The Third Option

Mark 11

            Have you ever been in a situation when you didn’t know what to do? Maybe you felt like you only had one or two options and you didn’t like either of them? We will all run into obstacles in our lives that we don’t know how to handle. With almost certainty, this will happen with your faith. You will probably at one time or another be questioned about your faith or pushed on what you believe. Jesus himself experienced multiple situations like this in his ministry. We read about one of those situations in Mark 11:27-33. In this passage, Jesus is confronted by the religious leaders in the temple. They asked him by what authority is he doing and saying these things. If Jesus said that he was doing these thing by the authority of being the Messiah, the son of God, he probably would have been attacked. If he said that that we was doing it by his own authority, he might have lost credibility. Either way, answering this question, at this particular time, would have disrupted the plans God had made for Jesus. This isn’t the only time Jesus was seemingly trapped with a difficult question.

            In John 8:1-11, the Pharisees brought a women, caught in the act of adultery, to Jesus. They asked him if they should stone her according to the Law of Moses or let her go? This lands Jesus in another difficult to answer situation. If he says to stone her, then he is condemning this women. If he let her go, then the Pharisees’ trap would have worked and they could have accused Jesus of denying the authority of the Law. In both passages, what we read in Mark 11 and John 8, Jesus is in a tricky spot and seemingly only has a couple of options. However, Jesus, in the wisdom given to him by the Spirit, comes up with the third option. In Mark 11, he asks the religious leaders a question they can’t answer, effectively ending the conversation. In John 8, Jesus defuses the situation by saying, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). After that, everyone leaves. The point is, God provides us with other options.

-Josiah Cain

Links to today’s Bible Reading – Exodus 27 & 28 and Mark 11

More Valuable than Wealth or Honor

1 Kings 3-4; 2 Chronicles 1; and Psalm 72

1 Kings 3 5 NIV sgl

In 1 Kings 3, we’re told that the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream when he was in Gibeon. During this dream, Solomon says “But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties” (1 Kings 3:7b). Have you ever felt like this before? I know I have. I often think of myself as not a ‘child’ anymore, but some things just seem too big to do by myself, no matter how old I get. There’s some dispute on how old Solomon was during this time, but I think that this statement Solomon made shows that he realized he couldn’t do this alone. Solomon realized that he needed wisdom from God, so that’s what he asked for. God was pleased and gave Solomon wisdom. And, he was also given things he hadn’t asked for – wealth and honor (bonus!).

 

Verse 15 of 1 Kings 3 says, “Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream”. I think about how if this quote was in a movie, most of us would think that what had happened in the dream didn’t actually occur, that it was just a dream. Maybe the movie had something really bad happen and you think to yourself, ‘maybe it was all just a dream’ or something wonderful happened, almost seeming too good to be true, and you think, ‘I hope that wasn’t all just a dream!’. Here though, God used a dream to speak with Solomon, and by reading on (1 Kings 3:16-27), we learn that Solomon settles the dispute between the two women and one baby. And we could think to ourselves, ‘Yes! It wasn’t “just” a dream! It carried into life even after waking up!’ God used a dream to have a conversation with Solomon and then Solomon awoke and had the wisdom God had given him. 1 Kings 4:29-34 also conveys to us how great this wisdom Solomon has, his fame, and how many came to listen to his wisdom.

 

In this day and age, I think we sometimes go about our days and we don’t always ask God for wisdom. Or, we’re like the other kings during those times and want wealth, fame, or honor. Maybe you don’t fit into that category, in which case you’re more like Solomon than I. But, I know that I should be asking God for wisdom, listening for His response (maybe even in a dream ;)), and using the resources (mainly the Bible, but also godly mentors) to seek out wisdom myself.

 

Moriah Railton

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+3-4%2C+2+Chronicles+1%2C+Psalm+72&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Psalm 119:89-172 as we continue on the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

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