Daily Devotional

February 28, 2021

Daybreak: Matthew 7:7-29

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.” (Matthew 7:24) 

Bill, one of my brother’s fellow students in law school, was always at the top of their class. He received the highest marks on every test, every year. However, when it came time to take the bar exam, Bill didn’t fare as well. According to the test results, he knew the material far better than the others did, but he didn’t pass the part of the exam where he was required to put into practice the concepts he had learned. Apparently, he knew the facts but was unable to apply them. 

There is a difference between being knowledgeable and being wise. The dictionary defines wise as, “marked by deep understanding, keen discernment, a capacity for sound judgment, or exercising sound judgment.” Someone who learns can be knowledgeable without being wise. The wisdom comes with the application of the knowledge.

In the same way, knowing the sayings of Jesus does not necessarily mean that we have wisdom. The focus verse lets us know that we are wise if we apply that knowledge by following His instructions and directives. 

This principle is all around us in life. We know the speed limit, and we are wise (and avoid a traffic ticket) if we drive within it. We know that an employee is most valuable if he is prompt and cooperative, and we are wise when we personally develop those attributes. Children are taught not to touch a hot stove and some of them gain wisdom when they learn by experience why they should not do so! 

As the text goes on, we see an important contrast. Verse 26 tells us that everyone who hears Jesus’ sayings but does not do them is foolish. There are only two categories — either a person hears and does or else he hears and does not. The key is in the doing. True wisdom understands that following through in obedience to Jesus’ teachings is the most valuable thing we can do. Are you doing what Jesus said?

Background

In this section, Matthew used a topical, rather than a chronological arrangement of his material. This chapter is part of the “Sermon on the Mount,” which presented new moral standards for God’s people. This discourse does not require a lot of time to read, but its brevity has not diminished its profound influence on the world. 

The imperatives “ask,” “seek,” and “knock,” show that God’s people are to pray actively and persistently. They are to pursue God and to search for ways to can draw closer to Him. The word shall was used in the listed results of all three imperatives: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened.” This usage denoted certainty and signified an absolute. It was not merely a possibility or one of several options; it would be done. The Lord’s exhortation to prevail illustrated humanity’s dependence on God and His willingness to shower His people with good gifts. 

Verse 12 is the passage that has often been referred to as the “Golden Rule.” The Lord wanted this to be the guiding principle for a Christian’s attitudes toward other people. He did not intend it to be a complete statement of the Gospel, but it was a summary of the second commandment. The application of this principle in a life allows God’s love to shine through as a witness to others. Faithful practice of this rule helps prevent pride and criticism of those around us.

Jesus concluded His sermon with four warnings, each featured by paired contrasts: two ways (verses 13-14), two trees (verses 17-20), two claims (verses 21-23), and two builders (verses 24-27). 

The rabbis and teachers of the Law cited the opinions of earlier teachers as authority for their views. Jesus’ straightforward preaching was in direct contrast to that of the scribes. He spoke “as one having authority.” Certainly He did, for though He had no approval as an official teacher in the system of the theologians of that day, He was the Son of God! He stunned His listeners with the statement that His Word was enough. It was, and it still is.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The proclamations of the King
      D.   The message of the King
            2.   The relationship of the King to the Law
                  d.   Instructions for those who would enter the kingdom (7:7-27)
                        (1)   The way of access to God (7:7-11)
                        (2)   True righteousness (7:12)
                        (3)   The way of entrance into the kingdom (7:13-14)
                        (4)   Warning against the error of Pharisaism (7:15-23)
                               (a)   Their deceit (7:15)
                               (b)   Their fruitlessness (7:16-20)
                               (c)   Their destiny (7:21-23)
                        (5)   Invitation to enter the Kingdom (7:24-27)
      E.   Response to the King’s message (7:28-29)

A Closer Look

  1. How did Jesus describe “false prophets”?
     
  2. How does the analogy of the wise man and the foolish man relate to the lives of people today?
     
  3. What situations in your life could be helped by applying the golden rule?

Conclusion

True wisdom is exhibited when one knows the best course of action and takes that action. If we are wise, we will look to the Lord for guidance and instruction, and then follow His directions — not just part of the time, but all of the time, and on every issue. 

Reference Materials