Today's Scheduled Reading for Reading the Bible Through in a Year
(With Notes by Pastor Chuck Smith)
BEWARE OF HYPOCRISY
Jesus warned His disciples about the danger of becoming hypocrites like the Pharisees and Sadducees, allowing religion to become an outward thing that wasn't real on the inside. For the religious people of the day, it was all an act. Jesus' followers were to be concerned with lasting changes in their hearts.
It is interesting to me that one of he first problems that arose in the early church was the problem of hypocrisy. Annanias and Sapphira had sold a piece of real estate and had given part of the proceeds to the apostles, but pretended like they had given it all. They were lying to God, and God judged them (Acts 5:1-11)
Hypocrisy has probably done more damage to the church throughout history than any other sin. So Jesus was warning His disciples to avoid hypocrisy, to be careful of putting on an act, pretending to be very religious when it isn't there inside.
THE LORD KNOWS BEST
Notice that in these verses, Paul was arguing with the Lord. Whenever you find yourself arguing with the LORD, just know that you are wrong. So many times we find ourselves arguing. "But, LORD, I know what they are feeling or thinking. I'm sure, LORD, I can convince them"
The LORD said, "Paul, they're not going to receive you; get out of Jerusalem," Now I believe that for seventeen years Paul felt the LORD was wrong, I believe deep down in his heart that Paul felt that if he could just talk to the Jews, he could convince them. It isn't our words of wisdome that convince a man to follow Jesus Christ. It is the Holy Spirit speaking to a person's heart that opens their heart to the truth.
Seventeen years before, the LORD had told Paul to flee Jerusalem; and I think that for the entire seventeen years, Paul felt the LORD had been wrong. Paul believed he could convince them. So here he was. He was shining. They were quiet. They were listening.
And then, Paul mentioned the word "Gentiles"; and a huge uproar ensued. The Jews tore their clothes. They threw dirt in the air. They were an emotional group, and Paul had pushed the wrong button. Finally, Paul had had his chance to speak to the Jews in Jerusalem, and they wanted to kill him.
TRUST; DON'T FRET
When we see evil people getting away with sin, seemingly without consequence, it is easy to get upset, especially when they are doing things against us. But we need to trust in the Lord. The cure for worry is trust.
God will deal with the wicked. They aren't getting away with anything. Don't be jealous of them. They will be cut down like grass. And this psalm continues the thought, saying, "Trust in the LORD," "Delight yourself also in the LORD," "Commit your way to the LORD," and "Rest in the LORD," His is taking care of everything.
What are your thoughts with what you read today?