01/13/M – Be Perfect

Genesis 14:17-15:21; Matthew 5:38-48; Psalms 7:1-9; Proverbs 3:11-12

OT: “Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine; he was a priest to God Most High. He blessed him and said: Abram is blessed by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and blessed be God Most High who has handed over your enemies to you. And Abram gave him a tenth of everything… After these events, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield; your reward will be very great. But Abram said, “Lord God, what can you give me, since I am childless and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Abram continued, “Look, you have given me no offspring, so a slave born in my house will be my heir.” Now the word of the Lord came to him: “This one will not be your heir; instead, one who comes from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “Your offspring will be that numerous.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” (‭‭Genesis‬ ‭‭14:18-20; 15:1-6‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

After Abram “single-handedly” won a decisive military victory, He was compelled to give honor to the Lord for blessing him with the success. In order to honor the Lord, he gave 10% of the spoils he had just won to Melchizedek who was both king of “Peace” and priest to God most High. The king of Sodom (a type of Satan) then offered Abram a reward of riches, which Abram refused. Basically, Abram first gave to the Lord, then he gave what was left back to the city-states that he defended… meaning he received nothing in return for his efforts – except for God’s blessing. How many times do we put out great effort in the name of the Lord and end up receiving no earthly reimbursement? It must have bothered Abram a little, for that night, God spoke to him and said: “Don’t be afraid, Abram… I am your shield of protection, and I am your exceedingly great reward. The promise that I made to you many years before is still in place and I will honor it… and because you were faithful to honor me in earthly things, I will be faithful to honor you with an everlasting heritage.” The Bible then says that Abram believed God, and God credited it to Abram as righteousness. Was Abram perfect? No – But Abram was faithful to honor the Lord and obey His ways… and in Abram’s imperfection, God attributed to him righteousness because of his faith in God.

NT: “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous… Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:43-45, 48‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Next, in His sermon on the mount, Jesus tackled the issue of seeking justice and fairness for yourself instead of honoring God’s character and trusting Him to be just on your behalf. The word “perfect” here doesn’t mean flawless and perfect the way we think of perfect. The word perfect here means completely matured in integrity and moral character. In other words, don’t act like a petulant child that always want things to be “fair” or is concerned about what you are “owed.” Act like a full-grown and mature adult and treat others maturely the way God treats them… trusting the just outcome of a situation to His hand and being content with the results.

Psalms: “Lord my God, I seek refuge in you; save me from all my pursuers and rescue me or they will tear me like a lion, ripping me apart with no one to rescue me… Let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous. The one who examines the thoughts and emotions is a righteous God.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭7:1-2, 9‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

If you read this entire psalm, David get a little aggravated at someone’s unjust actions toward him – and a lot of that psalm is spent venting his aggravation to God. But in the end, David lands maturely on his trust in the Lord – that God is a just and righteous God, and as long as he is in the Lord’s hands, he has nothing to fear.

Proverbs: “Do not despise the Lord’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe his discipline; for the Lord disciplines the one he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:11-12‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

A mature person does not run away from correction, but embraces it – for he knows that correction from one far wiser that he will lead him even further in maturity and completeness. So many people run away from correction, and the result is their course never gets corrected. While correction from a loving Father may be uncomfortable or even painful, if we heed it, it will bear good fruit.

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