Genesis 31:17-32:12, Matthew 10:24-11:6, Psalms 13:1-6, Proverbs 3:16-18
Today is the 15th day of January, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible, I’m Brian it’s great to be here with you. And I suppose at some point halfway through today we…we cross the center of month number one, halfway through the first month of a new year and decade. So, well done…well done. And let’s just take a moment here to reflect on the first two weeks of the Bible. Like the Bible has been speaking to us. It is an amazing voyage that we have embarked on together. And, so, let’s continue that journey. Today…well…this week we’re reading from the Christian Standard Bible. And today Genesis chapter 31 verse 17 to 32 verse 12. And we continue to read of the great drama of the patriarch Jacob.
Alright. Let’s look at what Jesus is talking about in the book of Matthew today. He’s still commissioning, He’s still instructing His followers as they’re being sent out and He’s basically telling them, “this is what you can expect.” So, “a disciple isn’t above the teacher. A slave isn’t above the master. It’s enough for a disciple to become like his Teacher, which is why we aspire to become Christlike in our faith. But that’s not Jesus point. Jesus point is, “don’t expect to be treated differently then you’re watching me be treated. If you want to become like your Master, then you should see the things that your Master goes through. This is what you ‘e gonna go through.” And, so, He says, “if they call the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household?” This word, Beelzebul or Beelzebub. We’ve probably heard it before. We’ve probably heard it Beelzebub like referring to the devil. Although this wouldn’t have been a name, I suspect that the evil one would’ve chosen for itself. So, Beelzebul, means Baal the Prince. And we’re just a couple weeks into the Bible but we’re gonna see Baal worship a lot. So, Beelzebub is probably a distortion of this, and it means the Lord of the flies. More…more specifically like Lord of…of the…the manure pile. Alright. And, so, the subjects would be the flies. So, Jesus is saying like, “you’re becoming a part of this divine family, this household and I am the head of the house and if they’re gonna call me that how much more are they gonna call you that.” And this is another opportunity for us to pause right at the beginning of this journey because it clicks so many things into place about our own personal faith journey because we believe that when we…when we come into a relationship with Jesus and begin to follow that path then we become children of God and so blessing becomes apparent all around us and this is what we have to look forward to. And, so, it becomes really confusing then when we have to face supreme struggles in life. And what we have to become aware of is that Jesus, God made flesh dwelling among us as a human being faced and predicted of the struggles of life that we’re going to face. This idea that the opposition will come our way and that it that…that it must be endured and that we must press into and press through these things. This isn’t hidden in the Bible, it’s like blinking all over the place, and ultimately where going to find out how necessary challenge is to our growth. But nevertheless, Jesus is preparing His first friends to go into the world, and this is what He’s telling them to expect. So, after we talk about the Lord of flies He says, “don’t be afraid of them. There’s nothing covered that won’t be uncovered and nothing hidden that won’t be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the light. What you hear in a whisper, proclaim to the house tops. Don’t fear those who can kill the body but aren’t able to kill the soul. Fear the one who can do both. Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not even one of them falls to the ground without the Father’s consent. And even the hairs of the head…the hairs of your head have been counted. So, don’t be afraid. You’re worth more than many sparrows.” So, what are Jesus fundamental instructions here. He’s telling His friends, “people are gonna say some pretty bad things about you. They’re gonna make all kinds of weird and awful references about you because they’re doing that to me and you are a part of me. So, this is what you can expect. They’re gonna…they’re gonna say all kinds of stuff about you, but don’t worry. Nothing that’s covered is gonna stay uncovered and there’s nothing that’s hidden that won’t be made known.” In other words, keep going, keep being true, keep announcing the kingdom. In the end what’s in the dark will be drug out into the light. Keep enduring, keep moving forward, keep going. “Those that acknowledge me before others, I will acknowledge before the Father in heaven and those who deny I’ll deny before the Father in heaven.” Okay and then this is where it gets really, really challenging. I’m quoting Jesus. “Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be the members of his household.” And that’s Jesus quoting from the prophet Micah when He goes on. “The one who loves a father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. The one who loves a son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it, and anyone who loses his life because of me will find it.” If those words are disruptive to you, like if…if they kind of shake you a bit and you’re like, “okay. How…how would I…how do I even think about doing that successfully? Then good. Then Jesus has spoken words that have gotten your attention. And you can imagine that if you were standing in a crowd around Jesus as these things were being spoken that they would have your attention. But how do we do this? Like, how do we love father or mother less and love him more so that we’re worthy or how do we love son or daughter less so…so that we’re worthy? Is that even quantifiable, right? Like, could you ever think to yourself, “okay. I love my daughter with all of my heart but a little less than I love Jesus and I see that on my love gauge meter.” What’s underneath all this? What is Jesus getting at? Why is He