Daily Readings & Thought for July 5th. “THEY THINK THAT THEY WILL ….”
Yesterday, today and tomorrow we read what has always been known as “The Sermon on the Mount.” The movie presentations of this we have seen portray Jesus as speaking to a very large crowd of people, but this is not what the Bible records tells us!
Look first at the end of Chapter 4. Verse 24 says how his “fame spread” and v.25 “and great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis and from Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan. Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them …” We have quoted through to v.2 of today’s Ch. 5. Jesus was not teaching the “great crowds”
In today’s reading he is stressing to his disciples the way they had to set the example and not follow the example of the religious leaders. In “practicing your righteousness” your motive is most important. How can you have a wrong motive in being righteous, you might think! Easy!
“Beware”, says Jesus, if you do it “before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward … “ [6 v.1] Jesus gives several examples, “when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you (i.e. don’t go and broadcast the fact – look what a good boy or girl I am!) as the hypocrites do … in the synagogue that they may be praised by others” [v.2] “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” [v.3,4]
Another thing he says to his disciples is “when you pray do not heap up empty phrases …” and then comments on those who “think that they will be heard for their many words” [v.7]. Jesus then gives the example of what we call The Lord’s Prayer. How many speak these words – or say ‘Amen’ to them and yet do not stop to think that they are praying for God’s kingdom to come on earth! Let us make sure that we read the Bible every day and think about their meaning, so we serve God in a meaningful way, with increasing anticipation of his kingdom. Let us meditate and pray with motives that will ensure we will be heard – as it is evident David did in a wonderful and totally committed way: This is shown by his faith in going out to kill Goliath, which we also read today.