September 8, 2013

Scripture and Commentary for Monday after the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

Morning – Psalm 75, 2 Sam. 19:24-39, 2 Cor. 10
Evening – Psalm71, Mt. 7:1-12

Commentary, Matthew 7:1-12

The words, judge not” do not forbid recognizing wrong behavior, attitudes, and ideas.  Such a command would leave the Church in the same relativistic confusion currently crippling the cultures and nations of our “global village.”  The fact is that the Bible often commands us to judge others.  1 John 4:1-6 tells us not to believe every spirit, or, person who claims to teach the word and way of God.  We are to “try” (test) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”  The Bereans Acts 17:11) responded to the Apostle Paul by searching the Scriptures to see if his words were true.  They tested his spirit.  Christ Himself, speaking through John to the bishop and church of Ephesus said they had “tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars” (Rev. 2:2).  Obviously, the Lord expects us to judge people and doctrines by the Scriptures.  It is not the recognition of sin and error that is forbidden in our reading, then.  Rather it is an attitude and habit of fault-finding.  It is the kind of judgment that always criticizes and belittles the minor flaws of others, while refusing to see the major sins in one’s own life.  The Lord’s word for such people is, “hypocrite” and His word to them is to work on their own sins before trying to work on someone else’s.  Get the large beam out of your own eye before you worry about the tiny speck in someone else’s.
              
Verse 6 tells us to be sensitive to the proper time and place of Christian discourse.  It is wrong to give that which is holy to the dogs, but it is right to give proper food and nourishment to the animals God has placed into our care.  In a similar way, it is right to give the spiritual dogs the love and respect they need from us, in the hope that they may one day be prepared to receive that which is holy, and no longer remain dogs.

Verses 7-11 teach us to trust God when we pray.  The old adage, “be careful what you pray for, because you might get it,” is somewhat misleading.  It seems to make God into a capricious imp who delights in playing ticks on us; as though if we pray for rain He will send a hurricane.  Christ’s point is that even human parents don’t do that.  “If ye then, being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father hich is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

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