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11 February - Exodus 21; Psalms 74; Mark 7


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Posted 11 February 2008 - 08:19 AM

First Portion

Exodus 21


21:1 “Now these are the ordinances which you shall set before them.

21:2 “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years and in the seventh he shall go out free without paying anything. 21:3 If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself. If he is married, then his wife shall go out with him. 21:4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. 21:5 But if the servant shall plainly say, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I will not go out free;’ 21:6 then his master shall bring him to God, and shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him for ever.

21:7 “If a man sells his daughter to be a female servant, she shall not go out as the male servants do. 21:8 If she doesn’t please her master, who has married her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt deceitfully with her. 21:9 If he marries her to his son, he shall deal with her as a daughter. 21:10 If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marital rights. 21:11 If he doesn’t do these three things for her, she may go free without paying any money.

21:12 “One who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death, 21:13 but not if it is unintentional, but God allows it to happen: then I will appoint you a place where he shall flee. 21:14 If a man schemes and comes presumptuously on his neighbor to kill him, you shall take him from my altar, that he may die.

21:15 “Anyone who attacks his father or his mother shall be surely put to death.

21:16 “Anyone who kidnaps someone and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

21:17 “Anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

21:18 “If men quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone, or with his fist, and he doesn’t die, but is confined to bed; 21:19 if he rises again and walks around with his staff, then he who struck him shall be cleared: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall provide for his healing until he is thoroughly healed.

21:20 “If a man strikes his servant or his maid with a rod, and he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished. 21:21 Notwithstanding, if he gets up after a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his property.

21:22 “If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely, and yet no harm follows, he shall be surely fined as much as the woman’s husband demands and the judges allow. 21:23 But if any harm follows, then you must take life for life, 21:24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 21:25 burning for burning, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise.

21:26 “If a man strikes his servant’s eye, or his maid’s eye, and destroys it, he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. 21:27 If he strikes out his male servant’s tooth, or his female servant’s tooth, he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.

21:28 “If a bull gores a man or a woman to death, the bull shall surely be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the bull shall not be held responsible. 21:29 But if the bull had a habit of goring in the past, and it has been testified to its owner, and he has not kept it in, but it has killed a man or a woman, the bull shall be stoned, and its owner shall also be put to death. 21:30 If a ransom is laid on him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is laid on him. 21:31 Whether it has gored a son or has gored a daughter, according to this judgment it shall be done to him. 21:32 If the bull gores a male servant or a female servant, thirty shekels of silver shall be given to their master, and the ox shall be stoned.

21:33 “If a man opens a pit, or if a man digs a pit and doesn’t cover it, and a bull or a donkey falls into it, 21:34 the owner of the pit shall make it good. He shall give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall be his.

21:35 “If one man’s bull injures another’s, so that it dies, then they shall sell the live bull, and divide its price; and they shall also divide the dead animal. 21:36 Or if it is known that the bull was in the habit of goring in the past, and its owner has not kept it in, he shall surely pay bull for bull, and the dead animal shall be his own.

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 08:21 AM

Second Portion

Psalms 74


A contemplation by Asaph.

