Knysna Methodist Church

5 September 2021

5.9.2021 – Reverend Rod Jameson – Knysna Methodist Church

The Book of Proverbs
Whilst Solomon, the son of David, is considered to be the author of the book of Proverbs, it is more likely that it should be seen as a collection of wise sayings by a variety of contributors. Proverbs is not popular today as its teaching is often too moralistic for current tastes. There seems to be little within its chapters that reveal to us what God has done for us. Yet the Proverbs contained within the book are God’s signposts showing the way to the transformed lives that He desires for us.

Proverbs 22:1-2; 8-9, 22-23
The author of these Proverbs states that a good name and the respect of the community are prizes beyond any wealth. Whatever a person’s economic status, everyone should be valued as we are all equal in God’s eyes, created by Him in His own image. Whilst it may seem, at times, that the wicked get away with their evil deeds, they will ultimately be punished. In the meantime those who are generous and who share their good fortune with others will be blessed. God sees it all. Nothing slips past Him. He sees both the exploited and the exploiter.

Psalm 125
This Psalm is one of the Song of Ascents (Psalms 120-134) which was sung by pilgrims as they ‘went up’ to Jerusalem for the three great annual festivals celebrated by the Jews. The Jews at this time considered Mount Zion to be a strong, unchanging place. The Temple was situated here and they could sense the presence of God. Zion was surrounded by even higher hills and they saw this as a sign that God surrounds His people. So their trust in Him gave them the security they longed for. As they tried to live righteous lives they could count on God’s protection. God would not allow them to be ruled by wicked people, in case they were distracted from their righteous ways. The people could be confident that God would hear their prayer and grant them peace.

James 2:1-10
The author warns against favouritism and discrimination. In the situation described, the leaders of the church, who are referred to as ‘my dear brothers’, have taken upon themselves the task of deciding who is rich and who is poor. However, God supports the poor who rely on Him more than the rich do. Those who are considered rich are condemned for exploiting the poor. The solution is to practice Jesus’ commandment: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ (Mark 12:31).

Mark 7:24-37
The Syro-Phoenician woman came from an area which now falls in current-day Lebanon. The story takes place in the region of Tyre and Sidon, so Jesus was outside Israel’s borders. He may have travelled there to obtain some relief from the pressure being placed on Him by the Jews and their leaders in Israel. In spite of this, people in the area had heard of Jesus so the woman came to beg Him to heal her small daughter. Jesus’ reply was shocking. The dog was not the well-loved pet it is today but a symbol of dishonour, and to describe people as dogs was an insult. But Jesus used a diminutive word that described lapdogs rather than the dogs found on the street. Scholars believe His tone of voice would have been affectionate rather than scornful. In those days, people ate with their hands and wiped them clean on chunks of bread, which they then dropped to the floor. The house dogs would gobble up these scraps. The woman, perhaps detecting the teasing in His voice, was not put off. She was a Greek, and the Greeks were known for their quick wit. Jesus loved her reply. Her faith would not take no for an answer. He assured her that her daughter was healed because of her faith – and it was so.

Jesus then travelled with His disciples further north to Sidon before turning south-east along the Sea of Galilee on His way to the Ten Cities (the Decapolis). This was a long way and may well have taken as much as eight months. Many of the inhabitants of this area were Gentiles. Jesus showed a great deal of compassion as He took the deaf man aside from the crowd. It was not often that He used physical actions to heal people. In this case He explained to the deaf man exactly what He was going to do. He touched the man’s ears and tongue, then looked up to heaven, showing the man that He was healing his deafness and restoring his speech by the power of the Father in heaven. The healing was instant. In spite of Jesus’ attempts to keep the matter quiet, people talked and news spread.

Ponder on this:
Which of these readings speaks to you today? How will it bring about change in your life? Speak to God about these things and listen for His reply.

Adeyomo, Tokunhoh, et al. Africa Bible Commentary. WordAlive Publishers, Nairoi, Kenya, 2006
Barclay, William. The Gospel of Mark. The Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh 1981

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