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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Day 114: Luke 7:18-35 & Psalm 114 - What Do You Want from God?

Today's Reading: Luke 7:18-35 & Psalm 114

Get the full reading plan

What Do You Want from God?

To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,
“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
    we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’
 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’  - Luke 7:31-34, ESV
We're in the midst of a presidential election season right now, and it's clear from watching the news and reading articles online that people have widely varying expectations of the president. Frankly, many of the expectations are just unrealistic. If you combine everyone's expectations, it would seem that we want a president who can keep us safe, make us prosperous, bring harmony to our society, bring peace to the Middle East, increase the real wages of the middle class, end global warming and probably end all diseases, too. 
Jesus could literally walk on water, feed the multitudes, heal the sick and raise the dead, but He still dealt with disappointed people who felt like He wasn't quite measuring up to their expectations: When was He going to over throw Rome? When was He going to get John the Baptist out of prison? When would He raise the Jewish people to be the rulers of the world, head of all nations? 
Many people have been disappointed with God because He has not met their expectations. They expected a better life, an easier life, a more prosperous life, a less painful life, etc. Even pastors and ministry leaders can be disappointed in God, as they labor in obscurity and see such little evident fruit from their labors for the Lord.
Disappointment can often blind us to the reality of what God is doing right in front of our eyes. When two disciples of John the Baptist asked, "Are you the One who was to come or should we expect another?", Jesus responded by telling them to take a good look around them. Jesus answered them, Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” 
Sometimes we are tempted to be offended by God. His ways can be so very different from ours. At those times, we need the eyes of faith to see what God is doing in our midst, right around us. He is saving the lost. He is healing the broken. He is restoring the fallen and wayward. He is leading His people home to Himself. If we can see what He is doing, we can stop being offended that God did not dance at our jig or weep at our dirge. Instead, He has done something so much better!
Prayer Based on Psalm 114:
from Pray all the Psalms by Rory McClure   
Psalm 114 Prayed
Praising the Lord for his faithfulness to his people

   O Lord, when you led ancient Israel came out of Egypt,
            the house of Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,
   Judah became your sanctuary,
            Israel your dominion.
   Just as we the Church are your temple,
            and your Holy Spirit lives in us.
   And your temple is sacred,
            and we are that temple.

   We remember that before you saved us
            we were separate from you, O Christ,
   excluded from citizenship in Israel
            and foreigners to the covenants of the promise,
            without hope and without God in the world.
   But now in you, O Christ Jesus
            we who once were far away
            have been brought near
            through your blood.
   Thank you that today,
            we are no longer foreigners and strangers,
   but fellow citizens with your people Israel
            and also members of your household,
   built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
            with you yourself as the chief cornerstone.
   In you the whole building is joined together
            and rises to become a holy temple for you, O Lord.
   And in you we too are being built together
            to become a dwelling in which God lives by the Holy Spirit.

   By faith the people of Israel
             passed through the Red Sea as on dry land;
   but when the Egyptians tried to do so,
            they were drowned.
   The sea looked and fled,
            the Jordan turned back;
   Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground,
            for you, the Lord our God dried up the Jordan
            before them until they crossed over.
   You, the Lord our God, did to the Jordan
            just what you had done to the Red Sea
   when you dried it up
            until Israel crossed over.
   The mountains skipped like rams,
            the hills like lambs.
   Why was it, O sea, that you fled,
            O Jordan, that you turned back,
   you mountains, that you skipped like rams,
            you hills, like lambs?

   These things happened to them as examples
            and were written down as warnings for us, the Church,
            on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.

   Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
            at the presence of the God of Jacob,
   who turned the rock into a pool,
            the hard rock into springs of water.
   Ancient Israel ate the same spiritual food as us,
            and drank the same spiritual drink as us;
   for they drank from the spiritual rock that
            accompanied them,
            and that rock was you, O Christ.
   Therefore may we drink of the water you give us,
            so that we will never thirst.
   Indeed, let the water you give us
            become in us a spring of water
            welling up to eternal life.
   O Lord Jesus Christ,
            you are the bread of life.
   Israel’s forefathers ate the manna in the desert,
            yet they died.
   But you are the bread that came down from heaven,
            which anyone may eat and not die.
   May we eat of this bread,
            so that we can live forever.
   This bread is your flesh
            which you have given for the life of the world.

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