Devotion for June 3
A standard is defined as “a rule or principle that is used as a basis for judgment.” The reason I mention that is because as we read Matthew 19, we see Jesus drawing a clear contrast between the various standards that man had created and those established by God. This should not come as a shock to anyone, because our sin nature inclines us to manipulate life to our personal liking. And so we make marriage what we want it to be, instead of adhering to what God made it. We make salvation a man-centered reward we can earn, rather than the gracious gift of God that He grants by faith in Jesus alone. On-and-on we could go with different issues, but hopefully you get the point.
The questions presented in chapter 19 address specific issues, but the principles found in Jesus’ response apply to virtually every issue we encounter. I pray the Holy Spirit will inspire the heartfelt conviction necessary for us to examine every area of our life, both as individuals and as the church. And then, with the heart attitude of repentance, guide us to not just acknowledge those beliefs that are in conflict with God’s word, but more importantly, to submit them to conformity with the Will and Word of God.
Hosea 9–11 (CSB)
1 Israel, do not rejoice jubilantly as the nations do, for you have acted promiscuously, leaving your God. You love the wages of a prostitute on every grain-threshing floor. 2 Threshing floor and wine vat will not sustain them, and the new wine will fail them. 3 They will not stay in the land of the Lord. Instead, Ephraim will return to Egypt, and they will eat unclean food in Assyria. 4 They will not pour out their wine offerings to the Lord, and their sacrifices will not please him. Their food will be like the bread of mourners; all who eat it become defiled. For their bread will be for their appetites alone; it will not enter the house of the Lord. 5 What will you do on a festival day, on the day of the Lord’s feast? 6 For even if they flee from devastation, Egypt will gather them, and Memphis will bury them. Thistles will take possession of their precious silver; thorns will invade their tents. 7 The days of punishment have come; the days of retribution have come. Let Israel recognize it! The prophet is a fool, and the inspired man is insane, because of the magnitude of your iniquity and hostility. 8 Ephraim’s watchman is with my God. Yet the prophet encounters a bird trap on all his pathways. Hostility is in the house of his God! 9 They have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Gibeah. He will remember their iniquity; he will punish their sins. 10 I discovered Israel like grapes in the wilderness. I saw your fathers like the first fruit of the fig tree in its first season. But they went to Baal-peor, consecrated themselves to Shame, and became abhorrent, like the thing they loved. 11 Ephraim’s glory will fly away like a bird: no birth, no pregnancy, no conception. 12 Even if they raise children, I will bereave them of each one. Yes, woe to them when I depart from them! 13 I have seen Ephraim like Tyre, planted in a meadow, so Ephraim will bring out his children to the executioner. 14 Give them, Lord— What should you give? Give them a womb that miscarries and breasts that are dry! 15 All their evil appears at Gilgal, for there I began to hate them. I will drive them from my house because of their evil, wicked actions. I will no longer love them; all their leaders are rebellious. 16 Ephraim is struck down; their roots are withered; they cannot bear fruit. Even if they bear children, I will kill the precious offspring of their wombs. 17 My God will reject them because they have not listened to him; they will become wanderers among the nations. 1 Israel is a lush vine; it yields fruit for itself. The more his fruit increased, the more he increased the altars. The better his land produced, the better they made the sacred pillars. 2 Their hearts are devious; now they must bear their guilt. The Lord will break down their altars and demolish their sacred pillars. 3 In fact, they are now saying, “We have no king! For we do not fear the Lord. What can a king do for us?” 4 They speak mere words, taking false oaths while making covenants. So lawsuits break out like poisonous weeds in the furrows of a field. 5 The residents of Samaria will have anxiety over the calf of Beth-aven. Indeed, its idolatrous priests rejoiced over it; the people will mourn over it, over its glory. It will certainly go into exile. 6 The calf itself will be taken to Assyria as an offering to the great king. Ephraim will experience shame; Israel will be ashamed of its counsel. 7 Samaria’s king will disappear like foam on the surface of the water. 8 The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, will be destroyed; thorns and thistles will grow over their altars. They will say to the mountains, “Cover us!” and to the hills, “Fall on us!” 9 Israel, you have sinned since the days of Gibeah; they have taken their stand there. Will not war against the unjust overtake them in Gibeah? 10 I will discipline them at my discretion; nations will be gathered against them to put them in bondage for their double iniquity. 11 Ephraim is a well-trained calf that loves to thresh, but I will place a yoke on her fine neck. I will harness Ephraim; Judah will plow; Jacob will do the final plowing. 12 Sow righteousness for yourselves and reap faithful love; break up your unplowed ground. It is time to seek the Lord until he comes and sends righteousness on you like the rain. 13 You have plowed wickedness and reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way and in your large number of soldiers, 14 the roar of battle will rise against your people, and all your fortifications will be demolished in a day of war, like Shalman’s destruction of Beth-arbel. Mothers will be dashed to pieces along with their children. 15 So it will be done to you, Bethel, because of your extreme evil. At dawn the king of Israel will be totally destroyed. 1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 Israel called to the Egyptians even as Israel was leaving them. They kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. 3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the hand, but they never knew that I healed them. 4 I led them with human cords, with ropes of love. To them I was like one who eases the yoke from their jaws; I bent down to give them food. 5 Israel will not return to the land of Egypt and Assyria will be his king, because they refused to repent. 6 A sword will whirl through his cities; it will destroy and devour the bars of his gates, because of their schemes. 7 My people are bent on turning from me. Though they call to him on high, he will not exalt them at all. 8 How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I surrender you, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? I have had a change of heart; my compassion is stirred! 9 I will not vent the full fury of my anger; I will not turn back to destroy Ephraim. For I am God and not man, the Holy One among you; I will not come in rage. 10 They will follow the Lord; he will roar like a lion. When he roars, his children will come trembling from the west. 11 They will be roused like birds from Egypt and like doves from the land of Assyria. Then I will settle them in their homes. This is the Lord’s declaration. 12 Ephraim surrounds me with lies, the house of Israel, with deceit. Judah still wanders with God and is faithful to the holy ones.
Matthew 19 (CSB)
1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he departed from Galilee and went to the region of Judea across the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. 3 Some Pharisees approached him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife on any grounds?” 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that he who created them in the beginning made them male and female,” 5 and he also said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 7 “Why then,” they asked him, “did Moses command us to give divorce papers and to send her away?” 8 He told them, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your hearts, but it was not like that from the beginning. 9 I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another commits adultery.” 10 His disciples said to him, “If the relationship of a man with his wife is like this, it’s better not to marry.” 11 He responded, “Not everyone can accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb, there are eunuchs who were made by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who is able to accept it should accept it.” 13 Then children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to me, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 After placing his hands on them, he went on from there. 16 Just then someone came up and asked him, “Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life?” 17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” he said to him. “There is only one who is good. If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” he asked him. Jesus answered: Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; 19 honor your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as yourself. 20 “I have kept all these,” the young man told him. “What do I still lack?” 21 “If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard that, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions. 23 Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were utterly astonished and asked, “Then who can be saved?” 26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter responded to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you. So what will there be for us?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, in the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields because of my name will receive a hundred times more and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.