Devotional for Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Greetings in Christ,

  “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”  Many of us have heard this phrase and many of us know just what it means—Don’t be ungrateful when you receive a gift.  John Heywood coined this phrase back in 1546, and it still applies to this day.  This phrase can be applied to the selected scripture readings for this devotional.

  1 Timothy discloses Paul writing to the people about their actions and behavior as a Christian.  “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”  Paul writes these words to combat the false teachings Christians do not marry and do not eat certain foods.  Paul contends both are a gift from God and there is nothing wrong with both. 

  It was the contention at the time for one to live a holy life one must abstain from marriage.  To give into sexual relationship was contrary to living a holy life, and it led to a sinful life.  Paul was declaring God had established marriage was the normal thing in human society, and the teachings of the time were going against God’s way of life for mankind.  God had given His blessing for marriage, and encouraged for it to take place under His guidelines.   

  Paul goes on to further state God had also given Noah the blessing to eat meat after the flood and Jesus had freed them from the law concerning certain foods which could not be eaten.   It is in this rebuttal Paul stands on what he states as fact, but also puts into effect there should be appreciation for the food as it is a gift from God. 

  Paul is reminding the people all things given by God are a gift, and they should always give thanks for the gifts they received.  He was indicating they should say a word of thanks before each meal giving God the glory for the gift of food they have to eat.  They should embrace marriage and honor God by abiding by the guidelines established by Him for marriage.

  Joshua was calling out to the people of Israel asking them if they were going to serve their fathers gods or the Lord God.  During his speech, Joshua reminded them of what God had done for them.  He reminded them of how God went before them and drove out the inhabitants of the promised land.  He reminded them of how they occupied houses which were not built by their own hands.  He reminded them they were reaping from the vineyards and fields they did not plant.  He reminded them it was a gift from God, but they had to make a choice of whether or not they would accept or reject the gift.

  Their accepting or rejecting the gift was determined by their answer to serve God.  Joshua gave them this warning.  “Then Joshua said to the people, “You will not be able to serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgression or your sins.  If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you after He has done well for you.  The people spoke in a clear voice declaring we will serve the Lord.

  Joshua knew these people and he knew they still hung onto their past.  “And Joshua said to the people, you are witnesses against yourselves you have chosen for yourselves the Lord, to serve Him.  And they said, we are witnesses.  Now therefore, put away the foreign gods which are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”

  Joshua was reminding the people God was jealous and demanded their service to Him for the gift they were receiving.  As a sign of their thankfulness of receiving their gift God wanted their complete and undivided attention.  God wanted the people to share their gift and declare what God had done for them to all the people they came in contact with outside of their own families or friends.  God wanted to receive all the glory for the things which had taken place so all would know it was by His hand the people of Israel occupied the promised land.

  Matthew records Jesus speaking in parables about the tares and the wheat, the mustard seed, and the leaven.  Jesus compared the items to the kingdom of heaven.  All it took was just a little appreciation on the part of the people and the kingdom could grow quickly.  It was up to the recipient how far the kingdom of heaven would reach by how much they appreciated the gift of salvation.   

  God has blessed us with many things, more than we deserve.  Let’s not forget to give thanks for the many blessings we have received from God and give Him the glory.  We should also take the time to acknowledge Him and Jesus for our salvation and the freedom it give us.  We are truly blessed to have a Heavenly Father who cares for us.

  With this upcoming weekend recognizing Memorial Day, let’s not forget those who died for our freedom so we can serve the Living God here in the United States.

  “I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.”  Psalms 34:4

  “The Lord redeems the soul of His servants; and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.”  Psalms 34:22

  “Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.”  Psalms 96:3

  Lord let us give You thanks for all You have done for us.  Let us never forget the gift of life You have given us and may we never stop giving You the thanks for the gift.  Amen


  Mark Johnson

  Psalm 34, 93, 96; Joshua 24:1-28; 1 Timothy 3:14-4:5; Matthew 13:24-34a

Leave a Reply