Wisdom Calls

Proverbs 8:1-21

 

The Gifts of Wisdom

Does not wisdom call,

    and does not understanding raise her voice?

On the heights, beside the way,

    at the crossroads she takes her stand;

beside the gates in front of the town,

    at the entrance of the portals she cries out:

“To you, O people, I call,

    and my cry is to all that live.

O simple ones, learn prudence;

    acquire intelligence, you who lack it.

Hear, for I will speak noble things,

    and from my lips will come what is right;

for my mouth will utter truth;

    wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

All the words of my mouth are righteous;

    there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.

They are all straight to one who understands

    and right to those who find knowledge.

10 Take my instruction instead of silver,

    and knowledge rather than choice gold;

11 for wisdom is better than jewels,

    and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

12 I, wisdom, live with prudence,

    and I attain knowledge and discretion.

13 The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.

Pride and arrogance and the way of evil

    and perverted speech I hate.

14 I have good advice and sound wisdom;

    I have insight, I have strength.

15 By me kings reign,

    and rulers decree what is just;

16 by me rulers rule,

    and nobles, all who govern rightly.

17 I love those who love me,

    and those who seek me diligently find me.

18 Riches and honor are with me,

    enduring wealth and prosperity.

19 My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold,

    and my yield than choice silver.

20 I walk in the way of righteousness,

    along the paths of justice,

21 endowing with wealth those who love me,

    and filling their treasuries.
 
 


Calling Fishermen

Matthew 4:12-22

 

12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

 

15 “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali,

on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—

16 the people who sat in darkness

have seen a great light,

and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death

light has dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

 

18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
 
 

Yesterday’s devotion focused on the call of Abram/Abraham. This past Sunday, we heard of Jesus calling his first disciples as recorded in Mark. This is Matthew’s take on the text.

 

During Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency he had to attend all sorts of receptions at the White House. Read more…



Calling Abram

Genesis 12:1-9

 

The Call of Abram

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
 
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he moved on to the hill country on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and invoked the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed on by stages toward the Negeb.
 
 

Abram (later known as Abraham) and his wife Sarai (later known as Sarah) are called by God. It will be some 25 years later (see Genesis 21) before the fulfillment of this promise, for Abraham is 100 years old when Isaac is born. Read more…



Changing God’s Mind?

Jonah 3:1-10

 

Conversion of Nineveh

The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.

When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.”

10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
 
 

If you have time, read the book of Jonah. It doesn’t take long since it has only four chapters. Read more…



He Never Failed Me Yet

Mark 6:30 – 44

 

Feeding the Five Thousand

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 34 As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 35 When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; 36 send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” When they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And all ate and were filled; 43 and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men. Read more…



God of Abundance

John 2:1-11

 
1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9 When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
 
 

The gospel story for today is a wedding story. It is a Jewish wedding. Jewish weddings during the time of Christ were gala occasions, festive events, and grand parties. Jewish weddings usually began on Tuesday nights, and the groom and his friends would go over to the bride’s house at night. On the way over, the groomsmen would be swinging their olive-oil lamps, having a fun time. The men would gather in front of the bride’s home, and she would come out to the front steps. Now, for the first time in her adult life, she would take off her veil and show off her beautiful face. This removal of the veil was a special event. Then, the groom and the groomsmen, would again walk down the streets with their olive-oil lamps swinging and they would go over to the groom’s house to begin a seven-day party. Yes, a seven-day party. During those seven days, family and friends would bring their gifts, their hot dishes, and their good humor. They would party for seven days. Read more…



Keep Going On

Psalm 62:5-12

 

For God alone my soul waits in silence,

    for my hope is from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

On God rests my deliverance and my honor;

    my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;

    pour out your heart before him;

    God is a refuge for us.

Those of low estate are but a breath,

    those of high estate are a delusion;

in the balances they go up;

    they are together lighter than a breath.

10 Put no confidence in extortion,

    and set no vain hopes on robbery;

    if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.

11 Once God has spoken;

    twice have I heard this:

that power belongs to God,

12     and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord.

For you repay to all

    according to their work.
 
 

Today’s psalm speaks of waiting in silence for God, for God is the one in whom the psalmist places hope and refuge. Read more…



Jesus Loves the Little Children

Luke 18:15-17

 

Jesus Blesses Little Children

15 People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. 16 But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 17 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”
 
 

Jesus comes to lift up the outcast, the vulnerable and broken. Divorced women, the widow, the children – these are the ones on the margins of society. It is these to whom the kingdom belongs. Read more…



Give to God What Belongs to God

Acts 5:1-11

 

Ananias and Sapphira

But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property; with his wife’s knowledge, he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. “Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, were not the proceeds at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to us but to God!” Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard of it. The young men came and wrapped up his body, then carried him out and buried him.
 
After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you and your husband sold the land for such and such a price.” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear seized the whole church and all who heard of these things.
 
 

Two things before we get too far into this lesson. Read more…



Anointed

1 Samuel 9:27-10:8

 

Samuel Anoints Saul

27 As they were going down to the outskirts of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the boy to go on before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the word of God.” 10 Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him; he said, “The Lord has anointed you ruler over his people Israel. You shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their enemies all around. Now this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you ruler over his heritage: When you depart from me today you will meet two men by Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; they will say to you, ‘The donkeys that you went to seek are found, and now your father has stopped worrying about them and is worrying about you, saying: What shall I do about my son?’ Then you shall go on from there further and come to the oak of Tabor; three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three kids, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine. They will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall accept from them. After that you shall come to Gibeath-elohim,  at the place where the Philistine garrison is; there, as you come to the town, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the shrine with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre playing in front of them; they will be in a prophetic frenzy. Then the spirit of the Lord will possess you, and you will be in a prophetic frenzy along with them and be turned into a different person. Now when these signs meet you, do whatever you see fit to do, for God is with you. And you shall go down to Gilgal ahead of me; then I will come down to you to present burnt offerings and offer sacrifices of well-being. Seven days you shall wait, until I come to you and show you what you shall do.”
 
 

Some history background is needed here.

Read more…



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