What struck me about our OT passage was Rehoboam's foolish decision to listen to the advice of his friends, who were simply telling him what he wanted to hear, instead of listening to the wise advice of his father's older advisors. We need to be careful in the friends we choose, because, as much as we may like to try to convince ourselves otherwise, they will influence us and the decisions we make. We need to be humble enough to listen to those who give us advice we don't want to hear. We need to be discerning enough to filter the bad advice from the good. We need to be wise enough to overlook what we want to be true, to see what is actually true - as always, this is done by filtering things through the Word and a biblical worldview.
In our NT passage, I was struck by both the faith of the paralytic, and even more so, the faith of his friends. They were the ones that did the work it took to get him to Jesus, and they would not have done that if they were not sure that their faith was well placed.
Over and over, Jesus contrasted the false teachings of the pharisees (salvation by works) with the true message of the gospel (salvation by grace). You cannot combine the two teachings (the wineskin analogy). You cannot teach that you are first saved by grace but then need to have works in order to maintain your salvation. You cannot teach that you must do everything you can to achieve salvation and then trust Christ to make up the difference. No! It is salvation by grace - and all the work is done by Jesus Christ. The works that we do are not to earn salvation, but rather to express our love and thankfulness to Christ for what He has done for us, and as a result of our desire to grow more and more like Him every day.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Kings 14-15; Matthew 9:18-38