TODAYS BIBLE READING:
Matthew 2:1-23; Luke 2:41-52; Mark 1:2-8; Matthew 3:1-12; Luke 3:1-18; Mark 1:9-11; Matthew 3:13-17; Luke 3:21-22
Reading Time: 15-20 Minutes
BREAD CRUMBS COMMENTARY FOR TODAYS READING
with Krista Smith (8 minutes)
SEPT 26, 2023
DAY 269 IN THE APP
THIS WEEKS MEMORY VERSE
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. Psalms 31:24.
A FEW THOUGHTS...
Our society has largely become what Joshua warned us about. We read in Joshua 22:5, "But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul." This is similar to Jesus' answer when asked which is the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind". The formula that God desires from each of us has never changed, if we keep our eyes on Him and love Him, we will avoid chasing after other things and lose our way in the process. But lost they became and lost we are as a nation and as a world. Without being in God's word and being in a living and breathing relationship with God, we encounter two groups: the religious and the irreligious. Two destinies from the same problem, a lack of God's Word. So many will state how they went to Sunday School as a child, or that they went to Catholic School, or that their parents were religious, etc. What does any of that have to do with their present position? Even if these were factors, these are all past tense events, not current. Without freshly bathing in God's Word today, we tend to follow rules and rituals devoid of any real meaning. We pray in an impersonal way to a God who is seen as preoccupied, none of which does anything to strengthen our relationship with Him. Others have openly rejected God, or follow other gods in other religions. Not being rooted in His Word, they fail to see Him at all as relevant or just as one of many other nameless, aloof options. The result is the same, the bulk of society is utterly lost without Him.
This is the same type of society which John the Baptist encountered. We read of his commission in Luke 3:3-6, "And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough ways smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God'". As we read John's dealings with the people who came to him, he did not hold back. As it says in Ephesians 4:15, we are to speak the truth in love, and this is what John did. Sometimes this love was confrontational, because speaking the truth in love can hurt. For John imparting the truth of God was more important than being liked. This commission cost him his head, as he openly rebuked Herod the tetrarch for his illicit relationship with his own brother's wife (Luke 3:19-20). Both those who were irreligious and those who deemed themselves religious all had to repent of their sins if they were going to enter into a relationship with God. But through it all, John made sure the attention was off of him and onto God, as we read in 3:16, "I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."
The conditions and the climate was similar for Joshua, and for John the Baptist, and for us. Their commission was the same as our commission (Matthew 28:18-20). They were both faithful to the end to reach out to others. The question remains, how about us? Will we speak the truth in love to a generation who desperately needs to repent and turn their lives over to God? They were immovable in their resolve. We can only reach out if we stand firm in the armor of God, as described in Ephesians 6:10-18. Are we willing to step forward wearing the "Belt of Truth" (Eph 6:14), which refers to our personal integrity and faithfulness, concerning those areas not readily visible to others. Will we fasten on the "Breastplate of Righteousness" (Eph 6:14), and have our walk match our talk? Will we stand firmly and are we secure with the gospel truth, knowing the truth behind our salvation that it cannot be shaken (Eph 6:15). Unless we have prepared ourselves, we cannot approach others with the security and resolve which is necessary. People are looking for answers, and we have the only real answer that counts, salvation and hope in Jesus Christ. Hope can be found no where else. May we be modern day Joshua's and John the Baptist's preparing the way of the Lord.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
"The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us."
- Billy Graham