Today’s readings: Exodus 9; Luke 12; Job 27; 1 Corinthians 13
The Merriam-Webster definition of distinction includes the following:
- a noticeable difference between things or people
- the separation of people or things into different groups
Today’s reading contains several distinctions. The Bible is rich with distinctions so that it can become clearer to us as to who we are, who God is, and what he expects of our lives here on Earth.
In order to understand the distinction, we need to understand the reason behind it; why God is saying what he is saying or doing what he is doing. Notice that in Exodus 9:1, God doesn’t say “Let my people go, that they may (be happy, spend time with their families, have a party, go to work, relax, eat, drink and be merry, complete their chores, farm the fields, tend to the livestock, etc.). His purpose in rescuing them was so that they (we) may serve him.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. (Exodus 9:1)
God made a distinction by revealing his will and by saving the livestock of Israel. He was showing them that he had set apart the people of Israel.
But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing of all that belongs to the people of Israel shall die.” (Exodus 9:4)
There is no one like God, he is holy, he is set apart, he is distinct and he wants us to know it. If there were someone or something like him, we would be confused as to who or what to worship, to bow down to, to humble ourselves out of reverence and awe. We need not be confused, there is no one like him.
For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth.
Distinction: Those who feared the word of the Lord, and those who did not. Isn’t it easy to put ourselves in the position of those who paid attention to the word of the Lord and wonder why some people didn’t? Weren’t they there (or at least aware) when the water turned to blood, and the frogs, gnats, and flies plagued Egypt, the livestock died, and everyone had the nasty boils?
After wondering about those who didn’t pay attention I came to realize that I do not always treat him with the appropriate level of fear nor do I always pay attention and obey. I forget or marginalize what God has done on this earth, the source of the beauty of nature, the smell of a spring morning, or even to the magnitude of what Christ did for me on the cross. I too leave my livestock in the field.
Then whoever feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses, but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the Lord left his slaves and his livestock in the field. (Exodus 9:20-21)
Distinction: Acknowledgement or denial of Christ. If I do not acknowledge him, am I inherently denying him? It would seem very odd to be friends with someone for a period of time and not acknowledge to the person the fact that I’m married and have children. These people bring me joy.
Similarly to my relationship with Jesus, if I’m not actively acknowledging him before others, I believe I’m inherently denying him. What are the reasons we don’t share (acknowledge) Jesus? I typically correlate this to fear and/or lack of a sound relationship. Jesus tells us not to fear so I need to trust that part, and he’s calling us each day to have a relationship with him, so this part is up to us to act.
And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. (Luke 12:8-9)
Jesus is coming back, and because of that, we must be ready for his return. This parable makes the distinction between people who are eagerly ready for his return and those who are not. Some severe stuff, especially for those of us who have received and believed the truth, but haven’t acted on that belief.
Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. (Luke 12:37)
But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. (Luke 12:45-46)
1 Corinthians 13 distinctly separates love from a lack of love. Today’s reading had a few occurrences that called out wealth and possessions, and where they stand in our lives. The main difference boils down to the object of our love; the things of this world, or God and people. We can possess fine speech, wisdom, and even faith but without love, all of these possessions are meaningless. We can be generous with our possessions but if the intent in the generosity is for something other than love, we gain nothing.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2-3)
Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection was the ultimate distinction. No one else has ever, or will ever do this. He did it to save us from sin, so that we can be distinct in eternity with him, should we choose to follow him, to love him, and obey him.