For today, One Year Bible Online links here.
Today’s proverb strikes me as relevant to discussions about “animal rights”. The righteous care for their animals’ needs, while the wicked are cruel. I do not believe that animals have rights, but I do believe that, as Christians, we should care for animals and make sure that we do not cause unnecessary pain or suffering to animals which are in our power. We can be sure that those who are cruel to animals will perform other wicked acts as well.
The psalmist offers us a warning. He tells us that he slipped and almost lost his connection with God. He envied the wicked and proud because they seemed to do well. He started to wonder if he would not be better off to give up serving God and live as the wicked do. They seemed to him to live lives of ease, while he struggled and suffered misfortune. He tried to understand why the wicked seemed thrive. Then he went before God and met with others who serve God and realized that the wicked are on a path that leads to destruction. He realized that he had allowed bitterness and resentment tear him apart. He realized once more the joy of serving God. Let us remember this lesson so that we do not allow bitterness and resentment separate us from God. I will remember the wonderful things which God has done. I will testify to His greatness and love. I know the emptiness and pain which awaits those who turn from God and live in wickedness. No matter how pleasant their lives may appear, I do not wish to join them.
I never noticed this before, but the story of what happened on the Mount of Transfiguration is a bit of foreshadowing of what will happen in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on the mountain to pray. While Jesus was praying, Peter, James, and John fell asleep. While they slept, Jesus met with Moses and Elijah. They missed it! They woke up on the tail-end of the conversation. When Peter saw what was going on, he wanted to stay there, but the moment was over. How often does this happen to us? We “sleep” through a moment of great blessing, then when it is all but over, we try to freeze it and artificially extend the moment. Let us remember that God has a task for us in this world and times like the Mount of Transfiguration are to strengthen us to continue that task.
All too often we strive to be the greatest, and seek to be honored as such. Jesus tells us that we should strive to be the servant of others, that we should not strive for authority. In God’s books it is those whom Man counts as the least who is counted as the greatest. I would rather be counted as great by God than by Man.
We are warned against being seduced by the practices of those around us who do not worship God. This is a difficult challenge for us. It is difficult to resist the blandishments. It is too easy to forget the reasons behind how God calls us to behave and instead act like those around us do. Let us keep our focus on God and avoid turning to omens and signs to determine our behavior. Even those who claim to be prophesying on God’s behalf may be leading us astray. When someone claims to speak on God’s behalf, let us listen to what they say will happen. If it does not come to pass, we will know that they do not speak for God.