Slime In The Pit

SEPTEMBER 26

MATTHEW 7:6_neither cast ye your pearls before swine…

In Biblical language, worse than a dog would be – a pig.

Matthew chapter 8 (KJV) tells of Jesus’ encounter with two demonic men. Jesus converses with the demons, 29 And, behold, they [demons] cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?’ 30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.31 So the devils besought him, saying, ‘If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.’ 32 And he said unto them, ‘Go.’ And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.”  

In Luke chapter 15 (KJV) Jesus tells of a son who asked his father for his inheritance early in life: 14And when he [prodigal son] had spent all [the inheritance], there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

For a Jew, feeding or caring in any way for pigs was the bottom of the totem pole. The slime in the pit. The bottom rung of a ladder – the one that is stepped on the most.

Now let’s find out what all this dog and pig stuff is about. Don’t miss tomorrow!

PRAYER

Great God, I am listening to You and Your Word—teach me! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.       

Christ teaches true principles of life—He teaches me!

Fido

SEPTEMBER 25

MATTHEW 7:6_Give not that which is holy unto dogs…

Generally, Bible references to dogs are not as we consider dogs today. They are not referred to as a companion, or man’s best friend, or a service animal. That is not to say they were not all those things, but that is not how they are referred to in the Bible. Their references are on the rougher side, like: a prostitute, or licking up blood, or returning to vomit.

Need some evidence? Deuteronomy 23:18 (KJV), “Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore [female prostitute], or the price of a dog [male prostitute], into the house of the Lord thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”  I Kings 21:19 (KJV), “… And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, ‘Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.’”  Proverbs 26:11 (KJV), “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” 

These are all rather graphic, but my point is to show that Jesus is not talking about Fido in this verse. Dogs here are something base, low-life, and well, disgusting.

Don’t go thinking Jesus doesn’t like dogs – after all, He created them. And don’t go chasing Fido out of your yard. He is not what is referred to here. 

Dogs aren’t the only animal used as a negative illustration. Don’t miss tomorrow!

PRAYER

Only Wise God, There is so much to understand about life—give me wisdom! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

 Christ understands principles of life—He teaches me!

Jesus Gives Back Life

SEPTEMBER 24

MATTHEW 7:5_and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Only the Pharisees and Jesus knew why they did not bring the man to their stoning party. Perhaps the woman had been lured into a carefully planned trap? We don’t know. But regardless of the circumstances of the event, we know this—she left that day free. 

She was guilty. She stood before powerful figures who could lawfully execute her, but she walked away unharmed. Those powerful figures were unable to complete their scheme because their own hearts condemned them. The Pharisees’ guilt hit them squarely in the face and there was nothing they could do but walk away.

When Jesus sent the woman away He said to her “go, and sin no more.” Those who want to look at this as Jesus excusing adultery miss the mark. Jesus didn’t excuse anything—He freed a woman from bondage. He gave her back her life with instruction to live it differently in the future. From the day we receive Jesus into our hearts, He does the same thing for each of us.

He was also pointing out one more thing. The hypocrisy of the Pharisees was so great it overshadowed the sin of the woman. She walked away free, and they guilty.           

PRAYER

Lord of All,                                                                                                              

You have given me life and set me free—praise Your name! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ gives back life to the lost—He says sin no more!

Convicting Power

SEPTEMBER 23

MATTHEW 7:5_first cast out the beam out of thine own eye…

There were some missing parts of John 8 in our September 19 devotional. Let’s read them now: “6 … But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.”

I can’t help but see some humor in this. Knowing their hearts and the hypocrisy of the entire incident, Jesus ignored them. Perhaps He hoped that if He ignored them they would go away. No such luck. Since they wouldn’t go away, Jesus addressed them, “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.’”

Talk about hitting the nail squarely on the head! Jesus sent conviction directly to their hard hearts.

Wouldn’t you love to know what He was writing – I would! Perhaps He was writing the man’s name. Maybe the man was even … a Pharisee! One thing is for certain, the Scribes and Pharisees cared nothing about the woman and intended for this to end in her death. She was only a pawn in their game to ensnare Jesus.

Regardless of what He wrote, it had enough convicting power to cause them to drop their stones and walk away. 

The religious leaders blew their whole scheme. They were the ones humiliated before the crowd in the temple, not Jesus.        

One last teaching about this lesson – tomorrow!

PRAYER

True Shepherd,  Lead me to the place of freedom! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.  

Christ is the True Shepherd—He defends me against evil!

Heavy Bondage

SEPTEMBER 22

MATTHEW 7:5_first cast out the beam out of thine own eye…

The Scribes and Pharisees could not see or perceive as Jesus did. What Jesus saw in the heart of the adulteress woman was a mote in comparison to the judgmental beam in the hearts of the religious leaders. It was Jesus they were judging, far more than the woman.

Jesus did not set a precedent for a Get Out of Jail Free card for adultery. Remember, Jesus is about finding freedom! Adultery is heavy bondage. 

The Scribes and Pharisees were correct about their guilty verdict – adultery did carry a death sentence. However, there is a major flaw in their sanctimonious condemnation. AKA hypocrisy. Where was the man?

The law the Scribes and Pharisees were so anxious to have Jesus  enforce is found in Leviticus 20:10 (KJV), “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” The only way she could be an adulteress was if she were married. If she was not, the man could consider her as a prostitute, or use her any way he wished. If this were all about law enforcement, seems that something is missing. 

Instead of answering their accusations, Jesus began to play around in the sand.     

We’re not through yet – keep following!

PRAYER

True God, Help me know You never want me in bondage—Free me! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ does not make bondage easy – He frees!