It’s been so encouraging, once again, to hear about people who are following this blog. Quite humbling too. It gives me the impetus to carry on when there are so many distractions. We had a difficult day at home today: arguments and shouting. Family stuff. It’s really hard to balance the ideal spiritual life against the 21st Century. Like juggling on a see-saw sometimes. I have a nervous habit of biting my third finger nail. Just the third one! Poor thing. So if I said both the left hand and right hand had been bitten, you can guess how my day went.
Isaac may have been a nail biter too. If so, the problems between Esau and Jacob must have driven him to it. In Genesis 26 we learn that King Abimelech want to make peace with Isaac so he promises not to harm him. He’s no fool and he knows that the Lord is with Isaac. He remembers what happened with Sarah – well you would, wouldn’t you? But we already know things are going to go badly because Esau and Jacob don’t see eye to eye, despite being twins. Esau marries two local women who make old Isaac and Rebekah miserable.
The family is falling apart and in Genesis 27 things get worse. Rebekah tells Jacob to pretend to be Esau so that he can trick blind Isaac into giving him a blessing. When Esau hears about this, he is furious. Rebekah tells Jacob to flee the land until Esau has cooled down. As a bonus, she knows that Jacob will not have to marry one of those dreadful Hittite women, like Esau did.
Matthew 9 is a short one, but Jesus has a lot to say here. First of all he heals the paralysed man, which upsets the religious teachers. But it is he who is teaching them. He first forgives the man’s sins. And that was what got them all worked up. But which is harder, forgiving sins or asking a lame man to walk? Only the Son of God (or “Son of Man” as he calls himself) would have the authority to heal. And Jesus has that authority.
Next he calls Matthew the tax collector and goes to his house for dinner. Now it’s his own disciples turn to be angry with him. But he has a great reply for them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor, sick people do.” In other words, he’s not here to look after the righteous, only the sinners.
And then he annoys the disciples of John the Baptist. They want to know why his disciples don’t fast. His reply is cryptic. “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom?” If his disciples are the wedding guests, and he is the groom then what he is saying is that his disciples will mourn later. But for now, they will celebrate.
What can we take from this? I think it means that there is a time and a place for everything. First, he is stamping his authority on the lame and the sick. He has the power to heal and the sick people sure need that. But things are going to change. Some days there will be mourning. Some days there will be celebrating.
Psalm 10 continues with a lovely expression of faith and a cry of hope. “Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.”
Today’s Proverbs 3 reading is only two verses. Honour the Lord and he will fill your barns with grain. It worked for Abraham. It worked for Isaac too. How you show your honour is up to you. But he will provide you with all you need of spiritual grain.
I’d love to hear from anyone else who is following this plan: The One Year Bible from You Version, the Bible app. I’m interested to discuss how and why these readings have been selected and what connections you make between the readings.