Daily Reflections February 2, 2018
There is very little, if anything, to commend in this chapter. Lust, deception, cowardice, and foolish revenge make the perfect storm here. So why is this narrative here? How can it help us besides instructing us not to follow these examples?
This narrative shows and encourages us that God’s grace conquers in spite of human sin. This is not an isolated passage, it fits within the storyline of Jacob. In chapter 28, God tells Jacob,
“I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring…Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:13b, 15).
Up until this point, God has provided safety for Jacob in Mesopotamia, given him descendants, and delivered him land in Canaan. But they had not yet reached Bethel and now this event looks like it will overthrow everything. You can hear the fear in his voice as Jacob says to his sons,
“My numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.” (Genesis 34:30b).
But God, being faithful and rich in mercy, gives Jacob reassurance in the beginning of chapter 35. He also shows Jacob that he has not forgotten his promise by protecting them all the way to Bethel.
Christianity has been in a state of prominence in our culture for many, many years. We have enjoyed peace and safety. But now we are experiencing the perfect storm of sexual immorality, dishonest negotiations, weakness from leaders, and immature retaliation. It looks as if there is little hope. We are few in number and if they rally against us, the church will be destroyed.
But God, being faithful and rich in mercy, has already provided us with an assurance of future hope. Peter tells us,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5).
We do not despair because we know that the sin that comes from outside and the sin that comes from inside cannot deter God from bringing us all the way home. Just like Jacob, he will be with us, he will never leave us, and he will keep us wherever we go. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Yours in Christ,
Associate Pastor Evan Webster
In Mark 5 we read about three incredible miracles performed by Jesus. The first miracle involves Jesus traveling to the Gentile land of the Gerasenes and healing a demon possessed man. Having performed this miracle Jesus returns to Jewish country and performs two other extraordinary miracles. The first of these miracles was healing a woman with a discharge of blood, and the second was restoring a young girl to life.
All three of these stories work together to display the incredible power and compassion of the Lord Jesus. In all three of these miracles Jesus is shown to be the final hope of the people, and thankfully Jesus proves Himself able in every situation.
The demon possessed man had been abandoned by all other people. He was left to live alone among the tombs. There was a time when the people had tried to subdue him, but they had since lost the strength to do so and seemingly gave him up as hopeless. The presence of Jesus, however, was enough to subdue this man and it was with but a few words that Jesus revealed his absolute authority and healed the man.
Similarly, the woman with the discharge of blood turned to Jesus as her last resort. All other physicians had failed to cure her, but she knew that Jesus was the Great Physician and she acted in a manner consistent with her faith. Likewise, when the father of the dead girl was told to no longer bother Jesus he instead trusted in Jesus’ words and brought Jesus to his daughter. Both the woman with the discharge of blood and the father of the dead girl were rewarded for their obedient faith.
This chapter reveals to us that Jesus can and should be trusted. Though everyone and everything might fail us, Jesus is greater than any problem that the enemy or this world can throw our way. Christ stands as a beacon of light in the darkness and we need only approach him with the faith that he is sufficient for all our needs. If you have not yet done this, now is the time. If you have already encountered and experienced the mercy of our Lord then heed his words in verse 19:
“Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
Director of Youth Ministries Ryan Shevalier