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January 17

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“A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust.” (Matthew 12:20-21 NKJV).

From: January 17, 2020

THE GENTLE KING WHO WON A BETTER VICTORY

The Spirit inspired Matthew to quote the Messianic prophecy from Isaiah 42:3 as being fulfilled in Jesus. For the type of justice and victory that Christ would bring was not as worldly kings would. For Christ’s kingdom did not come with violence and destruction. King Jesus was so gentle that He would not break a bruised reed. A bruised reed already being in such a weakened state that the slightest touch might break it.
 
Did this refer to the Pharisees who were plotting against Him? Perhaps. Certainly, their power was already so bruised and weakened by Rome that it would soon break. Rather than breaking them, He withdrew from them. Or perhaps the reed signified the weak and poor crowds that followed Him. For He healed and fed them, and instructed them to not to make Him known. For His time had not yet come, and He would not become king by a rioting crowd.
 
And what of the smoking flax? Similarly, smoking flax is the wick of an oil lamp that has run out of oil. It no longer provides light, it only smokes as the dry flax burns, and that for only a short while. Again, this might point to the Pharisees or the Jewish nation, who would soon be destroyed by Rome. For God had intended for them to be a light to the Gentiles, but they had become only a smoking flax. Jesus was so gentle that He would not even quench a smoking flax. For His focus was on bringing forth true justice and victory, so that even the Gentiles would put their trust in Him.
 
Jesus was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of a gentle Messiah who would bring victory in a new way. For instead of the troops dying for the king, King Jesus died for them. He did not die to defeat the Pharisees, nor Rome, nor any other worldly kingdom. He died and rose again to defeat sin, death, and Satan. Jesus won a better victory for us (1 Cor. 15:57)! Have you placed your trust in Him?
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, we believe in Your Son, Jesus. For He is the Messiah of whom Isaiah prophesied and of whom Matthew saw with his own eyes. Now, we have believed in Him. We have not seen Him, but we have believed in Him and have received His Spirit by which we cry out to You, Abba, Father! May we live in this world as Jesus did. For we are citizens of His kingdom. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Then Jacob traveled on and camped beyond Migdal-eder” (Genesis 35:21 NLT).

From: January 17, 2019

STAYING NEAR THE TOWER OF THE FLOCK

Jacob, whom God had named Israel, finally found a place to pitch his tent. The place was called “Migdal-eder,” which means “Tower of the Flock.” It described a hill with a tower where the shepherds could watch over their sheep. Migdal Eder was located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It was an area of beautiful pastures and streams where Jacob’s flocks could graze and where he could finally be at rest from his running. Yet, it was also a place of grief and disappointment as he mourned the death of his wife Rachel and heard of the sinful incest of his son, Reuben.
 
Migdal Eder was not mentioned again in the Scriptures until the prophet Micah, who wrote that it would be the place where the Messiah would be announced (Micah 4:8). And so, the gospel writer Luke reported that it was in the fields “nearby” Bethlehem that the angel appeared announcing the Messiah’s birth to the shepherds keeping watch over their “flocks by night” (Luke 2:8). Migdal Eder, the place where Israel found rest, was ultimately the place where the whole world could find rest. The place where the birth of Jesus Christ was first announced.
 
PRAYER: Lord, thank You for inviting us to come to You and find rest for our souls. We come again today. Even sleep and safety cannot bring peace and rest to our troubled thoughts. Yet, we find real rest and real peace in You. Watch over us today Lord we pray. In Jesus name, Amen.

“Then God said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’” (Genesis 35:11 NLT).

From: January 17, 2018

The Bible is primarily a book about God. Verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book, the Bible is the story of how God has progressively revealed Himself to man, with its ultimate revelation found in Jesus Christ.
 
When Jacob returned to the place called Bethel, where God had first appeared to him, God once again appeared. This time the Lord revealed more about His own character by revealing one of His names, “El-Shaddai,” which means “God Almighty.” God wanted Jacob to know that His promises were sure because His power was complete. He is the omnipotent One, the all-powerful One, El-Shaddai, God Almighty. What God promises, He is more than able to do.

“Then Israel journeyed and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder” (Genesis 35:21 NKJV).

