Faith Blog

THE GOOD FISH

Gen. 42:18-43; Matt. 13:47-14:12; Ps. 18:16-36; Prov. 4:11-13

How are we judged as good? The Jewish audience in Matthew would understand good or righteousness as declaring God as Lord through sacrifices and feasts, obeying the Law, and following wisdom’s instructions. In struggle, the Lord would rescue the Jewish people for doing right when attacked by evil. The Jewish audience believed the coming Kingdom of God was like yeast. The yeast of righteous living of the law would permeate the world. The Jews confidence of being the good fish and the ultimate judgment of the evil of the bad fish was a key hope of the Kingdom. And when Jesus asked “do you understand all these things?” the Jewish audience could answer “yes, we do.”

In our Psalm and Proverb reading, we learn that a good fish does good. But Joseph lived righteously in the midst of the unfair life events of slavery and prison. And Jacob lived righteously in the midst of deep depression. Righteousness includes being emotionally honest.  Righteousness includes raw honesty.

Let me be honest with you, this concept of righteousness, this good fish parable, leaves me feeling like a bad fish. Our culture, or family or how we look does not make us good fish. Forgive me for going off script, but we need to review the yeast reference from yesterday. Who is this yeast? Dependently, I need Jesus as my Savior and the Holy Spirit as my guide. Jesus Christ, the Messiah, must be the yeast!

Review Matthew 13 as a roadmap of a Gentile believer’s life and path to righteousness. We experience the yeast of the Kingdom of Heaven through Jesus and He spreads throughout our life in the midst of blessings and troubles. We now live as good seeds, through obedience to and empowering of the Holy Spirit, permeating across socio-economic barriers, different genders, nations and politics - living - in the midst of weeds. We grasp that ultimately “the Kingdom of Heaven” is our greatest treasure. And there is a final judgment. The good and bad fish are gathered at the end of the world. The bad fish experience eternal suffering.

How are you judged as righteous? And when Jesus asks you “Do you understand all these things?” Can you answer “yes, I do.”?

“Lord, You have guided us with Your Word with all of the wisdom and great accounts of real people like Joseph and Jacob. The greatest treasure is You saving us. You are the Righteous One. You alone invite us to the school of good fish.”

 

 

Posted by Steve Sague with

RULES

Rules! As a child we are confronted with rules, rules, rules. Rules about how to play, how to dress, where to sit, stand, and walk and even rules about when to sleep. Each rule can seem completely disjointed from the other and the context for why a rule exists is often clouded in “because I told you” or if you grew up in my parents’ home, “because I am your father/mother”. As you grow older, the consequences to breaking those rules are more threatening but at least the reasons for the rules become a little more clear.

 

Many view Christianity by the rules that are imposed on them from the Scriptures. The rules become commands or admonitions, or pick your Christian sounding term for them: they close off options that would otherwise be open. 

 

In Psalm 16, David describes the “rules” of Scripture completely different. Instead of being the confines that take away freedom, he declares; “You [God] make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” How can rules be life-giving? How can constraints be viewed as joyful? There is only one way. God must have my best interest at heart AND communicate His will to me on how to behave and know that through obedience I can unlock the joy He desires me to have experientially.

 

God doesn’t want me to obey for obedience sake, or so I could make Him look good. He desires my heart to long for Him – for His very presence so that I can experience (not just know) the path of life. Not the survival kind of “life” but the pleasures forevermore kind of life.

 

May you experience God’s presence today and may your 2019 be the fullest of joy and essence of pleasures evermore.

 

 

 

Posted by Robert Riggs with

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