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The Great Invitation (A Study of Matthew 11:28-30) Part 8

Friends: I consider it a great privilege to work on my blog every day. And for the next few posts I’ll be examining one of my favorite passages, Matthew 11:28-30. This is a text worthy of memorization (which I’m very bad at). I want to slowly go through these verses with you and see as much as we can, with the Holy Spirit’s help. Let’s look at that famous text once again:

 We’ve seen the context of this incredible invitation, noticing some of the Koiné Greek and its implications. We began to outline the passage, observing that Jesus’ invitation is a qualified one: He invites not all, but all who are weary and burdened.

I. The Great Invitation (v. 28): “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened . . .”

We then noticed the second major truth in this text: Jesus’ promise!

II. The Great Promise (v. 28): “and I will give you rest.”

We then saw Christ’s great command in verse 29.

III. The Great Command (v. 29): “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.”

A. We are to WORK!

As God’s fellow workers, we are yoked together with Christ. And there is work to be done! Let’s move on today and notice —

Jesus is described as πραΰς.  The term praus means “mild, gentle” and is used four times in the New Testament. We learn that “blessed are the gentle” in Matthew 5:5. Matthew 21:5 tells us that the Savior would be “gentle and riding on a donkey” in the Triumphal Entry. In I Peter 3:4 we read about the godly woman that her beauty “ . . . should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” When I think of the gentleness of the Lord Jesus, I can’t help but think of Matthew’s quote of Isaiah 42:3 which says of the Messiah: “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory” (Matt. 12:20). I imagine that a light touch or a simple pinch would be enough to completely break that reed or completely extinguish that smoldering wick. But that’s not the character or the conduct of the Savior.

He is also described as ταπεινὸς τῇ καρδίᾳ. The word tapeinos is used 8 times in the New Testament and is translated “lowly” in the KJV (Mt. 11:29), “them of low degree” in Luke 1:52, “men of low estate” in Romans 12:16. We learn that the Lord comforts “the depressed” in 2 Corinthians 7:6. Paul speaks of himself as “meek” in 2 Corinthians 10:1. James tells the brother of “humble circumstances” that he is to glory in his high position (1:9). We learn that God gives grace “to the humble” (James 4:6; see also I Peter 5:5). The term can mean brought low with grief, lowly in spirit, deferring servilely to others.

This is our Savior. This is the One who calls us to Himself.

Today’s Challenge: While there seems to be evidence that our text is a gospel-type text, those of us who have known Him for a while are also to come! Praise God today for your gentle and humble Savior!

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2020 in Matthew 11

 

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Time for a Great Quote … From G.K. Chesterton … on Humility

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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J.I. Packer on Scripture Interpretation . . . and Humility (Time for a Great Quote)

 

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Getting to Know . . . 2 Samuel (chapter 9) Showing Kindness!

Are you looking to show kindness to someone else today? David wants to show kindness to anyone still left of Saul’s house. Saul’s servant Ziba tells David of a son of Jonathan named Mephibosheth who is lame in both feet.

David has Mephibosheth brought to him and he says, 7 “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”

Mephibosheth’s response of humility reminds us of what David said when Saul was trying to kill him. Mephibosheth says, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” (v. 8).

Saul’s servant Ziba is commissioned to farm Saul’s land and provide for Mephibosheth who “will always eat at my table” (v. 10). We read, “So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.” (v. 11).

We are told an additional time that Mephibosheth was lame in both feet and that he always ate at the king’s table.

Some takeaways for me:
1. Notice that David’s kindness is intentional. He looks for someone of Saul’s house to whom he can show kindness. Kindness is not just a spur-of-the-moment reaction. It plans; it looks for opportunities to bless someone else.
2. To always eat at the king’s table was a massive mercy! David could well have had Mephibosheth executed (as a descendent of Saul), but he shows him mercy.
3. Mephibosheth’s “disability” is not the focus of David’s attention.
4. The Bible exalts humility, doesn’t it? Mephibosheth’s statement “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” is refreshing.

Be humble today — and look for someone to show kindness to!

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2019 in 2 Samuel 9

 

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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel! (18:20-30) Grossness, Humility, and Jealousy!

Sometimes the Bible can be quite gross, don’t you think? But life can be gross! The story in the second half of I Samuel 18 involves Philistine foreskins! Really.

In his manipulative paranoia, Saul wants David dead. So he learns that his daughter Michal is in love with David and he promises her to David. Saul’s motive was simple: “so she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him” (v. 21).

This provides a second opportunity for David to become Saul’s son-in-law. Saul uses his attendants to try to persuade David to agree to this marriage, and David humbly replies, “Do you think it is a small matter to become the king’s son-in-law? I’m only a poor man and little known” (v. 23).

Saul offers David his daughter. The only bride price that he wants in return is 100 Philistine foreskins. Saul’s plan was to have David be killed by the Philistines [this will be plan “B” for David’s getting rid of Uriah later in 2 Samuel].

