It’s Friday morning, January 13, 2012. You know what that means. It’s Friday the 13th. Of course, I’m not triskaidekaphobic, so it’s just another day to me. Except that it’s Friday, so it’s the third best day of the week! It’s 30 degrees outside this morning. But I believe it should get up to the mid fifties today.
Stephanie was doing a little better last night. Hopefully, she will keep improving and the pain will subside. She’s convinced that she needs to go back to the doctor, though.
Christi has a couple of “events” today for which we request prayer. One at 9am and one at 12pm.
The Interwebs are acting up at the Bickleyhouse this morning, so I may not be able to post this until later. Which is kind of a dumb thing to type, because if I can’t post it, it won’t be visible…never mind. I’ll press on and save it somehow.
My Utmost For His Highest
And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. Mark 4:10
Chambers is continuing the thought of being alone with God today. In fact, today, he launches into a topic that was briefly addressed by “Aunt Melanie” in yesterday’s post. (I can’t link to it right now, because of the inconsistency of the signal in my house right now. If you can go back to yesterday’s post, you can see it.) While yesterday’s reading was about us getting alone with God, today’s is about God getting us alone with him. “What’s the difference?” you ask. I’ll tell you. When we get alone with God, it’s by our plan, by our volition. However, when God gets us alone, it is by his plan. And sometimes he uses things like “disappointment, sickness, or by thwarted affection, by a broken friendship, or by a new friendship…” Sometimes, it is be tragedy, by great loss in our lives. During these times, we may even be “dumbfounded, and cannot ask one question.” That’s when he can begin to teach us. The disciples were constantly perplexed in the presence of Jesus.
It is also important to know that we cannot know what God is doing in another’s heart. We think we understand our brother’s situation. But it is only clear what God is doing with our own spirit (and sometimes that isn’t even very clear). “We imagine we understand where the other person is, until God gives us a dose of the plague of our own hearts.” I like his next sentence. “There are whole tracts of stubbornness and ignorance to be revealed by the Holy Spirit in each one of us, and it can only be done when Jesus gets us alone.” I’m very frustrated, at times, by my own stubbornness and ignorance. I love getting alone with Jesus. it’s not so comfortable, sometimes, when he has to get me alone with him.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet…O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:6;9
We have seen, in previous Tabletalk readings, that mankind was created in God’s image, but, due to the fall, that image was marred. As a result, we are now born into this world with hearts that naturally incline toward wickedness and are incapable of truly love God or our neighbors. This doesn’t mean that I believe that every person is “evil.” Believe me, there are some people who incline toward a lot more wickedness than most of us. Nevertheless, we fail to understand what true love is. Q&A six of the Heidelberg Catechism (which I can’t look up this morning because of above referenced Internet signal) tells us that we were “primarily created for the Lord’s ‘praise and glory.'” We can see this in Psalm 8, of which two verses are quoted above. David looks to the creation to prove the majesty of the Lord (Psalm 8:1). He acknowledges, in this Psalm, the seeming insignificance of man, who is tiny in comparison to the rest of creation. However, verse 5, David places us just a bit lower than the angels, who are resplendent with God’s glory. “It might seem counterintuitive, but beings made of dust have been endowed by the Creator with the task of shepherding all things.” We truly were created for the praise and glory of our Creator. “…it is our failure to be amazed at what the Creator has done for us that reveals ever more clearly how far we have fallen from our original state.”
The Bible Panorama
Matthew 9:18-38; Genesis 31-32
Continuing in Matthew 9 today, the “Faith” of people is demonstrated (18-33). During the course of his daily life, Jesus meets the needs of many different types of people. He heals the daughter of a ruler (possibly raising her from the dead); he heals a woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years; he gives sight to a couple of blind men; he delivers a demon-possessed man, restoring his ability to speak. The Pharisees, blind to the presence of God in their midst, accuse Jesus of “Falsehood” (34), saying he casts out demons by the power of the “prince of demons.” Jesus had compassion on the people that he saw and noted that the harvest was plentiful, but the workers are “Few” (35-38). He told his disciples to pray that God would send more workers into the harvest.
Genesis 31–This chapter begins with Jacob “Fleeing” (1-21) his uncle’s land, because he is fearful of the changing attitudes toward him. Laban chases after him, “Finding” him (22-23). God’s “Faithfulness” (24) to both Jacob and Laban is displayed. The “Family” (25-30) of Laban surrounds Jacob, demanding to know why they have fled (and accusing them of theft). The “Furtiveness” (31-35) of Rachel is seen, as she hides what she has stolen, and refuses to get up, stating that she is having her period. There is a “Finale” (36-54) as Jacob and Laban come to an agreement between each other and build a monument as a reminder. After a meal together and spending the night, Jacob and Laban say “Farewell” (55).
Genesis 32–At the beginning of this chapter, Jacob once again sees angels. But then he is “Perturbed” (1-8) when he hears that his brother Esau is coming to meet him. I think “perturbed” is too mild a word. Friends, Jacob was terrified!! Jacob spends some time in “Prayer” (9-12), asking God to protect him. Then, he goes through a “Planning” stage (13-23), hoping to assuage his brother’s wrath by meeting him gradually, in groups. (This wrath is all purely imagined, by the way, but that’s the way guilt works, isn’t it?) In verses 24-32, Jacob wrestles with God at “Peniel.” The “man” that he is wrestling with is revealed to be the Angel of God. This is, very possibly, another theophany, or appearance of God in the flesh. Jacob prevails (or at least manages a “draw”), God touches his hip, and he will walk with a limp for the rest of his life. The author says, “Prayer still changes the way that people walk with God.” However, this, in my opinion, was more than just “prayer.” I believe that Jacob physically wrestled with God. Chrispin makes no mention that God changes Jacob’s name to Israel in verse 28.
Father, I’m out of time, and must cut short my prayer today. This saddens me. But we struggled with technology (and eventually prevailed), and it took precious time away. I will pray today, though, that you continue to make the most of my times alone with you, teaching me, correcting me, and showing me the way to walk. If necessary, wrestle with me. Most definitely, change the way I walk.
I pray for this day, Lord. I pray for Christi today. Let her events be successful today. Let her know that you are here with her in all circumstances. Give her confidence and assurance of your grace and mercy. I pray that Stephanie’s pain continue to abate. Give her courage and confidence, as well. I pray that today’s work will go smoothly for me.
Thank you for the lifehouse group last night, and our deep discussion on what it looks like to be devoted to the body of Christ!
Do we need to change the way we walk?
Grace and peace, friends.