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Jan 06: Gen 11, 12 | Psa 14-16 | Matt 8

Reading 1 - Gen 11; 12

"These are two chapters which reveal the contrast between darkness (Gen 11) and light (Gen 12); between the power of the flesh (Gen 11), and the call of faith (Gen 12). Gen 11 shows the nations scattered; Gen 12 shows the way in which the nations are blessed through faith. Mankind set themselves to seek the pinnacle of power, in the building of a tower (like the World Trade Center!). The clumsy attempt of man to unify himself in defiance of God's offer of unity and peace results in the judgment of Yahweh, the confusion of tongues, and the defeat of the power of flesh" (GE Mansfield).

Reading 2 - Psa 15

"LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken" (Psa 15).

Jesus' "Sermon on Mount" (Mat 5-7) is his extended commentary on Psa 15. "As though white light passes through a prism to be split up into the many colors of the spectrum, so [Psa 15] passed through the inspired mind of Jesus to come out in all this colorful teaching" (C Tennant).

A comparison of Psa 15 and the Sermon on the Mount (Mat 5-7):

  • Psa 15:1: "Who shall dwell?" (Mat 5:3-12: the principles of blessedness).

  • Psa 15:2: "Walketh uprightly" (Mat 5:13-16: "walks in the light").

  • Psa 15:2: "Worketh righteousness" (Mat 5:17-20: "righteousness exceeds...").

  • Psa 15:2: "Speaketh truth in heart" (Mat 5:21-6:34: contrasts heart with form).

  • Psa 15:3: "Backbiteth not" (Mat 7:1-5: "Behold not the mote...").

  • Psa 15:3: "Nor doeth evil" (Mat 5:43-48: "Love your enemies").

  • Psa 15:4: "Vile person condemned" (Mat 7:15-23: "By their fruits ye shall know them").

  • Psa 15:4: "Sweareth to own hurt" (Mat 5:33-37: "Communication: yea...yea...").

  • Psa 15:5: "Putteth not money to usury" (Mat 5:38-42: "Give without reward").

  • Psa 15:5: "He that doeth... never removed" (Mat 7:24-27: Doeth... buildeth on rock... will not fall").

Reading 3 - Mat 8:2

"A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, 'Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean' " (Mat 8:2).

"Looking into the eyes of Jesus, the leper found his confidence once more; he fell forward on his face, his cry of faith rang out, 'Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.' He waited a breathless eternity. Suddenly he felt firm, gentle hands close on his scaly flesh, the first human touch he had known for years, and then he heard the voice of Jesus. The leper's 'if' had moved the Lord. His response was, 'I will.' And then with a word of authority, the evil flesh melted under his touch, the scarred and wasted body glowed with health. Would that the deeper leprosy of the soul could be so easily dismissed! But that is a slower work, a work in which Christ can only minister with the steady co-operation of the sufferer. Faith has to be joined by a dedication of the heart and the will. But the victory can be won if the desire for spiritual health is as great as was the leper's longing for physical perfection. For the Lord's 'I will' to the cry 'thou canst' has lost none of its effectiveness" (Melva Purkis, "Life of Jesus" p 108).


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