Today’s readings are a study in contrasts. Pride vs humility. Disbelief vs faith. Athaliah, the wicked queen who was prideful enough to take matters into her own hands and commit murder in order to place herself on the throne of Judah. Jehosheba who, along with her husband, the priest Jehoiada, was faithful and trusting enough to essentially kidnap her nephew, Joash, from his grandmother, Athaliah, in order to save him and preserve the line of David. David in Psalm 131, displaying maturity even as he wrote of his childlike trust, his choice to be content and rest in God.
Then, in Matthew 8, the leper, a diseased outcast who audaciously approached Jesus asking for healing. He wasn’t prideful or arrogant; he simply believed that Jesus could heal him and was brave enough to say so. The Centurion, a high-ranking Roman officer who most Jews would have considered an enemy recognized Jesus’ authority and had faith that Jesus could heal his servant. The citizens of Capernaum, many of whom were healed and relieved of demonic influence simply because they came to Jesus believing He could do miracles for them. The scribe and the disciple described in Matthew 8 SEEMED genuine. They asked great questions and probably assumed Jesus would respond with “Great! Let’s go!” But their pride and unbelief were evident when they didn’t like Jesus’ response. And then there are Jesus’ own disciples. The very same guys who gave up everything to follow Jesus. Surely their faith and humility would be apparent! Yet even they questioned Jesus as they feared for their lives. These same men, (including several experienced fishermen who were no doubt used to storms on the sea!) who had just seen Jesus perform numerous miracles still doubted! And, finally, the citizens of Gadarenes. Jesus had performed yet another miracle, casting fierce demons out of two men, yet they just wanted Him out of their town.
Do any of these describe me?
Am I like Athaliah? Do I sinfully presume I can handle things on my own and take matters into my own hands, hurting others and missing God’s greatest blessings?
Am I like Jehosheba? Am I willing to take a risk and do what is right even if my desired outcome is a long-time coming? Jehosheba and Jehoiada hid Joash for SIX years! Am I faithful even when it seems like an answer will never come?
Am I like David? Have I matured spiritually to the point that I calmy and quietly trust that God’s plan is best? Am I confident that He is always working even if it doesn’t seem that way?
Am I like the leper? In my pride, do I really think I can hide my sin and faults from God, or am I humble enough to bring them to Him and trust that He will forgive me and heal my heart in the process?
Am I like the Centurion? Do I acknowledge God’s supreme authority in my life? Do I care so much about others that I’m willing to go out of my way to help them and petition God for them even if that puts me in a difficult position?
Am I like the citizens of Capernaum? Am I willing to simply come to Jesus and ask for help, believing He can and will answer?
Am I like the scribe and the disciple? Do I know all the right words to say, the right questions to ask but, when the rubber meets the road, am I ready to make the sacrifices required to follow Jesus?
Am I like Jesus’ disciples? Have I made a commitment and gotten “on the boat”, but when things get difficult and Satan starts to gain a foothold, do I ask “Can you see this, Lord? I obeyed and this is what happens?”
Am I like the citizens of Gadarenes? I’ve heard and seen God do amazing things. I know He has always been faithful, but am I content to try do life apart from Him?
Father, I know that You are trustworthy, yet I choose not to trust. I know You have great power to accomplish all things, yet I choose to do things in my own strength. I know You are in control and working all things for my good, yet I choose to worry. Please give me a faithful and trusting heart that is desperate for You.