February 6, Reading 1 – Genesis 44

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

Judah has changed too, as well as Joseph. Judah willingly sacrifices himself for Joseph’s full brother Benjamin, where he once willingly sacrificed Joseph himself to slavery. Judah’s redemption is of moment in the sacred history. Your redemption is of moment too.

SJA Notes

* Dear God Above, You are our God and we are Your people. Please teach us from Your word today.

“For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the evil that would find my father.”

Judah steps up here. We continue to see his emergence as a servant leader.

Judah is willing to sacrifice himself for his younger brother, for the sake of his father.

This is in stark contrast to his behaviour from years gone by – Judah had no problem selling Joseph to the slave traders at the time, even know how it would make his father feel.

But here, what a change!

Judah’s thoughts are for his family, for his brother and father.

This gives us today hope.

We mess up, make mistakes, we choose folly and make silly decisions.

But as God is at work in us we GROW.

Oh that we would be good soil and bear much fruit!

* Father God in Heaven,

Please grow Your word within us, that we would be good soil, the seed bearing forth fruit a hundredfold!

Please mature us in our faith, in our walk before You, that we would grow in our knowledge and understanding of and love for You.

Please make us more like Jesus each day.

Amen.

February 6, Reading 2 – Psalm 22

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

Jesus uttered the opening words of this psalm as He died. David was a suffering messiah himself. This psalm ends with hope – the Lord will save His Christ and the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord! Jesus died in hope as also in anguish!

SJA Notes

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?”

There is great depth of emotion in these words from David as he struggles with the brokenness of life.

And how similar they are to what we have previously heard from Job, who cried out,

“Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’, but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice.”

We know that David suffered much in his life. Enemies beset him on every side. Many of his close relationships were broken and wrecked. His own bad decision-making caused much pain and anguish.

But here we see his crying out to God.

And these words are echoed by our Lord Jesus,

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”

And so we come to the same place as we did with Job. This psalm isn’t about claiming to have no sin. Rather it is a heartfelt and important crying out to the Lord (as Job did).

Jesus Himself cries out, as death is gripping Him, to His dear Father,

“Why have you forsaken me?”

This is so important for us to wrestle with. Jesus was without sin, and in anguish this cry rips from Him.

Like Job, like David, like our Lord, we are to bring our anguish and heartache to the Lord.

God is not made less because we make this cry.

While death did grip Jesus for a moment, it did not reign. He conquered death at Calvary and won the victory!

Hallelujah, what a Saviour!

* Dear God,

Thank You that as Son You became a curse for us Your people. You saved us from darkness into light. You gave new life into dead hearts.

Please help us to trust You more today, to bring Your glory, to keep Your Name holy.

Amen.

February 6, Reading 3 – Matthew 25:31-26:2

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

This parable is a frightening one – frightening for your complacency and mine. True religion is of most earthly use!

SJA Notes

* Dear God, thank You for this day, and for Your word that we can read on this day. Please help us to understand You a little better today.

“… one of the least of these …”

How do we as God’s people treat those in our midst who our weak and vulnerable, those who are the least?

For both the sheep and the goats, God’s focus is on the treatment of the “least of these”.

How we treat people is a very important indicator of the truth of our hearts.

We know this, we can see it very clearly.

Hypocrisy is pretty easy to identify in other people.

Can we see it in us?

* Good Shepherd God,

Please give us a heart after Your own heart, a desire to see Your Name praised.

Please help us to give ourselves in generosity without thought of return.

Please give us opportunity to serve those around us.

Please help us to give food and drink, to welcome, to clothe, to visit and show other-centred love-that-is-action.

We are Your sheep Lord, may we love as You have loved us.

Amen.