Hi folks. Hope you are all keeping well.
How do we tell if something is awry in the material world or wrong in spiritual matters?
By comparison against an absolute standard that cannot be disputed. So the Lord says to the prophet Amos (7: 8) "Look, I am setting a plumb-line among my people...."
They took no notice & Samaria fell to the Assyrians in 722 BC.
Jesus is about 30 when He went with the crowds to be baptised by John in the Jordan. A voice is heard from Heaven, "You are my Son whom I love; with You I am well pleased"
But how was He to live? What were the rules of engagement? He went into the desert to find out; Luke 4: 1 - 13. After more than a month He is desperately hungry. Sitting there He sees a stone, just the size and shape of a small barley loaf. He could almost smell the fresh baked bread he had smelled so often. Who would know? He remembers a passage from Deuteronomy, "man does not live by bread alone....", which continues, "but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord"
The devil tries again. Worship me and I will make You king over all the world. Jesus replies, "It is written, worship the Lord your God & serve Him alone." So the devil left Him until an opportune time. It came on the cross; If You are the king of the Jews save Yourself and us. So we should not think that just because we have repented & been forgiven we will not be tempted again. We need weapons against besetting sin. 2 lines from the Old Rugged Cross - be of sin the double cure, cleanse me from its guilt and power. Paul exhorts us to put on the whole armour of God to defeat the devil, in which he says the sword is the word of God. The word that became man and lived among us. The word that said, I am the way, the truth and the life. The word that said, I am the bread of life that we should eat in remembrance of Him.
So surely it is no accident that, "give us each day our daily bread", is followed by, "forgive us our sins", Luke 11: 3 - 4. Only by comparing ourselves with the Word of God, the bread that came down from Heaven, can we see our sin and pray, "God be merciful to me, a sinner".
In the words of Tiny Tim from Charles Dickens Christmas Carol, God bless us all.