Spiritual Rants: January 17, Daily Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Genesis 35:1-36:43 Matthew 12:1-21 Psalm 15:1-5 Proverbs 3:21-26

Old Testament:   Genesis 35:1-36:43

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Genesis 35:1-36:43  ‘Is Real Name

Summary:   Jacob is told by God to move to Bethel aka “house of God.”  Yahweh reminds Jacob that his new name is “Israel” which means “prevails with God.”  He will be the source of a great nation.

Rachel dies giving birth to her Jacob’s final and twelfth son, Benjamin.  Benjamin means, “son of my right hand.”  Isaac dies at age 180.

Jacob’s twelve sons are listed and Esau’s descendants are named.  Jacob and Esau because they had both become so prosperous that Esau had to move to Canaan.

In Chapter 35, Jacob is told by God to move to Bethel which means, “house of God” (v. 1).  Jacob told his family to put away all their idols (v. 2).  Jacob is reminded that his name is now “Israel” which means “prevails with God.”  He is told he will be the source of a great nation (vv. 9-12).

Rachel dies giving birth to her Jacob’s final and twelfth son, Benjamin.  Benjamin means, “son of my right hand” (vv. 16-18).

Reuben, Jacob’s first born, had “relations” with Jacob’s concubine, Bilhah, and all of the rest of the family heard about it (v. 22a, b).  He forfeited his inheritance (cf. Gen. 49:3-4).

Isaac dies at age 180 (v. 28).

Jacob’s twelve sons and their mothers are enumerated (vv. 22c-26).

In Chapter 36, Esau’s descendants are named including kings in the land before the nation of Israel had kings (vv. 1-30; 31-42).

There wasn’t enough land to support both Jacob and Esau because they had both become so prosperous so Esau moved to Canaan (vv. 7-8).  Seir is also known as Edom (v. 8).  The area of Edom is southern Israel but leaks a little east and west into modern-day Jordan and Egypt.

Edom and Esau are the same thing, just as Sier and Edom at the same thing, so whenever you read Edom, you can think of Esau (v.1, 8).  Esau means “red” (cf. Gen. 25:30) and Edom also means “red.”

New Testament:  Matthew 12:1-21

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The religious leaders, who are under conviction by Jesus’ ministry, try to find fault with him.   They accuse the disciples of breaking the Sabbath laws but Jesus points out that He, Himself, is the Lord of the Sabbath and can determine the ethics of his own disciples.  His major point was that the religious leaders were legalists and missing the point of His ministry.

To reinforce His point, Jesus then healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath.  Jesus had them on the horns of a dilemma.  He asked if they’d pull one of their rams out of a ditch on the Sabbath.    They begin to plot His death.

Jesus quotes Isaiah 42:1-4.  The prophecy indicates due to the Jews’ rejection, He will begin to work more with non-Jews (Gentiles).

Matthew 12: 1 – 21   Picking On Jesus

The disciples pick grain and the religious leaders are picking on Jesus again.  They say the disciples are breaking the Sabbath laws  since they were reaping by picking the wheat, threshing by rubbing the wheat heads in their palms, and winnowing by blowing the chaff away. (Wow.) Jesus points out that David ate bread out of the temple (“consecrated bread,” 1 Sam. 21:1-6) and the priests, themselves, work on the Sabbath in the temple.  Furthermore, Jesus is Himself the Lord of the Sabbath and He can let his disciples do what . . . ever.  His major point was that the religious leaders were being externalists rather than looking internally at the heart (vv. 1-7).

To add insult to injury, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath.  Of course, the religious leaders test Him again, asking if it’s OK to heal on a Saturday (Sabbath).  Jesus replies that any of them would pull their lambs out of a ditch if they had to on a Saturday.  Then He heals the guy.  That really torques the religious leaders so they plan how to remove Him from the earth (vv. 8-21).  Jesus said what was needed to understand what God meant when He said, “I desire compassion and not a sacrifice” (cf. v. 7, quoting Hos. 6:6).  The religious leaders were more concerned with keeping the law than they were about human beings.

Jesus then cites Isaiah 42:1-4 (vv. 18-21).  No matter how much the leaders try to rattle Jesus, He will still be compassionate.  But the prophecy also indicates that due to the Jews’ rejection, He will begin to work more with non-Jews (Gentiles, cf. “to the nations,” v. 18b, 21).

