Devotional Guide, Today’s Reading – Saturday, December 5, 2020

Theme: CHRISTIANITY AND CULTURE

According to The Columbia-Viking Desk Encyclopedia, “culture” is the “way of life of a society, without implication of refinement or advanced knowledge”. And The American Peoples Encyclopedia defines it as “The total round of human activities, not due to heredity, shared by members of a group”. Because it is founded by God Almighty, Christianity cannot be compared with the culture, customs or traditions of any people on earth. It is unfortunate therefore to observe that many people in the world including professed Christians do not hesitate to descend from the lofty standards laid down in the Holy Bible to follow the devil’s devices as well as human constructs or imaginations in order to be acceptable socially. The fact is that any culture that conflicts with the tenets of Christianity should be done away with in this age of enlightenment. – 2 Corinthians 6:14,15, 17, 18.

Text: “Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” – Matthew 15:2, 3.

Comment: During his days on earth, the Scribes and Pharisees in Jerusalem sought to know from our Lord Jesus Christ why he was not observing the tradition of the elders. This tradition is explained in Mark 7:3, 4, thus, “For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.” What this event highlights is that people, over time, do create various traditions which they then pass from generation to generation. Sometimes an ethnic group copies the customs of their neighbours or have such traditions gradually infused into their ways of life through marriage, and various forms of social, economic and diplomatic relations. But as our Lord said in the citation for today, people should not break the laws of God in the name of observing tradition. The laws of God give people dignity, peace and prosperity by His grace. (Deuteronomy 4:6-8) It is well known that some people still keep to certain traditions when it has become outdated and no longer meaningful. People of God are enlightened and should not be led by the nose. – Acts 17:30, 31; Isaiah 60:1.

 

 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Text: “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.” – Deuteronomy 7:6.

           

Comment: God Almighty created the nation of Israel from one man, Abraham, for the purpose of using them to transmit His laws as well as examples of right conduct to mankind. He told Abraham: “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12: 3) This promise was repeated by the leader of the angels who went to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and by the angel who spoke on behalf of God after Abraham had passed the test of faith by offering his only son as sacrifice to God. (Genesis 18:17, 18; 22:16-18).

 

Most of the laws God gave to His people, as stated in the Ten Commandments and other laws, have become the standard for nations of the world. For instance, the law of circumcision which God gave to Abraham was held sacred by the Israelites across their generations. This has been copied by nations of the world who accepted circumcision in view of its health benefits. However, before the knowledge of God got to people in far-flung parts of the world, they had been observing aspects of the law of God since man was created with the basic understanding of right and wrong. It is by maintaining our peculiarity as Christians that we have “riches, honour and life”. – Proverbs 22:4; 1 Peter 2:9

Theme: COMMENTARY ON HEBREWS 11:32 - 40

Text:“For Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying, Wherefore dost thou prophesy, and say, Thus saith Jehovah, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it.” – Jeremiah 32:3.

Comment: Because the king and people of Judah had given themselves to the worship of the devil, God Almighty used Jeremiah the prophet to warn them, telling them that if they would not repent, He would make Jerusalem and the temple they took pride in to suffer the fate of Shiloh, where the name of God was in earlier times before it was destroyed and abandoned. (Joshua 18:1; 19:51; 1Kings 14:2.) For warning the people against sin the leaders determined that Jeremiah must die. (Jeremiah 26:1-10) However, some of the elders, together with Ahikam, an officer of the king, intervened to prevent them from their wicked plot.

 

Again, when the Chaldeans besieged Jerusalem, Jeremiah was instructed by God to tell them to submit to their rule to avoid death and destruction. This was  seen as treason for which the leaders of the people convinced King Zedekiah to cast Jeremiah into.a well. But God also delivered him. When we stand up for the truth, even in the face of danger, God will give us victory in the end. St. Paul in his writings recalled God delivered them “from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:10).. He added that God Almighty shall deliver him “from every evil work, and will preserve him unto his heavenly kingdom. –  2 Timothy 4:18