saying disruptive things to get our attention? What are we supposed to know here? Basically lets just remember our journey and its beginning, like on day two, when we were crossing through Genesis chapter 3 and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the rebellion and the eyes of Adam and Eve being opened and their shame and their awareness of their nakedness. The way that we describe this in the Christian faith is often like a canyon or a chasm, a separation from God. Like, that’s very, very common imagery. Let’s go into that for a second. If you are separate from something, then you are aware that you are other than that thing, right? But that separation was never intended to be the way we viewed reality. And awareness of our separateness from God was not our created state. So, anyone who’s ever gone through a situation where the reality that you thought you understood was not the whole picture, like there was a whole lot more and it’s overwhelming. Like, that can be devastating. For example, if you’re a married person, you find out your spouse has been unfaithful, that is a complete shift in consciousness and awareness, and a complete reframing of the reality that you thought you knew. And when something like that happens, the union that you thought you had is blown apart, and you couldn’t feel more separate than you do. We could say you become acutely aware of the separation between you. When these sorts of things happen, what do you hear? We’ve decided to separate. So, you can imagine Adam and Eve becoming aware for the first time of these categories, that they even exist. And we see from the Scriptures, they’re…they’re eyes are opened, and they feel ashamed and they feel naked and they hide and then…then they’re covered and then they’re covering themselves from then on. When our natural state is naked and unashamed and unafraid, like a child. After this, a reality that wasn’t the intended one was made manifest, became their reality and required them to create an identity that was shaped around themselves because this is all they need to do. And at some point, along the line we began to call this our “self”. It’s the thing. It’s the construct of that we have that tells us we are separate from somebody else and we have our own way of looking at things. Okay, let’s go back into our story here. Jesus is saying all of these things. Like why is He telling His friends, “they’re calling me Lord of the flies, Lord of the manure pile. They’re gonna call you that too.” Like why would anybody call pure light and love and graciousness, why would anybody call a true, fully, whole human being like Jesus anything like that? Truth and true humanity came into the world and were modeled and humanity had fallen so far from God that it could not not only recognize God, but rather confuse God with Beelzebub and eventually plot and succeed to assassinate God. The religious leaders who were doing the work of stewarding the souls of the people in their relations to God could not see beyond themselves in order to acknowledge God. To maybe put it more in the vernacular of the Bible, “the light came into the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not. Couldn’t understand, couldn’t become aware.” So, this “self”, and we all have one of those, right, this awareness of our separateness, this “self” and all these things that we attach it to in order to have an identity can actually serve to reinforce our separation from God. The very thing that this Jesus that we are learning and reading about came to bridge; however, in crossing that bridge…and again this is Christianity 101…in crossing that bridge we have to leave something behind, ourselves. We’re instructed in the Scriptures to die to ourselves and become alive unto God and in the process become awakened and aware of who we really are in Christ, which we will explore very deeply as we move through the New Testament. So, fundamentally what Jesus is saying is that anything you are holding onto, any attachment that you have in your life, whether that’s to a person or to a place or to a thing, if you are more attached to that, if you’re looking for that to be your source of life then you aren’t worthy of me. This…this isn’t something new. This is the whole Bible. We’re just gonna repeatedly watch different people over different periods of time try to create a world that they can control and live in only to find it destroys them because we do not live in a godless world and this world will not work without Him. And the only way forward is into full and utter surrender. And when that comes into our lives, when we think about Jesus and surrendering to Him, we might be able to get our minds around surrendering to God but then when we look at our lives functionally, we realize we’re not doing a whole lot of surrendering or sacrificing. And people don’t like to be told to do. People don’t like to submit and surrender. People don’t want the truth enough to search for it with all of their hearts no matter what it might bring them to. The truth will and does set us free, but not before it confronts what is false. And we as people are notoriously not good at accepting that. So, that brings Jesus words, “don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I didn’t come to bring peace but a sword.” What we’re talking about here is the truth, the truth of how things are. And the more we listen to Jesus and His teachings and explore this, the more we will see how distant from that reality the world is. And it’s easy for us to think like, “why can’t everybody just get on the same page? Why can’t we just figure out hunger? Why can’t we just figure out peace? Like, we’re people. We’re in this together. Why can’t we figure this out?” That’s kind of what God has been saying all along and that’s kind of what he says throughout all of the Bible. “You guys. Return to me. The whole story can change.” One kingdom does not replace another kingdom without conflict and disruption though, and that happens in our own hearts. In fact, it happens here first. And so, let’s embrace it.
