Dis·cern·ment – the ability to judge well.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Reality and healthy survival demands our being able to judge well to live well. That ability to judge well is what our Sovereign Judge, Resurrected Perfecter an Evidence of Truth have united to provide us. Defining the “division of soul and of spirit” requires more imagination than the grisly image Hebrews paints of a sword whacking through bone to reveal the living inner part, the marrow, that actually provides it needed nourishment.
Hebrews is saying the soul is like a boney structure we might identify as the biblical hard heart. The penetration of that boney structure has to happen to reveal the marrow, the Spirit, inside that hard heart. That allows the Spirit and the Word of God to become the needed nourishment of our growth, impact the intentions of our heart and teach us to judge well. It’s the total package.
•Luke 9:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.
•Matthew 4:3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. [Deut. 8:3]’”
Jesus was sending his disciples out for a very special purpose. That didn’t just happen, it took time to prepare. That’s what makes his instructions to the disciples so interesting. “He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.” It seems like comfort and convenience weren’t to be a part of their preparation. I wondered about the “no” parts.
The disciples were prepared to go out to “proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick” but why not send them out with those small things that could give them comfort and convenience? Did Jesus have in mind his own experience of being tempted in the wilderness as he gave them those instructions? His own temptation had not been about hunger at all. The tempter had used comfort and convenience in his failed attempt to entice Jesus to settle for any means to an end and become a “convenient” Messiah.
Jesus still wants his disciple’s focus of preparation to be on proclaiming the truth that protected him from the temptation to settle for any means to an end – the word of God. “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” There’s bread enough to last until tomorrow morning. I invite you to check back then for fresh Maundy Thursday Bread.
Romans 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
It seems harder to deal with repenting after you’ve walked with Jesus for a while. The “big” stuff was so obvious there was no hesitation about what needed to go. That was good, but this is the season to take another look. There’s a hidden closet where the evil one has stashed some of my less obvious sins. That makes them really easy to forget about. They’re smoldering, fiery darts that will be used as weapons of contempt for God’s “kindness, forbearance and patience” and to discredit the reality of his work in me. I caught a whiff of smoke and realized where there’s smoke…there’s fire. it’s time to put out these fires.
• The well-meaning prayer request with “too many details” about someone else’s crisis can become a weapon that impacts other people’s response to them. I need to remember God already knows every detail!
• The wrong tone of voice, even when used with “just the right” words, is a devilish eraser capable of wiping out the validity of God’s work in my life to the ears that hear them.
• Using the Word of God as a weapon to verbally discipline someone or manipulate their behavior is a serious violation of my trust in God’s sovereignty, and it’s unkind. The power of the Word lies in “realizing that God’s kindness is [what’s] intended to lead you [both] to repentance.”
The closet has been aired out. I’m waiting for the smoke to clear. Amen [So be it!]
Posted in Luke, Romans, Sunday
Tagged Fiery Darts, Hidden Closet, Kindness, Less Obvious Sins, Repentance, TMI, Tone of Voice, Weapons, Word of God
Psalm 119: 161-168 ש Sin and Shin – Tooth
161 Rulers persecute me without cause,
but my heart trembles at your word.
162 I rejoice in your promise
like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and detest falsehood
but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous laws.
165 Great peace have those who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.
166 I wait for your salvation, Lord,
and I follow your commands.
167 I obey your statutes,
for I love them greatly.
168 I obey your precepts and your statutes,
for all my ways are known to you
Shin – tooth is an interesting title because it brought to mind this image. The Psalmist is like a dog with a bone. He fiercely defends his faith…and the Word of God, his bone. Try to take it away and there will be a struggle that ranges from a slight tug of war to fierce defense.
He’s sunk his teeth into the Word of God. It’s his “great spoil;” his bone to chew on to satisfy appetite but also to keep his “teeth” sharp and healthy to aid digestion.