Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Temptation, Praise and Bartering

Matthew 4:1-11
The temptation of Christ is one of the passages of Scripture which gets brought out annually, usually around the beginning of lent. Here three times Satan tempts Jesus, and Jesus rejects the temptation. Among the many fascinating issues in this section the most fascinating is the fact that Satan offers things he does not have the capacity to offer. The basic offer is this, if you do things my way, regardless of what God might think, you will be better than fine you will have all you ever could imagine. Many good people have been pulled into this deception. Satan offers something which he cannot possibly deliver, and most find out after it is too late the real story. The only response to the tempter is returning to the teachings of God. While Satan cannot deliver on the promise God will deliver every time, however it is on God's terms not humanities.

Acts 4:23-37
Fresh off what could be considered a victory with the religious leaders of the day, Peter and John do not spend time bragging about their conquest, they turn the community to prayer. The focus is not on their authority, or their own ability. The focus of the early believers gathered in that space and time was God and the power of God. They were so focused in God it caused them to view their possessions differently. Sure each of them had things which were a part of their household, yet if there was someone in need they would not consider it theirs, it was God's to be used by the community as there was need. What might happen if that was how we lives today?

Psalm 7
Here the psalmist is recognizing they have messed up. Their drive to follow God has been clouded by poor choices. However the work to right the wrong is underway. First stop getting right with God. The time of restitution will come, yet it cannot come until we reconcile with God and get our lives back in line with God. If we make things write with everyone else but fail to reconcile with God we will be in no better place when all is said and done.

Genesis 18-20
The journey and story of Abraham continue. I gain so much hope from reading about Abraham. He has high moments where he follows God so closely and other moments where that is not the case. One of the high points is when Abraham barters with God over the Sodom and Gomorrah. At least it appears God is allowing Abraham to barter. Perhaps God know already what will be found and the number of righteous in the cities is less than 5. Still God allows Abraham to know a God who is willing to enter into conversation. Not a God who is deterministic and we have better learn to deal with that, rather a God who draws near to us as we draw near to God. The bartering has less to do with the cities as it does with the revelation of a God who comes near.

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