Many, many places in the Old Testament God tells His people to remember. For back then, oral history was the major way that events were recorded…handed down from generation to generation as not to forget God’s goodness, mercy, and deliverance of His people. It was a custom for the elderly to recount, reflect upon, and commemorate God’s great deeds, wonders, and marvelous works to the youngsters in order that the history would not be lost. And even today, with all the technology we have available to us, it would still be good to pass on to our kids and grandkids a oral history of just what God has done in our own lives…a chance to remember and recollect…declare and celebrate God’s love and grace for us.
I hope this could be our prayer today. For in this uncertain and broken world it is good to trust in One greater than ourselves. When our dependence is in the true and living God, we can rest confidently in His hands, knowing that no event that will ever take place in our life hasn’t already been ordained by Him. And as we humbly stand before our Heavenly Father…His radiance spreading across our face…we can rest assured that He will rescue and deliver us as we trust in Him.
In Matthew 15:7 Jesus quoted this Scripture and very bluntly called those guilty of it hypocrites. Those having the “appearance” of wisdom, worship, and humility…but instead possessing calloused, stubborn, and unfeeling hearts. Out of their mouths coming only empty words…their lips spewing mere talk…or as Jeremiah 12:2 sadly observed, “God, You are always on their lips but far from their hearts.”
During His ministry, we see Jesus rebuking people and things. Many times He rebuked His disciples for their lack of faith, He also rebuked evil, foul, and unclean spirits, demanding they come out of people. And in the case of this woman, who it says was greatly affected and held fast as a prisoner with a fever…Jesus rebuked the spirit of infirmity. But to show His all encompassing authority over things, Jesus also rebuked the storm, the wind and the waves.
God’s command for all of us is simple, “Heed the rod and the One who appointed it.” In Genesis 17:1 we hear the same thing, “I am God Almighty; walk before Me and be blameless.” It’s called fearing God, which is the true motivation towards a life of honesty and integrity. For when we heed the rod, we’re not only acknowledging God’s authority, His right to discipline His children, but also that He judges all fairly. Lastly, when we fear God it says we will gain wisdom which is sound judgment and insight… or as Proverbs calls wisdom… supreme and more precious then rubies.
Noah’s life can be summed up as one of obedience, faith, and waiting on the Lord. God told Noah to, “Make yourself an ark”, and Noah did everything just as God commanded him. Then God told him to “Go into the ark”, and “Noah did all that the Lord commanded him”. Finally, God said to Noah, “Come out of the ark.” and “Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives.” With each command from God, Noah had the opportunity to trust God more and more…even when he couldn’t even begin to fully understand the magnitude of what was happening. Faith building in our life is kind of like Noah building that ark…one board at a time, one chance to trust God at a time…until it and our life is complete.
Both John and Peter had come from humble beginnings as fishermen. They were uneducated, unskilled, and plain in speech. But yet when the rulers, elders, and teachers of the Law saw their boldness and confidence as they spoke…they recognized immediately these weren’t simple minded men, but men who possessed a firm grasp of the Scriptures. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 11:25, talking about hiding divine revelations from the wise and learned and revealing them instead to little children. It says that the Church officials took note that John and Peter had been with Jesus, and they were right in their conclusion…for anytime we walk beside our Savior, things rub off on us.
Rahab had the rather undistinguished title of Harlot of Jericho…and since it wasn’t unusual for strangers and foreigners to come and go out of her house, that’s where the two spies went to not cause suspicion. But despite her infamous title, Rahab was instrumental in the taking of Jericho by the Israelites and the saving of her entire family. She is remembered as one of the great heroines of ancient Israel…raised to a position of honor…amazingly enough, her name appearing in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:5, her great faith commended in Hebrews 11:31. Rahab didn’t permit her past title to define her future and God honored her in doing so. Maybe your life today is being defined by some past title that you’re not proud of. It doesn’t have to be that way…the Lord is more than capable of changing you from what you once were into what you can be through Him.
At face value, the Parable of the Ten Minas Jesus taught was much more than an earthly story…it was an eternal truth for all of us to remember. Just like the servants, we’ve been entrusted with the Gospel Message, and like the nobleman, Jesus expects us to put it to work and earn interest. For like the nobleman, someday Jesus will ask the same question of us…”What did you do with what I gave you?” No matter how much or how little we have, we’re responsible for what God has given us to be wise, obedient, and faithful as we wait for His return.
The creation story was written by someone, (Moses) to someone, (The children of Israel) for something, (to show them they were in fact God’s chosen people)…and reminding them that their Covenant God was also their Creation God. God spoke, and the vast universe came into being…He called forth into the nothingness and everything as we know it sprung forth. This magnificent creative power is only original to God, and can only be done by Him. God spoke and it happened…that is, making everything out of nothing.