Receiving Reward In Full

Sooooooo… does it feel like I’m the only one that posts regularly?

Actually, Bryan’s been on vacation, and Jeremy is heading out tomorrow for the Czech Republic as he leads the NHC youth missions team there. So you can be on the lookout for more posts from those guys as their schedules allow, but in the meantime I’m still churning through the whole-Bible-in-a-year thing.

I was in small town Iowa yesterday and didn’t have any internet access, which means I have some serious catching up to do for June. As I mentioned before, there are only 25 readings per month, so I can spill into July a little and then have some built in catch-up there.  How lame is it that I had to start this whole thing off already behind?  Answer: pretty lame.

Without further delay, here is reading set #15 for June:

– Genesis, chapters 34-35
– Psalm, chapter 15
– Matthew 6:16-24
– Acts 9:1-19

I’m going to refrain from commenting the unorthodox strategy employed by Jacob’s sons in avenging the defilement of their sister (Gen 34), and instead make note of this verse in Genesis 35:  “As they journeyed, a terror of God fell upon the cities that surrounded them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob” (vs 5). What was this “terror” like? And, as I asked in an earlier post, is there room in the 21st century picture of a loving God for him to send “terror” across the land in order to accomplish his purpose?

Psalm 15 finds David posing the question of “who shall dwell on (God’s) holy hill?” He answers with a description of a righteous man, who “speaks truth IN HIS HEART.” This man is not only speaking truth verbally to others, but is also speaking truth to himself in his own heart.  This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and seems very relevant to some of Jesus’ “you have heard it said” statements in Matthew 5.

Speaking of Matthew, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is still going strong in today’s Matthew 6 reading, and it stands out to me that verse 16 is Jesus’ third time in the chapter making this statement: “Truly, they have received their reward.” It’s interesting to me that Jesus doesn’t refer to the false appearance of righteousness as WORTHLESS. He implies that there IS a reward of sorts in this behavior, but I think this makes his entire point more clear: their reward is temporal and limited, whereas the reward for true righteousness is eternal.

The account of Saul’s conversion in Acts 9 contains this important verse, again showing God’s intentionality in visiting Paul so powerfully:  “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles” (vs 15). Speaking to Ananias, God makes clear that Saul is not just another person who believes in Christ and is saved, but is a linchpin component in the overall plan for the Gospel to reach beyond the Jews.

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