Genesis 35:1-36:43, Matthew 12:1-21, Psalms 15:1-5, Proverbs 3:21-26
Today is the 17th day of January, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian and it’s great to be here with you as we take the next step forward in the Scriptures, but the next step forward into the end of our week. We have already successfully passed the center of this month and the strangest thing will happen, we’ll just keep doing this and one day we’ll wake up and we’ll be passing through the center of June and we’ll say, “wasn’t it just January? Didn’t just start his voyage? But that’s what seems to happen as we just keep showing up every day, day by day, step-by-step being transformed as God’s word speaks to us. So, let’s get that. We’re reading from the Christian Standard Bible this week and we’ve been tracking with the story of Jacob, whose name has become Israel, which snaps a lot of things into place because Jacob or Israel has kids, those kids are his children, the children of Israel and we’re watching that take shape as we continue forward in the story of Jacob. So, today Genesis chapters 35 and 36.
Okay. In the book of Genesis, we’ve been watching the story of Jacob since he fled Esau, right? And, so, he goes to Laban, he requires a household and a family, he leaves Laban, he meets Esau, they make their peace. There is a ton of drama involved, but they make their peace. And then so then Esau takes his household and moves away. Jacob kind of moves into the Land. He had the birthright he had his father’s blessing. And although there was a time that this was some mortal conflict and looked like somebody was going to die, a couple of decades have past, the brothers have both prospered, Esau moves further east and in the same way that Jacob, his name becomes Israel we see that Esau’s name becomes Edom and he becomes the father of the Edomites. And we spent a good deal of time reading the ancestral line of the Edomites and we might be like, “well what…you know…I understand there’s gonna be genealogies in the Bible, I just hope that they would make some sense as far as why they’re there. And it does. It does. We just simply need to understand. This is Esau’s family. They’re brothers. So, like, the Edomites and the Israelites are literally blood relations coming from two blood brothers, the sons of Isaac. We’re getting a good look at them now, because later on they’re not going to be acting like brothers and that’s going to be a problem. In fact, such a problem that an entire book of prophecy, a small one, but an entire book of prophecy will be dedicated to this conflict. But won’t happen until we get toward the end of this year. So, let’s just kind of place a marker here after the same fashion that Jacob did, a little rock, a little marker here so that we can remember where we are in the story. Jacob and Esau. The Israelites and the Edomites.
Okay. Then we get into the book of Matthew and this week we sort of…we sorta hit a stride as we’re walking along through the gospel of Matthew and walking along with Jesus and observing His ministry and hearing what He is saying. And we got a distinct understanding and had plenty of time to talk about it this week about how backward…how backward the world seems to be or seemed to be in that time to the worldview that Jesus is describing in His ministry. He’s discussing and revealing a kingdom and His words, and His deeds have certainly captured the attention and set the hearts of His hearers on fire. People are following Jesus and what they thought of Jesus we get clues to that in the Gospels when they say things like, “nobody ever talked about this before” or “this man preaches like He has authority that it is unlike any of our other scribes and Pharisees and rabbis.” So, we get the benefit of hearing what Jesus is saying but we also get clues about how that was impacting people. And we’ve talked about Jesus teaching wisdom. We’ve talked about Jesus being a miracle worker at a prophet and…and being perceived this way as He reveals God’s kingdom. And although we know that Jesus did claim to be the way the truth and the life, and I for one believe that fully, that doesn’t seem to be the mission that He’s on, to convince everyone that He’s the way the truth and the life. The mission that He seems to be on is one in which a shift in the way the world is seen can occur in the hearts of people, a change in worldview or a change in awareness or even a change in consciousness so that they can wake up to realize that God is doing something in the world already. It’s not something to be waited for, it’s something to be participated in now. So, in today’s reading Jesus continues to minister and heal. I mean, He’s beginning to get into trouble over just about everything now because the religious people are picking at Him. So, today’s confrontation was over the Sabbath day. And He’s gonna be in trouble about doing things on the Sabbath day on a number of Sabbath days, but simply to illustrate the vast difference between Jesus view of the world and humanity and humanity’s view of themselves and of Jesus, all we need to do is read two verses that sum up our reading today. “Then he told the man, stretch out your hand. So, he stretched it out and it was restored as good as the other, but the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might kill him.” This illustrates how the light came into the darkness, but the darkness comprehended it not. And it was the religious leaders who missed it, the ones who should…the ones who should have saw it the most clear were the most blinded. And as we probably already know from the story of Jesus, we will see just how dark the darkness can be doing.
