God to fellowship with Him. Like I said, God has standards.
There is also a possible clue into the idea of predestination, when Jesus says, "For many are invited, but few are chosen." Verses like John 3:16 seem to make it clear that Jesus came to save the whole world. The whole world is, thus, invited to God's banquet. We are chosen, however, based on our response to that invitation. And that response is our choice. (Wow, did I just explain predestination in four sentences? Ha--probably not:)!)
Jesus then gives more ingenious responses to the Pharisees and the Sadducees, respectively. I especially love the brilliance of his statement, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's" (21). That idea is especially pertinent to me since I have to work on tax prep stuff today!
Psalm 27: 1-6
David seems to be in a good place here. I am trying to figure out if he is in actual danger, or if he is just reflecting on how God would save him if he were in danger. Based on past psalms, I think this is a time of reflection. If David were in danger, history shows that he would be freaking out right now.
My favorite part of this psalm is David's "one" request of God: "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life" (4). I pray that all the time for my children (and myself). Like David, I figure that that is an all-encompassing request.
Proverbs 6: 20-26
I really can't hear these types of verses enough. I always love the imagery of binding teachings on our heart and fastening them around your neck. And I love the images of the teachings guiding you while you walk and watching over you while you sleep. You really get the picture here that Solomon is in love with wisdom. He speaks of it so beautifully.
There is more Christ-like imagery, where one's parents' teachings are described as a lamp, a light, a way...to life. Perhaps John was really influenced by Proverbs:). It is his gospel that really capitalizes on these type of images that you see so often in Proverbs.