Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February 2

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.


  1. Good points today too. :)

    I wonder about the Israelites spontaneously breaking out into song. Were they just so overcome by what God had done that they couldn't help themselves and the words and music just tumbled out of their mouths (and, if so, did it sound very melodious, or was it more like babbling that little kids do sometimes)? Or, did they have time to carefully craft the songs so that they rhymed and had pleasant melodies? Did they have folk melodies already in their culture that they just put words to? I really wish I knew. (As a music person and someone who attempts to write songs, this is very interesting to me.)

    I was also confused about the wedding guest with the wrong clothes, but your explanation makes sense. Taking it a step further, I think even within God's standard is some latitude. If you think of a modern wedding, everyone dresses up, but they are not expected to wear uniforms (though I guess the wedding party does... hmmm...). If someone showed up to a wedding wearing a track suit, they would obviously stand out in a negative way, but there isn't any kind of a rule that says specifically "no track suits." That would just fall under the general guidelines of what to wear (or NOT to wear) to a wedding. The point, like you already said, is to show respect, but that may come in different forms for different people.

    This morning I could tell that some of the Word of God had been stamped in my brain. I really didn't want to get out of bed, but I kept thinking, "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest..." ("Aw man!")

  2. That is definitely one of the most annoying verses of Scripture to me. It pops into my head at the most inopportune times, like the times when I am contemplating a nap while my house is a disaster and my to-do list is a mile long. There is nothing wrong with naps, in and of themselves, but there are times when I need to DENY myself. It is usually those times when that verse comes into play:).

  3. Does it really have to mean clothing? B/c I wondered if people claim Christ and attend church services but outside of the building you would never ever ever guess that they belong to Him. It may just be referring to the heart of people...but then again maybe it's clothes.

  4. Mom,

    I don't think it means clothes at all. I consider the "standards" I mentioned to be more of a set of behaviors. It's by those behaviors that you can tell that someone is a guest at God's banquet. Yes, the heart is the most important, but our actions and our behaviors are a reflection of our heart and our fear of God.