The schedule I'm using takes a two-day break. If you've been following along with me, then you can use this time to catch up (if you're behind), or to look more in-depth at something you read this past week. Perhaps you'd like to make a deeper study of Noah's Ark and the events the led up to it (Check out the very beginning of Genesis 6 for some intriguing stuff!) Or maybe you want to read some material on creationism vs. evolution. Since my sermon this coming Sunday is called "Trials and Temptations," I'll probably go back to Mark 1:12-13 and study up on Jesus' temptation. By the way, I'm intrigued at the way Mark almost jumps over this story, while Matthew makes it a focal point. If you're not using the next two days to catch up on your Bible reading, then I suggest you take a break from the massive reading, and go back to one particular thing that stood out to you this week. Make a study of it. Get out your commentaries. Go to http://biblegateway.com or http://biblos.com or http://blueletterbible.com to find some wonderful resources. Now that you've read this large section of the Bible, zoom in and go deeper with something that interested you. I encourage you not to take the next two days off completely. Stay in God's Word, even though our reading plan doesn't resume until Monday.
Today, as I read through Genesis 12-15, Mark 5, and Psalm 148, I was struck by the various reactions people had when God touched them. When you have an encounter with the living God, you're going to be changed--no matter what. But each of us responds to God in different ways.
Abraham followed God. Though he didn't know where he was going, he just picked up and left everything to obey God's call. Abraham was a "big picture" kind of guy, and didn't worry about the details so much. In fact, his lack of attention to detail got him in trouble. He could make some pretty foolish decisions at times. Yet, every time he messed up, he got up and followed God again.
When the demon-possessed man saw Jesus, he "ran and fell down before him (Mark 5:6 ESV)." He was conflicted. It seems that on his own volition, the man sought Jesus out, because he wanted deliverance from the demons. Yet, the legion of demons wanted nothing more than to get away from Jesus. It seems that your reaction to God has a lot to do with your alignment toward God. To be in Jesus' presence meant salvation for the man, but it meant banishment to the demons.
The herdsmen drove God away, fearing that Jesus would wreck their economy if he stayed any longer. When God touches us, many people try to run Him off—because it means we’re going to have to change our own economy, our own way of doing things, our own way of life.
Jairus sought Jesus out and asked Him for a miracle. He invited Jesus to his house. How much do you welcome Jesus into your home? Or, do you instead try to keep him at arm’s length?
The woman with the issue of God pressed in against the crowd of people, just to touch the hem of His garment. Jesus said He felt power leaving Him when she touched Him. Some people just wait for God to touch them—but the bold press in to touch Him. Which kind of believer are you?
The little girl did nothing to try to reach Jesus—because she was dead. But when He touched her, she was raised to life.
What's your reaction, when God touches you? Whether people want to admit it or not, God is constantly speaking, always reaching into people's lives and touching their circumstances. But you have the choice as to how you will respond. Will you follow God like Abraham? Are you conflicted, like the possessed man? Will you drive God away, or will you press in against the odds to touch the Lord? My prayer is that when Jesus touches you, He will raise you to life--that you'll let Him revive you today.
Psalm 148 is a song of praise to God, who is present in all Creation. The angels and heavenly bodies praise God's name. The elements and creatures worship God, because He ever holds them in His loving arms. When God touches you, I hope you'll respond with a song of praise. Heaven and earth declare His glory, and I hope that you will join the song.