Psalm  15:1-5   The Good Guys   A Hymn By David

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Psalm 15:1-5   The Good Guys

Previous psalms have spoken of the “righteous” (cf. Psa. 1:5-6; 5:12; 7:9; 11:3, 5; 14:5).  Here is a description of them:

  1. They live with God (v. 1)
  2. They are honest in heart and do righteous deeds (v. 2)
  3. They don’t slander or hurt their neighbors and friends  (v. 3)
  4. They don’t like perverts (v. 4a)
  5. They honor fellow believers (v. 4b)
  6. They keep their promises even when it hurts (v. 4c)
  7. They loan without trying to make a profit  (v. 5a)
  8. They don’t take bribes and hurt defenseless people  (v. 5b)
  9. Bad fortune won’t jar them (v. 5c, cf. Ps. 16:8)

Proverbs 3:21-26  Bear Down

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Don’t forget Proverbs are basically advice from a father to a son.  That’s why the son is addressed in v. 21.  He is supposed to make wisdom and discretion a priority.

He was to wear them like in a necklace so that he’d have a full life (v. 22).

If he was to seek wisdom, he’d be safe and not trip over challenges in life (v. 23, generally, remember Proverbs is a book of wisdom, things that are usually true but there are exceptions).   He’d be able to sleep secure (v. 24), not having to worry all the time about dippy people sneaking up on him (v. 25).  

Since the Lord is God and sees everything that is happening and going to happen, he could be confident that his foot wouldn’t get caught in a trap (v. 26).

I don’t know why exactly, but this psalm reminds me of sleeping out in the woods but being safe from bears.  Maybe it’s the “sudden fear” thing in verse 26, the not “stumbling” thing like in the woods in verse 23, or the “foot . . .  being caught thing” in verse 26.

The morale:  If we bear down and trust the Lord (“confidence,” v. 26), we’ll be safe.

Choose Life: Scripture: Matthew 12:11  NASB    “A Sheep Date”

“And He said to them, ‘What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out?'”   Matthew 12:11

Is it OK to work on Sundays?  Some might think it is breaking one of the ten commandments to work on a Sunday (cf. Ex. 20:8-11).

First of all, the Sabbath commandment was for Jews.  If you keep that commandment, you’d have to keep it on a Saturday.  That’d really throw your week off, wouldn’t it?

Secondly, Christians commemorate the first day of the week by holding worship services on that day, Sunday.  It is the day that Christ rose from the dead so Christians celebrate the beginning of a new age, the church age (a new dispensation) on Sunday.

But what if you are a doctor and have to work a Sunday shift?  People are going to get sick on Sundays.  How about air traffic controllers?  Airplanes have to fly.  I used to have to work a lot of Sundays when I worked in Christian media.  Christian radio stations have to broadcast on Sundays.  Later, in the ministry, I have worked many, many Sundays.  Then I tried to take Mondays off instead.  While writing, I try to get everything done Mondays through Saturdays so I don’t have to write on a Sunday.  God has blessed me doing this so far.

I once heard a man asked if he worked on Sunday and he said, “Yeah, my ox fell in a ditch” (cf. Luke 14:5 where ox is used instead of sheep).  Now, normally, we should try to attend a good church on Sunday.  If we can’t because our ox has fallen in a ditch, we must stand before God with that decision.  But if God has given you peace, don’t let anyone criticize you (cf. Rom. 14:23; 1 Cor. 4:3).

God is not a legalist.  Just as in the case of money (cf. 2 Cor. 9:6-7), God wants us to make all of our other decisions based on our heart for Him.

How are you doing in this area?  Are you showing compassion to others instead of just expecting them to sacrifice?

And if you are, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:

Paul said in 1 Cor. 4:3-4, “But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.”   Paul didn’t judge himself?

Here is what he said to Titus, “To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled” (Titus 1:15).

I believe Paul is saying that he didn’t let anyone else’s legalisms bother him.  I think he did examine himself regarding spiritual, biblical issues (cf. 2 Cor. 13:5).

You shouldn’t let anyone “judge” you either in regard to legalisms.  I define legalism as any rule that is outside Scripture.  If a command is in Scripture, it is not a legalism.  It is something that God actually wants you to do.  (For more on “judging,” check out my blog “Judging” vs. Judging.)

Don’t let anyone put a burden or a legalistic yoke on you (cf. Luke 11:46).

Get free (cf. John 8:32)!

The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:  ‘Is Real Name

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