January 6: I Did It My Way
Genesis 10–11; Matthew 9; Ecclesiastes 2:18–26
Frank Sinatra was wrong to do things “his way.” In Gen 11, we see people uniting in building what seems like a great triumph of humanity—until we realize what their work is all about. They’re tired of being distant from God, so they build a structure that will reach the heavens.
“Surely the gods will know and find us now.… Let’s meet our maker,” you can almost hear them say. But the true God, Yahweh, knows their plan and says: “Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech” (Gen 11:7). Because all the people spoke one language, they were dangerous to themselves. In the unity of one world, there is disunity: we choose to assault the God we should serve.
There is an alternative—a unity that God desires: where we serve Him by serving others. Jesus describes how we should act towards one another and towards Him, even teaching us how to pray. With Christ, God has resolved the reason the tower was attempted. Since the Holy Spirit came and brought us comfort (John 16:4–15), the very presence of God is always with us.
Sinatra also said that if a man doesn’t have himself, “then he has naught.” But God wants us to stop focusing on ourselves, building towers, and trying to do things our own way. He wants us to seek Him, and to treat others with the love, respect, and self-sacrifice that Christ gave us. He wants us to do things His way.
What towers are you building? What type of investments should you be making instead?
JOHN D. BARRY
- Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth: unto whom sons were born after the flood. The sons of Japheth were Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. And the sons of Gomer, Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. Also the sons of Javan, Elishah and tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. Of these were the ilses of the Gentiles divided in their lands, every man after his tongue, and after their families in their nations. Moreover, the sons of Ham were Cush, and Mizraim, and Put, and Canaan. And the sons of Cush, Seba and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: also the sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan. And Cush begot Nimrod, who began to be mighty in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord, Wherefore it is said, As Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of the land came Assyria, and built Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah: Resen also between Nineveh and Calah: this is a great city. And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim. Pathrusim also, and Casluhim (out of whom came the Philistines) and Caphtorims. Also Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, And Jebusi, and Emori, and Girgashi, And Hivi, and Arki, and Sini, And Arvadi, and Zemari, and Hamathi: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. Then the border of the Canaanites spread abroad. Then the border of the Canaanites from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar until Gaza, and as thou goest unto sodom and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboiim, even unto Lasha. These are the sons of Ham according to their families, according to their tongues in their countries, and in their nations. Unto Shem also the father of all the sons of Eber, and elder brother of Japheth were children born. The sons of Shem were Elam and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram. And the sons of Aram, Uz and Hul, and Gether, and Mash. Also Arphaxad begat Salah, and Salah begat Eber. Unto Eber also were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg: for in his days was the eart divided: and his brother’s name was Joktan. Then Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah, And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah, And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba, And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan. And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest up to Sephar, a mount of the East. These are the sons of Shem, according to their families, according to their tongues in their countries and nations. These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations among their people: and out of these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood. Then the whole earth was of one language and one speech. And as they went from the East, they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and there the abode. And they said one to another, Come, Let us make brick and burn it in the fire, so they had brick for stone, and slime had they instead of mortar. Also they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto the heaven, that we may get us a name, lest we be scattered upon the whole earth. But the Lord came down, to see the city and tower which the sons of men built. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they all have one language, and this they begin to do, neither can they now be stopped from whatsoever they have imagined to do. Come on, let us go down, and there confound their language, that everyone perceive not another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them from thence upon all the earth, and they left off to build the city. Therefore the name of it was called Babel, because the Lord did scatter them upon all the earth. These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood. And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber. So Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. Likewise Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg. So Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. Likewise Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and three yeasr, and begat sons and daughters. And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu. And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters. Moreover Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor. And Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah. So Nahor lived after he begat Terah, and hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters. So Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran: and Haran begat Lot. Then Haran died before Terah his father in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldeans. So Abram and Nahor took them wives. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. But Sarai was barren, and had no child. Then Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife: and they departed together from Ur of the Chaldeans, to go into the land of Canaan, and they came to Haran, and dwelt there. So the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran. Genesis 10–11
- Then he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And lo, the brought to him a man sick of the palsy laid on a bed. And Jesus seeing their faith, said to the sick of the palsy, Son be of good comfort: thy sins are forgiven thee. And behold, certain of the Scribes said with themselves, This man blasphemeth. But when Jesus saw their thoughts, he said, Wherefore think ye evil things in your hearts? For whether is it easier to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee, or to say, Arise, take up thy bed, and go to thy house. And he arose, and departed to his own house. So when the multitude saw it, they marveled and glorified God, which had given such authority to men. And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man sitting at the custom, named Matthew, and said to him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at eat in his house, behold, many Publicans and sinners that came thither, sat down at the table with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw that, they said to his disciples, Why eateth your Master with Publicans and sinners? Now when Jesus heard it, he said unto them, The whole need not the Physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what this is, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance. Then came the disciples of John to him, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, and thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the marriage chamber moutn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. Moreover, no man pieceth an old garment with a piece of new cloth: for that that shoud fill it up, taketh away from the garment, and the breach is worse. Neither do they put new wine into old vessels: for then the vessels would break, and the wine would be split, and the vessels would perish: but they put new wine into new vessels, and so are both preserved. While he thus spake unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is now deceased: but come and lay thine hand on her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose and followed him with his disciples. (And behold, a woman which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment. For she said in herself, If I may touch but his garment only, I shall be whole. Then Jesus turned him about, and seeing her, did say, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole at the same moment.) Now when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the ministrels and the multitude making noise. He said unto them, Get you hence: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. And when the multitude were put forth, he went in and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And this bruit went throughout all that land. And as Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, O son of David, have mercy upon us. And when he was come into the house, the blind came to him, and Jesus said unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? And they said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened, and Jesus gave them great charge, saying, see that no man know it. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils, through the prince of devils. And Jesus went about alll cities and towns, teaching in their Synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and heading every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitude, he had compassion upon them, because they were dispersed, and scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. then said he to his disciples, Surely the harvest is great, but the laborers are few. Wherefore pray the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest. Matthew 9
- I hated also all my labor, wherein I had travailed under the Sun, which I shall leave to man that shall be after me. And who knoweth whether he shall be wise or foolish? yet shall he have fule over all my labor, wherein I have travailed, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the Sun. This also is vanity. Therefore I went about to make mine heart abhor all the labor, wherein I had travailed under the Sun. For there is a man whose travail is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity: yet to a man that hath not travailed herein, shall he give his portion: this also is vanity, and a great grief. For what hath man of all his travail and grief of his heart, wherein he hath travailed under the Sun? For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief: his heart also taketh not rest in the night: which also is vanity. There is no profit to man, but that he eat and drink, and delight his soul with the profit of his labor: I saw also this, that it was the hand of God. For who could eat, and who could haste to outward things more than I? Surely to a man that is good in his sight, God giveth wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he gaveth pain to gather, and to heap to give to him that is good before God: this also is vanity, and vexation of the spirit. Ecclesiastes 2:18–26