Jan 18: Gen 31 | Psa 35 | Matt 20
Reading 1 - Gen 31
"Jacob found himself being treated with the duplicity that he manifested in the matter of the family blessing granted by Isaac (Gen 27). A family council was held in the home of Laban, Jacob's father in law. There had come a change in the heart of Laban towards Jacob, and jealousy in his sons brought about a crisis in the life of Jacob. There was a rising hostility toward him, and Jacob realised that as he had fled from the home of his family in Canaan, now he would have to flee from the home of his wives in Haran.
"As father, Laban had ignored his true responsibilities to his daughters. They gave expression to the mercenary meanness of their father (v 15), which rankled long in their minds, and had destroyed any love they once had for him. Family life is best when based upon the Word and Purpose of Yahweh. Yahweh presided over the whole scene between Laban (the man of sin) and Jacob (the man of faith), and ultimately delivered the man of faith, so that Jacob and his family could leave to journey home to the Land of Promise" (GE Mansfield).
Reading 2 - Psa 35:9
"Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in his salvation" (Psa 35:9).
"Let it not be thought that the course of wisdom is a joyless burden. Rather, it is the course of the only true joy and freedom from burden. We have seen full-grown, mentally-retarded adults sitting on the floor grinning and slobbering and playing with baby toys. It is a terribly sad and saddening spectacle: a potentially noble and intelligent creature, created in God's image, never developing beyond uncomprehending infancy. Compared to the beauty that might be, this is the spiritual state that might be of all of natural mankind. And merely passing an elementary examination and being baptized does not automatically change it, though such can and should be a tremendous first step in the direction of growth and maturity and nobility and beauty. But it is only a first step. Continuous development must follow" (GV Growcott).
Reading 3 - Mat 20:16
"So the last will be first, and the first last" (Mat 20:16),
"Do not take your salvation for granted... At our baptism, we do not step onto a smooth, effortless moving sidewalk that will automatically carry us comfortably into the Kingdom, though many act as though they assume this is so. Rather we stand at the foot of a steep and rugged hill, and there is no ski-lift. That hill is our probation: the 'working out of our salvation with fear and trembling.' God knows the height and degree of difficulty of our hill, and He knows the lifespan before us that He has given us to climb it. We shall need ALL that time, and all the available help He has provided and promised in so many ways. How long is it since your baptism? How far up the hill of God have you faithfully climbed? There are tempting but fatal relaxing places along the way, among them that deceptive worldly conceit called 'retirement.' Are you in one of them? The day draws on, and the top is still above you" (GV Growcott).