Happy New Year! May our 2020 Bible readings bring us closer to God. Since we are in Genesis, I ponder what Adam and Eve must have experienced in their long lifetimes. Adam lived 930 years and started life in a garden walking with God in a perfect relationship. Trust and relationship with God is all they needed, this is the one thing. But they chose human wisdom and rejected innocence and sin enter the world. During their lifetime they saw lying, murder, sickness, the corruption of marriage, the humbling of humanity by demons procreating with women and producing super humans and always - always death. Humanity’s wisdom brought sorrow because of our rejection of our relationship with God, our Heavenly Father.
Today’s Psalm 3 shows how we need to beg God to protect us from such evil in mankind. Our Proverb today also warns us to stay away from evil and never join such men. So fast forward to John the Baptist who warned his followers to repent from evil. He declared the Messiah is coming and will burn the chaff of wickedness in the world. so is our life based on “shape up and stop sinning?” That’s good but I could sure use a walk in the Garden.
Now in Matthew 3, Jesus wades into the Jordan River to be baptized. And Jesus’ Father from heaven proclaims, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This sounds like any parent’s joy at their child’s graduation. The Father has a relationship with His Son. Immediately Jesus is driven by His Father into the wilderness and after 40 days of fasting is very hungry. Now Satan, the same deceiver that corrupted Adam and Eve, begins his deception effort on Jesus. But listen to Jesus' replies. Satan demands first: You are definitely hungry, there is no food here so show your power and make these stones into bread.” Jesus replies, “life is not about food alone.” Jesus trusted the relationship with His Father. That trust was the one thing. His Father allowed this hunger and He would wait until He had learned everything He needed to learn from His Father through hunger. Satan’s second demand: “Well, throw Yourself down and try to hurt yourself. Since You are the Son of God He will not allow You to be hurt, if He really loves You.” Jesus replies, “I will not put My Father to the test.” The relationship asked for patience in the midst of pain. Satan must have been looking for a home run with demand three: “Look at the entire world under my command, worship me and I will give it all to You.” Jesus never forgot the one thing - He has a Daddy who loves Him dearly and Jesus has a relationship with Him. “Satan - get out!”
We too have the opportunity to live with this one thing. I know we have struggles like Jesus’ temptation. Almost like a New Year’s resolution we want power over our food, power over our health and power over people. “Just shape up and stop sinning in 2020.” But first, seek Him. May we seek the one thing, a closer and truer relationship with God, in 2020. May our hunger drive us to seek what we need to learn from Him. May our health issues drive us to look forward to heaven and to be able to love others who suffer. May our temptation to be king be second to the loving relationship we have with our Dad in heaven and for us to become a servant leader. You know, even now through Jesus, your Father calls down and says to you, “You are My beloved child, with whom I am well pleased.” Trust and relationship with God is our one thing.