WOW YOU GUYS!!
Let’s start with 2 Maccabees Ch 6
We have a couple of chapters of MARTYRDOM
We have a couple of chapters of this INCREDIBLE WITNESS that the people of Israel, the children of Israel are giving to the world and to each other
This story of Eleazar is an incredible gift
What comes right before the martyrdom of Eleazar?
It is in 2 Maccabees 6:12 which is subtitled Providential Significance of the Persecution
Remember, the pedagogy aka the teaching of God is, “When you are unfaithful, I will allow you to experience this suffering. I will maybe bring it upon you not to destroy you but to discipline you.”
It’s spelled out here in 2 Maccabees 6:12, “Now I urge those who read this book not to be depressed by such calamities, but to recognize that these punishments were designed not to destroy but to discipline our people.”
Listen for something like this at the end of 2 Maccabees Ch 7
2 Maccabees 6:13-15, “In fact, not to let the impious alone for long, but to punish them immediately, is a sign of great kindness. For in the case of the other nations the Lord waits patiently to punish them until they have reached the full measure of their sins; but he does not deal in this way with us, in order that he may not take vengeance on us afterward when our sins have reached their height.”
Here is God who comes to us TO CORRECT US
NOT TO DESTROY US
TO DISCIPLINE US
NOT TO CRUSH US
TO CORRECT US
THAT IS THE CONTEXT
We get to experience all these horrible things
Today we heard about the horrible thing at the end of Eleazar’s life
Tomorrow will be an even more tragic and glorious story pointing to God’s goodness and witnessing to truth
Eleazar is 90 years old
Think about all the ways in which there are little subtle points to this story that just…
We can pray about for a long time about this
Eleazar was honored and respected by the people who were saying, “Hey, Eleazar, you’re our pal. We respect you. We honor you.”
They were very kind to him
They were very genteel to him
They were very gentle with him
He says NO and flatly refuses
2 Maccabees 6:29, “And those who a little before had acted toward him with good will now changed to ill will, because the words he had uttered were in their opinion sheer madness.”
The voice of the EVIL ONE is SO SEDUCTIVE
IT IS SO SLY
It’s kind of like, “Hey, I’m on your side. Why would you not do this sin? Why would you not say no to the Lord? Of course that just makes sense.”
When we say NO, the Evil One TURNS ON US
BECAUSE HE NEVER LOVED US IN THE FIRST PLACE
HE DOESN’T CARE ABOUT US
HE HATES US
The people in this story that are involved with Eleazar are a SYMBOL OF THAT
They are a symbol of the Evil One
They are not Satan himself
But what was the deal the people were going to cut with Eleazar?
“Hey listen, the whole deal is you need to eat pork in public. We know you are not going to eat pork. So instead of eating pork, how about you come forward with whatever meat you want to eat, whatever you’re ok with eating, and eat that. That’ll be enough. We are not going to tell anybody that it is not pork. We will let everyone believe that it is. But you don’t have to break the Law yourself.”
If Eleazar did that, he wouldn’t be doing anything wrong when it comes to violating the Lord’s Law
2 Maccabees 6:19, “But he, welcoming death with honor rather than life with pollution, went up to the rack of his own accord, spitting out the flesh, as men ought to go who have the courage to refuse things that it is not right to taste, even for the natural love of life.”
2 Maccabees 6:24-25, “‘Such pretense is not worthy of our time of life,’ he said, ‘lest many of the young should suppose that Eleazar in his ninetieth year has gone over to an alien religion, and through my pretense, for the sake of living a brief moment longer, they should be led astray because of me, while I defile and disgrace my old age.’”
THIS IS SO POWERFUL!!
This is called the SIN OF SCANDAL
We like to think that we are independent
A lot of us come from countries where independence is a REAL THING
A lot of us come from countries where human individual sovereignty is a REAL THING
Good, that’s great
Because of that, we tend to think that we DO NOT ACTUALLY BELONG TO EACH OTHER
THE SIN OF SCANDAL IS LEADING SOMEONE ELSE INTO SIN
“That’s not my problem. Why would my actions have any impact on what someone else does?”
We know that the Lord Jesus Himself even says, “If any of you would cause one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for you if a great millstone were placed around your neck and you were cast into the sea.”
The Sin of Scandal is leading others into sin
IT IS HORRIBLE!!
You can go to HELL for that kind of thing
Here is Eleazar who says, “Nope. I have never, I will never do that, even at the price of my own life.”
WHICH IS INCREDIBLE!!
