Today’s readings.. (1 Samuel 24), (Jeremiah 1), (Matthew 12)

Jesus says many things that are very challenging, but few are more challenging than those we read today in Matthew 12 v.36, “I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
What is a careless word? Jesus had just challenged the Pharisees (v.24) who had slandered him. They heard the people asking, “Can this be the Son of David?” after they saw Jesus heal a man who was blind and mute(v.22).  But the Pharisees had slandered him saying it must be by a some evil power that he cured people.  Jesus then draws a parallel between humans and trees saying a “tree is known by its fruit”(v.33) and so are humans, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good person out  his good treasure brings forth good …” [v.34,35] It is by reading the word of God that we have “good treasure” to bring forth from our hearts.
Our reading in 1 Samuel 24 shows the contrast between the hearts of King Saul and David.   David has had an opportunity to kill Saul in the cave, but he only cut off the corner of Saul’s robe (v.5).  When David followed him out of the cave and made known to Saul what had happened, Saul acknowledges “you are more righteous than I … behold I know that you shall surely be king” [v.17, 20]  But acknowledging this did not change Saul’s heart, chapter 26 tells us how Saul hunted for David again.
This is an example of the person God ceases to help, Paul put’s in very succinctly in Romans 1 v.28,29, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.  They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness …” We read recently in Isaiah that God says  “my word… that goes out from my mouth … shall not return to me empty” [55 v.11]   Do we utter careless empty words – or do we keep our word?  Let us not give our word carelessly or thoughtlessly, for in the day of judgement…!!!  We profess our faith, giving our word, when we are baptised.  We make our vows before God when we are married: both are ongoing commitments.  Our Matthew chapter ends by telling us how we can be related to Christ who says, “… whoever does the will of my Father in heaven, is my brother and sister and mother” – how wonderful, let us live in ways that show our appreciation of that wonder.

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