Good morning Family of God,
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Praise God for His faithfulness to supply all of our needs during this season. Praise God for leaders and a country that look after its people during crisis times. We are a blessed people, who live in a great country. Many are forcing their way in to partake of a more just and righteous land. Yet there is an even better place to call home - the Kingdom of God - and many are "forcing their way into it" (Luke 16:16). In this Kingdom, there is a righteous King who looks after its citizens. If we seek first the Kingdom (and its King), the promise is that the King will look after all of our needs (Matt. 6:33). If we seek money (to satisfy our own needs), life will be meaningless; But if we seek God, we will be blessed!
13-15: Today's reading is one of contrasts. As usual, we have a group called the Pharisees who love money, and are more concerned with external appearances; they love to justify themselves. But here is the catch - God knows what is in a person's heart. On the outside someone may look religious and holy, but on the inside it's a different story. God's measuring line is different - what is highly valued by the world, is "detestable to God". For example, we value gold; He paves His streets with it. (Rev. 21:21)
16-18: God values His word - the Law and the Prophets; and marriage. The Pharisees were guilty of devaluing both. They were known for finding the least little excuse for breaking their marital vows, and interpreting God's word to serve their own desires.
19-31: Jesus tells a story to illustrate the consequences of chasing after money, and neglecting the Kingdom of God, where wealth is shared, and the poor are provided for (see the way the early church lived in Acts - this is Kingdom living). The story opens with a rich man who is blind to the plight of the beggar laying at his gate. The contrast is enormous - the rich man is extremely wealthy, and the poor man is extremely poor. Death is no respecter of persons, and embraces both of them.
Immediately there is a reversal - the rich man is now in agony in Hell, and the poor man is now comforted in the bosom of Abraham. No amount of pleading on the rich man's part, can change his circumstances. The rich man would not allow Lazarus at his table (v.21); now he is not allowed where Lazarus sits at Abraham's side (vs.22-23). Lazarus is a Latin form of Eleazar, which means "God has helped". God has indeed helped Lazarus, and now the rich man wants to be helped by Lazarus. Twice he pleads for Lazarus to do something for him (vs. 24, 27). This rich man still has the attitude that the poor serve the rich - they are just slaves to be used. Notice how Lazarus is silent through the whole story, while the rich man just keeps talking and asking for favors. You can really see the heart of the two individuals - the rich man is self-focussed, complaining, pleading for mercy, while Lazarus remains quiet.
Friends, I encourage you to meditate on today's passage...Jesus had a lot to say about money. Here we have the final destination of one who has made money his god. God knows Lazarus by name - we don't even know the rich man's name. This implies a personal relationship with God, which explains the final outcome of the two. I believe the whole message of the chapter is summed up in verse 13: “You cannot serve both God and money.” Who (or what) you serve in this present life, determines the outcome of the afterlife.
Have a blessed week,