Tuesday, January 7, 2014

For the love of money (Hebrews 7:1-7, Matt 17:25-27, Matt. 22:15-22, Mark 12:41-44, Hebrews 11:4)

Greetings from New Jersey!  It's a balmy 7 degrees out today : )  So I'm trying to stay inside.

Ok I have a confession.  I opened my Bible to Hebrews 7 and saw the name, "Melchizedek" again.  Then my mind went, "dooooooo."  I thought I already read about Melchizedek.  So if you ever open the Bible, and your mind goes blank, no worries!  It happens to us all at times : )  It's true, we looked at him in Hebrews 5.  Jesus is a priest according to the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 5:6).
17 Then after his (Abraham's) return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he gave him a tenth of all.
(Genesis 14:17-20 NASB)
Since we've been reading about Melchizedek, I thought it would be nice to pull up a different Bible version.  It helps me gain new understanding.  So here's the passage in The Message.  It's written in plain English.

Hebrews 7
1 Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of the Highest God. He met Abraham, who was returning from "the royal massacre," and gave him his blessing. 2 Abraham in turn gave him a tenth of the spoils. "Melchizedek" means "King of Righteousness." "Salem" means "Peace." So, he is also "King of Peace." 3 Melchizedek towers out of the past––without record of family ties, no account of beginning or end. In this way he is like the Son of God, one huge priestly presence dominating the landscape always.

In one of the books I was reading, it said that "Salem" signifies Jerusalem.  Jesus is the King of Jerusalem.  And again Jesus was in the beginning of creation so, "Melchizedek" could actually be Jesus.  A big Bible mystery for sure.

4 You realize just how great Melchizedek is when you see that Father Abraham gave him a tenth of the captured treasure. 5 Priests descended from Levi are commanded by law to collect tithes from the people, even though they are all more or less equals, priests and people, having a common father in Abraham. 6 But this man, a complete outsider, collected tithes from Abraham and blessed him, the one to whom the promises had been given. 7 In acts of blessing, the lesser is blessed by the greater.

Actually, Jesus never collected tithes or offerings.  As the Messiah, He is concerned with people's souls and hearts more.  He never stopped the offerings in fact He supported it.  He did help Peter get their offerings from the mouth of a fish while Peter was fishing : )  I believe He has an excellent sense of humor!  Do what you do best and God will bless it.

Here's how Jesus felt about money, as He spoke to Peter.
24 After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two- drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”
25 “Yes, he does,” he replied.
When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes —from their own children or from others?”
26 “From others,” Peter answered.
“Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him. 27 “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four- drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."
(Matthew 17:24-27 NIV)
His explanation to the Pharisees.  Some of their words remind me of a slithering snake trying to confuse Jesus.  It didn't bother Him, He actually turned it back on the Pharisees.
15 That's when the Pharisees plotted a way to trap him into saying something damaging. 16 They sent their disciples, with a few of Herod's followers mixed in, to ask, "Teacher, we know you have integrity, teach the way of God accurately, are indifferent to popular opinion, and don't pander to your students. 17 So tell us honestly:Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
18 Jesus knew they were up to no good. He said, "Why are you playing these games with me? Why are you trying to trap me? 19 Do you have a coin? Let me see it." They handed him a silver piece.
20 "This engraving––who does it look like? And whose name is on it?"
21 They said, "Caesar."
"Then give Caesar what is his, and give God what is his."
22 The Pharisees were speechless. They went off shaking their heads
(Matthew 22:15-22 Message)
Jesus was most pleased with a poor widow full of faith.
41 Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. 42 One poor widow came up and put in two small coins––a measly two cents. 43 Jesus called his disciples over and said, "The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. 44 All the others gave what they'll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn't afford––she gave her all."
(Mark 12:41-44 Message)
The first offering/sacrifice brought to God was through Cain and Abel.
4 By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain. It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference. That's what God noticed and approved as righteous. After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice.
(Hebrews 11:4 Message)
It's sad that Cain became jealous and killed his brother.  We always seem to want to be best in things don't we?  Always a competition.

Levi was the priest designated to collect tithes and offerings of the twelve tribes of Judah.
Or look at it this way: We pay our tithes to priests who die, but Abraham paid tithes to a priest who, the Scripture says, "lives." 9 Ultimately you could even say that since Levi descended from Abraham, who paid tithes to Melchizedek, 10 when we pay tithes to the priestly tribe of Levi they end up with Melchizedek.
(Hebrews 7:8-10 Message)

When I read these passages I get a sense that God sees money as man made not Heavenly.  He promises to meet our needs and wants us to help each other out.  But His main interest and love is for His creation, us.  It must break His heart when we worship money. I also notice from the widow, that He likes to see us give in faith and not just what we don't need. 

It's a challenge for us all.  Especially with all the financial troubles in the world right now. I believe it's good to save money, but maybe I should consider helping others more.  Really don't want to let money control my life.  There's so many things I can give too.  More than money, time.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  1 Timothy 6:10

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