Today's Bible reading: Genesis 14; Matthew 13. [Monday's post]
I'm trying to get a day ahead on these posts, as they go out from the blog at midnight on the day I write them. The reading plan I'm using is found here. And here's a bit more information about this plan, originally compiled by Robert Murray M'Cheyne. So this post is about tomorrow's (Monday) passages.
The first year you read all of the New Testament, the Psalms, and half of the Old Testament. The second year is the same but with the other half of the Old Testament. It's about two chapters a day. It's very do-able for most schedules. My wife and I each read one passage in the morning, and then we read together the second passage after dinner.
To receive my posts by email, you can sign up to the right of this post, but you may need to do this via computer, since mobile view doesn't always show the "follow by email" sign-up spot in the right hand column below the profile. Or you can also receive these as soon as they go up if you use an RSS aggregator like Feedly.
Thanks for the emails and encouragements! I love hearing from you.
"And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.)" (Gen 14:18)
In Genesis 14 we are introduced to Melchizedek, the King of Salem (what would later become Jerusalem) and also a Priest of God. Abraham shows great deference to the Priest-King. What is unusual is that nothing else is mentioned about him -- his origin, birthplace, lineage, family, or any descendants. We might dismiss him as minor character were it not for King David who later in Psalm 110 says that his son -- the greater Son of David, whom he calls "Lord" -- would be just such a priest-king like Melchizedek. (110:4) He would be a priest not by virtue of descent from Aaron the high priest, but by virtue of his everlasting life. (See Hebrews 7 for full explanation!)
In Matthew 13 we read several of Jesus' parables, mainly about his Kingdom and in what form it comes. Many of his day were expecting the Christ (Messiah) to bring about the Kingdom of God in a sudden, dramatic, and global way. That will happen, of course, at Christ's second coming. But these parables highlight the fact that the Lord Jesus came to inaugurate a hidden, spiritual period of the Kingdom. It will be like a small seed buried in the ground, or leaven hidden in a batch of flour, or a treasure hidden in a field. It will grow like a plant and be harvested like a crop.
My take-aways: God's plan for history can be quite surprising, with characters like Melchizedek and parables about a hidden kingdom. I need to make sure, especially, as I reflect upon the parable of the soils (Matt 13:3-23) that my heart is properly receptive of God's word... that I am hearing it and understanding it, that I'm letting it take root deep in my heart, and that I'm not yielding my attention to worldly cares, riches, and other desires that would choke out the word. I want to bear good fruit for the Lord.
Image above: "The Sower", by Vincent van Gogh (1888). Below: a chart I made for a sermon about the Kingdom.