Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Readings for January 30 2011

This week we continue our readings in Corinthians and we get the first of five readings from the Sermon on the Mount.

Micah 6:1-8 – This passage reads like a court case. Micah calls the mountains, hills and foundations of the earth to hear the Lord’s indictment against Israel. The Lord then speaks his case asking Israel if he has done anything to drive them away. The Lord reminds Israel of the freedom he gave them from Egypt. Micah, or Israel, then asks about what must be done to make things right. Sacrifice 1,000 rams? Offer 10,000 rivers of oil? Sacrifice their first born sons? Micah reminds the people of the three simple things that the Lord wants: justice, kindness, and humble partnership with God.

Psalm 15 – The psalmist asks, “Who are God’s family/guests who abide/dwell in God’s home?” Micah has three positive attributes while the Psalmist has eleven things, both positive and negative: walk blamelessly, do right, speak truth, no slander, no evil to friends, no reproach to neighbors, despise wicked, honor those who fear the Lord, stand by their oaths, no lending at interest, and take no bribes.

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 – Paul is writing this letter to a church in Greece. The Greeks valued philosophy, reason, logic, and debate. The Christians were proclaiming that someone who was convicted as a common criminal and executed in the most horrifying manner the Romans could devise as their Lord, Savior, and Son of God. In the minds of the Greeks, this was foolishness. Paul argues that God work through foolishness and weakness (and service). For those who believe, this is salvation. For those who don’t believe it is a scandal and absurd. Let me quote verse 23 from the Amplified Bible (they put in all possible meanings for different Greek words), “We preach Christ (the Messiah) crucified, [preaching which] to the Jews is a scandal and an offensive stumbling block [that springs a snare or trap], and to the Gentiles it is absurd and utterly un-philosophical nonsense.” God chooses the weak, the foolish, the low and despised to work his salvation.

Matthew 5:1-12 – This passage begins the Sermon on the Mount which will conclude at the end of chapter 7. The next four Sundays will cover all of chapter 5, and the fifth Sunday will be one section of chapter 6. Please, Please read all three chapters before you concentrate on any one passage. That will give you the full flavor of the Sermon which is about living to a higher Righteousness. These first 12 verses are commonly called the “Beatitudes”. According to one commentary, verses 3-6 and 8 are about dispositions which God will favor: humility, mournfulness, meekness, passion for justice, and purity of heart. Verses 7, 9-11 refer to actions that are favored by God: giving mercy, making peace, and seeking justice. These echo the Old Testament passages such as Micah 6 and Psalm 15 and in many other places. Jesus knew his stuff!

Blessed be those who love God’s Word and allows that Word to dwell in them.

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