Thursday, July 2, 2020

LHM Daily Devotions - July 2, 2020 - "A Welcome Yoke"

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20200702

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"A Welcome Yoke"

July 2, 2020

At that time Jesus declared, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was Your gracious will. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."

Jesus cuts to the chase here. Though He had devoted followers who faithfully hung on His every word, He was constantly meeting others who were spiritually blind, or worse—openly antagonistic to Him and His message.

For instance, before He spoke the words above, He told the crowds following Him that they are like dim-witted youngsters, not knowing what to think about the things before their very eyes. They didn't understand John the Baptist and labeled him demon possessed; they didn't get Jesus and called Him a glutton and a drunk (see Matthew 11:16-19). And for the cities where He did some of His mightiest works—Chorazin, Bethsaida, and especially Capernaum—He had words of fire for their stone-hearted ignorance: "But I tell you that it shall be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the land of Sodom than for you" (Matthew 11:24).

And then ... a respite from His harsh rebuke: "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was Your gracious will." Again, Jesus gets right to the point. He's not interested in all the things we have to offer; instead, He's looking for our surrender. Rather than approach God with all the answers, we should come to Him empty-handed. We should desire everything He has to offer—like a beggar would—or a child.

But how hard this can be! Like the "wise and understanding" scribes and Pharisees, we too can overestimate ourselves, thinking we bring something to the table—as if we possess some asset God can't do without. We forget we have nothing to offer—that even our best is little more than filthy rags before Him. "We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away" (Isaiah 64:6).

But even with all our failings, God is not done with us. He loves us and wants to make us new (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). May we all remain as children before our Father, trusting His Son for the salvation He has won for us on the cross—and sealed by His resurrection from the dead.

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, teach us to hear the words of Jesus and follow Him closely. In His Name we pray. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
1. Have you ever acted like a scribe or a Pharisee toward God?

2. What does learning from Jesus and taking His yoke mean to you?

3. Are there times when your head (ego, intellect) gets in the way of your faith? Do you do anything in particular to keep your faith in God simple and childlike?
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber. Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Have you ever acted like a scribe or a Pharisee toward God?

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