Today’s reading: Gen 34:1–35:15, Matt 25:14–26:13, Eccles 8:1–9
Today’s theme: Faithful stewardship
We have been called to faithful stewardship with the time, resources, talents and life God has given us. We should actively use all we have in the joyful service of our king and flee the allure of selfish indifference and inaction. We can rejoice in the fact that our reward was prepared for us from the foundation of the world so let’s be encouraged to be faithful to and for God.
The sin of rape
And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humiliated her. Genesis 34:2 (ESV)
In today’s language this (humiliated her) would be called rape. A man forcing himself sexually on a woman is always a sin in every possible context.
Be careful about agreements
Will not their livestock, their property and all their beasts be ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will dwell with us.” Genesis 34:23 (ESV)
Be careful who you enter into agreement with. You are tying yourself to the person and often it is to their benefit and not yours.
Terror from God
And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. And Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him, Genesis 35:5–6 (ESV)
As we purify ourselves for His service and move forward in faith, God will deal with our adversaries and those around us.
God’s self disclosure
And God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body. Genesis 35:11 (ESV)
God reaffirms and reminds Jacob of his promises (concerning the people and the land) on the basis of His self revelation as God Almighty / El Shaddai (the one able to bring His promises to pass because he has all might). One of the major purposes and themes of the Bible is God’s revelation or self disclosure to man.
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Matthew 25:21 (ESV)
We are called to faithful stewardship of the opportunities and abilities given to us by God.
Scholars say one talent was so much money that an average worker would take 19 years to earn it. This possibly points to the value we should put on our time, energy, resources and abilities.
Like the song we should serve Him with everything. It is encouraging to see the account of the reward that the Lord will give to the faithful slaves (slaves were often like family, more than just a hired servant, nothing like the slavery of modern times). This is a more joyful responsibility in The Kingdom. We will not be floating around heaven playing harps, we will have joy filled work to do for the King.
Flee lazy inaction
But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Matthew 25:26 (ESV)
The climax of this parable is with the last slave, the wicked, slothful and lazy one. Although the parable has encouraged us in the positive sense to invest our lives for the sake of the King and His Kingdom, the main point is to warn us against lazy inaction, fearful human reasoning and indifference.
Let’s not be lazy, we need to wake up and be alert while actively, deliberately and violently serving the King with everything (the 1st and greatest commandment).
God’s plan for His sheep
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Matthew 25:34 (ESV)
God’s pre-ordained plan for the sheep (his elect) is so sure that it was prepared from the creation of the world. This should encourage us to press on to obtain the sure prize laid up for us through “living out” our lives as disciples.
The least of these
Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ Matthew 25:45 (ESV)
The way we treat fellow believers, the Jewish people, the poor etc. reveals the truth of who we are in our hearts and points to our relationship (or lack of it) with the Lord.
But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. Matthew 26:10 (ESV)
This extravagant worship and sacrifice for Jesus should characterise all believers and should trump any social outreach we are a part of. The 1st command over and above the 2nd. This is one of the reasons her act is remembered in the Gospel accounts as Jesus prophesied.
Wickedness will not deliver
No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. Ecclesiastes 8:8 (ESV)
A sober reminder and a good point for evangelism.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014