Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, July 20, 2020
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, “Things no eye has seen and no ear has heard, that have not entered the heart of mankind— these things God has prepared for those who love Him.”
This was my first thought this morning, and it is both profound and relevant to our present situation. There is great perplexity in the world today. Luke 21:25 “There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars. And upon the earth nations will be confused by the roaring of the sea and its waves.” The “sea” in Scripture is a reference to the sea of humanity. Have you noticed, the sea of humanity is “roaring?” And there is a literal understanding also. Here is an article on the recent increase on high tide flooding. https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/us-high-tide-flooding-continues-to-increase
Rabbi Trail: Usually, when the Bible says, “As it is written,” it is a real quote from another part of the Bible. In this instance, there is no such exact quote in our Bible as it exists today. There are several similar quotes. One such quote is Isaiah 64:3 For from days of old no one has heard, no ear perceived, no eye has seen God, except You, who acts on behalf of the one waiting for Him. This seems to mirror the first part of the quote of 1 Corinthians 2:9. Maybe Paul meant that only the first part is what “is written.” The context is correct. Two verses later is the quote about how “our righteousness is as filthy rags.” End RT.
In all of this “perplexity,” let’s remember “these things God has prepared for those who love Him.” Let’s answer the question put to Alfie in the movie by the same name. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFNXnd0cPb8 What’s it all about? It’s about “these things God has prepared.”
For the fathers in the faith, God has prepared a city. Hebrews 11:16 But as it is, they yearn for a better land—that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. Then, at the end of the “faith” chapter, we find this… Hebrews 11:39 And all these, though commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised— 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that only with us would they reach perfection.
“Something better” for us and for them? Yes, turns out that “city” is really a kingdom… Matthew 25:34 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
As I’m researching this RR, I’m finding more about not inheriting the kingdom than about actually inheriting it. There are more ways to get “this” wrong than to get “this” right. 1 Corinthians 6:9 Or don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, those who practice homosexuality, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.
Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom (1 Corinthians 15:50ff). One must be born of water (natural birth or water baptizm) and born of the Spirit (born again) to inherit the kingdom (John 3:5).
Let me bring this to a close. The reason I wrote about this is to help us refocus, not on the problems and issues before us, but on God’s eternal plans and provisions for His people. No matter what the headlines say today, God is still on the throne.
Memory Verse: Psalm 51:17 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise.
* 146 7/23 Monday: Nehemiah 13
147 7/24 Tuesday: Malachi 1
148 7/25 Wednesday: Malachi 2
149 7/26 Thursday: Malachi 3
150 7/27 Friday: Malachi 4
Question of the day: Nehemiah rebuked the leaders of his day with a question that we might ask ourselves. Nehemiah 13:11b Why has the House of God been forsaken?
Answer: You might be tempted to say that the House of God is not being forsaken, at least not by you. Just wait until later this week when we read Malachi. The principle is simply stated in Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Put God first. That doesn’t sound overly complicated, but we be vigilant in maintaining the principle.
Rabbi Trail: A “principle” is like a doctrine in that it is not subject to change. In modern business planning we call these principles values. The “thou shalt not” commandments are principles in reverse. Perhaps we should think in terms of “thou shalt” be trustworthy (honest), loyal (faithful), helpful (caring), etc. (Some of you may have noticed I began rattling off the 12 points of the Boy Scout Law I learned in my youth.) End RT.
How do we put God first? Well, it’s not by putting Him before everything else, as many people teach. We put God first by allowing Him to inform everything else. He is first in our family. We don’t consider our family before we consider God, we submit to God AS we consider our family. The same with our congregation and job or profession. We must apply this principle to our leisure time and activities too. Seek first the kingdom of God, not to the exclusion of everything else, but in the inclusion of everything else. He is faithful to order our steps.
Psalm 37:23 From Adonai a man’s steps are made firm, when He delights in his way. 24 Though he stumble, he will not fall headlong, for Adonai is holding his hand. 25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous one forsaken, nor his children begging for bread.
And that is the final, ending, closing thought for today.