Tomorrow we will hear another story which is even more incredible
On to The Wisdom of Solomon
Let’s highlight three things really briefly because they come up in Chs 1 and 2
Wisdom 1:13-14, “...because God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. For he created all things that they might exist, and the generative forces of the world are wholesome, and there is no destructive poison in them; and the dominion of Hades is not on earth. For righteousness is immortal.”
One of the things people often ask is, “Where does death come from? Where does evil come from? Did the God that made life also make death?”
The Book of Wisdom says it clearly, “Nope. God did not make death.”
Does God delight when people die?
The Book of Wisdom says it clearly, “Nope. God does not delight in the death of the living.”
There is this MASSIVE KEY
If you want to understand how do we know the truth of God
That He is NOT EVIL
He is NOT DEATH
He does not bring about EVIL OR DEATH?
The answer is Wisdom 1:13-15
SO SO IMPORTANT!!
Where does it come from then?
THE VERSES THAT WE HAVE READ TODAY ARE MONUMENTAL!!
THEY GIVE SUCH DIRECTION!!
PART OF THE LEGITIMATE DEUTEROCANON!!
THIS IS INSPIRED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT!!
Wisdom 1:16, “But ungodly men by their words and deeds summoned death; considering him a friend, they pined away, and they made a covenant with him, because they are fit to belong to his party.”
THIS IS SO CRITICAL!!
Where did death come from?
Well God did not make death and He does not delight in the death of the living
UNGODLY MEN whether in words or deed SUMMONED DEATH, considered him a FRIEND, and PINED AWAY FOR HIM
THIS IS OUR STORY!!
God doesn’t WANT us to CHOOSE EVIL
God doesn’t WANT us to CHOOSE DEATH
WE CHOOSE EVIL
WE CHOOSE DEATH
Next little piece…Wisdom Ch 2 is just BONKERS
Please pray with Ch 2 verses 12 and following
Ask yourself who does this make you think of?
Wisdom 2:12, “‘Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training.’”
Think of someone going into the Temple and making a whip out of cords and overturning some tables?
Wisdom 2:13-15, “He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord. He became to us a reproof of our thoughts; the very sight of him is a burden to us, because his manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange.”
Think about when you’re around a truly holy person, there is goodness and joy there
It also makes you uncomfortable if you are NOT WILLING TO LET GO OF SIN IN YOUR LIFE
Wisdom 2:16, “...he avoids our ways as unclean; he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father.”
This is one of the accusations leveled against Jesus in his life
HE CLAIMS THAT GOD IS HIS FATHER, making himself EQUAL TO GOD
Wisdom 2:17-18, “Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; for if the righteous man is God’s son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.”
What do they say?
“If you are the Son of God, come down off that cross.”
GOSH YOU GUYS!!
If you’ve never read the Wisdom of Solomon, HERE WE ARE!!
I HOPE YOUR HEARTS ARE ON FIRE RIGHT NOW WITH THIS LOVE OF GOD!!
Realizing, “I never knew this.”
Here are the Scribes and Pharisees shouting out at Jesus
Here are the onlookers yelling at Jesus saying, “If you are the Son of God, come down off that cross.”
THAT IS THE FULFILLMENT OF WISDOM CH 2!!!
Wisdom 2:17-18, “Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life, for if the righteous man is God’s son, he will help him..”
Wisdom 2:19-20, “Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected.”
WOW YOU GUYS!!
OH MY GOSH!!
Last two keys and then we are done
Wisdom 2:21-22, “Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray, for their wickedness blinded them, and they did not know the secret purposes of God, nor hope for the wages of holiness.”
This is one of the THEMES of the Book of Wisdom
WE ARE WISE WHEN WE WALK IN THE TRUTH
WE ARE FOOLISH WHEN WE WALK IN EVIL
THEIR FOOLISHNESS, THEIR WICKEDNESS BLINDED THEM
If you want a reminder that GOD DID NOT MAKE DEATH, Wisdom 2:23-24, “...for God created man for incorruption, and made him in the image of his own eternity, but through the devil’s envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his party experience it.”
THROUGH THE ENVY OF THE DEVIL DEATH ENTERED THE WORLD
That’s one of the reasons why we ask, “Why did Lucifer rebel?”
One of the sins of Lucifer was PRIDE
BUT ALSO ENVY!!
Hopefully these first two chapters of Wisdom have been BEAUTIFUL AND ENLIGHTENING
Hopefully they have SET YOUR HEART ON FIRE by realizing as we have the next 10 days or so of being able to listen from this Book of Wisdom that has SO MUCH TO OFFER that we maybe have never heard before
SO TAKE IT IN!!
SOAK IT IN!!
LET GOD’S WORD SET YOUR HEART ON FIRE!!
FR. MIKE IS PRAYING FOR YOU
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER