Family Bible Study lesson for Jan. 19: The Promise of Life's Value
January 3 2003 by John S. Pond Jr. , Psalm 139: 7-16; Mark 10:13-16

Family Bible Study lesson for Jan. 19: The Promise of Life's Value | Friday, Jan. 3, 2003

Friday, Jan. 3, 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for Jan. 19: The Promise of Life's Value

By John S. Pond Jr. Psalm 139: 7-16; Mark 10:13-16

There is much discussion and pontification over the issue of life's value, whether it is over abuse and neglect, euthanasia or abortion. Lines are drawn and each individual's faith is judged by their response. There are those within the community of faith who feel the scriptures very clearly mandate a life-affirming response. Others question such interpretations, seeking other viable ways to respond with dignity and sensitivity. For still others, the militancy of both sides intimidates them into a non-responsive mode or a parroting of what they have heard.

For the believer there are two challenges: to critically examine the scriptures in order to discover a Christ-affirming response of belief (orthodoxy), and to move beyond heated rhetoric to a Christ-exalting response of action (orthopraxy).

The Spirit's presence Psalm 139:7-12 Psalm 139 is an testimony to God's omnipresence, omniscience and omnificence. In a world that leans towards a pantheistic view of reality, this psalm affirms the distinctiveness and uniqueness of the Lord. A psalm of thanksgiving, David celebrates God's saving love in the light of Israel's and his experience.

After his initial response of awe and wonder at the incredible greatness of the Lord, David contemplates His omnipresence. Like Isaiah (6:1ff), as David draws close to the Lord he discovers how very far he is from Him. In a response that is as old as the fall, his first impulse is to run from God's presence - His face. He tries to turn his back on Him and escape His leading, but God is there. He runs from the topmost height of the heavens to the nethermost depths of the underworld - the greatest span of the heavens from one horizon to the other - and God is there.

For David the thought that any place could be outside the sphere of God is unthinkable. We cannot escape from the realm of God's power. Neither darkness nor heavy distress can mask our reality from the touch of the Lord. His right hand keeps a safe and secure grip on us.

The Creator's plan Psalm 139:13-16 David recognizes God's creative and operative presence. He moves from the negative perspective of avoidance and flight to the positive perspective of God's all-embracing omnificence. Not only does God see us in the inaccessible, but He is also "the author of every detail of our being" (Derek Kidner). For a short instant David witnesses the mystery of life in the hand of his God as He knits and entwines his substance within the depths of the earth. He responds with awe, praise and reverent trust.

The Lord places a great value on each one of us. He is active in creating and protecting each person. For David, God places great importance on each individual, even as an embryo, preparing and planning his or her beginning and end (v.16). The Lord is involved in the minutest details of each person's life. The Creator of the massive complex and spectrum of creation places great significance upon even the insignificant (in our culture's view), for each is a part of that overall creation. The Lord not only brings to birth, but He sustains (Jer. 29:11-12).

The Savior's touch Mark 10:13-16 Jesus was indignant. In the midst of great activity, his disciples turned away small children (Luke 18:15) who were being brought to Him for blessing. The disciples were jealous of His privacy and wanted only to protect Him from needless interruptions. Jesus was meant for more important matters. He shouldn't be troubled over such unimportant trivialities. But Jesus was indignant!

Their response to this invasion showed an apparent lack of spiritual sensitivity (Wessel). Once more they misunderstood the nature of the kingdom of God. God's kingdom belongs to "such as these", that is, to those who are "unselfconscious, receptive, and content to be dependent on other's care and bounty" (Rawlinson).

Jesus' response was to not only bless the children, but to put his arms around them, to bless them fervently. The insensitive disciples were not only preventing the children from encountering Jesus, they were preventing Jesus from loving them, embracing them fervently.

Today, rather than fill the air with angry rhetoric, the church should embrace the hurting, the estranged and the forsaken. It should follow the example of God who participates in the "depths of the earth" embroidering and weaving the fragile hidden ones and Christ who warmly welcomes and authenticates the innocent ones. Now is the moment for the community of faith to be the vehicle through which the Savior's touch can be felt once more.

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1/3/2003 12:00:00 AM by John S. Pond Jr. , Psalm 139: 7-16; Mark 10:13-16 | with 0 comments
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