Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
Q. (Luke 11:16): This verse makes me think of a question I’ve had. It seems that somewhere I have read where you are not to test God. I have a friend who is a strong Christian but believes that rules don’t have to be followed to the “T” — not really God’s rules, but just everyday rules that have little authority. Her philosophy is to do first and ask forgiveness later. I think that many rules are put there for a reason, usually involving some wisdom in making them. On a bigger scale, I have read somewhere but don’t remember where, where we are not to put God to the test. This is sort of what’s going on in this verse.
A. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:16 to the Devil in Matthew 4 — that’s the verse you’re thinking of. As to being a rule follower, part of the choice we have thanks to the freedom offered to us in the Gospels is the freedom of choice when it comes to laws and rules that do not affect our relationship with God. But the Bible has much to say about following the rules AND rulers, so watch for that in our NT letters.
Q. (11:21-23): I remember talking about how good rules over evil. I like that discussion. Rob, do you remember what day that was? My husband was working on his Bible Study Fellowship homework and read where if you are not with God, then Satan rules over you. Is Luke 11:23 a verse that supports that?
A. We addressed that question Oct. 5. The only thing I would add to that discussion is the reason that good wins out over evil in the end is because good (that is God) is willing to do what evil will not, including make sacrifices on behalf of others in a way that evil does not. Good conquers all because it is willing to go further than evil: evil tends to make us inwardly focused, but good makes us “others focused”. That is why God, or Good, or Love, wins.
We do not know the extent that Satan is allowed to “rule” over anyone, but Satan is referred to ask the ruler of this world, so you can draw your own conclusions from there. Certainly not being with Christ leaves one vulnerable to such attacks, as the poor person from the next section (24-26). The moral of the parable, by the way, is don’t leave your “house” empty: fill your mind and heart with the Gospel, and the demon has nowhere to go!
Q. (11:24-26): We have seen this passage in another Gospel. I don’t get it at all. What is the message in it?
A. Yes, it was in Matthew 12. The point of the parable is, as I shared in the last question, that you can’t just “cast out the demons” of your life and expect to be all right on your own. You must FILL your mind and heart with something new in order for the process of change to take place. That’s what He’s talking about: it’s a direct attack against the idea that He is “powered” by demonic forced, rather than God.
O. (11:33-36): Watching movies — video games too — is such a mainstream activity that I usually don’t feel bad for watching the ones I watch. I am not into “guy” movies — no blood and guts, shooting scenes, all that stuff. I like adventure and comedies. But, of course, there are elements to many movies that don’t feel like I’m using my “light” very well. Our daughter’s class is scheduled to see the play, “Jackie and Me” at the local children’s theater. The theater notified the school that it has some racial language in it. They sent us a couple pages of the script so we would be aware of what they were seeing and can opt out if we choose. My husband and I read it and there was just so much hate and a scary scene that would have given me nightmares as a kid. I think it’s very important that we teach the past so we won’t repeat and have knowledge of what people went through and how horribly rude and evil people can be. But, I don’t think this play would be a “light” for a third grader. Many parents feel different than we do. I don’t know if there is a right and wrong to this subject or if we just chalk it up to difference of opinion and tolerance and celebrate that we are all different.
Q. (11:37-54): What a stressful dinner! At first, I thought “all of this over not washing your hands.” What is the big deal anyway? It’s great idea to wash your hands before you eat. But then, I realized that Jesus just used it to make a point. They get so bent out of shape over the breaking of their “own” laws, like washing hands, yet they are so corrupt in so many ways — making up their own laws, not helping the needy, taking more than they should, etc — that Jesus chose this meal to make a point of it.
A. The only thing I would add is that the Pharisees are not washing their hands out of sanitation practice (as we have established, there was no such thing then), but rather as a burdensome ritual.
Q. (12:1): Why does Jesus refer to the Pharisees corruption as “yeast”?
A. A little goes a long way. It was Jewish ritual — then and now — to sweep the house for yeast around Passover before making the unleavened bread. Why? Because if there is even a tiny trace of yeast, it can ruin a batch of bread (if you want the bread without leavening). That’s what Jesus is concerned about: the religious leaders’ “taint,” for lack of a better word, which can ruin people.
O. (12:11-12): I don’t know how many hundreds or thousands of hours I have wasted worrying or thinking about what I was going to do or say. It causes internal turmoil, depression and sleepless nights. Now I know that Jesus is saying, “I’ll take it for you. Go on, give it to me.” I have handed Him a lot, so I’m considerably more mellow — internally and externally (my friends all say I’m mellow. My mom knows better. J) Now, I look back at things I stress over and wonder why on earth I didn’t give those cares to Jesus. My best friend was wrestling with a subject with her husband. She was stressing over it. We don’t get the chance to talk very often, but I checked back in with her a few weeks later to see how it was going. She said, “Jesus told me, ‘I got this one.’” She had totally dismissed the subject. It’s so cool what the Trinity can do for us!
Q. (12:13-21, 33-34): How about if you have some extra stuff or maybe lots of money, but have a great relationship with God? There are many evangelists who I’m sure are very wealthy. God has rewarded them with prosperity or should they be sharing with the less fortunate? I’m thinking you will say that God would guide each person, if he or she were to ask Him, as to what He expects of them. Hard to say, right? Does v. 33 answer this for us? Love v. 34. That’s one to write down!
A. Don’t forget Jesus’ warning that you cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24), but this does not mean they are mutually exclusive. What really got the man in trouble was his greed and lack of consideration of others. If you are granted money by God (however much), then God expects you to be generous with it — that’s a big way we can store up treasure in heaven as Jesus tells us. It is also helpful to remember that all we have belongs to God in the end: these things belong to God because WE belong to God. When we have that mentality, we are much more likely to be generous with what we have, and to be able to use our monetary earnings to bless others, rather than build comfort for ourselves. (Leigh An: This reminds me of the song on the radio about not being from this earth, place or something like that. Rob, really painted the “big picture” here. Awesome answer!)