01/16/Th – Seek First the Kingdom

Genesis 18:16-19:26; Matthew 6:25-7:6; Psalms 8:2-9; Proverbs 3:19-20

OT: “Then the Lord said, “Should I hide what I am about to do from Abraham? Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him so that he will command his children and his house after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. This is how the Lord will fulfill to Abraham what he promised him.” Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is immense, and their sin is extremely serious. I will go down to see if what they have done justifies the cry that has come up to me. If not, I will find out.” …Abraham stepped forward and said, “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away instead of sparing the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people who are in it? …Then he said, “Let my lord not be angry, and I will speak one more time. Suppose ten are found there?” He answered, “I will not destroy it on account of ten.”” (‭‭Genesis‬ ‭18:17-21, 23-24, 32‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Did Abraham actually negotiate with God and talk Him down? I don’t think that is what happened. God is merciful and compassionate – far more than Abraham was, so if Abraham had compassion then surely God had more. From what I can see, God was wanting Abraham to learn the power and responsibility of intercession… and He wanted to develop into Abraham the same merciful and compassionate heart that God had… so He invited Abraham into the process and allowed Abraham to see how his intercession impacted God’s hand. As we see later in the story, God was merciful on the “righteous” even though there were less than 10 righteous found in the city – So God’s mercy went beyond Abraham’s understanding of God. Am I willing to develop a compassionate heart and intercede? Am I willing to allow kingdom-level compassion and mercy (that goes beyond human prejudice) to fill my heart for people I don’t know so that I am able to pray kingdom-level prayers of intercession?

NT: “So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat? ’ or ‘What will we drink? ’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you… Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use… Hypocrite! First take the beam of wood out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:31-33; 7:1-2, 5‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

It’s interesting how humans can be so concerned with self in one area of life, but so blind to self in others. When it comes to self preservation, we are always worried for self and will even be willing to hurt or destroy others, justifying our actions by saying that it was for our needs… yet, when it comes to wrongs, we become highly critical of other’s actions and blind to our own. What is the remedy to that? Seeking the kingdom of God (which is His rule and authority) and His righteousness (His right way of thinking and acting) first before anything else. Then we will have a correct perspective of our needs and our shortcomings. Knowing that we are under God’s rule prevents us from worrying about self-preservation, and being focused on God’s righteousness prevents us from being hypocritical by attacking other’s behaviors while ignoring our own. Do we judge between right and wrong? Yes we do, but we do it through clarity of vision that comes when we are actually clean, confronting our own shortcomings first.

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