The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…..

13 04 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED : Deuteronomy 13 v. 1 – 14 v. 29; Luke 13 v. 1 – 30; Proverbs 9 v. 1 – 12;

Yay – today marks the 100th daily reading (now only 265 to go).
All these little landmarks give me a push to continue.
Thanks for your support and encouragement.

DEUTERONOMY
Worshipping Other Gods – don’t be tempted to follow other gods, through miraculous signs or dreams
‘It is the Lord your God you must follow, and Him you must revere.’
His commands must be kept and obeyed. He must be served and clung onto.
The one who tried to lure you to another god must be punished with death (even if that person is a close family member).
If a whole town is led astray, check it out (investigate fully), then, if true, the whole town must be destroyed, and all the plunder burnt. The town must be left as a ruin forever.

Unclean Food – As God’s chosen, holy people, the Israelites were not to cut or shave themselves as a sign of grieving (like the peoples around them). They are to be quite different. A ‘treasured possession’ of the Lord.
Certain foods are permitted : ox, sheep, goat, deer, gazelle, ibex, antelope, roe deer – split-hoof (divided in two) animals, which chew the cud.
Certain foods are forbidden : camel, rabbit, coney, pig
Certain fish are permitted : any with fins and scales
Certain fish are forbidden : any without fins and scales
Certain birds are permitted
Certain birds are forbidden : eagle, vulture, kite, falcon, raven, owl, gull, hawk, osprey, cormorant, stork, heron, hoopoe, bat
Do not eat any flying insects (I wonder if they are aware of this prohibition on “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here.”?)
Do not eat anything already dead when you find it. Don’t cook a goat in its mother’s milk. 

The dietary laws were partially about health and hygiene, but also a further ‘setting aside’, to be different to the people around, seen in daily lives – what to look like when grieving, what to eat etc….

Tithes – One tenth of all that the land produces is to be put aside for God. The tithe of grain, wine and oil, herd and flock may be eaten at the chosen place where God dwells, ‘so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always.’
If the dwelling place of God is too far away to carry all the tithes, exchange them for silver, bring that to the dwelling place of God and then buy ‘whatever you like’ to offer as a tithe to God.
Don’t forget the Levites, also, who will rely on what is brought for them.
Every third year, the tithes are stored in towns, as provision for the Levites, the foreigners/aliens, the fatherless and widows.
Do this, and God will bless.

It is still a spiritual principle, that when we tithe at least a tenth to God, there are blessings which provide even more richly for us along the way.

LUKE
Repent or Perish – addressing the question of the sinfulness of those who suffer greatly, Jesus indicates that there is no sin greater than the sin which impacts upon your own life. Stop looking at others, comparing yourself to others, and focus on your own issues.
‘Unless you repent, you too will all perish’.
The parable of the fruitless fig-tree is a parable of grace – the owner said, ‘Give it one more year – I will tend it, dig round it, fertilise it, and let’s see what happens….’ It is not the ‘man who takes care of the vineyard’ who judges when the time is up for the fig-tree, but the owner, who chooses to give it more time (one more year).

Father God, I praise You for Your grace and patience towards me. May I prove more fruitful in the days, months and years to come. Dig around me, tend to my roots and soil, feed and nourish me….Crippled Woman Healed – Jesus is in the synagogue teaching, and, confronted by a woman who had been crippled for eighteen years, He calls her over, proclaims her ‘set free from (her) infirmity’, lays His hands on her, and she is immediately healed and able to walk upright again (must have been a strange sensation after eighteen years!).
Whilst she is praising God, the synagogue ruler is indignant and grumbles about healing on the Sabbath – too much like hard work to him!
Jesus replies, saying that just as an ox or a donkey is untied and taken to water to drink on the Sabbath, so too, this woman has been released from Satan’s grip. Jesus sees the Sabbath day, as much as any other, as a day of freedom, of release.

Some are humiliated by this response, some are delighted with all He is doing – can’t please all the people all the time, eh ?

Parables (Mustard Seed / Yeast) – The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, starting so small, and growing so large – becoming home to many birds.
The Kingdom of God is like yeast mixed into a whole batch of dough, causing it all to rise.

Beautiful images of the Kingdom, working behind the scenes to impact the whole community, starting small but growing in influence and calling more and more people to find themselves at home there….

Narrow Door – Jesus passes through many towns and villages, making His way towards Jerusalem…
‘How many people will be saved?’ asks someone…
Only those who enter through the narrow door (‘make every effort to enter…’), many will try and fail. There will be a moment when the house-owner closes the door, and that will be it. Those outside will remain outside, no matter how loud the knocking, or how passionate the pleading.
‘I don’t know you or where you come from’ comes the reply from within.
Inside, will be all the people of God (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the prophets, people from north, east, south and west ‘will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.’
The first will be last, and the last first (an attack on the religious leaders who see themselves as ‘first’, but it’s the gentiles getting in ahead of them).
Everything turned on its head…..

PROVERBS
Wisdom builds a house and prepares a banqueting table. She summons the simple, those who ‘lack judgment’.
‘Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.’
The wise learn from rebukes, instructions and good teaching (mockers and the wicked won’t).

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

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