Reflections: Today we see the promises of God are forever. God made a covenant promise with Israel that through them all the nations would be blessed. In this covenant everything that is God’s will be for the sons and daughters of God. Eventually the whole world will be for God’s people as the Garden of Eden is restored and the sons and daughters of God rule with him forever and ever. We see this promise in the Psalm, where the Psalmist promises the Israelites the land in Canaan though they were strangers and but few in numbers.
Despite God’s promises to bless His people and always provide for them, we see how often we distrust God and go our own ways to provide for ourselves. In Judges, we have seen the past couple of days how the Israelites started to go after other gods and disregard the 2nd commandment to make new idols. Yesterday, Micah created his own gods and even hired his own priest. Each person was doing what they thought was right in their own eyes. Then today one of the families of the tribe of Dan decides to go their own way and leave their brothers and sisters and do what they think is right in their own eyes. They run into the idolatrous Micah and try to take away his priest, as if somehow to justify what they are doing as righteous. When we head down the path of sin it is amazing the capacity we have to try and justify and rationalize it with religious acts that are offensive to God because they are done with a deceitful heart.
Then in Luke, Jesus reminds the disciples of their place in the kingdom in which they will eventually reign. But they are still confused and Peter still thinks that he will be faithful in private when in public he will deny Jesus three times. They think that the kingdom will be about swords and earthly power and Jesus says “enough!” He realizes they still don’t understand the true battle he is about to engage in to have victory over sin, death and the power of Satan. The disciples still don’t understand the true nature of their own authority, which is best manifest in serving not dominating and ruling in worldly way. Jesus is teaching them the values in the kingdom which someday will be complete, but now is very imperfect. Jesus has been given everything by the Father, and He is giving it to His chosen disciples albeit they are still very unaware of the potential and scope of the authority they are about to receive. Fortunately on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit will guide them in all truth and afford them the power and authority they will need to start the Church.
Although these things took place 2,000 years not much has changed! We often still look to only our worldly resources and power, rather than following Jesus’ lead. Jesus has conferred a kingdom on us as the priesthood of all believers. He has promised us that the gates of Hades will not prevail against us as we live out the Great Commission of the Church. As a Covenant son or daughter of God all that the Father has is yours and one day we will rule with the disciples on a new heaven and new earth. But until that time comes, there will be struggles against ourselves, our enemy and the ability to lay down our lives in service and in the power and authority God has given us.
So today as we begin a new week after Labor Day and enter into the Fall Season, which is often loaded with lots of new opportunities, think about how God might use you to bring in His kingdom. As we lead like Jesus did and use our authority and power to serve others, God’s kingdom will come through us. One day we will rule with Jesus in His Kingdom, but that can start today as we surrender ourselves to him and allow him to reign in each decision, each word and each thought we take today! Let’s go out in the victory that is ours in Christ and show the world who Jesus really is!!
8 He remembers his covenant forever,
the promise he made, for a thousand generations,
9 the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac.
10 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
11 “To you I will give the land of Canaan
as the portion you will inherit.”
12 When they were but few in number,
few indeed, and strangers in it,
13 they wandered from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another.
14 He allowed no one to oppress them;
for their sake he rebuked kings:
15 “Do not touch my anointed ones;
do my prophets no harm.”
The Danites Settle in Laish
18 In those days Israel had no king. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking a place of their own where they might settle, because they had not yet come into an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. 2 So the Danites sent five of their leading men from Zorah and Eshtaol to spy out the land and explore it. These men represented all the Danites. They told them, “Go, explore the land.” So they entered the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah, where they spent the night. 3 When they were near Micah’s house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite; so they turned in there and asked him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? Why are you here?” 4 He told them what Micah had done for him, and said, “He has hired me and I am his priest.” 5 Then they said to him, “Please inquire of God to learn whether our journey will be successful.” 6 The priest answered them, “Go in peace. Your journey has the Lord’s approval.” 7 So the five men left and came to Laish, where they saw that the people were living in safety, like the Sidonians, at peace and secure. And since their land lacked nothing, they were prosperous. Also, they lived a long way from the Sidonians and had no relationship with anyone else. 8 When they returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their fellow Danites asked them, “How did you find things?” 9 They answered, “Come on, let’s attack them! We have seen the land, and it is very good. Aren’t you going to do something? Don’t hesitate to go there and take it over. 10 When you get there, you will find an unsuspecting people and a spacious land that God has put into your hands, a land that lacks nothing whatever.”11 Then six hundred men of the Danites, armed for battle, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol. 12 On their way they set up camp near Kiriath Jearim in Judah. This is why the place west of Kiriath Jearim is called Mahaneh Dan[c] to this day. 13 From there they went on to the hill country of Ephraim and came to Micah’s house.
New International Version (NIV)
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” 33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” 35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” 38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That’s enough!” he replied.
The earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. Psalm 33:5
You know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9
How unshakeable are your ways of love and truth, O God. The earth abounds with your goodness and grace. As beggars we come, as kings we depart; richly blessed and filled with all good things from your hand. Amen.