Jesus, we…it’s hard to consider the disruption even when we know you are in it. It’s hard to consider it good until later…you…because it’s unpleasant, it…it shakes what we think we know, it…it causes us to…to feel out of sorts. And all you’re doing is exposing our need for control and all of the false constructs of our lives. And, so, we’re here and we trust you. You are God and we trust you. And, so, we invite your Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. And this is a common thing that we pray for. We..we need it desperately, we need it daily, we need it hourly, we need it every minute. So, come Holy Spirit we pray. Lead us into all truth we ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
dailyaudiobible.com is the website, its home base, its where you find out what’s going on around here. So, be sure to stay tuned and stay connected in any way that you want to.
The Daily Audio Bible Shop is available with resources for the journey that we are on, all kinds of different resources, from things to write to things to read and listen to. So, check that out.
One thing I have not mentioned at all, yet this year is our…our long-running relationship with coffee and tea. It might sound odd. It’s just kind of grown up in the community. I personally am a bit of a…a coffee snob and over the last couple of years have grown very fond of tea as well, but a bit of a coffee snob and that’s kind of where it all began. I was just looking for the best coffee, the best things to drink coffee with, all of this. I guess it’s been over a decade now since we formed our own brand of coffee and it’s called Windfarm. And that name, Windfarm, it’s on other things that we do as well. It…it’s just a little nod to the book of Ezekiel chapter 37. There is a story, it’s famous and there’s a valley of dry bones and God asks the prophet, “can these bones live again?” And the prophets like, “how? Only You would know that.” And God tells Ezekiel to call to the four winds, the breath of life and resurrection happens. And, so, Windfarm, just this ongoing, never ceasing calling the breath of life into the community into the world is…is kinda wear that name comes from. But anyway, we’ve been roasting our own coffee and importing our own raw green and…and tea…we’ve been doing this for a long time, partly because it was the rhythm of…of my life. Then I realized. you know what, morning coffee is a tradition around the world. Morning tea or coffee, that’s something that everybody, everybody does. What if what…if we could create a better product? What if we could…what if we could just be boutique-y and it’s really fresh and we send it out really fresh and all of the resources because this is like something that we’re gonna buy anyway, we’re gonna go through the drive-through and get a cup of coffee. We’re gonna do…we’re gonna do all this anyway. What if we could just channel that into…into what we’re doing here. And, so, that’s where coffee and tea were born, and you can find them in the Daily Audio Bible Shop. You can see all the different varieties that we have. You can have it sent to you every month, however many bags you want or drink or consume. And they can be shipped to you fresh every month. And man…when that little box arrives and that containers cut open, the fresh coffee comes flooding out and it’s just wonderful. So, we have that - coffee, tea. Coffee can be sent to you every month. We also found last year, so it’s a relatively new product, a way to steep coffee like tea. It might sound odd, but I had to try it for myself. Last year when I went to Israel, I had a bunch of these pouches to try to see to see if it was gonna be a decent cup of coffee because I travel a lot. And, so, end…end up drinking a lot of bad coffee. And this was good. So, got back from Israel and went about the business of…of creating Windfarm steeped coffee. And, so, that is great. Its Nitro sealed. So, it just…the thing about coffee is…it…it will go stale like food. Like it…it does get worse with time. And normally we’re drinking really old coffee and so you’re drinking bad coffee. But this nitrogen pushes the oxygen out and it keeps it in this state of freshness for months and months. And, so, the steeped version of Windfarm coffee, for those of you who travel or want to keep some at the office or whatever, those are available as well in the Daily Audio Bible shop.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible you can do that dailyaudiobible.com as well. There’s a link on the homepage and I thank you profoundly for your partnership. If you’re using the Daily Audio Bible app, you can press the Give button in the upper right-hand corner or, if you prefer, the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill Tennessee 37174.
And, as always, if you have a prayer request or comment, you can hit the Hotline button, the little red button in the app and begin to share or you can dial 877-942-4253.
And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I will be waiting for you here tomorrow.