David takes his men, goes out, and brings back two hundred Philistine foreskins! And they counted out the full number before Saul (v. 27). Gross.

Saul gives his daughter Michal to David, realizing “that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David” (v. 28). This entire episode furthered Saul’s fear of David, causing him to remain David’s enemy the rest of his days (v. 29).

David’s fame grew as he had more success over the Philistine warriors than the rest of Saul’s officers. And David’s name became well known (v. 30).

Some takeaways for me:
1. The Bible is realistic. It does not sugarcoat realities such as war in all its grossness.
2. God sees our motives and looks at our hearts. Saul’s jealousy and hatred cause him to manipulate his own daughter’s love for David. We dare not underestimate our talent for pursuing our wicked agendas.
3. David’s humility is refreshing. How does he lose that godly view of himself when he becomes king? What was the process?
4. Having the Lord “with” us does not mean that we won’t have enemies or face opposition.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2018 in I Samuel 18

 

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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel! (18:1-19) Friendship, Fear, and Success!

The friendship of Saul’s son Jonathan and David is a beautiful truth in this text (a story greatly perverted by those with a homosexual agenda). Jonathan “became one in spirit with David”, we are told, for “he loved him as himself” (v. 1). Jonathan makes a covenant with David “because he loved him as himself (v. 3). He gave David his robe and tunic and his weapons!

The Lord gave David success on whatever mission assigned to him by Saul. It’s not easy to please “all the troops and the officers” of the army, but David did!

Military success is one thing. But adulation is quite another. The women of the towns sing to David, emphasizing his slaying “tens of thousands” versus Saul’s slaying only “thousands.” This makes Saul very angry and he asks, “What more can David get but the kingdom?” (v. 8).

“An evil spirit from God” comes forcefully on Saul while he is prophesying. While David is playing his lyre, Saul hurls a spear at David. Twice. We are told that “Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul” (v. 12).

Saul sends David away to command the troops and we are told that “in everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him.” (v. 14). Saul is overcome by a fear of David and his successes, but David is loved by all Israel and Judah (v. 16).

Saul plans David’s demise, promising his older daughter Merab to him if he will “only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the Lord” (v. 17).  Saul says to himself, “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!” [This certainly foreshadows what David himself will do when he has to get rid of Uriah!].

David’s response to King Saul’s offer of his daughter is one of humility: “Who am I, and what is my family or my clan in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?” (v. 18). But Saul did not keep his word — and subsequently gives his daughter Merab to someone else!

Some takeaways for me:
1. Jealousy is a very real danger — and can be born in any believer’s heart. I must be careful when it comes to others’ receiving praise. I am to rejoice with those who rejoice!
2. I want to long for the Lord to be “with” me. “With” here in this context means much more than a kind of physical presence. The Lord’s being “with” David produces fear in Saul (v. 12), leading him to try to kill David.
3. Any of us can use religious language to justify our agenda! Saul speaks of David’s fighting “the battles of the Lord” — and he wants him dead!
4. Disappointments will come to us. They may not be the reneging of a daughter’s hand in marriage, but people don’t always keep their word.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2018 in I Samuel 18

 

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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel (10:9-27) Sovereignty and Kingship!

As we continue our study of I Samuel, we look at the second half of chapter 10. We read in verse 9 that “As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart.” Remember Samuel’s prophesy in verse 6 that “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.”

In this section, Saul leaves Samuel and the prophecy about Saul’s joining the procession of prophets comes true (v. 10). The question is asked by those who knew Saul — “Is Saul also among the prophets?” (v. 11).

Saul reports their finding the donkeys to his uncle, but doesn’t tell him about the kingship (vv. 12-16).

Samuel summons and addresses all Israel at Mizpah. He rehearses their deliverance by God from Egypt and says, “But now you have rejected your God [in demanding a human king]” (v. 19).

A public process of selection takes place — but Saul is nowhere to be found! He has hidden himself among the supplies (v. 22).

Samuel announces Saul as king, explains the rights and duties of kingship, writing them down on a scroll (v. 25). The people are dismissed. Saul goes to his home in Gibeah, “accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched” (v. 26). But some “scoundrels” said, “How can this fellow save us?” (v. 27). They despised him and brought him no gifts. But Saul kept silent (v. 27).

A big part of the Christian life is getting changed, right? God changed Saul’s heart (v. 9), just as Samuel had predicted (“and you will be changed into a different person”, v. 6).  God is into changing hearts, isn’t He?

God sovereignly has Saul prophesy with the procession of the prophets (v. 10).

Samuel charges Israel with rejecting God as their king, but conducts a public selection anyway. When the lot falls on Saul, he is hiding among the supplies. This seems to be a genuine expression of humility (or fear), a characteristic that will elude him later in his reign.

