Scripture: Matthew 11:16-19
16 "But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, 17 `We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.' 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, `He has a demon'; 19 the Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, `Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds."
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 48:17-19
17 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. 18 O that you had harkened to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea; 19 your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains; their name would never be cut off or destroyed from before me.”
Meditation: Do you seek God's way of peace and wisdom for your life? The prophets remind us that God’s kingdom is open to those who are teachable and receptive to the word of God. Through their obedience to God's word and commandments, they receive not only wisdom and peace for themselves, but they, in turn become a blessing to their children and their offspring as well. Jesus warns the generation of his day to heed God's word before it is too late. He compares teachers and scholars, and those who have been taught, with stubborn playmates who refuse to follow any sort of direction or instruction. Jesus’ parable about disappointed playmates challenge us to examine whether we are selective to only hear what we want to hear. The children in Jesus' parable react with dismay because they cannot get anyone to follow their instruction. They complain that if they play their music at weddings, no one will dance or sing; and if they play at funerals, it is the same. This refrain echoes the words of Ecclesiastes 3:4 – "there is a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance." Are you in tune with the message of God's kingdom? And do you obey it without reservation? Jesus' message of the kingdom of God is good news to those who will listen and it produces true joy and spiritual freedom for them; but it is also a warning for those who refuse to obey.
Why did the message of John the Baptist and the message of Jesus meet with deaf ears and resistance? It was out of jealously and spiritual blindness that the scribes and Pharisees attributed John the Baptist's austerities to the devil and they attributed Jesus' table fellowship with sinners as evidence that he must be a false messiah. They succeeded in frustrating God's plan for their lives because they had closed their hearts to the message of John the Baptist and now to Jesus' message. What can make us spiritually dull and slow to hear God's voice? Like the generation of Jesus' time, our age is marked by indifference and contempt, especially in regards to the things of heaven. Indifference dulls our ears to God's voice and to the good news of the gospel. Only the humble of heart can find joy and favor in God's sight. Is you life in tune with Jesus's message of hope and salvation? And do you know the joy of obedience to God word?
"Lord Jesus, open my ears to hear the good news of your kingdom and set my heart free to love and serve you joyfully. May nothing keep me from following you wholeheartedly."
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands
in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.