Sunday, September 02, 2018

Prepare to be surprised

child doing handstand
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Matthew 19-20; Psalm 90

TO CHEW ON: " ' But many who are first will be last, and the last first.' " Matthew 19:30

Again and again Jesus reminds His disciples that the kingdom of heaven is characterized by reversal. That's the word the Thompson Chain Bible uses to head a section that traces the kinds of reversals taught and illustrated in the Bible.

[Reverse: Adjective: having a contrary or opposite direction or character, order etc., turned backward. Noun: that which is directly opposite or contrary; a change to an opposite position, direction, state. Verb: to turn upside down, inside out, to turn in an opposite direction - Funk & Wagnall's Dictionary.]

- God reverses fortunes - Psalm 75:7; 107:41; "…Nothing shall remain the same…" Ezekiel 21:26.

- God hates pride. The proud person is a target for reversal - Psalm 147:6.

- God can remove the life props we make for ourselves - Isaiah 22:25. He can destroy the things we have accomplished and in which we trust: "The lofty city; He lays it low…" - Isaiah 26:5.

- God can bring down rulers - Isaiah 40:23; Luke 1:52. Nebuchadnezzar is an example of this, when he goes from being a proud king to a mentally deranged "beast" - Daniel 4:28-33.

- God sees the poor, neglected by the rich and reverses their state - Luke 6:25; 16:25.

- On the other hand, He also rewards good stewardship with more, that is, gives more to the person who already has while taking away from the one who has little - Matthew 25:29.

- Our expectations will be challenged. Over and over we hear Jesus say: " 'The last shall be first, the first last' " - Matthew 19:30; 20:16; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30.

Some thoughts we can take from this into our day:

1. God hates pride. When we give ourselves credit for what we have and get puffed over what we've done, we set ourselves up for reversal.

2. The material things in which we put our confidence aren't as trustworthy as we think.

3. The world's rulers, those we love or hate, follow or resist, admire or fear, are targets for God's reversal. Let's remember that as we pray for our nation and the world.

4. We are responsible to be good stewards of what we have, whether it's much or little.

5. Knowing all the above, we'll probably still be surprised when, someday, we stand before God and see things as they really are.

Dear God, please help me to live in the upside down, back-to-front paradigm of the kingdom of heaven while I'm here on earth. Amen.


Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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