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April 11, Day #102 – Lost Opportunities



In Deuteronomy 13-14 we see further regulations about idolatry, false prophets, and issues relating to the separation of God’s people. God tells the people that He tests them (verse 3). God does not test His people because He doesn’t know where they stand with Him; He tests His people for their benefit – they need to know where they stand with Him. God is faithful, and He never changes, but human beings are fickle, faithless, and fragmented – we are characterized by change, we are easily influenced, and we never know for sure where we stand. Consider this question: in its long history, how often and how easily did Israel fall back into idolatry? We need to ask ourselves constantly – do we “love Him with all our heart and with all our soul? It is the LORD your God you must follow, and revere. Keep His commands and obey Him, serve Him, and hold fast to Him” (verse 4). Idolatry is an abomination to the living God, and it is a distortion, a delusion, and a destructive defect to His human creatures. False worshipers and false prophets are detestable charlatans who would hold other human beings captive (i.e., enslaved) to false doctrines that deny the truth. In Deuteronomy 14, God calls His people “holy to the LORD God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be His treasured possession” (verse 2). Think about the honor of being a treasured possession. The food regulations in this chapter were designed to ensure Israelite separation from the heathen peoples around them, and they were hygienic – for their own good health. In verses 22-29, God requires separation from the world as illustrated through the principle of the tithe. Giving is always a reflection of what lies in a man’s heart, and it helps us recognize that we are stewards – called to honor that which belongs to the Lord – which is everything; it’s all His.


In Proverbs 9:1-12, we read that “wisdom has built her house on seven pillars, and she invites the ‘simple’ (i.e., the unlearned) to come to her” (verse 4). What is her house, and what are its seven pillars? Wisdom’s house is contrasted with the house of folly (verse 14), “an unruly woman” (verse 13), who also invites the “simple” to join her, based solely on indulging their indiscriminate lusts and indolent appetites for “stolen waters and secret foods” (verse 17). Folly’s guests are easily attracted because they are unwilling to work - even to meet their own most basic needs. The writer informs us that wisdom’s house is a place of order and discipline where “years are added to life” (verse 11), and it is the place of instruction, righteousness, understanding, the fear and knowledge of God, learning, and insight. These are wisdom’s seven pillars, and we can only attain them through the order, discipline, and hard work that we find at wisdom’s house. You won’t find them at the house of folly. Wisdom’s pillars enable us to become wise, and “if we are wise, [then] wisdom rewards us” (verse 12). But folly’s house is the realm of “the dead” (verse 18), and her guests are ignorant of this truth. Without so much sense (verse 16) even to recognize the dead condition of their fellow guests, they don’t seem to mind or care. Eventually, they become like them.


In Luke 13:1-30, we see four different scenes in which Jesus is teaching: [1] a parable of the fig tree in a vineyard (verses 1-9); [2] a crippled woman healed on the Sabbath (verses 10-17); [3] the parable of the mustard seed and the yeast (verses 18-21); and [4] the narrow door (verses 22-30). In the first section, Jesus warns His hearers that opportunities are selective, limited in time, and not always readily available – they fade – and hearers need to repent before opportunities become lost. In the second section, the woman had been bent over for eighteen years when Jesus “set her free from her infirmity” (verse 12). Of course, the synagogue ruler was indignant because it was the Sabbath, but Jesus pointed out that the Sabbath was as good a day to heal as any other; He was doing good on the Sabbath day. The third section represents two comparisons of the kingdom of God which “grows and attracts” subjects to it. Finally, the fourth section shows the nature of fading opportunities – “Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door” (verse 25), the opportunity is lost forever. “People will come from east and west and north and south and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God … but you yourselves [will be] thrown out” (verses 25-29). The house of folly is also the house of lost opportunities.


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