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Jan 10: Gen 19 | Psa 22 | Matt 12

Reading 1 - Gen 19:26

"But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt" (Gen 19:26).

One should remember Lot's wife (Luk 17:32,33), whenever he or she is tempted to hang on to a comfortable lifestyle in a wicked world. Lot, himself, was a rather worldly-minded believer, but when he consented to flee the doomed city, his wife lagged "behind him," and kept "looking back," grieving over the imminent loss of her material comforts and high social position among her ungodly neighbors. Finally, the Lord's longsuffering patience was ended, and her carnal desire to save her old life caused her to lose her whole life. "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own life?" (Mat 16:26).

Reading 2 - Psa 22:1

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Psa 22:1).

These words are quoted by Jesus as he hung on the cross (Mat 27:46; Mar 15:34; Luk 24:44). But was this literally true? Was Jesus actually abandoned by his Father? The answer must be: "NO!":

  1. In quoting Psa 22, Jesus switched from the Heb "azavtani" (which means "forsaken me") to the Aramaic "sabachthani" (which may mean "entangled me": the same word occurs in Gen 22:13 for the "thicket" in which the sacrificial ram was found). So perhaps this should be read: 'My God, my God, thou hast [an assertion, not a question!] ensnared and provided ME as the sacrificial victim!'

  2. If Jesus were abandoned by his Father, then the vivid and twice-repeated type of Gen 22 -- which is suggested by the above -- is quite misleading! "They went both of them together (the Father and the Son)" (Gen 22:6,8). The Father went with the Son to the cross (cp Rom 8:31,32, which is citing Gen 22:12).

  3. The idea that God abandoned His Son is so important, if true, that it ought to be supported by more than one solitary verse.

  4. Psa 22:24 is explicit that Jesus was NOT left without divine help.

  5. The emphasis of such passages as Psa 18:4-17 is so strong as to require not desertion, but actually its very opposite.

  6. Other Messianic psalms speak of alarm or doubt such as is natural to human weakness (Psa 94:17-19, RV mg; Psa 71:9-12; 73:13,17,21,22; 42:5; 116:11). As lesser mortals experience a sense of loneliness and helplessness, so also must have Jesus. But in neither their case nor his was it true.

  7. "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" was spoken to the first "Jesus" (Joshua: Jos 1:5), and applied to those in Christ (Heb 13:5). Then, is it conceivable that the servant is greater than his Lord?

  8. Psa 22:1 may carry the meaning: 'Why does my God LET IT APPEAR to these my enemies that I am utterly forsaken?' This is the very idea in Isa 49:14,15.

  9. Jesus cites "My God, my God, why have..." as simply a reference to the psalm itself, to call the attention of those nearby to the whole of the psalm that was being fulfilled before their eyes.

Reading 3 - Mat 12:36

"But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken" (Mat 12:36).

"It comes out the worst when a man is half conscious of having a weak case and is making desperate efforts to convince himself that he does well to be angry. If he believes in the Bible he needs then to remember that all who watch for iniquity and make a man an offender for a word shall be cut off (Isa 29:20). It is usually an easy matter to collect reports derogatory to any man or any body of men. There is quite a temptation to use these 'make weights' in time of controversy, especially if the original cause of dispute is slight. One on the defensive can be kept busy chasing the false reports and unfair interpretations, but never succeeding in catching one before the next is on the wing.

"In a court of law a litigant is tied down to the actual charge. It is useless for him to try to fatten out his suit by all sorts of complaints remote from the original accusation. We are free from any such legal restrictions now, but it is well to remember that we have to go before a judgment seat far more searching than any ever set up by man, and for 'every idle word' that we have spoken we shall have to give account. Do not let us watch for iniquity, then, either in those we accuse of specific errors or in those who accuse us. Such watching inevitably leads to countless idle and evil words" (Islip Collyer, "Principles and Proverbs").


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