April 23

Luke 19:1-27

In verse 19, Jesus said of Himself, “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” He spoke this after saving a cheating taxman, Zacchaeus. I’m not sure we get the whole meaning unless we understand that taxmen were Jews that were working for Rome, collecting tax from their own countrymen for an oppressor. Their character was usually faulted, they were unliked, and they often made more personal gain by adding to the tax amount, taking a cut for themselves. Jesus saved Zacchaeus – a wicked man. This communicated Jesus purpose – “to seek and to save that which was lost.”

The people complained against Jesus for this, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” The complainers were not the Pharisees; the complainers were the common Jews in the crowd. Have you ever reached out to help a sinner or someone in trouble, and people in the church complained? Have you ever reached out to a single mom, and someone in the church had concerns you were promoting unwed pregnancies? I have. Have you ever reached out to inner city kids and a rich doctor’s wife said, “We don’t want those kinds around our children?” I have. Have you ever reached out to a minority family that her difficulty getting to church and hear the pastor’s wife say, “We don’t want those kinds of people in our church anyway?” I have. Let me tell you, you reach out to the sinner or the troubled soul, and you will encounter opposition from people you thought were good Christian people. You will get complaints from friends that you thought shared your heart. Don’t be shocked when certain people put their nose up when you are reaching down to the hurting. I’ve even seen people love to help with the poor, serve the homeless, but then get judgmental when a woman suffers from a sorted past. It’s okay, though. It will challenge their religious pride.

Jesus’ crucifixion is close at hand. As the disciples came near Jerusalem, knowing their erroneous thoughts about the kingdom being physically established soon, Jesus told a parable about taking caring of business while the man went away to receive a kingdom for himself. The message was about faithfulness. The man came back, having received his kingdom, and judged the men’s faithfulness. The disciples were actually men known to turn the world upside down, so the admonishment for faithfulness was something they did accomplish. The purpose of the parable was so the men would understand the kingdom would not come until after their Master would return. Their commission is the same as ours today, found in verse 13: “DO BUSINESS TILL I COME.” Our lives as Christians carry responsibility that goes beyond caring for our families and being faithful in the workplace. EVERY SINGLE CHRISTIAN HAS RESPONSIBILITY TO ADVANCE THE KINGDOM. It’s not just for the pastor, teacher, evangelist, prophet, or apostle. It’s for each Christian to do his or her part to serve, to evangelize, and to give. So let’s stay busy until Jesus returns!

2 Samuel 7-9

Nathan was a prophet. God has not done away with prophets, men and women in an office, or leadership position, in the kingdom. They do still exist, and they often know God’s mind on kingdom matters.

David, a warrior, who once lived in caves, now lived in a magnificent home. His home was a palace built by the King of Tyre, designed and fashioned by professional carpenters and masons (5:11). David was in a season of rest from war, shifting his focus to uniting Israel. God had established David in Jerusalem, and now David wanted to establish a place for God. God speaks through Nathan. Let’s see what God has to say about this:

God pays attention to what we say and want. He starts by acknowledging what David is thinking and saying. We know God does that for each one of us, too.
God reminds David of his calling, his purpose. His purpose is to shepherd the people. God’s calling for David is not to build a house for God. We need to make sure we stay in our lane, and do what we are called to do as well.
David is part of something bigger than his one, short life. God works with generations and God works with nations. God also is able to raise up the person He needs when He needs it. Right now, He has something specific for David.
God promises to establish David and to show him mercy. Saul was not shown mercy.
God promised to established David’s descendants forever. We know Jesus will come through David.
God does not tell David to build the house. Later we see that because David has put his hands to war, God would choose David’s son, Solomon, to build the temple. Until then, David was to unite the people and lead them in following after God.

David responds with a thankfulness for all God has done, what He is doing, and what He will do for Israel. We should do the same for our lives.

In chapter 8, we see that David still has to fight enemies. He is a wartime king. David collects items to dedicate to the Lord- silver, gold, and bronze. He is gathering precious items that will be used when the temple is built (1 Chronicles 18:8).

In chapter 9, we see the power of a covenant David had made with Jonathan. In verse 1, David asks to see if there is anyone of the house of Saul, desiring to show “kindness.” The Hebrew word can also refer to “faithfulness.” David wanted to fulfill a covenant vow to Jonathan.

Jonathan had a son that survived war because he had a disability and was never able to fight. The man was lame in his feet because he was dropped to the ground as baby, a fall that probably broke bones that never healed properly. His name is Mephibosheth.

We can relate to Mephibosheth in that we are spiritual unable to fix ourselves. We are spiritual lame, unable to overcome an enemy of sin and death on our own.

Mephibosheth respected the authority and power behind the king, and until he knew the kindness of David, there was a fear.

God is far in superiority to us. He is God, and we are not. God is the Father, and we are the child. The relationship is one where one party is the authority and the other is the subordinate.

David is royalty, and he invites Mephibosheth into his home. He invites him to eat his food, to restore his land and Saul’s servants and belongings, and to have a close relationship as one of David’s sons.

In our covenant with God, God gives all of Himself to us. All that He has, all that He does, and all that He can do; He shares with us. In return, He asks us to become part of His family, leaving what we once knew. Knowing God requires turning from what used to be in order to receive all that we were meant to be. There is a place for us at God’s table, where sons gather, a place of belonging and acceptance. The table is a place where we receive our identity, our purpose, and our provision. The table is a place where we sit, meaning we are placed there, established there, in union with God and others.

The story of Mephibosheth can resonate with each of us. Let’s be thankful for a seat at the table of God!

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