One Little Word: Also

Rev. Andrew Prin
March 8, 2020

GodSpeak for the Week of March 8

We continue this week with our Lenten series– “One Little Word”; a program focused on the last line verse of Martin Luther’s famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress”.

In addition to the word “Jesus,” God has put into His Word a variety of “little words” which have the power to “subdue” the devil.

This week, we consider the words “cord” (from last Wednesday’s Ecclesiastes 4 reading) as well as “also” from today’s Matthew reading.

Day 1…Read Ecclesiastes 4:7-8 (from our midweek reading)

  • Consider this – the writer of Ecclesiastes (Hebrew = “Kohelet”; English = “assembler” therefore “teacher” or “preacher”) notes a few important details, here about the person of whom he is speaking:
    • …he is all alone
    • …there is no end to his toil/labors
    • …he is not satisfied with all the wealth he amasses
  • Consider this – a number of folks in our world today will say they’re happily people of Christian faith but have no need for “church”; they can “do faith” by themselves.
  • Answer this – based on what Kohelet observes, what would be a good argument/what are the benefits for being a member of a congregation?

Day 2…Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 (again, from our midweek reading)

  • Consider this – in v. 9, Kohelet offers an interesting way of referring to blessing, noting: “…they have a good return for their labor.”
  • Answer this – in general, how does working with at least one other person (versus by oneself) provide this kind of blessing?  How does this kind of blessing pertain to doing work around the church?

Day 3…Read Ecclesiastes 4:12 (again, from our midweek reading)

  • Consider this – up to this point in v. 12 and before, Kohelet has been referring to the strength and blessing which comes from TWO laboring together.
    • Notice, though, how he immediately shifts to “A cord of three strands…”
  • Answer this – while we know who the “third strand” represents, what does He offer to our partnership with others, which makes our “cord” even stronger and “not quickly broken”?
    • How does adding His “third strand” strengthen us in ways that even two of us working together cannot?

Day 4…Read Mathew 4:1-4

  • Consider this – the devil’s first attempt to tempt Jesus comes in the form of appeasing His literal hunger.
  • Answer this – what does Jesus mean in terms of how He responds to this temptation?
  • Now look up and read – Deuteronomy 8:3
  • Answer this – Jesus quotes only the second part of this verse.  However, the first part of the verse is absolutely implied in His answer to the devil.  Based on Deuteronomy 8:3, what would a more full understanding of Jesus’ answer to the devil be?

Day 5…Read Matthew 4:5-7

  • Consider this – the devil’s second attempt to tempt Jesus actually uses Psalm 91:11-12 as an attempted PROOF to compel Jesus’ behavior.
  • Answer this – by what means does Jesus parry the devil’s temptation, here?
  • Now look up and read – Psalm 91 in its entirety
  • Answer this – what does Psalm 91:3 say?  How does Jesus’ knowledge of that verse (in addition to everything else the psalm says), plus his quote of Deuteronomy 6:16 complete our understanding of what Jesus was saying to the devil and how He thwarted the devil’s attempt, here?

Day 6…Read Matthew 4:8-11

  • Consider this – the devil’s final attempt to sway Jesus comes in an appeal to an earthly desire for wealth, power and prestige (note – this is decidedly NOT something for which Jesus suffers!)
  • Answer this – what is the most glaring flaw in the devil’s argument/what is the devil’s erroneous presumption here upon which he bases his appeal to Jesus?
  • Answer this – from which book, chapter and verse of Scripture does Jesus take his rebuttal to the devil?
  • Answer this – do you notice a pattern from where Jesus takes his quotes from God’s Word?  Why would He choose this particular (and very specific) source?

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