74:1 God, why have you rejected us forever?
Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?
74:2 Remember your congregation, which you purchased of old,
which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your inheritance;
Mount Zion, in which you have lived.
74:3 Lift up your feet to the perpetual ruins,
all the evil that the enemy has done in the sanctuary.
74:4 Your adversaries have roared in the midst of your assembly.
They have set up their standards as signs.
74:5 They behaved like men wielding axes,
cutting through a thicket of trees.
74:6 Now they break all its carved work down with hatchet and hammers.
74:7 They have burned your sanctuary to the ground.
They have profaned the dwelling place of your Name.
74:8 They said in their heart, “We will crush them completely.”
They have burned up all the places in the land where God was worshiped.
74:9 We see no miraculous signs.
There is no longer any prophet,
neither is there among us anyone who knows how long.
74:10 How long, God, shall the adversary reproach?
Shall the enemy blaspheme your name forever?
74:11 Why do you draw back your hand, even your right hand?
Take it out of your pocket and consume them!
74:12 Yet God is my King of old,
working salvation in the midst of the earth.
74:13 You divided the sea by your strength.
You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters.
74:14 You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces.
You gave him as food to people and desert creatures.
74:15 You opened up spring and stream.
You dried up mighty rivers.
74:16 The day is yours, the night is also yours.
You have prepared the light and the sun.
74:17 You have set all the boundaries of the earth.
You have made summer and winter.
74:18 Remember this, that the enemy has mocked you, Yahweh.
Foolish people have blasphemed your name.
74:19 Don’t deliver the soul of your dove to wild beasts.
Don’t forget the life of your poor forever.
74:20 Honor your covenant,
for haunts of violence fill the dark places of the earth.
74:21 Don’t let the oppressed return ashamed.
Let the poor and needy praise your name.
74:22 Arise, God! Plead your own cause.
Remember how the foolish man mocks you all day.
74:23 Don’t forget the voice of your adversaries.
The tumult of those who rise up against you ascends continually.

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 08:23 AM

Third Portion

Mark 7


7:1 Then the Pharisees, and some of the scribes gathered together to him, having come from Jerusalem. 7:2 Now when they saw some of his disciples eating bread with defiled, that is, unwashed, hands, they found fault. 7:3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, don’t eat unless they wash their hands and forearms, holding to the tradition of the elders. 7:4 They don’t eat when they come from the marketplace, unless they bathe themselves, and there are many other things, which they have received to hold to: washings of cups, pitchers, bronze vessels, and couches.) 7:5 The Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why don’t your disciples walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with unwashed hands?”

7:6 He answered them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me.
7:7 But in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

7:8 “For you set aside the commandment of God, and hold tightly to the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and you do many other such things.” 7:9 He said to them, “Full well do you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. 7:10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother;’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 7:11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban, that is to say, given to God;”’ 7:12 then you no longer allow him to do anything for his father or his mother, 7:13 making void the word of God by your tradition, which you have handed down. You do many things like this.”

7:14 He called all the multitude to himself, and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. 7:15 There is nothing from outside of the man, that going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed out of the man are those that defile the man. 7:16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!”

7:17 When he had entered into a house away from the multitude, his disciples asked him about the parable. 7:18 He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Don’t you perceive that whatever goes into the man from outside can’t defile him, 7:19 because it doesn’t go into his heart, but into his stomach, then into the latrine, thus purifying all foods?” 7:20 He said, “That which proceeds out of the man, that defiles the man. 7:21 For from within, out of the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, sexual sins, murders, thefts, 7:22 covetings, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. 7:23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”

7:24 From there he arose, and went away into the borders of Tyre and Sidon. He entered into a house, and didn’t want anyone to know it, but he couldn’t escape notice. 7:25 For a woman, whose little daughter had an unclean spirit, having heard of him, came and fell down at his feet. 7:26 Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by race. She begged him that he would cast the demon out of her daughter. 7:27 But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not appropriate to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

7:28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord. Yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

7:29 He said to her, “For this saying, go your way. The demon has gone out of your daughter.”

7:30 She went away to her house, and found the child having been laid on the bed, with the demon gone out.

7:31 Again he departed from the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and came to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the region of Decapolis. 7:32 They brought to him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech. They begged him to lay his hand on him. 7:33 He took him aside from the multitude, privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue. 7:34 Looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” that is, “Be opened!” 7:35 Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was released, and he spoke clearly. 7:36 He commanded them that they should tell no one, but the more he commanded them, so much the more widely they proclaimed it. 7:37 They were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes even the deaf hear, and the mute speak!”

World English Bible - (WEB) - Public Domain

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 11:52 AM

11 February 2009

Exodus 21
Psalms 74
Mark 7


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Posted 11 February 2010 - 10:42 AM

11 February 2010

Exodus 21
Psalms 74
Mark 7

THE FOOLISH SCOFF

Our Psalms reading today [Psalm 74] was obviously written when God's nation was in distress and their temple destroyed. In some ways it has application to our situation now. The faithful were surrounded by scoffers, not dissimilar to what we will soon read about in Exodus. Real faith in God is a challenge, God does not make his presense so evident so that there is no need for real faith, but the evidence is there for those who apply their minds. The writer of this Psalm (Asaph) had to cope with a lot of scoffers.

