Tag: brood of vipers
Scripture reading for March 18th: Luke 3:1-22, Psalms 61:1-8, Proverbs 11:16-17
John the Baptist was a preacher who spoke plainly to prepare God’s people for the coming of the Lord. He knew that repentance was more than just a prayer or being immersed in water. There must be a change inside of the heart that was reflected in how one lived. He especially tried to reach those who were caught in the trap of religion.
“John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”” (Luke 3:7-9) John called them a ‘brood of vipers’. Vipers were poisonous snakes that bit the children of Israel in the desert as they wandered there and complained. Poisonous snakes were associated with evil and the evil one, Satan.
John further warned them to produce fruit in keeping with repentance and not trust in the fact that Abraham was their father. The Jews had come to simply rely on the promises of God to Abraham and assumed because they had his blood in their veins, God would bless them. They asked John what they should do to bring this fruit of repentance out of their lives. They seemed clueless to this command.
John gave them some examples. If one had two coats, he should share with someone who had none. If one had food, they should share with one who had no food. If they happened to be a tax collector, notorious for taking lots of extra fees for themselves, they should only collect what was required. To those who were soldiers, John instructed them not to extort money or accuse people falsely to get more for themselves. They should be content with their pay. (Luke 3:10-14)
Real repentance is immediate change from breaking God’s laws to simple obedience. It is showing love, rather than selfish indulgence. It is centered on doing God’s will instead of my will. Examine your life–do you have the fruit of repentance?
Scripture reading for February 3rd: Matthew 23:20-39, Psalm 23, Proverbs 6:27-35
Mother hen’s are very protective. I remember a story that happened after the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. A prairie chicken mother was killed instantly and frozen in time by the searing wave of heat that came from the eruption. A worker in the area a few days later came upon the charred body of the hen and gave it a kick with his foot. Out from under the body of the hen came a small brood of live chicks who had survived by huddling under their mother who gave her life protecting them.
Jesus used a similar example as He looked out over Jerusalem after giving the religious leaders a prophetic warning of their need to repent of hypocrisy and find a true relationship with God. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.'” (Matthew 23:37-39) God’s heart is to save His people just like the prairie hen gave her life to save her chicks. The problem with sinful man is their willingness to come to Jesus for salvation. Religious people like to work for their salvation and put on the religious shows that Jesus had just labeled ‘hypocrisy’. When God tried to warn them by sending His messengers the prophets and now His own Son, they killed the prophets and now were ready to do away with the Son!
God, Himself, must draw a person before they can be saved. (John 6:44) The Holy Spirit works through preaching to convict of sin, righteousness, and the coming judgment. (John 16:8-10) Jesus Christ is the way, truth and life, and no one can come to the Father but by Him. The Trinity is unified in their desire to see all saved and come to safety under God’s protective wings. The only thing keeping us away is our willingness to welcome their help!