Join us today for an episode about the reason the keys to the kingdom are given...

Today's episode is focused on Exodus 1: 8-2: 10 and Matthew 15: 21-28...

In today’s Spiritual Foundation Episode, I talk about both Exodus 1:8 – 2: 10 and Matthew 16: 13-20.  I talk about how the story of Egypt is about choosing life over death.  I also talk about how we are given the keys to the kingdom to open doors not to lock them.

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Episode 1351: Who Do You Say?

[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining me on episode 1, 351 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.

[00:00:07] Dr. Kelly Henry: I'm Dr. Kelly Henry.

[00:00:08] I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence, and impact the world by using your time, your talent, and your treasures to live out your calling. Having the ability to deliver excellent, Customer service is key, and one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this.

[00:00:28] The Inspired Stewardship Podcast with my friend, Scott Maderer.

[00:00:33] Scott Maderer: Preach

[00:00:40] always, but use words if necessary, St. Francis of Assisi said. Don't be casual with this relationship. Tell it, but tell it not just through beating someone over the head with the Bible or the keys to the kingdom, but instead with using those keys to unlock. [00:01:00] Doors to open doors and to help others through them.

[00:01:05] Welcome and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling. In the inspired Stewardship podcast, you will learn to invest in yourself.

[00:01:24] Invest in others and develop your influence so that you can impact the world.

[00:01:36] In today's Spiritual Foundation episode, I talk about both Exodus chapter 1 verse 8 through chapter 2 verse 10, and about Matthew chapter 16 verses 13 through 20. I talk about how the story of Egypt is about choosing life over death. And I also talk about how we are given the keys of the kingdom to open doors, [00:02:00] not to lock them.

[00:02:01] Exodus chapter 1 verse 8 through chapter 2 verse 10 says, Now a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase. And in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.

[00:02:25] Therefore, they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, ham and Ramseys for Pharaoh, but the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing task on the Israelites and made their lives bitter with hard service and mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor.

[00:02:50] They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them. The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shephra and the [00:03:00] other, Peor, What, when you act as midwives to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him. But if it is a girl, she shall live.

[00:03:09] But the midwives feared God. They did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, Why have you done this and allowed the boys to live? And the midwife said to Pharaoh, because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.

[00:03:29] So God dealt well with the midwives and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. Then Pharaoh commanded all of his people. Every boy that is born to the Hebrews, you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live. Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman.

[00:03:49] The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and plastered it with [00:04:00] bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. Her sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

[00:04:08] The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. This must be one of the Hebrew's children, she said. Then his sister said to the Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and get your nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?

[00:04:30] And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Yes. So the girl went and called the child's mother. Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages. So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to the Pharaoh's daughter, and she took him as her son.

[00:04:46] She named him Moses because, she said, I drew him out of the water. Matthew chapter 16, verses 13 through 20 says, Now when Jesus came into the district of [00:05:00] Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, Who do you say that the Son of Man is? And they said, Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.

[00:05:10] He said to them, but who do you say that I am? And Simon Peter answered, you are the Messiah, the son of the living God. And Jesus answered him, blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.

[00:05:33] I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. I live in South Texas, and right now we're in the middle of a drought.

[00:05:53] I live near a lake that's fed by a river, and the lake level is extremely low. But not [00:06:00] that many years ago, there was a massive flood in this area. There's actually been a couple within a few years of each other that were each called hundred year floods. Bigger than we see in a hundred years, even though we saw two of them within five years of each other.

[00:06:19] I always think that's funny that people think that a hundred year flood means we won't see another one for a hundred years, but that's not really what it means. But the damage that flood did, the crops that were ruined, the trees that were uprooted, the houses that were watched away, that devastation was amazing to see.

[00:06:41] And at first I thought about all of the destruction that brought, but then I realized that destruction also brought life in a way. Living here on the lake, this lake is one that's used to feed the crops down river. In fact, the reason the lake level is so low right [00:07:00] now is because we release water from it so that the farmers downstream can use that water to grow crops.

[00:07:07] And again, we're in the middle of a drought, so that water is vital. In fact, they wish that the lake would be full again and there would be more water released to help. take care of those crops, because right now they're having to irrigate, which is very expensive. And in this story, this first story, Egypt that we're talking about in this story is also a nation based on a river, based on water, based like here where we live on a lake.

[00:07:36] And they were used to the rhythms of that river and that water. They were able to make good use of it. It was a source of life. It also was dangerous and could flood and cause death and destruction, but ultimately it was also a blessing more than a symbol of destruction. And yet here the Pharaoh is saying, throw these children into [00:08:00] the river, throw these boy children into the river, use the river as a way of destroying the immigrants, destroying these people that are here, the Hebrew people.

[00:08:14] It was a general edict too to all people. He said, whenever you see a Hebrew baby boy, just throw it in the river. He seemed to be inflaming mob action and prejudice and suspicion and threats like we see often in today's world as well. He went on and said, but let the girls live. Maybe because the girls were, quote, just girls.

[00:08:40] And they weren't really seen as a threat to him. He wasn't thinking of women and girls as something that could cause a problem for the mighty pharaoh. And yet it's two women who get in the way of that plan. One from his own household, who ultimately caused [00:09:00] the downfall of the pharaoh. The Pharaoh seems to be a little off base from the very beginning.

[00:09:06] He wants to turn to the river a source of life and turn it into a place of death. That doesn't seem to work. He also wants the midwives, who are bringers of life, to be instruments of death. That didn't work. He wants the little girls that he doesn't even think worthy of his consideration are the ones that stand sentinel over that baby in a basket and bring life in that way.