"There is no longer any prophet and there is none among us who knows how long" [Psalm 74:9] Today we also ask, "How long?" The Psalm continues, "Is the enemy to revile your name for ever?" [Psalm 74:10] The Psalm becomes a petition, "Remember this, O LORD, how the enemy scoffs and a foolish people reviles your name" [Psalm 74:18] So also today, the very existence of God is reviled and scoffed at – and more and more of the mass of people accept this and believe they are only the highest form of animal and therefore serve their baser instincts.

So the plea to God is, "Arise O God, defend your cause; remember how the foolish scoff at you all the day long!" [Psalm 74:23] This is rather parallel with how we feel when we encounter those who doubt that any God exists and may scoff at those who declare their belief that he does – and what's more that he is actively involved in life on earth and soon all people will be made aware of that.

The next Psalm gives God's answer, "At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity. When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars" [Psalm 75:2,3] We must not let our faith be undermined by the scoffing of the foolish.
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Posted 07 March 2011 - 03:40 PM

11 February 2011

Exodus 21
Psalms 74
Mark 7

"WHOEVER CURSES HIS FATHER OR HIS MOTHER ..."

Our readings in Exodus, having recorded the giving of the Ten Commandments, are now taking us through a whole range of the laws which the people of Israel were to keep so that they became an orderly and holy nation. We pondered their system of slavery and the fact that there appeared to be no system of employment with wages as we know it today. If there was, what would they use for money, where would they keep such wages? But what kind of slavery was it? In the modern world slavery was only abolished 150 years ago; it was an abhorrent social system and it was far more abhorrent than Israel’s kind of slavery.

The chapter starts, “Now these are the rules that you shall set before them. When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing.” [Exodus 21:1,2]. As we come to read further chapters and Leviticus (see Leviticus 25:39) we shall see that the payment made for someone enslaved was to clear a debt; also the son(s) of a man who died, leaving debts, could be enslaved for a period to clear those debts.

But it was Exodus 21:17 that really caught our attention, it reads “Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death” A footnote indicates the Hebrew, qalal could also be translated as dishonours or reviles. Juvenile delinquency was very firmly dealt with under this law!

This lead us to consider the future laws in God’s Kingdom when “many people will come, and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD … that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go the law …” [Isaiah 2:3]. We noted also Isaiah 51:4,5, “for a law will go out from me, and I will set my justice as a light to the peoples … for my arm they wait.”

Jesus is the ARM of the LORD [John 12:38]! Those who have the attitude, ‘I’ll do as I please’ will get a shock when the Jesus reigns and the LORD’s law goes forth. Is our spirit and attitudes such now that we will appreciate that time – or does the so called “freedom” of today influence us too much?.
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Posted 11 February 2012 - 09:33 AM

11 February 2012

Exodus 21
Psalms 74
Mark 7

"THE HABITATIONS OF VIOLENCE"

Every time we listen to the world news we hear accounts of violence in various places. Our Psalm today [Psalm 74] has some comparison to this as it was most likely written after the destruction of the Temple for the Psalmist (Asaph) is lamenting, “the enemy has set your sanctuary on fire; they profaned the dwelling place of your name, bringing it down to the ground.” [Psalm 74:7] He then laments about the situation saying, “there is no longer any prophet and there is none among us who knows how long” [Psalm 74:9]

How long? Well, the situation is that “a foolish people reviles your name … for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence” [Psalm 74:18,20] How parallel this situation is with the world today; we could write a Psalm today that would be similar – except for the fact that although there is no longer any prophet we all have access, if we are inclined, to the word of God and its visions of how God sees life and the ultimate end in store!

So we can ask “how long” must this violence in the world continue from a special perspective - now that significant violence is in countries next to God’s land and the people he has restored to live there!?

