Week 1 May 2023, Devotion Part 1
For he makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45
The man surnamed Levi was a Jewish tax collector for the hated Roman government. Pegged as a collaborator, he suffered the contempt of his fellow citizens. Jesus stopped by his office and invited Himself to dinner at his house. Levi accepted His invitation to follow Him and became known as Matthew the disciple and gospel writer. Matthew means gift of God. The name Levi signified the unloved Leah’s hope that Jacob would become as attached to her as he was to her comely but barren sister Rachel. So she named her third son Levi, meaning attachment (Genesis 29:34)
Before we attach premature meaning to the good or bad people inhabiting our “global village,” Matthew might point out that the sun and rain made their debut at the planetary level. Isaiah 45:18 defines it: “…the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited.” A humble person, it appears, asked the Internet community, “So can somebody just briefly explain to me what makes the earth an habitable planet cause I kinda can’t understand it [sic].” One lone voice shot back, “JESUS,” but was drowned out by a chorus of scientists who explained in excruciating detail the “complex chemistry of life” spawned by evolution. Still, all seemed to boil down to “temperature” and “water,” to my mind also known as sun and rain. (Part 1 of 2)
Comment: I suddenly have an irresistible urge to give myself a Mother’s Day present. It’s my all-time favorite quote glimpsed on the Internet while seeking to contrast our “living sacrifice” with that of dead goats. I immortalized it for my amusement in one of my devotions: “Today’s Christian and animal lover are relieved that the priesthood no longer requires the butchering done in OT times. That does not apply to certain cults. One shaken candidate and shaky writer confessed in a public forum, ‘My new priest, who I met at the Laundromat, invited me to his church group at the community center but then I met with them and they all said they wouldn’t let me into the church if I didn’t kill a goat. They gave me the goat but now its living with me I kind of don’t want to kill it (sic).’” Let my mature self get us back on track and ask if the prophet Isaiah or the Apostle Paul would qualify as GOAT? This trendy acronym originated with Muhammed Ali’s wife in 1992. Naturally, he was the “Greatest of All Time.” Paul talked “living sacrifice,” while Isaiah promoted appreciation for our earth, which has a nicer ring to it than climate-change doom’s day talk.. However, as the Hubbel Telescope keeps revealing stunning images of far-flung galaxies, proponents of space exploration might want to grab competing headlines. As Christians grounded in Jesus and the Scriptures, we marvel at the grandeur of earth’s natural beauty, but rejoice chiefly that the earth made new by our Creator-Redeemer will be His chosen dwelling place with us forever. There the Sun of Righteousness shall mark our reign with Him, and Satan’s days of raining tears and sorrows on our parade will have ceased (Revelation 21).