Daily Reading & Meditation

 Wednesday (September 17): "How shall I compare this generation?"

Scripture:  Luke 7:31-35

31 "To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the market place and calling to one another, `We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not weep.' 33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine; and you say, `He has a demon.' 34 The Son of man has come eating and drinking; and you say, `Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' 35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children."

Meditation: What do childrens' games have to do with the kingdom of God? Games are the favorite pastime of children who play until their energy is spent. The more interaction the merrier the game. The children in Jesus' parable react with disappointment because they cannot convince others to join in their musical play. They complain that when they make merry music such as played at weddings, no one dances or sings along - and when they play mournful tunes for sad occasions such as  funerals, it is the same dead response. 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. Both joyful and sad occasions - such as the birth of a child and the homecoming of a hero or the loss of a loved one or the destruction of a community or nation - demand a response. To show indifference, lack of support, or disdain is unfitting and unkind.

Spiritual indifference and deaf ears can block God's word for us
Jesus' message of the kingdom of God is a proclamation of good news that produces great joy and hope for those who will listen - but it is also a warning of disaster for those who refuse to accept God's gracious offer. Why did the message of John the Baptist and the message of Jesus meet with resistance and deaf ears? 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 as evidence for pretending to be the 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 they close their ears to Jesus, God's anointed Son sent to redeem us from bondage to sin and death.

Those who hunger for God will be satisfied
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 message of God's kingdom. Indifference dulls our ears to God's voice and to the good news of the Gospel. Only the humble of heart who are hungry for God can find true joy and happiness. Do you listen to God's word with expectant faith and the willingness to trust and obey?

"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 with all my heart, mind, and strength."

Psalm 111:1-6

1 Prasie the LORD. I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who have pleasure in them.
3 Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures for ever.
4 He has caused his wonderful works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations.

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: The song and dances of the prophets, by Ambrose of Milan, 339-397 A.D.

"'Therefore, wisdom is justified by all her children.' He fittingly says 'by all,' because justice is preserved around all. In order that an acceptance of the faithful may happen, a rejection of the unbelieving must occur. Very many Greeks say this, “Wisdom is justified by all her works,” because the duty of justice is to preserve the measure around the merit of each. It aptly says, “We have piped to you, and you have not danced.” Moses sang a song when he stopped the flow in the Red Sea for the crossing of the Jews (Exodus 15:1-18), and the same waves encircled the horses of the Egyptians and, falling back, drowned their riders. Isaiah sang a song of his beloved’s vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7), signifying that the people who before had been fruitful with abundant virtues would be desolate through shameful acts. The Hebrews sang a song when the soles of their feet grew moist at the touch of the bedewing flame, and while all burned within and without, the harmless fire caressed them alone and did not scorch (Daniel 3:19-25). Habakkuk also learned to assuage universal grief with a song and prophesied that the sweet passion of the Lord would happen for the faithful (Habakkuk 3:13). The prophets sang songs with spiritual measures, resounding with prophecies of universal salvation. The prophets wept, softening the hard hearts of the Jews with sorrowful lamentations" (Isaiah 46:12). (excerpt from EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 6.6-7)


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author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.  

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