Genesis 20:1-22:24, Matthew 7:15-29, Psalms 9:1-12, Proverbs 2:16-22
Today is the 9th day of January, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I’m Brian it is wonderful…wonderful to be here with you on a great day out in front of us, the next day forward moving. We’re ourselves toward a week and a half now being in this new year and decade. So, it’s like we’re on this voyage together. If we look behind us we can still see the distant faint line of the shore and we’re just kind of getting moving but we are headed out into the deep, and I am so excited about sharing a little bit of every day has this rhythm of our lives becomes established and we allow God’s Word to speak into it each day. So, today’s a new day and we have new territory to cover. We’re reading from the New International Version this week. Today Genesis chapters 20, 21, 22.
Okay. Let’s look at a couple things, one thing in Genesis and one thing in Matthew today just to mainly point them out. We have experienced or touched on these ideas before and one of those is this language, “the angel of the Lord” or “the Lord.” We…we experience this in today’s reading, where God calls out to Hagar. And it says, “the Lord called out to Hagar from heaven”, right? And then he spoke to her about Ishmael. But then God told Abraham to take Isaac and sacrifice him. And during that story, the angel of the Lord called out from heaven, but then spoke in first person as God…as the most-high God. So, I point that out just to show the…the angel of the Lord is not necessarily like a messenger sent from God, the angel of the Lord is a way of…of identifying God. So, what we are seeing here in these early chapters of the Bible is God, very, very actively interacting and being around and upon the earth, interacting with human beings and we’re also seeing this divine family, for lack of a better word, this spiritual realm of beings that are doing the same thing. So, it’s interesting that we’re like, “okay. So, then when did this stop and all the sudden, we have these books that are named after prophets and we have all their writings in…in the Bible and God talked to them so that they could then talk to the people. But here were just seeing God speak on his own behalf about things. When we see this shift?” We’ll begin to see this shift when Moses begins to show up on the scene, which is several centuries from now, at least where we are in the Bible. And we’ll just…we’ll just keep exploring this as we go. There’s so many little things to see, so many little things to become aware of as we…as we continue make this journey.
So, then we go into the book of Matthew and Jesus is talking about prophets, right? People speaking in God’s name as if God has told them a message to give. And He’s also talking about true and false disciples. You know, I…I am a person who grew up in church. So, I’ve been around church people and church life pretty much my whole life. So, this idea of true and false prophets and true and false disciples, this is not a new concept. I’ve heard it my whole life. But since we’re reading it in the Bible, we see that it’s for sure not a new concept, it dates back to the very beginning. Those are labels and attached to them are judgments, right? If you say, “you are a false prophet” you are labeling that person and judging that person based on whatever criteria you are using to make that judgment or if you are saying, “you are a false disciple, you are not a true disciple of Jesus”, then that’s a label and that’s judgment and it comes out of criteria that has been established somehow. And we do this kind of stuff…like I see it now more than ever, probably because when I was growing up you couldn’t flame these things out on the Internet and just shoot the arrows out there and it’s so much easier. But the thing is, we label people false this and false that without having ever spoken a word to them and largely based on whatever swirl of information may be flying around. So, in this day and age eat, you know, you can become a false prophet by asking the wrong questions, right? So, we…we sort for our dogmas because we just want it to be very crystal black-and-white clear what the expectations of the faith are. And, so, if we can arrive at something that even resembles that, which is impossible really, but if we arrive at something that makes sense to us then we’ll defend that line, right? Because that’s what we believe, and anything that would disrupt that would make us feel unsteady and unstable in our faith. And, so, we can get really, really erratic when we feel like, right, when we’re being pressured in any way in our lives. Wrestling with your faith is not a sin, it’s an expectation. How will you grow? How do you grow in any way of your life without resistance, without being disrupted, without having to walk through valleys, without having to see the mountaintops and actually experience the valleys below? We are starting to read the story of a people. They are not formed yet. There is only two people involved. Right now, Abraham and Isaac but those two people are going to become a people and those people will eventually become Israel and they are the progeny of a person named Jacob and his name means one who wrestles with God. This is baked into our tradition. So, running around labeling people false this and false that without using the measuring criteria that Jesus gave, so in terms of like a false prophet Jesus said, “by their fruit you will recognize them.” Okay. So, that’s easy, that’s external. We can look around and go, “well, I judge that person’s fruit to be false.” And there you go. So, you make your judgment. But Jesus doesn’t just stop there with the external judgment which we might make about people. He brings it very, very, very close to home because after He talks about how you will understand a false prophet by their fruits he says, “not, everybody who tells me, “Lord, Lord” is going to enter the kingdom of heaven. Only the one who does the will of my father who is in heaven. Many…many are gonna say, “didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we drive out demons in your name? Didn’t we perform miracles in your name?” So, let’s pause here for second and point out. Those must not be the criteria that make a person true. And, so, we could judge them as true. Even a person who can prophesy, even a person who can drive out demons, even a person who can perform miracles. Jesus is saying there will be people like that who do not enter the kingdom of heaven and there’s a reason. Jesus says, “I never knew you. I never knew you.” Could we just linger there for second? We can work our entire lives trying to get every dot dotted, get our theology perfect, get our doctrine bulletproof. And I…I am a person who has made those attempts. I am a person who thought if…if that…if I could just apply yourself that significantly to just finally getting it right, what is expected of me? Then maybe I could know God. And maybe I could stop constantly, constantly worrying about whether He’s mad at me or whether He loves me. And I started realizing like, how can…how can you call that a relationship? Like, how do…there’s no other relationship in my life that could work like that. How do you call that a relationship? And then it’s this verse, “I never knew you” that really helped me to realize, knowing all you can possibly know about God is not the same as being in a relationship with God any more than knowing everything that you can know about your spouse on paper represents the actual living relationship of your life. Jesus is basically saying the criteria that you use to make somebody a big shot, like somebody who can prophesy or drive out a demon or perform a miracle, that does not mean you even know me. Yeah, that’s disruptive indeed, isn’t it? Because all the blinking lights and flashing stuff that we look for as proof isn’t the fruit Jesus is looking for. And we will continue to talk about these things in the teachings of Jesus as long as we’re talking about Jesus, which means that we’re gonna be talking about this all year long.
Father we thank You for Your word and we thank You for another day, another…another step forward as we continue to journey, even though we’re just setting sail, You are already at work in our hearts in comforting and in shaking ways. We just open ourselves to You. We just invite Your Holy Spirit to come. You have promised that You would lead us into all truth and that's…that’s what we’re counting on, that You will. So, come Holy Spirit we pray. In the mighty name of Jesus, we ask. Amen.
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Yesterday I was talking about the Shop and journaling and…and stuff like that. Today I should probably, because of what we were just talking about, I should talk about some…some of the written resources that are in the Daily Audio Bible Shop, especially from today, a resource called Reframe. I mean, what we were just talking about very briefly, the fruit of a relationship, the difference between knowing about and actually knowing God was a lengthy, a lengthy theological pursuit for me that ended up becoming a book and it’s called Reframe. So, if some of the stuff we’re talking about here…if you’re like, “yeah, these are the kinds of things I’ve been wrestling with too”, then there’s much more lengthy discussion on that subject available in the book Reframe which you can find in audio form or in book form in the Daily Audio Bible Shop at dailyaudiobible.com.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.