January 11: The Kingdom of Heaven is Like …
Genesis 19:30–21:21; Matthew 13:44–14:36; Ecclesiastes 4:8–16
Few in the world have sold everything to pursue an idea. Yet Jesus claims those who discover the kingdom of heaven are willing to do so. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, that a man found and concealed, and in his joy he goes and sells everything that he has and buys that field” (Matt 13:44). It seems that hardly any of us are equally willing to give up everything for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.
The realization that Jesus has brought the kingdom of heaven to earth presents us with a choice. Will we decide that His kingdom is worth more than all things, or will we devalue it by equating it with worldly treasures?
There are many types of currency, not just money: reputation, occupational status, and social media popularity are just a few. But the kingdom is much more than material or monetary ideas. It’s about giving our gifts, thoughts, and wealth. It’s about being willing to sacrifice everything when God asks.
Putting aside God’s priorities in our lives can be far too easy—probably because He is not standing in front of us, nagging us to do His work. But there won’t be another day to get around to God’s work. Instead, those who believe in Christ (the righteous) will be separated from everyone else (the wicked). In the meantime, our job is to lead the “wicked” to the ways of Christ (Matt 13:44–50). We’re called to do His work, day by day. And we’re called to work as if we don’t have another chance—as if nothing in the world is more valuable.
JOHN D. BARRY
- Then Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain with his two daughters for he feared to tarry in Zoar, but dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. And the elder said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth, to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth. Come, we will make our father drink wine, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. So they made their father drink wine that night, and the elder went and lay with her father: but he perceived not, neither when she lay down, neither when she rose up. And on the morrow the elder said to the younger, Behold, yester night lay I with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also, and go thou and liewith him, that we may preserve seed of our father. So they made their father drink wine that night also, and the younger arose, and lay wit him: but he perceived it not, when she lay down, neither when she rose up. Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. And the elder bare a son, and she called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. And the younger bare a son also, and she called his name Ben-Ammi: the same is the father of the Ammonites unto this day. Afterward Abraham departed thence toward the Soth country and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister. Then Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and siad to him, Behold, thou art but dead, because of the woman, which thou hast taken: for she is a man’s wife. (Notwithstanding Abimelech had not yet come near her) And he said, Lord, wilt thou slay even the righteous nation? Said not he unto me, She is my sister? yea, and she herself said, He is my brother: with an upright mind, and innocent hands have I done this. And God said unto him by a dream, I know that thou diddest this even with an upright mind, and I kept thee also that thou shouldest not sin against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. Now then deliver the man his wife again: for he is a Prophet, and he shall pray for thee, that thou mayest live: but if thou deliver her not again, be sure that thou shalt die the death, thou, and al that thou hast. Then Abimelech rising up early in the morning, called all his servants, and told allthse things unto them, and the men were sore afraid. Aftterward Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou ast brought on me, and on my kingdom this great sin? thou hast done things unto me that ought not to be done. So Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou that thou hast done this thing? Then Abraham answered, Because I thought this, Surely the fear of God is not in this place, and they will slay me for my wife’s sake. Yet in very deed she is my sister: for she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she is my wife. Now when God caused me to wander out of my father’s house, I said then to her, This is thy kindness that thou shalt show unto me in all places where we come, Say thou of me, He is my brother. Then took Abimilech said, Behold, my land is before thee, dwell where it pleaseth thee. Likewise to Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is the veil of thiene eyes to all that are with thee, and to all others: and she was thus reporved. Then Abraham prayed unto God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife, and his women servants: and they bare children For the Lord had shut up every womb of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham’s wife. Now the Lord visited Sarah, as he had said, and did unto her according as he had promised. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the same season that God told him. And Abraham called his son’s name that was born unto him, which Sarah bare him, Isaac. Then Abraham circumcised Isaac his son, when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. So Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. Then Sarah said, God hath made me to rejoice: all that hear, will rejoice with me. Again she said, Who would have said to Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have borne him a son in his old age. Then the child grew and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian (which she had borne unto Abraham) mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman dna her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son Isaac. And this thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight, because of his son. But God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight for the child, and for thy bondwoman: in all that Sarah shall say unto thee, hear her voice: for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. As for the son of the bondwoman, I will make him a nation also, because he is thy seed. So Abraham arose up early in the orning and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar putting it on her shoulder, and the child also, and sent her away: who deaparting wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. And when the water of the bottle was spent, she cast the child under a certain tree. Then she went and sat her over against him afar off about a bow shoot: for she said, I will not see the death of the child. And she sat down over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. Then God heard the voice of the child, and the Angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not, for God hath heard the voice of the child where he is. Arise, take up the child, and hold him in thine hand: for I will make him a great people. And God opened his eyes, and she saw a well of water: so she went and filled the bottle with water and gave the boy drink. So God was withthe child, and he grew and dwelt in the wilderness, and was an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt. Genesis 19:30–21:21
- Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hid in the field, which when a man hath found, he hideth it, and for joy thereof departeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hid in the field, which when a man hath found, he hideth it, and for joy thereof departeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant man that seeketh good pearls. Who having found a pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a draw net cast into the sea, that gathereth of all kinds of things. Which, when it is full, men draw to land, and sit and gather the good into vessels, and cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world. The Angels shall go forth, and sever the bad from among the just, And shall cat them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Jesus said unto them, Understnad ye all these things? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every Scribe which is taught unto the kingdom of heaven, is likeu nto an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things both new and old. And it came to pass, that when Jesus had ended these parables, he departed thence, And came into this own country, and taught them in their Synagogue, so that they were astonied, and said, Whence cometh this wisdom and great works unto this man? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not this mother Mary, and his brethren James and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And are not his sisters all with us? Whence then hath he all thse things? And they were offended with him. Then Jesus said to them, A Prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many great works there, for their unbelief’s sake. At that time Herod the Tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, And said unto his servants, This is thta John Baptist, he is risen again from the dead, and therefore great works are wrought by him. For Herod had taken John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a Prophet But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Wherefore he promised with an oath, that he would give her whatsoever she would ask. And she being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a platter. And the king was sorry: nevertheless, because of the oath, and them that sat with him at the table, he commanded it to be given her, And sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head was brought in a platter, and given to the maid, and she brought it unto her mother. And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus. And when Jesus heard it, he departed thence b ship into a desert place apart. And when the multitude had heard it, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jessu went forth and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. And when even was come, his disciples cam eto him, saying, This sis a desert place, and the tim eis already past: let the multitude depart, that they may go into the towns, and buy them vittles. But Jesus said to them, They have no need to go away: give ye them to eat. Then said they unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. And he said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five laves, and the two fishes, and looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake, and gave the loaes to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were sufficed, and they took up of the fragments that remained, twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten, were about five thousand men beside women and little children. And straightway Jesus compelled his disciples to enter into a ship, and to go over before him, while he sent the multitude away. And as soon as he had sent the multitude away, he went up nto a mountain alone to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. And the ship waws now in the midst of the sea, and was tossed with waves: for it was a contrary wind And in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when his disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit, and cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good comfort, It is I: be not afraid. Then Peter answerd him ,and said, Master, if it be thou, bid mec com eunto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw a mighty wind, he was afraid: and as he began to sink, he cried, saying, Master, save me. So immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said to him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt. And as soon as they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship, came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. And when they were come over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place knew him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were sick. And besought him, that they might touch the hem of his garment only: and as many as touched it were made whole. Matthew 13:44–14:36
- There is one alone, and there is not a second, which hath neither son nor brother, yet is there none end of all his travail, neither can his eye be satisifed with riches: neither doth he think, For whom do I travail and defraud my soul of pleasures? this also is vanity, this is an evil travail. Two are better wages for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe unto him that is alone: for he falleth, and there is not a second to lift him up. Also if two sleep together, then shall they have heat: but to one how should there be hear? And if one overcome him, two shall stand against him: and a threefold cor is not easiy broken. Better is a poor and wise child, than an old and foolish King, which will no more be admonished. For out of the prison he cometh forth to reign: when as he that is born in his kingdom, is made poor. I beheld all the living, which walk under the Sun with the second child, which shall stand up in his place. There is none end of all the people, nor of all that were before them, and they that come after, shall not rejoice in him: surely this is also vanity and vexation of spirit. Ecclesiastes 4:8–16