Monday, February 20, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - February 20, 2017

Today's Reading:

Matthew 2

Exodus 22:1-23:33

Proverbs 10

Listen to the Bible








Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

Of all the Scripture verses in today's reading, one especially caught my attention: Proverbs 10:7, which says,  

"The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot." 

One word comes to mind with this verse: LEGACY.

Our lives are short. As the Psalmist said, a mere vapor. We're here for a short time, like a flower blooming, but then we are gone. Yes, I know its not a subject we like to think about. But we need to think about it sometimes, as it's very important.

Saul, Israel's first king, didn't think much about his legacy. So the record of this life is one of a wayward and rebellious man, who became demon possessed and lost the Voice of God entirely. When God told king Saul to destroy the wicked king Agag and his idolatrous people, he made a partial job of it. Saul kept some "spoils of war", which when caught he claimed was for "sacrificing" to God.  But Samuel told him plainly that "to obey is better than to sacrifice." 

Saul wanted his son, Jonathan to have the throne, when he died. But his own wickedness made this desire impossible. But-other than wanting Jonathan to be king, carrying on Saul's dynasty-Saul's legacy just wasn't something he cared about very much. Had he cared about it, Saul would have been faithful to God. 

When we are faithful to God, we leave behind a legacy that is blessed. But when we rebel against God our name "rots". Some Bible translations say our name passes away and isn't remembered. But the word "rot" is more than that.

When I take out my kitchen waste to the compost pile, I get a good idea of what it means to "rot". There is a very unpleasant stench coming from the compost bucket. Things that used to be fit to eat, now look and smell disgusting.

Saul's was a rotten legacy. And here's the thing. One's legacy continues long after the person is gone. Saul's legacy of disobedience and rebellion against God was still impacting the people of God some 400 years after he had died!  How so? 

In the time of Esther, Haman plotted the destruction of the Children of Israel, intending to blot them out of the land of Persia. Haman, according to Scripture, was an Agagite. That means that Haman was a descendant of the idolatrous king Agag, whom God told king Saul to kill - leaving behind no heir. God knew what Agag's seed would do in the future. Had Saul obeyed, the whole story of Esther would have been unnecessary! 

Abraham's legacy lives on to this day. As the father of the faithful, his legacy is one of righteousness by faith, which every saved child of God is a part of. But his failures are also an immortalized part of his legacy. For example, Abraham's failure to trust God to produce a child through Sarah created the Middle East crisis of today. Think about it! Legacy...

Not long ago, someone we knew died. The family had the job of going through the dead man's things and settling his estate. When a person dies, all the secrets come out. The things they spent their time doing, that they probably didn't want others to find out about, are exposed. Our hearts went out to the Christian family of the man who had died - not only for their loss of a beloved family member - but also because going through his things revealed his double life. He was Christian on the outside, but lived as a pleasure-seeking infidel behind closed doors. His legacy was rotten. And the shocking awareness of this reality made the suffering of his family all the worse. He had lived as if his legacy didn't matter at all...  And now what's left is rot.

These things have caused me to think. They have caused me to prayerfully consider my own legacy.

Psalm 90:12  "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."

My maternal great-grandmother was Eleanor Gonsalvez...  One day, when my grandmother was just a young girl, great-grandma Eleanor openened the door to a Seventh-day Adventist colporteur. She bought some books, became converted, and started keeping the Sabbath as a result. And in that simple act, which probably didn't seem so momentous to her at the time, great-grandma Eleanor started a godly legacy. One for which I'm very thankful! 

Her legacy was carried on in my maternal grandmother, Marjorie Fallbeck. Marjorie was a deeply committed woman of God. She was known throughout her neighborhood as the "cookie lady". She baked cookies and took Christian videos around to her neighbors. Many people gave their lives to God, as result of my grandma Fallbeck. 

In the summers, I would spend a few weeks at Grandma's house. She lived on a farm, in a tiny yellow house with red porches (which I painted for her each summer). We'd paint and bake and visit the zoo. We'd get in the paddle boats at the park and peddle as fast as we could trying to chase down and catch one of those adorable baby ducks...  just so I could hold one for a minute (but we never could quite go fast enough to catch one). We played water tag with the hoses, hiding and squirting one another in grandma's yard. We'd laugh and shriek with delight. Even doing laundry with grandma was a joy. I loved everything about her.

Grandma introduced me to witnessing. She always had boxes of tracts about Christ and the Three Angel's Messages. She took me with her and we went door to door handing out tracts and telling people about Jesus (I didn't know His Hebrew Name back then). Out of this work came Bible studies. There were several families who became converted and baptized because of God's Work through my grandma Fallbeck. 

One time, we were driving down the road looking for a likely spot to pass out tracts and we happened upon a huge building with a packed parking lot. People were all milling about. Grandma thought it looked like the perfect place to share Jesus. So we parked, jumped out, and began approaching people with our books, "Steps to Christ". But not one person took any of our books! Now, I have to tell you, in all my summers with grandma, I'd never seen that happen before! Finally, grandma asked someone what event they were all gathered to attend. The person told her that it was a Jehovah's Witness convention. But with only that one exception, I can't think of another time where grandma's canvassing work was unfruitful.
Grandma Fallbeck's three angels, hanging on my living room wall.

Today, I have several cherished belongings which were once grandma Fallbeck's. I have the three wooden angels, which once hung on her living room wall. They represent the Three Angel's Messages of Revelation, which grandma was always sharing with people. They now hang on my living room wall. 

I also have my grandma's Bible. It is marked up, chain referenced, and filled with evidences of her deep love for God and her constant seeking for more Truth.

A page from Grandma Fallbeck's Bible, showing all her notes.
My grandma Fallbeck died on December 24, 1996. My son was only two years old at the time. My daughter had not yet been born. But my grandma's legacy lives on, which was passed to her from my great-grandmother, and which she passed on to my mother and to me. I am now the fourth generation in this legacy of women who have loved God, have been students of Scripture, and have lived to serve God and help others come to know Him. It is a legacy which I am so thankful and blessed to have. And it is a legacy that I pray will continue in my own children.

So today, as I pray and mentally map out my plans for all that will be accomplished in this day, I want to live with the bigger picture in mind - the awareness of the legacy I will leave behind.

And what about you? Won't you join me in praying that God will use you to build a righteous legacy? What a blessing it is!

"The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot."