Isaiah 45:1-7 (ESV)
Today people would be in shock to find that God had placed on Cyrus the mantle of the messiah. He wasn’t an Israelite and he wasn’t a follower, but that doesn’t mean anything to God. He uses whom he will to get the job done. If that means using a pagan to get someone to do what they should have been doing in the first place, then so be it.
Psalm 96:1-13 (ESV)
Worship in the Splendor of Holiness
96 Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth!
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.”
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12 let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13 before the Lord, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 (ESV)
The New Testament reading this week comes from the beginning of 1 Thessalonians. From research this letter is the earliest example of Christianity. This is not the reason we’re reading the first 10 verses. Why we are reading it is because Paul goes into greater detail from what Isaiah and the Psalm revealed. In that God had chosen those men and women of that early congregation. But you state what about free will? Don’t we have that? Yes. If you believe that we had free will then so be it, if you believe everything is predestined, then so be it. Neither is wrong, it’s what you feel most comfortable with. Just believe in the right person and everything else is semantics. Just make sure not to put down another person’s belief because it could be true.
Matthew 22:15-22 (ESV)
Today’s Gospel reading is one of the better known passages. We’ve always had issues of how to split our time and who we should give our time and money to. To those who are still confused, the best is to follow the words of Jesus. Whomever we are to give to that’s who it should be. If it’s the government, then we should not shirk our taxes, if it’s to the church then we should not be miserly in giving our time, money, and talents.