Reading for Today:
- Genesis 31:1–32:32
- Psalm 8:6-9
- Proverbs 3:19-20
- Matthew 11:1-30
Genesis 31:19 household idols. Literally, teraphim (see 2 Kin. 23:24; Ezek. 21:21). These images or figurines of varying sizes, usually of nude goddesses with accentuated sexual features, either signaled special protection for, inheritance rights for, or guaranteed fertility for the bearer. Or, perhaps possession by Rachel would call for Jacob to be recognized as head of the household at Laban’s death.
Matthew 11:12 the kingdom of heaven suffers violence. From the time he began his preaching ministry, John the Baptist evoked a strong reaction. Having been imprisoned already, John ultimately fell victim to Herod’s savagery. But the kingdom can never be subdued or opposed by human violence. Notice that where Matthew says, “the violent take it by force,” Luke has, “everyone is pressing into it” (Luke 16:16). So the sense of this verse may be rendered this way: “The kingdom presses ahead relentlessly, and only the relentless press their way into it.” Thus again Christ is magnifying the difficulty of entering the kingdom.
Matthew 11:28–30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden. There is an echo of the first beatitude (5:3) in this passage. Note that this is an open invitation to all who hear—but phrased in such a way that the only ones who will respond to the invitation are those who are burdened by their own spiritual bankruptcy and the weight of trying to save themselves by keeping the law. The stubbornness of humanity’s sinful rebellion is such that without a sovereignly bestowed spiritual awakening, all sinners refuse to acknowledge the depth of their spiritual poverty. That is why, as Jesus says in v. 27, our salvation is the sovereign work of God. But the truth of divine election in v. 27 is not incompatible with the free offer to all in vv. 28–30.
DAY 16: List the false gods in the Old Testament.
- Rachel’s household gods (Gen. 31:19)
- The golden calf at Sinai (Ex. 32)
- Nanna, the moon god of Ur, worshiped by Abraham before his salvation (Josh. 24:2)
- Asherah, or Ashtaroth, the chief goddess of Tyre, referred to as the lady of the sea (Judg. 6:24–32)
- Dagon, the chief Philistine agriculture and sea god and father of Baal (Judg. 16:23–30)
- Ashtoreth, a Canaanite goddess, another consort of Baal (1 Sam. 7:3, 4)
- Molech, the god of the Ammonites and the most horrible idol in the Scriptures (1 Kin. 11:7)
- The two golden images made by King Jeroboam, set up at the shrines of Dan and Bethel (1 Kin. 12:28–31)
- Baal, the chief deity of Canaan (1 Kin. 18:17–40; 2 Kin. 10:28; 11:18)
- Rimmon, the Syrian god of Naaman the leper (2 Kin. 5:15–19)
- Nishroch, the Assyrian god of Sennacherib (2 Kin. 19:37)
- Nebo, the Babylonian god of wisdom and literature (Is. 46:1)
- Merodach, also called Marduk, the chief god of the Babylonian pantheon (Jer. 50:2)
- Tammuz, the husband and brother of Ishtar (Asherah), goddess of fertility (Ezek. 8:14)
- The golden image in the plain of Dura (Dan. 2)
From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.