WELCOME to the OCT - 2008 edition of the Shalomindia.com E-Info Service.
"Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? until seven times?"-- Mat_18:21.
THE RELIGIOUS teachers of Christ's day taught that four times was the extreme limit of forgiveness. Peter exceeded this in his estimate, but how far even he fell short of the Divine ideal! Seven was to the Jews the number of perfection, so that no expression could more forcibly convey the impression of ever-renewed, eternal, repetition than "seventy times seven!." What comfort there is for each one of us here! For if God expects man to forgive his brother thus, how may we not count on His forgiveness!
This parable shows the great wrong we do to ourselves as well as to our brother, when we fail to forgive. Here was a man who had been forgiven the enormous debt of two millions sterling, but was not softened and chastened by its remission, for he went immediately from his Master's presence to lay violent hands on an unfortunate fellow-servant, who owed him less than a five-pound note. He is deaf to the reasons which had filled his own mouth previously, and oblivious of everything except that this debt should be paid instantly.
Are we not all tempted to abuse the forgiving love of God, and to be censorious, vindictive, implacable, and unforgiving? If you want to be the reverse of this, consider how much you have been forgiven! Sit down and count up your enormous debt to God, and how freely He has forgiven you. Only the forgiving are forgiven--"If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." If we are unrelenting, slow to recognize merit, quick to observe faults, cherishing ill-will and resentment for injuries inflicted, perhaps years ago; and if we cling to and nourish this spirit, we may be sure that we have never been forgiven.
How are we to attain the state of mind which forgives so often, and can win the most wayward? The parable teaches us that we must receive God's pardon in a right spirit, that we must remember our own failures and sins, and that we must ever be willing to cast the mantle of forgiving love over the sins and failures of those around us.
O Lord, may we hear Thee say to us: Thy sins which are many are all forgiven; Go in peace; and may we, in our turn, forgive as we have been forgiven, and may the sun not go down upon our wrath. AMEN.
Jesus, the Ultimate Example of Faith's Results
The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary . . . The Lord God has opened My ear . . . I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. For the Lord God will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed. (Isa_50:4-7)
In our previous prophetic verses, we saw that the promised Servant of the Lord would undertake His Messianic mission through faith in His heavenly Father. " My God shall be My strength" (Isa_49:5). These verses depicted Jesus as the ultimate example of faith. Now, a corresponding prophetic passage reveals the blessed consequences of trusting in the Lord. Herein, we see Jesus as the ultimate example of faith's results.
Once again, the prophetic parties are the Messiah and His heavenly Father. The confessions of Jesus (trusting in the Father) comprise the prophetic statements. "The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned." Jesus was "discipled" day by day by the Father (certainly using, in part, His godly parents). "The Lord God has opened My ear." This equipped Jesus to minister to burdened lives: "that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary." In fact, people were amazed in general at the manner in which He spoke. "So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth" (Luk_4:22).
As Jesus would trust in the Father, He would also be prepared for the mounting difficulties that He would face. "I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting." In approaching the cross, these prophecies of Jesus (and the enablement He found through depending upon the Father) were fulfilled. "Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands" (Mat_26:67). Though He knew all of this awaited Him before He came to Jerusalem that last time, He put His faith in the Father. "For the Lord God will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed." The Father helped Him. He marched on resolutely to keep His redemption appointment at the cross. "Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem" (Luk_9:51). These are the wonderful consequences of faith.
Father, Your Son, my Savior, was prepared, strengthened, sustained, and used through faith in You. I need to experience in my own life these same blessed results of faith. Please build my faith, more and more, for Your glory and service, Amen.
"JESUS, MY LORD"
Shalom India Prayer Cell
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