Monday, September 01, 2014
As many celebrate Labor Day, did you give a thanksgiving prayer to the Lord for your job and the food that you will partake? He deserves the blessing for the day, don't you think so? -
Rev. Lynwood F. Mundy
August 31: Walking with Jesus
Isaiah 65:1–66:24; Luke 24:13–53; Job 14:11–22
Imagine encountering Jesus on the road to Emmaus. It would be a surreal experience. You’re walking to the next town, and you start a conversation with a man beside you, only to find out later that you’ve been talking with the resurrected Son of God. Even more surreal, the topic of conversation up to your moment of discovery has been the death of the man walking with you (Luke 24:13–35).
I have often wondered what it would be like to meet Jesus face to face—to have Him explain to me how He exists in the biblical text from Moses, in all the prophets, and in all Scripture (Luke 24:27). How different would my life be after that experience? Would I rethink everything I had known and heard—perhaps everything I do?
Asking these questions is not only healthy, it also turns on our spiritual GPS. Are we on the path God has called us to? Have we strayed in one direction or another? Are we caught in some odd roundabout where we’re explaining to Jesus what His coming means?
Many Christians—not just scholars and preachers—complicate matters of salvation. We overthink God’s work or place it at a distance from our daily lives. Like the old saying, we become “too big for our britches,” forgetting that, ultimately, the entire Bible points to Jesus and His redeeming work.
Jesus’ work is real and surreal. In the Bible, He is present everywhere. In our lives, He is present in every aspect and every moment. We need only to acknowledge Him and act upon the truth of His message. That simple idea is what it means to walk the road with our Savior.
How can you walk more aligned with the Savior?
JOHN D. BARRY
An Unusual PortraitHosea 1:1–2:23; Acts 1:1–26; Job 15:1–9
“At the beginning when Yahweh spoke through Hosea, Yahweh said to Hosea, ‘Go, take for yourself a wife and children of whoredom, because the land commits great whoredom forsaking Yahweh.’ So he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son” (Hos 1:2–3). God’s people had prostituted themselves to other nations by seeking their help instead of Yahweh’s. Hosea’s act, which dramatized the rebellion of God’s people against Him, is one of the oddest in the Bible.
God loves His people with passion and jealousy. He has little tolerance when they seek alliances with other nations and put false gods before Him. At times, He takes shocking measures to get their attention. The act He requires of Hosea not only depicts Israel’s unfaithfulness, but it also reveals God’s own feelings of betrayal. Many of us can empathize.
At such moments in the Bible, it’s hard to understand how God uses such behavior to further His plan. But within the view of biblical theology, desperate situations like Hosea’s are transformed into redemptive scenes. Such is the case when we open the book of Acts: “I produced the former account [of the Gospel of Luke], O Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and to teach, until the day he was taken up, after he had given orders through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen, to whom he also presented himself alive after he suffered, with many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking the things about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:1–3). Jesus came to redeem a people who sought refuge in the arms of false gods and other nations.
When we see Hosea’s story in the light of Jesus’ acts and the subsequent acts of His apostles, we learn that God can indeed bring even the most wretched of people to righteousness. We also learn that sometimes it takes a vivid, if odd, real-life portrait for us to understand the truth about our false ways.
Are you seeking refuge in the wrong places or the wrong ways? What are you placing before Yahweh and His work in your life?
JOHN D. BARRY
Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.