TUESDAY, APRIL 4
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 7
Today we have the third and final chapter that makes up The Sermon on the Mount. Jesus has had much to say to us about a lot of different things in the three chapters that make up this famous sermon. But if you look over the entire sermon one more time, you might discover that Jesus really had just one topic throughout the entire message. I am quite convinced this entire sermon is about how we are to live life in a righteous or right way.
This chapter is no exception. It begins with a section about judging others and being judged. We are reminded how easy it is for us to see the smallest flaws in others while we ignore the most grievous flaws in ourselves. So, you have to be careful about trying to remove a speck from someone else’s eye if you have a two by four sticking out of yours. You could actually poke someone’s eye out just trying to remove one, tiny, little speck.
From there Jesus talks again about prayer. We should talk about this for a second. I think a lot of folks have the notion that God is just a big candy machine producing whatever it is you think you want at the moment you want it. Then if we don’t get it, we slump away convincing ourselves that God is either unloving or uncaring or incapable of doing what we asked. Yet, in verse 11 we read where God gives good things to those who ask Him.
But did you notice that in this section on prayer, Jesus talked about how a parent might respond to the request of a child? We should slow down here just a bit and wrestle around with this. For example, if you had a four year old child asking you for a real gun, I doubt seriously any of you would give that child a gun. If you had a teenager asking you for methamphetamine, I know none of you would give that teenager that drug. Here’s my point. A gun is not necessarily bad but the best thing would be not to give one to a child. Methamphetamine is always bad and no one should ever give any of that to anyone.
When it comes to prayer and our asking God for stuff, we really need to learn to trust the wisdom and goodness of God. We may have asked for something it would just be better us not to have at the moment (like a kid wanting a gun). If God knows that and gives it to us anyway, He is not a good God. We may have asked for something that it would be better if we never had (like methamphetamine). If God knows that and gives it to us anyway, He is not a good God.
So, when we are praying and telling God all of the things that we want and think we need, we need to trust the goodness of God. If we get those things, then Woo Hoo! If we don’t get those things, then it still should be Woo Hoo because we serve a God who loves us enough to do what is always best for us.
The chapter ends with a story that Jesus tells about two houses: one built on the sand; the other built on the rock. By the way, these houses aren’t really houses. They represent lives, yours and mine.
Jesus described exactly identical storms hitting those two houses. The one built on the sand collapsed. The one built on the rock withstood the onslaught.
Since none of us are exempt from the certain storms of life, we really need to think about how we could survive. In verse 24, Jesus said the way we do that is we listen to and do what He said. It is not enough just to hear the Word of God. Doing what God says is most important. That doesn’t storm proof our lives. But it does make surviving the storms a real possibility.