Friday 2-12-16 (Home in Modesto)
Scripture reading for today: Lev 18 – 19 Psalm 13 Acts 19
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer SOAP for the soul.
S. Lev 19:18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. NKJV
O. Hidden among the many ceremonial laws of the Jews, relating to cutting of beards and shaving of heads, prohibited tattoos, certain clothing and much more; we find the one law that Jesus quotes as second in importance to only one other law. An expert in all these legal Mosaic requirements asked Jesus. Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matt 22:36-40) NIV Jesus had a way of getting to the core of an issue.
A. I’m so glad that the early disciples of Jesus did not require His followers to go through all the hoops of becoming a Jew in order to become a true follower of Christ. Lists of rules are cumbersome and tend to stifle us. But I am encouraged by the fact that Jesus emphasizes the deep internal issues of truly loving God and our neighbor. Then He goes on with His “Good Samaritan” story to show us that our neighbor includes those of other cultures and races that we have despised and hated. Many good people really try to live up to this great law that Jesus calls second in importance. Very good! But many have dropped entirely the concept that Jesus proclaimed as the first and most important of all. If God is not first in my life, my good works will not build me a stairway to His heaven.
P. Father God, I confess that I read the seemingly endless lists of ceremonial laws penned by Moses and am overwhelmed. I realize now that You were calling out a nation to be different from the decadent, defiling nations surrounding them. You were preparing them for the eventual coming Messiah Who would narrow down these issues to their core. So I thank You now, Jesus, for clarifying this for Your followers. Keep me deeply in love with God my Father, while loving my neighbor, next door and the one overseas as much as I love myself. Amen.