Although Saul is accompanied by “valiant men whose hearts God had touched,” we are also told of a segment of beginning opposition to Saul’s rule.

God works through fallible human beings, giving in to their demands to be like the other nations. The kingship begins.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2018 in I Samuel 10

 

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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel! (Chapter 9) Lost Donkeys and a Found King!

As we continue our study of I Samuel, our text this morning is a bit long.  Let’s read — and think through — I Samuel 9 . . .

So, Samuel has been commissioned by the Lord to give into Israel’s demands for a human king. We now learn some of the story of the one who will be Israel’s first human king — Saul.

Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, has a son who was a model for the magazine GQ. Not really, but Saul was “as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel” (v. 2). And he was also taller than everyone else.

It is in the course of everyday life — the episode of some lost donkeys — that Saul’s life will dramatically change! The search for the missing donkeys was coming up empty-handed (vv. 3-4), so Saul was fearful his father would stop worrying about the donkeys and start worrying about them (v. 5). The servant suggested they consult a nearby “man of God” for advice. Saul agrees and realizes they have no gift for the man. The servant offers his own money and they set out to find the man of God (vv. 6-10).

Receiving some advice about the “seer,” they meet Samuel on his way to the high place. Just the day before the Lord had instructed Samuel to anoint “a man from the land of Benjamin”! “He will deliver Israel from the Philistines . . . for their cry has reached me” (v. 16). When he sees Saul, Samuel is told by the Lord that “this is the man I spoke to you about” (v. 17).

Samuel invites Saul and his servant to eat with him and promises to tell him “all that is in [his] heart” (v. 19). “And don’t worry about the donkeys,” he says! (v. 20). God must have given Samuel supernatural insight into the whereabouts of the donkeys! Samuel then says, “And to whom is all the desire of Israel turned, if not to you and your whole family line?” (v. 20).

Saul responds in humility, for he came from the least of Israel’s tribes — “Why do you say such a thing to me?” (v. 21). Samuel sits Saul and his servant at the head of the table to which 30 others were invited and instructs the cook to bring the designated piece of meat for Saul. Samuel tells him that this meat was reserved specifically for him! (v. 24).

Around daybreak Samuel called to Saul on the roof to get ready to leave. At the edge of town, Samuel asks Saul to send his servant ahead and for Saul to stay “that I may give you a message from God” (v. 27).

My, how the Lord uses simple things to accomplish His purposes! A couple of lost donkeys! And searching for them leads to Saul meeting the prophet Samuel who will anoint him as Israel’s first king!

We also see how the Lord had supernaturally communicated to Samuel what He wanted him to do. God told Samuel where the donkeys were and to speak some incredible words to Saul: “to whom is all the desire of Israel turned, if not to you and your whole family line” (v. 20).

We must be impressed with Saul’s humility and his openness to hearing “a message of God” which Samuel will give him.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2018 in I Samuel 9

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 26)

Psalm 26

Of David.Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 7.15.02 AM

Vindicate me, Lord,
    for I have led a blameless life;
I have trusted in the Lord
    and have not faltered.
Test me, Lord, and try me,
    examine my heart and my mind;
for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love
    and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.

I do not sit with the deceitful,
    nor do I associate with hypocrites.
I abhor the assembly of evildoers
    and refuse to sit with the wicked.
I wash my hands in innocence,
    and go about your altar, Lord,
proclaiming aloud your praise
    and telling of all your wonderful deeds.

Lord, I love the house where you live,
    the place where your glory dwells.
Do not take away my soul along with sinners,
    my life with those who are bloodthirsty,
10 in whose hands are wicked schemes,Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 7.17.26 AM
    whose right hands are full of bribes.
11 I lead a blameless life;
    deliver me and be merciful to me.

12 My feet stand on level ground;
    in the great congregation I will praise the Lord.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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VANISHING PROBLEMS (Part 2)

Friends:

In our last post we looked at the Nationwide commercial about vanishing deductibles.  We asked, “Wouldn’t it be great if all our difficulties vanished like the problems depicted in that commercial?”

I then posted the Apostle Paul’s extensive testimony about his “thorn in the flesh” described in 2 Corinthians 12.  Let’s look at that text again and make a few observations:

There is so much here, it’s hard to know where to start!
The context, of course, is Paul’s description of his having had a tour of heaven!  We learn in verse 7 that God sent or allowed to come into Paul’s life a “thorn of the flesh” to torment him, to keep him “from becoming conceited.”

Bible scholars debate what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was.  I’ve discussed it at length in my little book Heaven:  Thinking Now about Forever.  I believe it was some sort of vision problem (see several passages in Galatians for support).

At any rate, let’s not miss the point of today’s blog.  Which is:  God has the power to do what He needs to do to keep us humble and trusting Him. (to be continued)

Questions:

1.  Where might God be humbling you through a trial or difficulty?

2.  How have you responded to that circumstance — and why?

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in 2 Corinthians 12, humility

 

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