Daily Devotion for December 5, 2013
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
A great gospel blues song from a contemporary group, Newworldson. “Pride is weighing me down.”
It's choking my heart.
I'm chained up and bound.
If pride is my prison,
Then Grace be my key;
Sweet Holy Spirit
Come rescue me.
Spirit Spirit I surrender.
Spirit Spirit I submit to you now.
Spirit Spirit I surrender.
Spirit sweet Holy Spirit.
You know for so long I was a drowning man,
I was hopeless and lost at sea yes I was;
But Lord you threw me a line,
Brought me back to your shore;
Now I can feel the light from your lighthouse,
Shining down on me yes I can.
Worry oh what can I say?
I've worried so much
I forget how to pray.
Well I'm down on my knees,
And this is coming from my soul:
Sweet Holy Spirit
Come make me whole.
Words and Music by Newworldson
Prayer To Do God's Will Today
Thy will be done. Dear God, I am full of the sound of my own voice, that lump of pride deep within me that will not go away, no matter how I try. Give me the strength through the power of your Holy Spirit to hear your voice and follow it, fighting the temptation to sin that bubbles up inside me whenever my mind strays from you.
Thy will be done. Thy will be done. Thy will be done.
You have commanded us to love one another, this I know without doubt. And yet all day I am filled with judgments, with resentments, with anger that sneaks in and grabs me when I am not paying attention to you. I pray dear God, that you will soften my heart to my fellow humans, no matter how sinfully they may act, and leave the judging to you, as you have commanded. Fill me with acceptance in place of judgment, sympathy in place of anger, faith in place of resentment. For my judgments and anger are the creatures of pride.
May I do thy will this day, in the name of Christ I pray.
Prayer in Times of Low Spirits (from Psalm 42)
Like a deer thirsts for the water of a clear cool stream, my soul thirsts for you, my God. I await with longing the day when I may finally appear before you. I sometimes become unhappy; my spirit becomes downcast, as my enemies deny you and mock me; and yet, always, I discover the joy of your Spirit and turn my face to you, and you heal me. By day you command my steadfast love, and by night your song comes to me. The wickedness of the world taunts me and evil people put a bullet in my back, saying “Where is your God”? But why are you in turmoil, oh my soul? My hope is in God. I will turn again to you, my Lord, and praise you, my salvation and my God.
Benediction (from the Epistle of Jude)
Now all glory to you, great God, who is able to keep us from falling away and will bring us with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time!
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Psalm 15: 1-3 (ESV)
O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend.
Matthew 13:51-52 (ESV)
New and Old Treasures
Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.”
And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
Notes on the Scripture
In this capstone to Matthew 13, Jesus initially asks the disciples if they have understood all that has been said about the parables. It is a lot of material to absorb. Matthew 13 encompasses not only seven parables with two lengthy explanations, but also, difficult concepts of why He was teaching in parables: the concept of “those who have ears to hear”, the idea that the Hebrew priesthood has become deaf, the concept that their deafness is, at least to some degree, either imposed or foreseen by the Father, and several other shorter remarks.
The disciples say simply “Yes,” they have understood. And Jesus appears to accept that they do. His trust in their understanding is sufficient that He gives them their next lesson as a parable.
This parable concerns a scribe, which in the widest sense denotes a clerk. People skilled in words and writing had to write down, on stone or parchment, all the legends, laws, and history of the Hebrew people, else it would be lost. That they did the job with skill and hard work, we cannot doubt: the Bible's very existence proves it.
Gradually, because some of them spent their days and their lives reading and writing Scripture, they got to know it better than anybody else; and so, the top tier of scribes became the guardians of the law itself. They were the university professors of ancient Israel, the progenitorsProgenitor: a person or thing from which a person, animal, or plant is descended or originates; an ancestor or parent; a precursor. of the Jewish rabbi.
The Bible can be confusing to us when it speaks of “scribes and Pharisees” opposing Jesus, because it is talking about apples and oranges. “Pharisee” and “Sadducee” describe political parties based on religious beliefs (or religious sects that exercised political power, if you prefer). “Scribe” and “priest” describe jobs.
There were scribes and priests who were members of every political party, and many were unaffiliated. (That said, the scribes we encounter in the early part of Matthew do tend to be Pharisees, simply because they were predominant in Galilee. But this is not true later on; the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion involve many Sadducees, including Caiphas himself.)
But to the point of today's Scripture: Jesus is saying that some scribes are trained for the kingdom of heaven, and some are not The context indicates that this is a restrictive clause — not “scribes, who have been trained . . . ” but “scribes who have been trained . . .” We must trust our translator on this, because Greek did not have commas. . He is talking about the disciples themselves, because they are the only teachers trained in what is “new” — the Gospel of Christ. The scribes who opposed Jesus could hardly bring out “what is new”, because they were dead set against it.
Jesus requires that the disciples (and we) accept that there is a new covenant and that we will find the kingdom of heaven only through him. And yet, similar to his teaching in Chapter 5, the old, meaning the law of Moses, is still with them. “[U]ntil heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:18)
In summary, the parable means that those who seek heaven will have to accept both the Old and New Testaments. Entire books have been written on the subject, as they can be difficult to reconcile; but that issue is for another day.