Psalm 91 is the lesson for today with the other readings supporting it. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. KJV
Jeremiah’s prophesies had upset the King to the point that the King placed Jeremiah under arrest and held him inside the palace. Still, the Word of God was given to Jeremiah: Buy my field at Anathoth. NIV God’s message was plain. You will be carried into captivity for a time, but you will return and buy land and take up lives in my presence once again.
Jeremiah gives each an all important message: no matter what we have done, we can return to God and He will receive us as though nothing had happened.
Jesus allows us a glimpse of the other side of that equation. Once a person has lived a life away from God, with no regard for the suffering of others, there is no hope. Lazarus lived in such poverty that he had to be carried to his place of begging. His poverty was so complete that dogs alone cared for him. Dogs in those days were not man’s best friend; they were scavengers akin to vultures. They licked the wounds of Lazarus so they could get at the maggots feeding there.
Jesus in the parable says nothing of the faith of Lazarus, stressing only his destitution. He does not say, your faith has saved you, as he did so many other times. It seems that he was saved by God simply because he had already had his time in Hell. But let’s not make too much of that.
The rich man, it is clear, had no interest in Lazarus while they were alive. He ate and lived only for his own pleasure. More to the point, he had no regard for God. As a result, he landed in Hell.
Jesus’ story makes it clear that the rich man could have sat at the table with Lazarus in Heaven if he had only done so in the world. Being rich was not the problem; loving the riches was.
Many of the First Century Christians were rich. They shared their wealth with the poor so that all could benefit from the money. When those rich ‘Christians’ stopped sharing, they did so because they began again to love the wealth instead of God.
Paul wrote: For men who set their hearts on being wealthy expose themselves to temptation. They fall into one of the world’s traps, and lay themselves open to all sorts of silly and wicked desires, which are quite capable of utterly ruining and destroying their souls. Phillips
We Americans who work for a living and watch for our paydays and wonder if we will be alright forget that we are the rich man in this parable. Why do I worry about paydays? Because I have to buy a house, car, HDTV, iPad, the latest cloths, dinner at The Olive Garden, and a hundred other ‘things’. A billion people today will be happy if they can buy enough food to survive until tomorrow.
Now true religion does bring great riches, but only to those who are content with what they have. CJB
Be righteous and do good.