Before I start today’s devotional, I would like to briefly write about the importance of a Christian’s conducting proper historical-cultural background research on the topics discussed in the Scriptures. With diligence, the interpreter of the Word of God will be able to fully grasp the significance of what is being taught in the Bible.
The original authors naturally assumed that the original audience understood the references they were using. In today’s world, we do not know what the original message was without conducting simple research on the culture before reading the Scriptures. My example will be on Jesus’ parable of the lost coin.
It is written, “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’ In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents,” (Luke 15:8-10, NASB).
At the first glance, readers of this lesson being taught by Jesus would take the message of how much God rejoices when a sinner turns away from sin and repents. However, what is the significance of a woman having ten silver coins? This is where conducting proper research on the historical-culture and the illumination of the Holy Spirit can add depth to what Jesus was teaching to the original audience that is lost in the boundaries of time, language, and geographic locations for today’s believers. This background information is what I would like to add to this lesson today.
In the Jewish culture (during this lesson), women received ten silver coins as a wedding gift. Besides their worth in silver, they have significant sentimental value, such as a wedding ring. To lose a coin for a Jewish woman has the same effect as a western woman losing her prized wedding ring. Losing a silver coin would be heart breaking! Therefore, the Scriptures explain that the woman swept the house and search carefully until she found it. Then, she found the coin and called all the neighbors to rejoice with her.
The emotional rejoicing of finding her lost silver coin (western wedding ring), brought about a celebration. In this very way, the Lord rejoices when a sinner, that was lost, repents and finds their way back to our Heavenly Father. The depth of what was taught by Jesus to the original audience was understood, however, by not understanding the significance of Jesus’ reference, believers today can lose the depth of what was being taught.
Jesus was teaching that everyone is precious to God. He grieves with every lost soul and rejoices with every lost child is found. What an amazing Father we all have. To understand that we are as precious to God as a precious wedding ring to a loving wife can change how someone can see their value and self-worth.
This is only one of the many examples on why it is important to study the Scriptures and take them to heart. Paul wrote, “let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God,” (Colossians 3:16, NASB). Without studying God’s word, we cannot allow them to richly dwell among us.
I pray that this message is received as the original audience would have. We are all precious to God and by understanding just how much, can allow us to be strong when we feel weak. No matter how you see yourself, or how badly someone else speaks about you, you are loved and treasured by God. Knowing and understanding that very fact provides strength to those who believe in His word. So, for today, I would like to pray over all the people in the world that cannot see themselves as God sees them. May the Lord uncover the veal of lies that the enemy is putting on them or the worldly expectations that the world may be putting on them. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
With much love,