The Psalm contains lessons for us – for the writer turns his thoughts to God! “Yet God is my King from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.” [Psalm 74:12] We remember how God worked deliverance in the days of Moses and David.

The last two verses are a prayer to God that can be ours today, “Arise, O God, defend your cause; remember (be mindful) how the foolish scoff at you all the day! Do not forget the clamour of your foes, the uproar of those who rise up against you, which goes up continually!”

To these words we can add the words with which David concluded Psalm 9, “Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you! Put them in fear, O LORD! Let the nations know they are but men!”
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Posted 11 February 2013 - 02:22 AM

11 February 2013

Exodus 21
Psalms 74
Mark 7

“A FOOLISH PEOPLE REVILES YOUR NAME”

Our Psalms reading today [Psalm 74] was obviously written when God’s nation was in distress and their temple destroyed. Asaph is a later Psalmist and some of his words are very appropriate to our situation now; the few faithful in Israel were surrounded by scoffers, not dissimilar to what we will soon read in Exodus. Real faith in God is a challenge, the Eternal does not make his presence so evident that there is no need for real faith, but the evidence is there for those who really apply their minds to ‘know’ God.

It is evident Asaph had to cope with a lot of scoffers. He writes, “There is no longer any prophet and there is none among us who knows how long” [Psalm 74:9] Today we also ask, “How long?” He then asks God, “Is the enemy to revile your name for ever?” [Psalm 74:10] The Psalm becomes a petition, “Remember this, O LORD, how the enemy scoffs and a foolish people reviles your name” [Psalm 74:18] So also today, the very existence of God is scoffed at and believers are sometimes reviled, especially in print, also - by implication - on TV.. More and more the mass of people accept the idea that they are only the highest form of animal and they evolved through endless accidents of pure chance.

In the generations from when the Bible was available for all to read many nations built up a ‘moral bank balance’ of spirituality – but this ‘balance’ has now all been used – and there are no ‘securities’ available for Governments to borrow against to build up the moral fibre of their people – even if they wanted to!

We note Asaph’s plea to God, “Arise O God, defend your cause; remember how the foolish scoff at you all the day long!” [Psalm 74:23] This is now our plea in prayer to God, and it will become more and more urgent. What kind of answer are we expecting God to give?

The next Psalm gives God’s answer, “At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity. When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars” [Psalm 75:2-3] We must not let our faith be undermined by the scoffing of the foolish, indeed we must be increasingly positive drawing on our ‘bank balance’ of scripture strength!

Asaph in yesterday’s Psalm expressed his personal relationship with God, “Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory … there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” [Psalm 73:23-26] May we say ‘Amen’ to that with all our heart.
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Posted 11 February 2014 - 03:50 AM

11 February 2014

Exodus 21
Psalms 74
Mark 7

"HOW LONG?"

Our Psalms reading today [Psalm 74] was obviously written when God's nation was in distress and their temple destroyed. In some ways it has application to our situation now. The faithful were surrounded by scoffers, not dissimilar to what we will soon read about in Exodus. Real faith in God is a challenge, God does not make his presence so evident so that there is no need for real faith, but the evidence is there for those who apply their minds. The writer of this Psalm (Asaph) had to cope with a lot of scoffers.

"There is no longer any prophet and there is none among us who knows how long" [Psalm 74:9] Today we also ask, "How long?" The Psalm continues, "Is the enemy to revile your name for ever?" [Psalm 74:10] The Psalm becomes a petition, "Remember this, O LORD, how the enemy scoffs and a foolish people reviles your name" [Psalm 74:18] So also today, the very existence of God is reviled and scoffed at - and more and more of the mass of people accept this and believe they are only the highest form of animal and therefore serve their baser instincts.

So the plea to God is, "Arise O God, defend your cause; remember how the foolish scoff at you all the day long!" [Psalm 74:23] This is rather parallel with how we feel when we encounter those who doubt that any God exists and may scoff at those who declare their belief that he does - and what's more that he is actively involved in life on earth and soon all people will be made aware of that.

