Today’s reading: Gen 25:1–34, Matt 18:1–35, Eccles 5:12–20
Today’s theme: Depending on God
Today we learn that we should depend on God in humble obedience and submission to His loving care and plan for our life. Our culture hates the idea of having to depend on anyone because of the exalted status of the individual (individualism), but we are called to full dependence and trust in God in the same way our children depend on us.
Depend on God
And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. Genesis 25:21 (ESV)
We see two very good things here; firstly, the faith and dependence on God displayed by Isaac and secondly, his love, spiritual covering and care for his wife, as a godly husband.
Don’t sell out to the flesh
Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. Genesis 25:33–34 (ESV)
The lesson here is that we should not despise and sell our inheritance and rewards in Christ, to satisfy the cravings of our flesh.
God’s plan and our desires
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. Genesis 25:34 (ESV)
God’s choice of Jacob over Esau was in God’s preordained plan but was also in line with the desires of the two brothers; one seeking the birthright whilst the other did not value it. There is no injustice in God’s plans, He is wise beyond our comprehension.
Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4 (ESV)
Genuine humility in both attitude and service, is the pathway to greatness in God’s kingdom. We should all want to be great in Gods eyes (humble, faithful servants).
Hell is eternal
And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. Matthew 18:8 (ESV)
Contrary to the teaching of Jehovah Witnesses and authors like Rob Bell, Jesus clearly taught that hell is eternal.
Be killing sin
And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire. Matthew 18:9 (ESV)
Jesus’ point here is not that we should mutilate our bodies, but He uses this picture to help us understand the extent to which we need to resist sin, kill the desire of the flesh, and pursue holiness. Like John Owen said “be killing sin, or sin be killing you”
God’s little ones
So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. Matthew 18:14 (ESV)
God will not sit passively and allow those He has lovingly elected and who believe in Him, to go astray permanently and perish. This is why God restores those who belong to Him. We should be grateful for God’s care, concern and faithful protection and patience with us, His little ones.
Show mercy and forgiveness
So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:35 (ESV)
We do not earn God’s favour by showing mercy and granting forgiveness, however, if we do not show mercy and forgiveness then we cannot receive it. This is evidence that we are either going astray or we were never truly converted. We should pursue this “command” to show mercy and forgiveness every day.
This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind? Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger. Ecclesiastes 5:16–17 (ESV)
We should seek to leave a legacy for our children in this life but most importantly we should build true treasure in heaven.
Joy in God
For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart. Ecclesiastes 5:20 (ESV)
Thankfully we now know that the things of this world are not our entire lot, there is also eternal life in heaven. We should enjoy with hearts filled with gratefulness and joy, all that God has given to us in this life. We should find great pleasure in God, He should be our most precious treasure and we should have a richer sense of His blessings all around us and glorify Him for it all.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014