Prayer Psalm: 138
Prayer Point: How can we have hope in the low places of our lives? This is what gives us hope: “Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly… though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve the life …. The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me.” Pray for the faith to believe these promises.
Considering that the heart of God’s law is to love God and love your neighbor (see Matthew 22:37-40) how did the Pharisees use their interpretation of the law (their tradition) to circumvent the law’s true purpose?
The law required faithful Jews to care for their parents in their old age, but oral tradition provided a way for selfish children to avoid this responsibility. By declaring all their property to be “corban”, given to God, they could tell their parents they had no money left to help them. Jesus placed His trust firmly on the biblical revelation and rejected the oral tradition which pious Jews believed was as binding as the law (Disciples Study Bible Notes).
The Old Testament contained elaborate laws on eating and hygiene that governed whether or not a person was clean. The point of these laws was to remind the people that they were unclean because of sin and needed God to cleanse them. The laws were pictures that pointed to a deeper spiritual reality, not the reality itself. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law and they focused too strongly on the meticulous rules on what should be eaten. What does Jesus want us to focus on instead? What is it that makes us unclean? Can we conquer sin by changing our behavior or do we have a deeper problem?
The phrase “the law was put in charge” (NIV) or “guardian” (ESV) in verse 24 is a translation of the Greek word, paedagogos. A paedagogos was a household slave charged with watching over the family’s heir to make sure he stayed out of trouble until he was old enough to receive his inheritance and take charge of the family’s estate.
What is the Law’s temporary role in our lives? When is its job complete?
Whom did God send to liberate us from slavery to the Law? What new identity has Jesus given us? How does this new identity serve as the foundation for the unity of the church?
What did God give us because we have become sons of God? What does the Holy Spirit do for us?
How would the Gentile Christians in Galatia be turning their back on what God has done by submitting to Jewish circumcision and laws?
Ecclesiastes 5:8-20 Riches Are Meaningless
“The king himself profits from the fields.” (Eccl. 5:7b) King Solomon goes to Samuel (1 Samuel) for his next observation: 1 Samuel “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots…. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. Your menservants and your maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.” (1 Samuel 8:11, 13-18 NIV) Solomon was perhaps the quintessential representation of the king as related in First Samuel. Solomon conscripted what would amount to slave labor; he was wealthy beyond measure; had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11) and yet this was not enough.
What is the earmark of greed according to 5:10? (“Whoever loves money never has money enough…”)
What point is made by 5:11? (Don’t be owned by your stuff.)
Why would the “abundance of a rich man” permit him no sleep? (The rich man is always guarding against someone who may want to steal his stuff.)
What is the point of verses 5:14-15? (You can’t take it with you. This is a sentiment also expressed by Job (Job 1:21))
What is the evil Solomon is talking about in verses 5:16-17? (Man toils for the wind. “All his days he eats in darkness with great frustration, affliction and anger.” (v. 17 NIV))
What wisdom does Solomon discover expressed in verses 18-20? (God keeps us busy with rewarding work to keep us from reflecting on the brevity of life.)