Submitted: October 2013
Putting God First
30-33"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. 34"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
This passage is about the Shalom of God for the people of God. Prayer is essential to connect with God. It is the template for the peace of God in the life of everyone who has identified with Jesus Christ as Lord of their total being. The person who surrenders all of who he or she is has acknowledged Jesus as their personal Savior. This Shalom is presented in two parts, namely, the well-being of the person and the well-fare of the believer. This Shalom says that God has a blueprint for the wellness of you as a person and God has the power to provide basic need in any believer’s life.
The first aspect of this Shalom of God has an implicit mandate of prayer. This prayer is a two way conversation, dialogue) striving to connect with God. Initially we wait to hear from God as the Initiator, the first One to move, in the conversation.
We are to be steep, that is, go after God for guidance in our everyday life situations. Our aim is to recognize that God has taken the initiative to be in a right relation with each of us. The righteousness of God implies that the will or purpose of God has created a status for us. This righteousness of God is much greater than the status our society offers us. We are to enjoy this uprightness or being right with God and this takes place when a person is a member of God’s true family. God’s true family consists of those who believe in Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One. This status of righteousness in God exceeds any moral quality.
The righteousness of God says that the grace and forgiveness extended to each of us have change us from within our hearts. We have been changed from within our heart to the extent that others can witness a difference in our lives the favor God has bestowed upon us.
If God extends unconditional love and forgiveness to all indiscriminately, then we should do likewise. Matthew 18:23-35 says, 23-25"The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn't pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market. 26-27"The poor wretch threw himself at the king's feet and begged, 'Give me a chance and I'll pay it all back.' Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt. 28"The, was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, 'Pay up. Now!' 29-31"The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, 'Give me a chance and I'll pay it all back.' But he wouldn't do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king. 32-35"The king summoned the man and said, 'You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn't you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?' The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that's exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn't forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy."
You see this right relation with God and other human beings proceeds the divine graciousness of God. God’s boundless graciousness and forgiveness are extended to human beings in very difficult and ambiguous situations. God is willing to meet anyone where they are in life, reach out a loving hand and lift anyone to new life and provide a new perspective on life. However, a person must be obedient to our text in verse 35. Obedience to the Word of God is a mandate to maintain righteousness and a right relationship with the Lord.
May these words of inspiration encourage your heart. Amen! Amen! Amen!
Reverend Dr. Willie Woodson, Pastor
First United Presbyterian Church