(Genesis 31, Mark 2; Optional Psalm 24, Proverbs 6:20-26)
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GENESIS 31 – Trace the theme of human cunning / trickiness / deception all through this chapter (Gen 31:7, 15, 19, 20, 26, 27, 29-32, 34-35, 41-42), but stronger than that is God’s perfect faithfulness! He IS fulfilling His promise made to Jacob 20 years ago in Gen 28:13-15.
Gen 31:3 – Jacob had STARTED to leave and go back to the promised land years before (Gen 30:25-28). Note how God is fulfilling His promise in Gen 28:15, and compare the same promise for Christians today (Matt 28:20, Heb 13:5-6). The best gift God gives is His own presence!
Gen 31:7 – God is letting Jacob feel how much deception hurts, by bringing someone trickier than Jacob into his life. God often uses people like sandpaper to smooth out our rough parts. Compare Eph 6:5-9, a reminder to Christians to work hard even in bad circumstances. We’re primarily working for God and HIS glory, and HE will ultimately make sure that justice IS done! The END of the story for EVERY believer is like Gen 31:7 – “BUT GOD did not permit him to harm me.” If you’re tracing the theme of the glorious Sovereignty of God which is bigger than any human sin, you could write “S!” next to the words “BUT GOD”.
Gen 31:19 – Compare Josh 24:2-3, where we’re reminded that God plucked Abraham out of an idol worshipping family and sent him to the promised land. Laban clearly knows something of Yahweh (when he uses “GOD” or “the LORD” in all capital letters, this refers to the covenant name of the one true God – Gen 30:27, 31:49). But Laban ALSO worships other “gods”. This may be symbolized by Jacob putting up ONE stone for a memorial (Gen 31:45) and Laban using a heap of stones.
Gen 31:24, 29 – Laban trickily trying to find a “loophole” and threaten Jacob without breaking the letter of God’s command. Basically, “I have it in my POWER to threaten you, but God told me not to, so I won’t.”
MARK 2 – The Gospel of Mark is clear that Jesus is God’s Son (Mk 1:1, 9). For those that have ears to hear, Jesus is clear that He is ALSO fully God. Jesus states this (for those that are listening – if He said this out in the open the leaders would’ve been forced to have a blasphemy trial immediately) in Mk 2:5-11 and Mk 2:27-28 (being in charge of the Sabbath means He’s God).
Mk 2:5 – Our biggest problem is our sin problem! See the first Gospel promise in Gen 3:15, just after Adam and Eve sinned for the first time, and compare Mk 2:5, 10, 16-17. Jesus only came to rescue sinners, so don’t let your pride and perceived self-righteousness keep you from Him!
Mk 2:18-22 – Many that were perceived as “good people” in their culture wanted to try to patch Jesus into what they were already doing in life. But Jesus won’t have it! He won’t be “patched on” to the other things in your life – He’s an entirely new garment! It’s so joyful for Jesus to be with His followers that it would be inappropriate for them to fast while He was physically there (you wouldn’t fast at a wedding feast). But when He would be gone away, then His followers WILL fast (Mk 2:20), but NOT like the folks in Mk 2:18 who just fasted out of HABIT (they fasted on certain appointed days). No, the fasting that Jesus’ followers WILL do will be connected to our longing for Him. How is this expressed in your life??
Optional Psalm 24 – This psalm may well have been written to celebrate David bringing the Ark of the Covenant (the gold-covered box that held the 10 commandments and symbolized God’s presence) into the center of Israel’s life, once Jerusalem became the capital city. It also may have been used when one of the kings in David’s line (an “anointed king” representing Yahweh the King of kings) when he returned victorious from battle. And a Christian will see pointers to Jesus riding into Jerusalem as King (see notes at Jan 21 for Matt 21).
Ps 24:3-4 – NOT talking about sinless perfection (see the connection with the very not-sinlessly-perfect Jacob in v 6), but the person who worships the true God WILL have a clearly God-ward direction in their life.
Ps 24:5 – A believer gets “righteousness from the God of his salvation”. This is an OT statement of the right standing with God that is proclaimed for all that trust in Him. These TWO aspects of righteousness go hand-in-hand all through Scripture. Believers are PROCLAIMED righteous before God AND they DEMONSTRATE that through a life that stands out from the world around them.
Optional Proverbs 6:20-26 – The BLESSINGS of applying godly teaching! Feel the weight of the life and death language. Note AGAIN the connection to sexuality (v 24-26).
Pr 6:25 – ACTIONS start off as DESIRES, so guard your heart with godly teaching! Too often we flirt near the edge of the precipice of sin.