From: January 17, 2017

Jacob, whose name became Israel, had finally found a place to pitch his tent. The place was called the “tower of Eder” (Hebrew: “Migdal Eder),” which literally means “Tower of the Flock.” It described a hill with a tower where the shepherds could watch over their sheep. Migdal Eder was located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It was a area of beautiful pastures and streams where Jacob’s flocks could graze and where he could finally be at rest from his running. Yet, it was also a place of grief and disappointment as he mourned the death of his wife Rachel and heard of the sinful incest of his son, Reuben. Migdal Eder was not mentioned again in the Scriptures until the prophet Micah, who wrote that it would be the place where the Messiah would be announced (Micah 4:8). And so, the gospel writer Luke reported that it was in the fields “nearby” Bethlehem that the angel appeared announcing the Messiah’s birth to the shepherds keeping watch over their “flocks by night” (Luke 2:8). Migdal Eder, the place where Israel found rest, was ultimately the place where the whole world could find rest. The place where Jesus Christ was first revealed.

“Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out?” (Matthew 12:11 ESV)

From: January 17, 2016

The Pharisees (A strict Jewish sect) questioned Jesus, whether he would heal on the Sabbath. Jesus answered them, first with a question, and then with an action. The question revealed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees application of the 4th commandment (Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy), implying that they treat their animals better than they do their people. The Pharisees were strict law-keepers, not only of the written books of Moses, but also of the oral law (The Talmud and the Mishnah) which the rabbis had written as a commentary on how the commandments of the Torah were to be carried out. Jesus’ question revealed not only the hypocrisy, but the inaccuracy of their oral traditions. Then his action, to actually heal the man with the withered hand, answered not only their question concerning the Sabbath, but also revealed his identity as the Lord of the Sabbath. Yet, this only led to their further determination to kill him.
I’ve had the privilege of visiting Israel. They still have many Sabbath laws. They even run their elevators differently on the Sabbath, making them stop on every floor, so that no one has to lift a finger to work by pressing a button. How sad to focus so hard on law-keeping, yet miss the Lord to which the law was written to reveal.

“And God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.’ So He called his name Israel” (Genesis 35:10 NKJV)

From: January 17, 2015

God appeared to Jacob again at Bethel (“Beth” Hebrew for “house,” + “El,” “god.” Literally, “House of God.”) and He officially changed his name. Jacob, whose name was given to describe the way he grasped the heel of his twin brother Esau at birth, was now to be called “Israel.” This reflected a new start for Jacob. He was no longer Jacob (“Supplanter,” “heel-grabber”), but “Israel” (One who wrestled with God, one who prevailed with God). As Jacob (The phrase “you’re pulling my leg” may have arisen from his name), he tricked his brother Esau out of his blessing and birthright. But he met his match at deception in his father-in-law, Laban, who pulled a bridal night switch on him. Yet, even here, he out-smarted Laban in the end. But now his deceptive days are over. From now on he would not be living by his wits, but walking with a limp, leaning on God’s wisdom. And his twelve sons would become the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

“So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem)” (Genesis 35:19)

From: January 17, 2014

Rachel, the love of Jacob’s life died giving birth to his 12th son. This was a time of great sorrow for Jacob. It probably contributed to the favoritism he showed Joseph and Benjamin, which led to more sorrow. Yet, God used this man and this family to found a people. A mosque sits atop Rachel’s tomb in modern Bethlehem today. It is surrounded by the Israeli security wall in a much contested area.

“God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him” (Genesis 35:9)

From: January 17, 2013

Jacob returned to the place where he’d had the “ladder” vision when first fleeing from Esau. The first time he was at Bethel, he was single, childless and afraid. This second visit, he returned with wives, concubines, servants, camels, donkeys, cattle, sheep and twelve sons. I wonder if he reflected on how far God had brought him since his earlier visit? It’s good to go back to the place where you first felt close to God. It often helps put us back on track when we’ve lost our way. It surely helped Jacob to be reminded of God’s name change (his new identity) and God’s purpose for him.

“And his name will be the hope of all the world” (Matthew 12:21)

From: January 17, 2012

Matthew quotes Isaiah to show how Christ the King has fulfilled the prophecies in the OT. The Name of Jesus has indeed become the hope of the world. Will you call on His Name today? Will you pray in His Name believing?

“Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place” (Matthew 12:15)

From: January 17, 2011

When Jesus withdraws from a place, we should follow. No effective work can be done without Him. Troubling question: Would you notice His leaving?