Gnats and camels, vipers and chicks….

4 02 2011

DAY THIRTY-FIVE : Job 33 v. 1 – 34 v. 37; Matthew 23 v. 1 – 39; Psalm 18 v. 25 – 36


JOB – Elihu, the whippersnapper, continues….

Job 33 v. 15 ff : God speaks through dreams, and maybe Job’s dreams reveal some of God’s teaching / purpose in this situation
Job 33 v. 19 ff : God uses suffering to draw people closer to Himself, trying over and over again “to bring back souls from the Pit, to be enlightened with the light of life.”
 Job 34 : Elihu continues to challenge Job, not about any past sins (like his other ‘friends’), but about complaining that God has been unjust towards him, when God cannot be unjust. God doesn’t just act as a whim, and cannot act wickedly.
Job 34 v. 16 ff : A heavenly ruler would have to be both powerful and just, and Elihu tells Job that he has not only offended God with his sin, and denial of it, but also his rebellion, his challenging God !

Elihu was correct in saying,
“He shows no partiality to princes and does not favour the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of His hands.” (God has no favourites !!)
“His eyes are on the ways of men; He sees their every step….God has no need to examine men further, that they should come before Him for judgement..”

MATTHEW – Seven Woes (‘woe’ suggests God’s judgement upon them)
Grim reading today. The Pharisees are condemned as hypocrites. The charges against them :
~ they tie people up, and weigh people down with their rules and laws, not helped but harnessed
~ they strut their stuff, wear their religion on their sleeves only, to impress people
~ they desire names of honour (Rabbi = my great one / Father), which only God can truly ‘claim’
~ they hinder people’s entry into the kingdom
~ they have created a category of oaths which do not need to be kept, when God expects us to keep all our ‘oaths’
~ they tithe (and let people know) but don’t practice justice, mercy, faithfulness
             “You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel”
         
i.e. you fuss about trivial things, and ignore big issues
~ they clean their outside, but are dirty inside !
~ they are like whitewashed tombs (beautiful outside, stinking dead inside; righteous outside, wicked inside)
~ they perpetuate the persecution of God’s prophets (two old testament martyrs mentioned – Abel (Genesis) and Zechariah (2 Chronicles))

Jesus says, staggeringly,
“I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers” (v.34) , identifying Himself with the God who calls and sends.


I am reading “You snakes! You brood as vipers” as our Jonathan is watching a Bear Grylls survival dvd, in which he is confronted by a Saharan Cobra. His advice – don’t confront them, give them a wide berth so they can scuttle off. One bite would kill you in six hours ! Strong words Jesus uses of the Pharisees !

Jesus describes His love and compassion for all Jerusalem’s children as a mother hen desiring to protect her chicks. Ahhhh

PSALM

“You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning….His way is perfect…He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.”

 

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