[00:09:32] This doesn't mean that what God intends for good, human beings can't turn to evil. We can. God gives us free will and free choice and allows us to choose evil over good if we want to. But it does mean that God looks for opportunities. And notice it mentions here these two women. who feared God. And this doesn't mean they were afraid that God would somehow punish them or hurt them if they didn't do what [00:10:00] God wanted, like the Pharaoh was saying.

[00:10:01] The Pharaoh was threatening them and saying, I'm going to hurt you if you don't do what I want to do. Instead, the fear here, that word that is used for fear, is more about they were unwilling to break their promise to God. They trusted God and God's power and God's presence more than they trusted that.

[00:10:23] of the Pharaoh. Think of the words down by the riverside, that song down by the riverside. It seems to be about stopping work, but it's more about changing the kind of work that you do. Gotta lay down my sword and shield, gonna put on my long white robe. It's not really about going to heaven, it's about choosing the work of life over the work of death.

[00:10:53] It's making the choice to fear and follow God and not fear and follow the [00:11:00] Pharaoh. It's where life is, down by the riverside. But as Christians as people, we often need a leader. We need someone we can follow. We need a direction to be pointed in. And Christians are sometimes called to be leaders, but we're often called to be followers as well.

[00:11:22] I always find it ironic that we're supposed to be learning to follow Christ, and yet if you go into a Christian bookstore, you'll usually find way more books on leadership than on following. Which is an ironic thing to me. Think about the question that Jesus asked in Matthew of his disciples. Who do you say I am?

[00:11:47] It's one of those put your money where your mouth is questions. Jesus is drawing a line in the sand and saying where do you stand on where I am and who I am and what I stand for. [00:12:00] We like That kind of person, right? We like the kind of hero who will stand up in the face of opposition, the leader who will not waver.

[00:12:10] In fact, when we look at politicians who change their position, we say, they're flip flopping. We're not going to vote for somebody who flip flops. Despite the fact that if you think about it, a lot of times if you think about your position, if you study it, if you understand it, if you re learn and discover new information, it's actually a good thing to change your position.

[00:12:32] Standing firm on something when you discover that it's wrong isn't a good thing. And yet, we call it out as if it is. Don't get me wrong, taking a stand and making a claim is important. But there's something more to it, too. The claim, you are the son of God, is only the beginning. Jesus doesn't want Peter to take too much credit for his claim.

[00:12:58] He tells him, you didn't figure [00:13:00] this out on your own, you had help. You're only able to make this claim because God helped you. Every fundamental statement of faith we have comes as gifts from God, not from our own effort or our own knowledge. Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but the Father in heaven.

[00:13:19] Any voice ultimately can be an instrument of God. That means our default position ought to be one of openness and hope, not fear and hatred. We can't dismiss anyone, even someone we don't agree with, even someone that we think is wrong, no matter how unlikely a vessel of truth that person may appear to be, they could be bearing a message from God.

[00:13:45] And we need to listen. We need to strive. How is God speaking to us in this moment? What is God saying about this relationship? We have to get beyond our own limitations, our own prejudice. our own fears and [00:14:00] instead hear God in that moment. This isn't about uncritical hearing or just blanket acceptance.

[00:14:07] That's not what Jesus is asking for and that's not what we should do. We can and should discern the words we hear and test to see if it's the word, capital W, within the words that are being shared and spoken. And sometimes it's not and we can become aware of that. That doesn't then mean that we lash out with hatred on that person and attack them.

[00:14:32] We are supposed to look at the keys of the kingdom not as a position of authority or power, but rather one of accepting a task. Accepting the ability and the responsibility to be searching to find that which is bound and that which is loosed in heaven. This isn't about us directing traffic. And making the decision.

[00:14:55] Instead, it's about us becoming and being in relationship and reflecting on the [00:15:00] kingdom of God in our everyday lives. We have the responsibility of listening and identifying the kind of life and the kind of conversation and the kind of words that builds people up, that makes people whole, that brings healing, that leads others into relationship, and lets them find a partnership with Jesus, not us.

[00:15:24] The keys to the kingdom are not weapons by which we keep people out of community. Instead, they're meant to be tools of faithful living that help others come into the community with hospitality and welcome. Why then did Jesus end this story with a warning about, hey, don't tell anyone? Might be a good question, and I don't know.

[00:15:52] It's a weird ending to this. The original answer might be that Jesus has a plan in mind for his own life in [00:16:00] ministry and the disciples were participants in that plan, often without even realizing it, and part of the plan was the timing. And so Jesus is saying, don't announce it yet. It's not time. That time will come later.

[00:16:15] Hold on to it. Remember it. It will save your life later, but don't tell anyone now. But the position we're in today, we can't claim that same meaning. It can't be that Jesus is saying to us, it isn't time to tell the world what you know. In fact, later on, he says, go out there and tell it. So we're in the business of telling.

[00:16:39] Preach always, but use words if necessary. Saint Francis of Assisi said, Don't be casual with this relationship. Tell it, but tell it not just through beating someone over the head with the Bible or the keys to the kingdom, but instead with using those [00:17:00] keys to unlock doors, to open doors, and to help others through them.

[00:17:08] Thanks for listening.

[00:17:14] Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this episode, do me a favor. Go over to Facebook. com slash inspired stewardship.

[00:17:39] And like our Facebook page and mark it that you'd like to get notifications from us so that we can connect with you on Facebook and make sure that we're serving you to the best of our abilities with time and tips there. Until next time, invest your time. [00:18:00] Your talent and your treasures develop your influence and impact the world.

In today's episode, I talk with you about:

  • Exodus 1:8 – 2: 10 and Matthew 16: 13-20...   
  • How the story of Egypt is about choosing life over death...
  • How we are given the keys to the kingdom to open doors not to lock them...
  • and more.....

And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." - Matthew 16: 14-16

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About the Author Scott

Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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