How Difficult It Is For A Capitalist To Enter The Kingdom Of God

Daily Scripture readings for October, set #3:

1 Samuel, chapters 6-8
Psalm 97
Mark 10:17-34
2 Corinthians 2

I take 1 Samuel 8:18 as a solemn warning against my ability to make right choices on my own. Perhaps I’m reading into this verse too much, but it’s the first thing that came to mind as I read these words: “And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

Psalm 97:7 seems like a fitting follow-up to the account of the Ark in the possession of the Philistines and in the temple of Dagon. “All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods!” Also, I wonder if verse 6 is where Paul got his ammo for Romans 1:19-20.

“And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!'” (Mk 10:23). Now, I try to stay away from mixing political issues with Kingdom issues, so I’m not going to make a definitive political statement from this text. I will, however, say this: If a person were a die-hard “create wealth” capitalist and what not (like I am), it seems like it would be good for that person, on a regular basis, to at least REMIND themselves of this verse and it’s implications.

Paul’s potent words in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 deserve much thought and reflection. “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.” What an incredible picture of the Christian life and how the Lord uses it for his purposes.

Daily Scripture readings for October, set #4:

1 Samuel, chapters 9-10
Psalm 98
Mark 10:35-52
2 Corinthians 3

Today’s chapters in 1 Samuel contain a handful of references to God’s influence on the human heart. First, in 9:5-10, Saul and his servant decide to seek guidance from Samuel in searching for their livestock. This conclusion is reached with much deliberation, but vs 16 says that God SENT Saul to Samuel. Then, 10:6 predicts that Saul “will be turned into another man,” and 10:9 plainly describes Saul’s “heart” as “new” – different from the one he previously had, and something that had been given him from God. Lastly, in verse 26, we read that Saul’s servants in his new kingship were comprised of men whose service to Saul was a result of their hearts having been “touched” by God.

I know I just mentioned this in the previous Psalm reading (chap 97), but now again in Psalm 98 I see rhetoric that reminds me of Romans 1:19-20. “The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God” (vs 2-3).

The relationship of the members of the Trinity is always a fascinating and perplexing thing to think about. Jesus hints at this in Mark 10:40, when he says that permission to sit at his right and left hand is essentially out of his pay grade, so to speak. “But to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” It may be that Jesus himself chose for whom these positions of authority were prepared, but the angle of his speech sure sounds like it was God the Father making that particular decision.

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 is a sobering explanation regarding the current state of God’s chosen people, the Jews. “But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” What gratitude we all owe to Christ, who lifts the veil!

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