Genesis 26, Matthew 25, Esther 2, Acts 25

DateVersionReading Plan
@January 25, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Genesis 26

Genesis 26:28–30 (ESV) 28 They said, “We see plainly that the LORD has been with you. So we said, let there be a sworn pact between us, between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the LORD.” 30 So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank.

Abimelech’s contention with Isaac was eventually met with the realization that the LORD had blessed him, prompting Abimelech to make a covenant with him. Abimelech acknowledged God and His provision for Isaac and his clan, but his request seems primarily aimed at avoiding reprisals and disaster from God. Abimelech’s fear of the LORD was present but one-dimensional, desiring protection from Him rather than fostering a sense of awe in Him.

Matthew 25

Matthew 25:24–26 (ESV) 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?

In the Parable of the Talents, we see another example of unhealthy fear in the man who received the one talent. Paralyzed with fear, he accused his master of being a “hard man”, proceeding then to hide his talent rather than investing what he had been given. Selfish, cowering fear leads to separation from God while proper reverence leads to closeness and intimacy.

Esther 2

Esther 2:7 (ESV) 7 He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

I had either forgotten or never realized that Esther is first introduced as “Hadasseh”. Explaining the name is an excerpt from the CSB Study Bible Notes:

Esther is introduced first with her Hebrew name, Hadassah, the name of the myrtle tree. Her “Gentile” name was Esther, derived from the name of the famous goddess Ishtar. Her physical beauty would give her an edge in replacing Vashti (Esther 1:9).

Acts 25

Acts 25:11 (ESV) 10 But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you yourself know very well. 11 If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.”

Paul knew, as did Festus, that he was innocent of wrongdoing. However, even if he was pronounced guilty, he would not seek to escape death. Whatever challenges lay before him, he was willing to bear them for the sake of the gospel. Paul espoused a level ministerial fervency we could all strive to emulate.

Carson on Matthew 25

Jesus insists that what was done by the “sheep,” or not done by the “goats,” was done “for one of the least of these brothers of mine” (25:40; cf. v. 45). There is overwhelming evidence that this expression does not refer to everyone who is suffering, but to Jesus’s followers who are suffering. The emphasis is not on generic compassion (as important as that is elsewhere), but on who has shown compassion to the followers of Jesus who are hungry, thirsty, unclothed, sick, or in prison.

It was so helpful to read this and that when Jesus spoke about “the least of these my brothers” in Matt. 25:40, He was referring to His followers. Understood in this way, it brings conviction on what I am doing (and where else I could be of service) to help struggling brothers and sisters in Christ.