The next Psalm gives God's answer, "At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity. When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars" [Psalm 75:2,3] We must not let our faith be undermined by the scoffing of the foolish.
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Posted 11 February 2015 - 11:28 AM

11 February 2015
 
Exodus 21
Psalms 74
Mark 7  
 
“OUT OF THE HEART … COME …”
            
Today we read the straightforward teaching of Jesus that exposes the attitudes that lie behind so much of human behaviour. His words are probably familiar to us; they were spoken against the background of the rules and regulations taught the Lawyers and Pharisees. Our chapter 7 in Mark begins with a comment that the "Pharisees and all the Jews ... do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches." [Mark 7:3-4] Now such a practice is good, but when we embellish it, as they did, and turn it into a ritual and a foundation for your sense of righteousness, then it corrupts human thinking. 
            
Jesus teaching is very simple and goes to the heart of the problem. He first quotes Isaiah, "it is written, "'This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" [Mark 7:6-7] Let us make sure our doctrines are the commandments and teachings revealed in God's word. 
            
The 'simple' warning of Jesus should be familiar to us, "from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person." [Mark 7:21-23]
            
Jesus' words are so applicable to life around us today and while few are guilty of physical murder yet Christ indicates “slander” is serious for it seeks to ‘murder’ a person's character.  
            
Consider "coveting ... envy .. pride" and then think of the abundance of advertising that surrounds us!  It is aimed at developing and exploiting these attitudes in human thinking: it also encourages and exploits sensuality. These are the main attitudes of mind that threaten to "defile" us today, to develop within and then come “out of the heart”- our heart!  
            
When we come to Mark 12 we will see Jesus’ answer to the scribe who asked, "Which commandment is the most important ..." [Mark 12:28] Jesus replies, "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'" [Mark 12:30]  What is love?  That is a word that has been totally corrupted today!  If the full focus of our mind is on loving the creator of all life together with his Son who came to offer us 'abundant life' - then "out of our heart will increasingly come everything that is lovely and Christ-like. 
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Posted 11 February 2016 - 10:23 AM

11 February 2016
 
Exodus 21
Psalms 74
Mark 7 
 
"IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME"
 
There are many different kinds of worship in our world, many beliefs as to what God is – so many gods of human imagination!  We know from experience that some/many of the young generation in India , treat the ‘gods’ in the Temples as a ‘joke’ – and the feasts, especially ‘Puja’ as just a fun time – comparable to our Xmas!
            
As we reflect on this and how it is all very sad – we recall what the one true God, the Creator, said through Jeremiah! "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?" [Jeremiah 5:31] 
            
The most tragic situation to be seen at the present to - is the effect of their beliefs on the minds of the adherents' of Islam! Their “prophets “prophesy falsely” that they will gain immediate entry into paradise when they undertake suicide missions that kill the enemies of Islam, as they see them. Our thoughts 'wandered' along these lines after we read the words of Jesus in Mark 7.  We noted the attitude of the Pharisees when "they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed." [Mark 7:2]  Jesus said that their attitude was a fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecy, "it is written, "'This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" [Mark 7:6-7]
            
This perception is so applicable to today "In vain do they worship" God as they imagine him to be! This applies, sadly, to a whole range of situations in our world - it is a distorted view of God - one largely - or entirely - of their own imagination.  It is so parallel to what Jesus told the Pharisees, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!" [Mark 7:9]
            
The verses which follow indicate Jesus' criticism of the way the Pharisees manipulated the application of the Mosaic law in order to avoid their responsibility toward their parents in their old age.  Most of us are blessed to live in countries in which the Government largely provides accommodation and support for the elderly and those genuinely in need.  
            
