Old Testament reading: Genesis 14-17
“A descendant of Abraham set off a bomb in a crowded market today.” In today’s Old Testament reading, we see that God is not finished extending great promises to Abraham. In chapter 15, God promised to give Abraham an heir and the land of Canaan as an inheritance. Some fifteen years later, Abraham grew weary in waiting on the Lord and decided to “help” God. The result of his impatience and help are still felt throughout the entire world today. The child born of his impatience was Ishmael, the father of what would eventually be known as Islam. God said of Ishmael, “He shall be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him.” Every time you hear about an adherent of Islam setting off a bomb crowded market, executing a woman in an “honor killing” for being raped by her own relative, or beheading someone simply for being a non-Muslim, you can thank father Abraham for giving us the Ishmaelites. We would do well to remember that God does not need our help to fulfill His promises.
New Testament reading: Matthew 13-15
“Be careful little eyes what you see.” So go the words of the children’s song. This warning is also found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 6:22-23). Herod’s failure to heed this admonition led to the death of John the Baptizer, whom Jesus identified as the greatest man ever born to human parents (Matt 11:11). Being “pleased” with the provocations of Herodius’ daughter, Herod made a foolish promise, one he felt obliged to keep because of his like-minded companions. The light that was in Herod was darkness, and the fulfillment of his lust-filled, hasty promise cost John his head. The Bible tells us of the clear and present danger of failing to guard our eyes. Solomon warned to “Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you” (Prov 4:25). Peter spoke of those who had “eyes full of adultery and cannot cease from sin” (2 Peter 2:14). Finally, David prayed to God, “turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way” (Psalm 119:37).