January 29 – Plagues, Work your way to Heaven, 10,000% Investing, and NPR on the Bible!

January 29
Exodus 8:1-9:35
Matthew 19:13-30
Psalm 24:1-10
Proverbs 6:1-5

Exodus 8:19 – 3 plagues in and the magicians can’t keep up!

Exodus 8:8, Exodus 8:28; Exodus 9:28; Exodus 10:17 (tomorrow); Pharoah asks Moses to intreat the LORD. Intreat may not be a word we use each day – but if we look up the passage tied to the Strongs number, we can see what this is in Hebrew. James Strong matched up every word in the KJV Bible to the original language word. Since most of us don’t read Greek or Hebrew, we can look up the words by number (8,674 Hebrew root words, 5,624 Greek root words). When we click on Intreat in Exodus 8:8, we can see that it is Hebrew word # 6279, ‘athar.’ In Hebrew it is written עָתַר. We can see that it means intercede, pray, intreat, and see some examples of how it is used in the Bible.

While Pharaoh was insincere, he did ask Moses to pray for him. I Timothy 2:1-3 says that we need to pray for our leaders regardless of whether they ask for our prayers.

Sorry if I go on too long on the New Testament today – but this is an incredible passage!

Matthew 19:17. Some people say Jesus is teaching ‘works righteousness.’ In fact, He is – if you can keep God’s law perfectly you can have eternal life.

Matthew 19:18-19. Jesus doesn’t quote the entire 613 commandments (the “least commandments” – Matthew 5:19), He just quotes five of the Ten Commandments (by the way – in just a few days we will reach the Ten Commandments!). He quotes #6, #7, #8, #9, #5, and the 2nd Greatest Commandment (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 5:43, Matthew 22:39). Commandments 5-9 deal with man’s relationship to man – a bit easier to examine than man’s relationship with God. These commands are summarized within the 2nd Greatest Commandment, AKA the Royal Law (Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14, James 2:8).

Matthew 19:20. The young man says he’s perfect on 5-9 and Second Greatest Commandment.

Matthew 19:21. Jesus could have said, Let’s go back to #1-4 and #10, man’s relationship with God. Other than #2, these commands are mostly heart issues, and after God dealt with Israel’s idolatry throughout the Old Testament, by now the Israelites had finally kept #2. In a few days Jesus will summarize these into the Greatest Commandment (Deuteronomy 6:5, 10:12, 11:1, 11:13, 11:22, 13:3, 19:9, 30:6, 30:16, 30:20, Joshua 22:5, 23:11, Matthew 22:36-40).

But the compassionate Jesus doesn’t ask him to falsely assent to the ‘intangibles’ commands, He asks this young man – prove to Me you are keeping the Second Greatest Commandment and the Greatest Commandment. If you really love your neighbor as yourself, will you sell what you have to give to the poor. Checking the Strong’s Numbers, we pull up Greek 4434 – πτωχός. These aren’t just merely low-income people that have an aging iPhone. These are cringing beggars, public mendicants, literally distressed poor. Roving about in wretchedness. The poor Jesus talks about are those who are truly needy. They are the sick and suffering we read about yesterday (Matthew 19:2). This young man is cutting in line in front of the sick and suffering who have needs. Jesus is probably looking at these people that He has compassion for (Matthew 14:14) as He talks about the poor to the young man – Prove it! If you loved these fellow Israelites as you love yourself (James 2:16), would you spend some money to meet their needs (and in the process convert earthly treasure to heavenly treasure) [2nd Greatest Commandment]?

Then going back to the Greatest Commandment, Jesus asks the young man to prove that he loves the Lord God with all his heart, soul, and mind with an invitation to “Come and follow me.”

Matthew 19:22. He went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. The young man did not love his neighbor as himself. The young man did not love the Lord God with all his heart, soul, and mind. The young man by his actions failed the greatest test of his life. We’ll take him at face value – he probably kept many commandments. But could he prove that he kept the two greatest commandments. No. The young man proved himself a sinner.

Matthew 19:29 – In 2017 investors in the Dow Jones Industrial Average made a 28% return on their investment. Want to make a 10,000% return? Invest for His Name’s sake. People can lose money converting dollars to euros or gold bullion or Bitcoin. Nobody has lost converting earthly treasure to heavenly treasure (Matthew 19:21).

Psalm 24:7-8 – Handel’s Messiah features these verses. The Brussels Choral Society does a beautiful job singing about the Lord, but Matthew 7:21-23 comes to mind.


Proverbs 6:1 Co-signing is a bad idea. “Up to 75 percent of borrowers may end up defaulting… which means not only that the cosigner is going to be on the hook to pay it – something that they really usually don’t expect – but also that it’s going to go on their credit history.” If you doubt that – please read the rest of the transcripted broadcast from NPR. (Who would have thought that NPR would do an entire program on Proverbs 6:1!)

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