January 23 – Today’s Readings – Matthew 14-16 and Psalms 23
How many enjoyed the incredible poetry of Psalms 23 today? This is one of the most beautiful passages in Scripture because we see Jesus revealed in an amazingly accurate way – as our shepherd – provider – peace giver – restorer of mind and emotions – remover of fears – the One who leads us to righteousness – the One who corrects and comforts – the One who anoints – the One who blesses and gives eternal security. It is difficult to find a better description of our Lord in the Old or New Testament. Just imagine the shepherd boy, David, receiving such a revelation of our Lord.
On a different and somewhat unrelated note, I would like to take you to a short phrase found in Matthew 15:3 – “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?”
Let’s pretend for a moment that Jesus is not speaking with critical religious leaders, but to us (you and me). What kinds of “traditions” do we have in our lives – things that were taught us by our parents, peer groups, society, etc. – things that would make us act in such a way as to disregard the true heart of God?
Perhaps we were taught that we had to be “tough” or judgmental or money-focused or rude or haters of government or lovers of a rebel cause or lovers of the impure. There are many ungodly “traditions” that need to be relearned when we come to Jesus. He is faithful to patiently renew our minds and cleanse us from all unrighteous thought or behaviour patterns.
On the other hand, we may have been taught some very Godly traditions – how to keep the Lord’s day – how to give thanks in all situations – how to honour parents and elders – how to treat spouses with loving-kindness – how to raise children in the nurture of the Lord – how to get up every morning and put in a good day’s work with a good attitude – how to live for others and not just self. Not all traditions are bad. Many things passed down through generations are wonderful, Godly traditions that should be cherished, not done away with.
One of the many problems we face in our society is that we have replaced Godly traditions with a worldly mindset and we have passed these “new” values on to our children. Not everything Mom and Dad or Grandpa and Grandma did was good. We need to use Scripture to determine which things are “Godly” traditions passed down to us and replace the ungodly traditions with new, Biblical ones.
1. Please comment on some of the good and not-so-good traditions you learned as you grew up.
2. Describe how the Lord Jesus has been your personal shepherd in the last year.