Choices

Old Testament Reading: Genesis 29 & 30

Psalms Reading: Psalm 17

New Testament Reading: Matthew 16

Everyday we find ourselves making choices. Some of these choices are small and make little difference on the outcome of our day. Does it matter what color socks I wear today, or even if they match? Does it matter what I have for breakfast? Does my choice of coffee or tea impact anyone besides me? Other choices may have more of an impact. Do I work on my group project today? Do I call a friend God has put on my heart? Do I take a meal to the elderly neighbor who had surgery last week? Do I buy an extra burger for the hungry stranger I see near the restaurant where I’m going to lunch? Some of these may have different answers at different times but we must still make the choice everyday. We have to decide what voices we will listen to and which path we will follow.

As we look at the texts for today we see some following God’s leading and others following the world. This is true for everyday life as well. Sometimes people follow God, sometimes people follow the world, sometimes people follow other people. I can relate to all of those. While I always try to follow God, sometimes I fall short.


In Genesis 29 and 30 we see Jacob meet his future wife. He must choose how he will react. Will he open the well? Will he wait for the rest of the flocks? He must choose will he wait for Rachel in addition to Leah? Will he continue to work for his father-in-law, Laban, even after being deceived by him? I have no doubt that he made some wise choices and others that were not as wise.


In Psalm 17 we get an insight into David’s prayer life. We know from reading the Old Testament that David made both good and bad choices over the course of his life. Here we read of David contrasting the path of God against the path of the violent. In Psalm 17:4-5 David says, “By the word of Your lips I have kept from the paths of the violent. My steps have held fast to Your paths. My feet have not slipped. I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God”. David finds the strength to make the right choices not by following the voice of the world around him but instead by following the voice of God. When we call upon God He will hear us and will answer us!


In Matthew 16 we get to see Jesus’ reaction to Peter’s choices of words, both right and wrong. First in verse 13 Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Then in verse 15 He asks who the disciples say He is. To this Peter replies, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter is told that this is an excellent answer that lines up with the prophecies and what Jesus is teaching. Matthew 16:21 says, “From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.” The very same Peter who had just declared Jesus as the Christ now rebukes him and tells him that none of this can ever be allowed to happen. Jesus has some strong words for our friend Peter. “He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.’” (Matthew 16:23)


It is true that all of these great men of the Bible struggled to make the right choices in service to God. Sometimes I find myself asking, “If they struggled and fell like that, what hope do I have?” The beautiful answer to that question is that even though they stumbled, even though they fell, even though they made bad choices; God still loved them! God still chose them! God still used them for His glory!


I promise you will make some choices that you look back at and it will cause you to question yourself, maybe even doubt yourself or your faith. Remember that just as God loved and chose the men and women of the Bible, He loves and chooses you too!


What can you do right now to ensure your next choice is the right choice?

-Bill Dunn

Reflection Questions

  1. What are some of the wisest choices you have made? What was a good choice you made yesterday? What was one of the hardest wise choices you have made? Are you glad you did it?
  2. Do you agree with Peter regarding who Jesus is? What did Peter not yet understand in regards to Jesus’ mission? How does an incomplete understanding lead to making poor choices? What else plays a role in making unwise choices? How can these be overcome?
  3. In reading the Scriptures today what did God show you about Himself? What did God show you about His Son the Messiah?

“Who Do You Say I Am?”

Matthew 16

matthew 16 16

During Jesus’ ministry, he caused a lot of controversy and caused many to question who exactly he was. In Matthew 16:13-20, this is exactly the issue that Jesus raised with his disciples. However, he not only asks what everyone else thinks of him, but asks the disciples specifically who they think he is. This is important for us to pay attention to, since Jesus says that Peter’s answer was revealed to him by the Father.

 

Jesus’ first question for his disciples is, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Apparently, there had been many ideas floating around during Jesus’ time; some said that he was John the Baptist, others said he was Elijah, and still more said that he was one of the prophets. We may think this is strange to hear, but the same thing is going on in our time today. If you were to ask people at your school or work, “Who is Jesus?”, you are likely to get many different answers. Atheists who accept that he existed would say that he was a good teacher. Muslims would say that he was a faithful prophet. Some Christians today say that he was an angel, that he was God Almighty, or that he was a spirit; many Christians today just simply don’t know what to make of Jesus.

 

Luckily for us, Jesus asks his disciples a second question that will answer all of the confusion for us. He asks them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter replies by stating, “You are the Messiah (Christ), the son of the living God.” Jesus praises Peter for his answer, stating that this was revealed to him by the Father! This is the correct answer! Later on, Jesus says that this statement, or profession of faith, is going to be the rock that he will build his Church upon. If someone wants to be a part of Jesus’ Church, they need to accept that he is the Messiah and, according to Paul, that he was risen from the dead (Romans 10:9-10).

 

What is wonderful about this section of Scripture is that this question is still being asked of us today: “Who do you say that I am?” As Christians, we oftentimes worry too much about what everybody else’s answer to that question is. We desperately want people to accept Jesus so much that we forget that we need to answer that question as well. So, who is Jesus to you? If he is the Messiah, or king, of your life, are you fully devoted to him, or is there something else that has your allegiance divided? Do you dedicate your life to him, or is he simply someone you only see on the weekends?

 

The challenge for you today is to take time to examine your own life and walk with Christ, and stop worrying about everybody else. After Jesus’ resurrection in the Gospel of John, Peter is deeply concerned about what is going to happen to John. Jesus replies in verse 22, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” Jesus will be willing to work with the people you are so concerned about, but you need to make sure you are following him fully. You cannot possibly help someone if you aren’t giving it your all as well.

 

-Talon Paul

%d bloggers like this: