God's Way, God's Time

APRIL 15

MATTHEW 5:38_Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.

This is a law transformation – big time! The Law said if someone were to blind your eye, you could blind their eye. It also said that if someone were to knock out your tooth, you could knock out their tooth. In the Old Testament this was justice. The truth is, most people like this kind of justice. It satisfies. Nobody gets by with anything. 

If you’ve gained some insights over the past several months, it’s when Jesus begins a teaching with “Ye have heard that it hath been said”—He is about to transform that! 

The Great Balancer wants balance between justice and revenge. There is a place in the world for justice, the judicial system. The Bible says there is only one place for revenge – in God’s hands. Romans 12:19 (KJV), “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.’” 

God only, gets to decide if revenge is appropriate. If so, He carries it out. God carries revenge out in His way, and only His way. He carries it out in His time, and only His time.

Because of hard hearts, it is always best to let God decide how to deal with any kind of revenge.  

PRAYER

Blessed Savior, Help me leave revenge in Your hands. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

Christ balances revenge and mercy—I don’t know how!                                               

Just Keep Your Word

APRIL 14

MATTHEW 5:37_But let your communication be, yea, yea; nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Jesus’ conclusion to this lesson is awesome. Just say yes or no! James 5:12 (KJV), “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.”

It may be a little difficult for us to understand all this swearing by something, but it was very big in the culture of Jesus’ and James’ (Jesus’ half-brother) day.

Why wouldn’t we just say yes or no? It seems we think we can’t be trusted to mean what we say on its own. We have to add some kind of emphasis.

The only thing to help us be honest and responsible in what we say is the Holy Spirit.

Jesus and James both teach anything more than just yes or no can lead to trouble. Jesus calls it evil. James calls it condemnation. It’s bad either way. Either way can draw you more into the world’s ways. Be a person who keeps promises.

Don’t say one thing and do another.

Keep promises, even if it costs more than planned.

Be honest in everything – words and actions.

Be a person of integrity. 

Jesus teaches just keep your word and don’t swear at all.

PRAYER

Father God, Thank You for helping me to become an honest person. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

Christ is always honest—He wants me to be honest!

The Last Loophole

APRIL 13

MATTHEW 5:36_Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

If Jesus wanted to give a title to this teaching, I think The Loophole Diaries would fit well. He is about to plug the last hole.

When nothing else has worked, you may think a way out would be to swear by your own name (or head). Remember, you are looking for some way to make a promise without mentioning God’s name. This is in hopes you can weasel out of your promise if it becomes too difficult to keep. 

You are a creation of God. There just isn’t any way out of that fact. Everything that lives and breathes belongs to God. If you swear by heaven, earth, Jerusalem, or yourself, you’re still swearing by the One who made each.   

In case you believe you are a power-house on your own, Jesus brings up another point. You may be able to change your hair color, but you can’t change how you were created – underneath is the color God gave you. It doesn’t go away because you cover it.

This is not a lesson on hair coloring – it’s a lesson on how God owns every part of you.

You had no choice in the circumstances of your birth, your physical features, or your family. You belong to your Creator.

To swear by yourself is to swear by the Creator. 

PRAYER

Holy Creator, Thank You that everything about me belongs to You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ knows my promises—He wants me to keep them!

Two More Loopholes

APRIL 12

MATTHEW 5:35_Nor by the earth; for it is His footstool; neither by Jerusalem for it is the city of the great King.

Jesus is very thorough. If He has a point to prove, He does it all the way. For instance, if heaven is God’s throne, then earth is His footstool. 

The Hebrews knew God was the creator of all of heaven and earth. If they thought swearing by earth didn’t involve God – they just weren’t thinking it through. Jesus helps them think better. 

If you swear by the product, you swear by the one who made it.

Jerusalem is a hot spot today. Everybody wants a piece of it. The Bible makes it very clear that Jerusalem belongs to Israel. Regardless of your political persuasions, the Bible has already stated the fact. Psalm 87 is all about God’s love for Zion (Jerusalem). It says God loves Jerusalem above any other city on earth. Verse 3 (KJV) says, “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God.”

Our man after God’s own heart, King David, reigned in Jerusalem. The connection between God, Jerusalem, and King David cannot be broken by anyone. The Hebrews knew that too, but they didn’t put together the connection with swearing to an oath.

Jesus just plugged two more loopholes.

PRAYER

One True God, I know I can’t separate You from creation. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ belongs to creation—Creation belongs to Christ!

Plug the Loopholes

APRIL 11

MATTHEW 5:34_But I say unto you swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne.

Psalm 15 lists several creation principles everyone should live by – especially salty-lit-up disciples. The last part of verse 4 (KJV) says, “He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.” If you make a promise and in the long run it turns out to be something bigger than you thought, or cost more money that you expected – keep your promise. Psalm 15 says even if it hurts, keep your word.

In His New Covenant teaching Jesus transforms the old law about swearing – don’t swear at all! A practice in the Hebrew culture in that day was to swear by something. The more important the something was, the more emphasis on the oath. Jesus targets that system.

Perhaps the thought was you could get by without keeping your word if you didn’t swear by God’s name. If you swore by God you had to keep your word. As usual, Jesus looks beyond man’s plans on how to get by without keeping His creation principles. Jesus sees a loophole. He plans to plug it!

If you made a promise by heaven but did not mention God’s name Jesus says, heaven is God’s throne. The two are inseparable.

This sounds a lot like the murder and the anger, and the looking and the lust. 

PRAYER

True God, I don’t want to look for loopholes in Your teachings. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ plugs loopholes—I need Him to plug mine!