You cannot be serious…..are you sure ?

9 01 2011

DAY NINE : Genesis 19 v. 1 – 20 v. 18; Matthew 7 v. 24 – 8 v. 22; Psalm 7 v. 1 – 9

Oh my goodness.
Genesis today…..!

Whole towns destroyed because of sexual sin.
Lot’s wife is turned to salt because she ‘looked back’.
Lot’s daughters get him drunk and sleep with him.
Abraham does the old “she is my sister, have her” trick with Sarah, and nearly brings down another town.
Sarah cleverly saves the day with her speech. Apparently they are related as half-brother/sister as well as married. That makes it all alright then ?

Even more hair-raising than an average Eastenders’ script.

There is a link for me in the way Job and his family rush to flee from Sodom, the urgent, “Don’t look back….don’t stop anywhere”, (but, oops, Lot’s wife is turned to salt (picture above)), and the passage in Matthew where Jesus talks about the cost of discipleship, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead”. (Elsewhere, the “follow me”, is accompanied by a command not to look back).
When God wants us to move, we should move, and not be distracted.

Also, when I considered the raw material of God’s promised nation / people (with all their flaws and shocking behaviour), I was left reflecting upon the question (in light of Jesus’s final story at the end of His great Sermon):

Is God building on rock or on sand, as He seeks to build His people, His nation ?

Or today, is God building on rock or sand in my life?
Are my foundations secure?
Am I focussed on what is before us, rather than looking back?

Peter’s House, Capernaum – it was wonderful to visit Capernaum with the BibleFresh recce trip in October, to see the site of Simon Peter’s house, and to imagine the healing of the centurion’s servant (how Jesus commends the faith of this gentile, enemy of Israel).

It was here that Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law (oh, resisting the temptation to make rude jokes about mothers-in-law) by a touch; drives out evil spirits with an authoritative word, and heals many diseases.
Jesus is becoming very well known in the region, despite attempting to keep the reports of His miracles to a minimum (‘See that you don’t tell anyone’, He says to the man just healed from leprosy).

Are you sure ? – when Jesus is approached by a teacher of the law, who is suitably attracted to Jesus and His ministry, and told, “I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus’s response is not, “great, come along, it will be a breeze”, but rather, “are you really sure ? It will be risky, dangerous, and costly; and you need to be absolutely sure – no half-measures”.

Today’s passages ask lots of questions of me.
Questions to really ponder.
Am I sure ?
Do I accept the cost of discipleship ?
Am I building on rock….The Rock ?

Unbelievable wickedness still stalks our planet (the terrible shootings yesterday in Arizona; child slavery and prostitution; domestic violence…..). The Bible does not shelter us from the harshness and cruelty of life, and the devastating decisions human beings can make.
All the more urgency to seek God’s righteousness and justice, to seek His peace and pursue it, to pray with Jesus,
“Your Kingdom come ! Your will be done on earth as in heaven !”

To conclude, our psalmist pleads,
“O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts,
 bring to an end the violence of the wicked
 and make the righteous secure.”

Roll on tomorrow’s readings !!

**************************

My re-created thoughts today:

God of love, You see the depths to which we sink,
the folly and stupidity,
the cruelty and pain,
and yet, Your call remains to “follow You”
the possibility that we could start again.

God of grace, You see the challenges we face,
the ‘homeless’ Son of Man still leads us on,
healing all our sickness,
carrying every disease
until our hopes, our prayers, our lives are One.

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