Knysna Methodist Church

20 March 2022

Knysna Methodist Church – lectionary notes – 20.3.2022

Isaiah 55:1-9
Isaiah wants people to pay attention to what he is going to say. He extends God’s invitation to everyone who is thirsty in this unusual way! Ho! Only people who are thirsty for God will respond. They do not need to bring any money. Growth in faith is as free as the gift of salvation.

God asks why people spend money on things that don’t matter and will never bring satisfaction. Instead, people must listen carefully, discern the spiritual lessons they are hearing and then rejoice in God’s bounty. People who listen well will feast on God’s word and God will make a covenant like the one He made with David. God forgave David many things – and Christ-followers can count on the same mercy. This will come into being in the future.

Isaiah gives a sense of urgency to his message. He tells people to look for God now so that they can receive His blessings. People need to repent and turn to God, not just in their actions but also in their thoughts. When they do this – God will have mercy on them. God’s thoughts and behaviour are not the same as those of human beings.

Psalm 63:1-8
David wrote this psalm whilst he was in the wilderness, either when he was being hunted by King Saul, or when he fled from his son Absalom when the young man rebelled against his father.
In the original text the word God is plural, in the first instance, and singular in the second. David is stating that God – three in one – is his personal God. They have a relationship with one another. God is David’s priority and the psalmist seeks Him first thing every day. David knew that God was not only in His sanctuary but could be found in the desert too.

The love and kindness of God was more precious to David than life itself. He had personal experience of God’s love and kindness extended to him. David knew God is blessed when His people praise Him. The Hebrews would lift their hands in praise, and David knew the deep satisfaction of surrendering to God, praising Him and receiving the love that God poured upon him. But this was not enough, for David thought of God during the night too when all was quiet.

In this psalm, David does not ask for help but is overflowing with gratitude for the help he has received. He rejoices about God’s protection and intimate presence. He knew God was very close to him. The Hebrew word he used here has the sense of being glued together.

1 Corinthian 10:1-13
There was an issue in Corinth about the meat that had been sacrificed to idols. Was it in order for Christians to eat such meat or not? Paul had said that if idols meant nothing to those who followed Christ they could eat the meat. However love was more important than the principle, and if such Christians were with those who did not feel it was in order to eat such meat then all Christians should refrain from eating it.

This chapter is a continuation of that teaching. The Hebrews had been greatly blessed on their journey through the Sinai desert when God led them out of Egypt. They had passed through the cloud which is the glory of God; they had walked through the sea which God had parted for them; they had eaten food and drank water God provided. Paul attributes the water to the presence of Jesus Christ who was with them throughout their journey.

However, in spite of all this, God was not pleased with many of the Hebrews and, in the end, only two men (Joshua and Caleb) who left Egypt entered the Promised Land. The rest died in the wilderness. Paul now warned the Corinthians to be careful. Just because they have been blessed and had experienced God’s presence and provision did not mean they were safe.

They must not give way to their evil desires. Those Corinthians who ate meat sacrificed to idols when they knew it would lead their companions into sin were guilty of sin themselves. They were more concerned with their own desires than with God’s glory. So Paul warned them not to follow Israel’s example. If Israel could be punished for their sin, so could they.

It is important for all Christ-followers to understand they are vulnerable. There are no unique temptations. Believers can only stand fast when they rely on God for their strength to resist. God will not allow anyone to be tempted beyond that point when that strength is from Him. He will always provide a way to escape temptation, although He will never force anyone to take that escape route. It may, though, not be easy.

Luke 13:1-9
Jesus referred to two recent disasters that emphasised the importance of repentance. There is no secular record of these events, so we have no other details. (Jesus’ world was not too different to our own). He asked His listeners if the people who were killed were any worse than any other people. He then answered His own question. They were no better or worse than anyone else.

So what did this mean to anyone who heard about this? It showed people that death can happen at any time and so repentance must be current. The repetition of the word ‘repent’ reveals the use of two different Greek words – the one means repenting for a once off transgression; the other means repenting on an on-going basis. Jesus warned that those who did not repent would perish.
In the parable He then told, the owner of the vineyard represents God who will look for evidence of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). He is patient and He keeps looking. But still there is no fruit. So He gave the vine special care – but He also gave the order that if it still did not bear any fruit the time had come for it to be cut down and destroyed.

Points to Ponder

• What does God’s Word mean to you? Are you hungry and thirsty for it? Or has it become a habit to read it?
How does God speak to you through it? How do you know this is God’s voice? What was the last verse that God
used to speak to you in a new way? What did that mean to you?
• When you are alone, how do you praise God? Are you sitting, or standing or dancing? Are you whispering or
singing? Are you inside or outside? What makes such moments special for you?
• How close do you feel to God at such times?
• Where have you had to rely on God’s strength recently? What has this meant to you?
• What would you do if you knew your time on earth was short? Who would you want to see? What would you want
to say? What would you say to God? How does such a thought make you feel?
• How can you help one another in any struggles you may have had with these issues?

Isaiah 55,Psalm 63, Corinthians 10, Luke 13

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