But so many people take this for granted – there is no faith or belief involved!  But we can say "in vain do they" believe there is NO God!  We must not let this influence us.  It is, as Paul told the Thessalonians, "all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved." [2 Thessalonians 2:10]  Let us make sure we do not "worship" our Creator "in vain."  Let us read his Scriptures daily and, as a result, “know that we are of the truth and reassure our hearts before him.” [1 John 3:19].
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Posted 12 February 2017 - 03:04 AM

11 February 2017
 
Exodus 21
Psalms 74
Mark 7 
 
"THE HABITATIONS OF VIOLENCE"
 
Every time we listen to the world news we hear accounts of violence in various places. Our Psalm today [Psalm 74] has some comparison to this as it was most likely written after the destruction of the Temple for the Psalmist (Asaph) is lamenting, “the enemy has set your sanctuary on fire; they profaned the dwelling place of your name, bringing it down to the ground.” [Psalm 74:7] He then laments about the situation saying, “there is no longer any prophet and there is none among us who knows how long” [Psalm 74:9]
 
How long? Well, the situation is that “a foolish people reviles your name … for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence” [Psalm 74:18,20] How parallel this situation is with the world today; we could write a Psalm today that would be similar – except for the fact that although there is no longer any prophet we all have access, if we are inclined, to the word of God. This opens out for us visions of how God sees life and the ultimate end in that awaits the world!
 
So we can ask “how long” must this “violence” all around the world continue!? But we ask this question from a special perspective! Now that significant violence is in countries immediately north of God’s land and it seems certain the chosen people he has brought back to live there will be involved in the violence!
 
The Psalm contains lessons for us – for the writer turns his thoughts to God! “Yet God is my King from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.” [Psalm 74:12]. Let us echo this prayer! We remember how God worked deliverance in the days of Moses and David – and soon for us! Let us have a sure faith in this!
 
The last two verses are a prayer to God and they can – and should be - ours today, “Arise, O God, defend your cause; remember (be mindful) how the foolish scoff at you all the day! Do not forget the clamour of your foes, the uproar of those who rise up against you, which goes up continually!” Many foes say he does not exist!
 
Finally we are attracted to add the words with which David concluded Psalm 9, “Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you! Put them in fear, O LORD! Let the nations know they are but men!” May “the habitations of violence” reach a dramatic climax, as prophesied – and then be no more! [Psalm 9:19]
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- DC


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Posted 11 February 2018 - 02:53 AM

11 February 2018
 
Exodus 21
Psalms 74
Mark 7 
 
"IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME"
 
There are many different kinds of worship in our world, many beliefs as to what God is – so many gods of human imagination! We know from experience that some/many of the young generation in India , treat the "gods" in the Temples as a 'joke" – and the feasts, especially "Puja" as just a fun time – comparable to our Christmas!
 
As we reflect on this and how it is all very sad – we recall what the one true God, the Creator, said through Jeremiah! "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?" [Jeremiah 5:31]. 
 
The most tragic situation to be seen at the present to - is the effect of their beliefs on the minds of the adherents' of Islam! Their "prophets prophesy falsely" that they will gain immediate entry into paradise when they undertake suicide missions that kill the enemies of Islam, as they see them. Our thoughts 'wandered' along these lines after we read the words of Jesus in Mark 7. We noted the attitude of the Pharisees when "they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed" [Mark 7:2]. Jesus said that their attitude was a fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecy, "it is written, 'This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'" [Mark 7:6-7].
 
This perception is so applicable to today "In vain do they worship" God as they imagine him to be! This applies, sadly, to a whole range of situations in our world - it is a distorted view of God - one largely - or entirely - of their own imagination.  It is so parallel to what Jesus told the Pharisees, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!" [Mark 7:9].
 
The verses which follow indicate Jesus' criticism of the way the Pharisees manipulated the application of the Mosaic law in order to avoid their responsibility toward their parents in their old age. Most of us are blessed to live in countries in which the Government largely provides accommodation and support for the elderly and those genuinely in need. 
 
But so many people take this for granted – there is no faith or belief involved! But we can say "in vain do they" believe there is NO God! We must not let this influence us.  
 
It is, as Paul told the Thessalonians, "all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved." [2 Thessalonians 2:10] Let us make sure we do not "worship" our Creator "in vain." Let us read his Scriptures daily and, as a result, "know that we are of the truth and reassure our hearts before him" [1 John 3:19].
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- DC





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