Then we get into the Psalms today, Psalms chapter 15, and there’s these questions that we want answers to. “Who can dwell in your tent”, right? So, “who gets to live in your house? Who gets to be in your presence Lord? Who gets to live on your holy mountain?” And the questions are answered, “the one who lives blamelessly, practices righteousness, and acknowledges the truth in his heart, who does not slander with his tongue, does not harm his friend or discredit his neighbor, who despises the one rejected by the Lord, but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his word, whatever the cost or does not lend his silver at interest or take a bribe against the innocent. The one who does these things will never be shaken.” Now we could go like, “okay. there’s my list, that’s what I need to live into.” And there are lots of lists like this in the Bible of things that we ought to live into and…and we should: however, if we just go like, “alright. Well here’s my first list. I’m going to try to live into this this week” and we write these characteristics down and by brute force we try to harness ourselves to be successful at this, we’re gonna find that we won’t be successful, we will eventually fail because what we have going on here is the Bible speaking to us inwardly and us often processing it in ways outwardly. That's…that’s nothing more than rearranging the furniture in our lives, but not actually changing anything. So, David says, “who can dwell in your tent? The one who lives blamelessly, practices, righteousness and acknowledges the truth in his heart.” Let’s work backwards on this. The one who acknowledges the truth in his heart. If there’s one thing that we’re seeing in the gospel of Matthew right now in the person of Jesus it is someone who is true in his heart. It’s actually that truth, that light that is causing problems for Him because as we talked about, truth will set you free but not before it confronts what is false. So, we go back to the Psalm. “Who can live in your tent?” The one who acknowledges the truth in his heart. In other words, the one who will allow the voice of wisdom in the presence of the Holy Spirit to expose what is false. The one who practices righteousness will dwell in God’s presence. Practices righteousness. Not the one who has achieved mastery at being righteous in their own strength upon this earth. The one who practices righteousness. Alright. So, if we’re practicing righteousness and we are acknowledging the truth in our hearts then we got a good shot at a blameless life, but we’ve got a bunch of other characteristics we gotta live into, like the one that doesn’t slander with her tongue. “Alright. now I gotta control my tongue. The one who doesn’t harm his friend. “Well. I don’t normally do that but sometimes I might accidentally say something I shouldn’t.” The one who discredits his neighbor. They don’t get to be in God’s presence. “Well. I do that sometimes. Like we can go down this list but it's…it’s actually quite simple. If you practice righteousness and acknowledge the truth in your heart and live a blameless life, then you are walking in wisdom. And if you are walking in wisdom then you are also walking in love. And will often find that when we get these kinds of lists from the Bible none of the things that we should avoid are things that we can possibly do in love. So, for example, can you slander with your tongue in love? Can you harm your friend in love? Can you discredit your neighbor in love? In the name of Jesus can you take a bribe against innocent if you love them? So, there are all kinds of things in the Bible that can give us lists that are very helpful because they name things. And Paul does this a lot. But then we can, you know, we can get these lists and then feel like they are overwhelming characteristic behavior modification projects and it can get absolutely overwhelming when actually all we have to do is ask ourselves, “can I do this in love?” And that makes the lists really clear.
Father we thank You for Your word. We thank You for leading us this far even though we’re just beginning, leading us this far into the journey and we thank You for all of the things that You are already touching, the things that You are already beginning to move around inside of us and we open ourselves to You. We invite You to continue this process that we might be one who acknowledges the truth in our hearts, that we might practice righteousness, that we might live in this world in love, Your love flowing out through us into the world. And we are learning plenty about the voice of wisdom. And Proverbs speaks to us clearly today, to maintain sound wisdom and discretion, to never lose sight of them. We will lose sight of them without Your guidance. So, guide us Father because the Scriptures tell us that wisdom and discretion will be the light for us and adornment for our necks. We’ll be able to go safely on our way if we walk with wisdom and discretion. Our feet won’t stumble. When we lie down, we won’t be afraid. Our sleep will be pleasant and restorative. We won’t have to fear the suddenness of danger or the ruin of the wicked. You’ll be our confidence. You’ll keep our feet from snares if we are willing to maintain wisdom and discretion. Come Holy Spirit that is precisely what we want to do. Come Holy Spirit and show us how. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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I remind you that this, what you’re listening to right now is the Daily Audio Bible and we are working our way through the Bible in year but there’s also the Daily Audio Bible Chronological, a community of people led by my daughter China who are working their way through the entire Bible in a year, but in chronological order, in the order that the events happened. So that’s available.
I also…I mean…we’ve talked about wisdom quite a bit because the Bible does. And, so, we will throughout this year. And one of the greatest repositories of…of the outflow of wisdom would be the book of Proverbs. The Daily Audio Proverb is available, going through up a chapter a day and through the entire book of Proverbs in a month. It is a fantastic vitamin, like for your day. It takes…I don’t know…a couple…a few minutes…less than five minutes to pour unfiltered wisdom into your heart.
And the Daily Audio Psalm is also available. That’s about two minutes and it just kind of additionally works through the Psalms. So, there’s these…these communities going through the Bible in a year and there’s these vitamins along the way to just kind of reinforce the Scripture and its advice in our lives. And I mentioned all that kind of at the beginning of the year, but now we’re a couple weeks in, we moved through the halfway point of the first month, so we probably have the lay of the land a little. So, we can start thinking about, “okay. How do…where are the little places that I can put the Scriptures in…in my life so that yes, I hear from God’s word, but I’m continually setting up things in my life that remind me of my life and who I am and who I belong to and where this is all going. So, those resources are available. Check them out.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I will be waiting for you here tomorrow.