Today’s Bible reading: Deuteronomy 13-15:23; Luke 8:40-9:6; Psalm 71:1-24; Proverbs 12:5-7
Israel is warned about spiritual deception in Deuteronomy 13 today. These same sorts of practices exist today: tarot card reading, psychics, etc. We see that these types of powers exist, but only as tests of our devotion to God (Deuteronomy 13:3). We should only listen to God and no one else (Deuteronomy 13:4). He is the only one who has our best interests in mind.
Anyone who tries to lead someone else away from God was to be put to death (Deuteronomy 13:5-18). All of us are eternal creatures. Our bodies will die one day but we will continue to live in spirit either in heaven or hell. Therefore, it was very serious for someone to “kill” someone spiritually (that is, cause them to go to hell). Anyone who did that needed to die or else they would continue to do the same to other people. This is one example of God trying to protect us because He wants us to be in heaven with Him.
In Deuteronomy 14:2 we see the reason why God forbade Israel from doing the things that the pagans were doing. They were to be separate to show they belonged to God. Christians today need to do the same things. We should not be having sex without being married to someone of the opposite sex. We should not be chasing after money or material possessions. We should not be spending hours each night watching TV. We need to stand out to a broken world. Everyone notices something or someone that is different. By behaving differently than the world we will show people that there is more to life than what the world has to offer.
We live in a country where we try to take care of the poor. Unfortunately, we do a terrible job of this because we have given responsibility to the government for taking care of poor people. That was never God’s plan as we see in Deuteronomy 15. Some people might go through a bad period financially, but under God’s plan they had the opportunity to rebuild their lives. No one was to be living in chronic poverty.
I’ve always believed that rather than the government taking care of those less fortunate, the local church should do so. The church should take care of those in the surrounding community. If the church did this — and if the government let the church do this — there would be far fewer poor people in this country. And there would be a lot more people going to heaven as a result of being blessed through the church.
In Luke 8 a Jewish synagogue leader, Jairus, comes to Jesus to ask Him to heal his dying daughter. While other Jewish religious doubted Jesus, Jairus puts his faith in Him. While Jairus has faith, he doesn’t have complete faith or understanding as he believes Jesus must come to his home for his daughter to be healed. We know from other passages that Jesus does not need to be present to heal someone. Yet, Jesus goes to Jairus’s house. God doesn’t require full understanding or complete faith to answer our prayers. God can do amazing things with just a little faith.
On the way to Jairus’ home Jesus passes through a mob of people including a woman who has been suffering for 12 years. No doctors could cure her. Due to her condition she was not clean and had to live apart from the rest of society. This must have been as bad, if not worse, than the condition itself. She was probably very lonely, not to mention poor. She, too, had faith that Jesus could heal her. But since she was not supposed to be in a crowd of people she attempts to get healed in secret. She doesn’t ask Jesus face-to-face as Jairus did but simply touches Jesus’s garment. When she does so she is immediately healed.
In Luke 8:45 Jesus asks the question “Who touched my robe?”. Those who don’t believe Jesus was God point to this verse as “proof” that Jesus wasn’t God. Jesus was not asking this because He didn’t know. Of course He knew. If you are a parent you know about this type of question first-hand. Have you ever caught your child doing something he wasn’t supposed to and asked “What are you doing?”. Do you not know what he is doing? Of course you do — you’re looking right at him. You don’t ask because you don’t know. You ask because you do know and you want him to know that you know. Jesus asked this question aloud, so the crowd could be taught a lesson.
Think about this… Jesus was in a crowd of people. Lots of people were touching Him. Peter even make such a comment in Luke 8:45. There were so many people around Him it was (humanly) impossible to know who exactly had touched Him. But Jesus wanted to use this event to teach to the crowd. He wanted them to know that this woman had been healed. And He wanted them (and her) to know that it was her faith that had healed her (Luke 8:48). I also think Jesus wanted the crowd to know that this woman took a big risk coming to Him. If she had been spotted (she was probably disguised) she would have been arrested. Doesn’t Jesus want us to take risks for Him today? I think He does. We should not fear governments, or authorities, or those who oppose Jesus. We should be bold in our faith and not back down from the truth. We benefit (as did this woman) but also those who see our boldness (like the crowd in this story) will learn something about Jesus and faith when we do.
Meanwhile, Jairus is probably sweating bullets because his daughter is near death and Jesus is stopping for this unclean woman. But, as we’ve learned all year long, Jesus (who was God) is always in control.
Notice Jesus tells Him not to be afraid and to believe. You can’t be afraid and believe at the same time. Its one or the other.
Once in Jairus’s house the people there mocked Him. In the original Greek the verb “mocked” is in the imperfect tense indicating that they didn’t just do it once. They did it repeatedly. Jesus dismisses the mockers who don’t know what they are talking about. They are full of doubt so they have to leave. Jesus brings the girl back to life and everyone was amazed. Jesus shows further understanding and concern for her by saying she needs to eat. She had been very sick and now dead for sometime. She needed nutrition. Jesus never stops caring.
In these two events we see Jesus answer the prayers of the wealthy and the poor. The well-connected and the outcast. One with a lot of faith, one with a bit less. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are at in life… Jesus wants you just as you are. All you need to do is come to him as Jairus and this unnamed woman did. Then He will show you things you never thought possible.
Did you know that God has cared for you since before you were born? It’s true. Psalm 71:6 tells us so. This is one more reason why abortion is so horrid. All life exists because God wanted it to exist. You exist because God wanted someone just like you to be with Him forever. And that is a perfect reason to praise God (Psalm 71:6). God has, and will always be, our source of strength and protection (Psalm 71:7).
Proverbs 12:6 tells us today that the godly have wisdom that can save lives. The Bible is talking about spiritual life here. Those of us who know Jesus have the information that can give someone eternal life in heaven. On the other hand, the words of those who do not know Jesus are a trap. Those people are going to lead unsuspecting people to their (spiritual) death.
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