05 May 2010
Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 10; 1 Chronicles 19-20; Psalm 20; Matthew 22
Jesus answered, “You’re off base on two counts: You don’t know your Bibles, and you don’t know how God works." (Matthew 22:29 MSG)
The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the two main denominations of the Jews in Jesus’ day. They disagreed with each other on several major points, not least of which was that Pharisees believed in life after death and the spirit world, and the Sadducees believed that when you die, you’re done. The Pharisees were biblical literalists who were looking for God to intervene and the Sadducees were pragmatists who were making the Roman system work for them the best they could.
The one thing they could agree on is that Jesus didn’t fit either of their denominations and was a threat to the established religious and political balance. The only time they could seem to get along with each other was when they were trying to get rid of Jesus! Here the Pharisees and Sadducees came at Jesus from both sides, trying to discredit him theologically and expose him as a danger politically.
Jesus responded to the trick question of the Sadducees with a simple statement that resonates with me this morning. I think this is the key to much of the conflict among God-worshipers and to understanding what to do when answers to difficult questions seem hard to find.
We need to know our Bibles. We need to know how God works.
If we know our Bibles, we have the history, the pattern, the insights into God’s actions and human behavior. We have the demonstration of God’s power and the guidelines he has given for our lives. We have the body of information and knowledge.
If we know God, know his character, his nature, his justice, his compassion, his overwhelmingly redemptive attitude and his loving actions toward us, we will have the basis for understanding. We will interpret the Bible consistently with how God works.
Father, For much of my life, I’ve concentrated on knowing the Bible, your inspired word. Now please lead me in a season of better knowing you, your nature, and how you work. May I always interpret your word through your Son and your Spirit. Amen.