Introduction: We all want good things and seek and desire happiness. Sometimes, we are all guilty of searching for happiness in the wrong places, relationships, and even the things we own, such as our material comforts. Our Creator wants us all to seek after Him. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21). The truth is true happiness is not found in a materialistic world, but instead, it's found in Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit we are taught how to express the love we need to our inner circle and in return is where we find true happiness, and that's when we know where our treasure is ensuring our hearts are near to God.
Wisdom: Psalm 4
The Historical context of Psalm 4, written by David, is a prayer of confidence. The psalm starts, “Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness” (v. 1). In Hebrew, the word hear is “ana,” and it means to answer, respond, testify, speak, shout. David may be in distress dealing with something very exhausting, so he prays to God confidently, knowing he will be delivered from his afflictions by maintaining his faith. In his prayer, David cries out for the others around him and how they seek the ways of the world and not the ways of God (v.2). What is remarkable is at the end of this psalm, in v. 8, “I will both sleep and rest in peace, For You alone, O LORD, cause me to dwell in hope.” We see at the end that for David, the good thing he got from God was his rest at the end of his prayer because, with confidence, David knew the LORD would come through for him.
The New Testament: Gospel Reading Matthew 4:23-5:20
We end Matthew 4 with a small summary of Jesus’ ministry in vv. 23-25: The large crowds did not swarm Jesus when He commanded repentance (v. 17), but when Jesus began to heal and work miracles, the crowds steamed Him. This underscores the fact that the people misunderstand the truth and the nature of the Kingdom of God. We also see Christ’s concession “to give credibility to what He teaches” among the fickle multitudes (Theoph).
Matthew 5 opens with the blessings of true discipleship:
1. “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” To be poor in spirit means all those who have the heart of the poor and have the same attitudes as the poor, and these people are dependent on God.
2. “Blessed are those who mourn.” Those who mourn are the ones who sorrow the sufferings of this life (Matthew 9:23), and they mourn over the sufferings of others (John 11:35), they mourn over the state of the world (Luke 19:41), and they mourn over their sins (Luke 736-38).
3. “Blessed are the meek.” Meekness is the attitude of being content with both honor and dishonor.
4. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness see the presence of God and His Kingdom, compared to a starving person’s craving for food (see also Matthew 6:33).
5. “Blessed are the merciful.” It is said that mercy is love set in motion and expressed in action. The mercy of God was taking on our sufferings on Himself. This was to grant us His Kingdom and set us free from the captivity of sin and the evil one, with God having mercy for all we are merciful to all we encounter.
6. “Blessed are the pure in heart.” Pure means to be unmixed with anything else. The pure in heart are devoted to the worship and service of God and accept no compromises. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, the pure in heart practice all virtue and have no conscious evil in themselves.
7. “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Peacemakers share God’s peace with those who surround them, and they imitate Christ's sacrificial love and participate in His work. By God’s grace, the peacemakers become sons of God themselves.
8. “Blessed are those who are persecuted.” As children of God, we uphold truth, refuse to compromise with the ways of this fallen world and give ourselves to no other. Like Jesus, we will be persecuted for righteousness’s sake, and His Kingdom is the crown awaiting the righteous.
9. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” All those suffering from persecution for Christ walk the road of the prophets, saints, and martyrs. The Greek word be exceedingly glad means to “leap exceedingly with joy.” (see Acts 5:40-41).
We are the salt and light of the world, which illustrates our societal roles. Salt is necessary for life; it can give flavor and preserve things. It also has a religious and sacrificial significance (Lev 2:13, Numbers 18:19, and 2 Chronicles 13:5). To eat salt with someone meant to be bound in loyalty together. As that salt of the world, we as Christians are to be the preservers of God’s covenant and give good flavor to the world. We are the light of the world, and faith relies on the divine light we receive from God, and as believers, we become “sons of light” (John 12:36; and 1 Thessalonians 5:5). We are to shine in this perverse world (Philippians 2:15).
Old Testament: Genesis 9:18-11:9
Our Old Testament reading started a bit unusual, with Noah getting drunk in his vineyard and lying naked in his house. Ham found his father first and told the other two that Shem and Japheth helped their father, while Ham refused to. When Noah awoke from his drunkenness, he was upset with Ham and said in v. 25, “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants shall be to his brothers.” In v. 26, “Blessed be the LORD God of Shem, Noah blessed God because of Shem, and through whom Christ, would come and save the entire world (Luke 3:36).
Genesis 10: This chapter continued the genealogy of Christ through Shem after the flood. The genealogy of Christ is traced from Shem to Peleg (Luke 3:35-36). Peleg's name means division, and in his days, the earth was divided (v. 25), and this division is described in Genesis 11:1-9.
Love covers and protects, does not expose others and their weaknesses, and should never delight in someone else's mistakes because the truth is we are all Noah, and I’m sure many of us are guilty of having too much to drink at some point in our lives.
Genesis 11:1-9: Summary
We started by reading how humanity was a united race and one language. It seemed this unity existed without the Holy Trinity. In v. 7, we see the pronoun “US” referring to the Holy Trinity and the same pronouns found at the beginning of Genesis. “The words “go down” are a figure of speech because the Holy Trinity is present and fills all things, and in v. 5, the words “came down are also a figure of speech, for God is not ignorant of anything. God always condescends to our weaknesses so we might understand something about Him and how He works. In v. 8, the LORD divided the false unity for the salvation of all of humanity, and He did this so that man might seek and find Him (Acts 17:26-28). The people sought to build their unity by making a name for themselves (v. 4), and they seemed to care nothing for the name of the LORD God, by which humanity is saved.
The Tower of Bable was a symbol of disunity. The Tower of Babel was an act of pride and a form of power-seeking, which led to disunity, but the beautiful thing is that in (Acts 2:8), the day of Pentecost was the reversal of the story of the Tower of Babel. The moral of the Tower of Babel story is this: good things indeed come from God, and our actions and behaviors, such as pride, can get in the way and hinder our spiritual growth, driving us further away from salvation.
In Christ, love Jared W. Campbell
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