It is election day in the United States of America. In this article we will review some of what the book of Proverbs says about those who would rule as kings and leaders over nations.
Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.
Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Proverbs 24:21 My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those given to change; 22 For their calamity will rise suddenly, And who knows the ruin those two can bring?
My observations: The most important “issue” might not be the economy or foreign policy or immigration but morality and justice. 14:34 says “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.” We should seek leaders who respect Biblical morality.
No matter what the outcome God is still in control. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord!” At the end of the day some are going to be greatly disappointed. We should not despair but we should pray! To those living under Rome Paul wrote, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1Timothy 2:1-2).
Finally, 24:21 reminds us to be submissive to those in authority. If we rebel we bring trouble upon ourselves in this life but even more seriously we disobey God.
What did you see in these Proverbs?
It is a privilege to live in a country where we can sing (and pray), “God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her through the night with the light from above”.
Jesus is asked by a lawyer what is the greatest commandment in the law.
Jesus gives the familiar reply, “Love God with all your heart…” (found in Deuteronomy 6), and the offers the second command, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (found in a more obscure context in Leviticus 19).
Jesus further explains the matter: on these two commands hang all the law and prophets. How would you explain the idea that all the law and prophets “hang” on these two commands?
In the early part of the week Jesus comes to the temple where He teaches. There are also intense discussions with the Jewish leaders. We will read of these this week using Matthew as our main text.
In today’s reading they ask Him by what authority He is doing the things He does. Perhaps they are referring to things like cleansing the temple. Jesus does not give a direct answer, but exposes their hypocrisy by asking them to take a stand on John the Baptist: was He from heaven or men? They are unwilling to honestly answer Jesus so He does not answer them.
Even the hypocritical Jewish leaders understand something very simple about man’s relationship with God: If something is “from heaven” what is the proper response?
While going from Bethany to Jerusalem, and while he was hungry, Jesus sees a fig tree which has no fruit and said to the tree, “Let no on eat fruit from you ever again”. The next morning the disciples are surprised when they find the tree dried up by the roots!
Was Jesus just disappointed because he was hungry and wanted to eat the figs? Some see the fig tree as representing Israel (unfruitful and about to be judged).
Jesus follows this up by teaching about prayer. How does the topic go from cursing the fig tree to a lesson about prayer? What does the cursing of the fig tree teach us about prayer?
One of the first things Jesus does having arrived in Jerusalem is to enter the temple and cast out the money changers and sellers there just as He had done on His first visit to Jerusalem (John 2). Jesus says ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer (Mark adds “for all nations”),’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.'”
While there He also heals some who were ill and children praise Him saying “Hosanna to the Son of David”. The chief priests and scribes object to the latter but Jesus justifies their praise.
This is a great scripture for a Sunday morning as we think about how we will worship God today. Is our church truly a “house of prayer for all nations” or are there corrupting influences like the money changers or hyper-critical chief priests?
After John’s comment on Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. John tells us the at disciples did not understand what Jesus did, especially how it fulfilled prophecy. John notes that one reason for the great multitudes is the resurrection of Lazarus. Finally, we see the Pharisees are frustrated because of Jesus popularity.
What does it tell you that Jesus was so popular even though the religious authorities were dead set against Him?
Verse 41 tells us “as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it”. We see clearly here how much Jesus loved the Jewish people. Not only is He sad because they rejected Him but He is also thinking about the coming destruction of Jerusalem (which happened in 70 AD).
What does it teach us about Jesus that He was weeping for and thinking about others even as the time of His own trials and sufferings drew near?
This is a dramatic moment in the story of Jesus as He arrives in Jerusalem for the last time. It is remarkable that Jesus rode in on a donkey. It fulfilled prophecy (Zechariah 9:9) and it indicated His lowliness. As He descends into the city and the multitudes begin rejoicing and praising him citing a Messianic Psalm “Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (Psalm 118).
Not surprisingly the Pharisees are unimpressed with Jesus and tell him to rebuke His disciples. Note Jesus reply (v40). What does Jesus mean, “the stones would immediately cry out”?
Note that Jesus is passing through Jericho and is on His way to Jerusalem. Great multitudes are following Him. We are introduced to a blind man, who when he learns Jesus is coming by, cries out over and over “Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me”. Jesus heals him of his blindness.
One thing important about this miracle is the understanding Bartimaeus had of who Jesus was. How does he identify Jesus and why is this designation important?
What else do you see important in this miracle?
This is a parable about a landowner who hired workers throughout the day and at the end of the day paid everyone the same.
Not surprisingly, the ones who worked all day complained. The landowner tells them it is his right to pay whatever he wants to pay. He also tells them that they were paid exactly what they agreed upon.
The landowner said to those who complained, “is your eye evil because I am good?”
How might we have an “evil eye” spiritually speaking and resent how good God is to some people?