Lessons in Communicating With God: Lesson 1: Rebel against distraction (Luke 10:38-42)

Effective communication requires attentive listening and confirmation a message is received, perhaps via a reply or acting on the information delivered. The passages in Luke 10:38–11:13 and Matthew 6 contain lessons in effectively listening to God and talking with Him.

The first lesson is in the account of Yeshua’s visit to the home of Marta and Miriam in Bethany. This is not just a little biographical story. It’s a lesson, starting with the names of the women themselves.

Marta (Martha) is probably the older sibling of the household. The Greek name Marta is a transliteration of the Aramaic Mareta, or “mistress” in the old-fashioned sense of the word, which means Lady or Master of the house. She was a woman of authority. 

Luke’s description of Marta certainly emphasizes this role. There is a lesson in the juxtaposition of a mareta exerting her will to provide a great gift of hospitality to the visiting “Lord” Yeshua. 

Mary, aka Miryam, is Marta’s younger sister. The Hebrew of her name has a root “to rebel” or to “be bitter.”

Moshe’s sister Miryam along with her older brother Aharon express bitterness because of Moshe’s Cushite wife and their jealously over God’s preference of Moshe over them. 

Yeshua’s mother, Miryam, and Miryam, Mareta’s sister, both “rebelled” in one sense by following a calling from God rather than one from mankind. 

Yeshua’s mother considered pure joy, as the apostle Ya’akov likely would describe it, tot take on lifelong shame of everyone assuming she was a fornicator for getting pregnant before marrage in exchange for carrying and raising God’s Anointed One. 

Miryam of Bethany opted to “sit at the feet” of the Master, her Lord, to listen to His message rather than helping Mareta prepare food and settings for more than a dozen visitors. 

Hospitality had been ingrained in Jewish culture from earliest times, from Abraham’s calling to Sarah to make food for the Lord and the two angels (Gen. 18:6)  to Lot’s offer of hospitality to the two angels who were visiting Sodom (Gen. 19:1–11). Lot’s hospitality was so extreme, he was willing to offer his virgin daughters to a deranged mob to protect his visitors from harm. 

“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matt. 6:22–25)

“He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.” (Matt. 10:41)

The “clear eye” is a rabbinic reference to generosity, having unobstructed vision to human needs just as God does. The “bad eye” is selfishness that leads to wickedness and ignores the needs of others. 

Mareta was right in that people are to receive a prophet and to take care of people’s needs of food and drink. 

Mareta was distracted, worried and bothered about her duties. Imagine having over 100 people coming all at once to visit your home and you have to come up with enough food to make them content. She had reason to be frantic. 

The reason for Yeshua’s gentle rebuke of her was not Mareta was wrong for even wanting to make food for the people. It was her duty. The problem with Mareta’s heart was that instead of focusing on how she was being a blessing to her guests, she was focusing on her sister’s “laziness” rather than being happy that her little sister was receiving a rare blessing of hearing Yeshua’s teachings for herself. 

Some sages say that just as the priesthood got the “good portion of an offering by officiating over it, so the chief of a teacher’s disciples received the better part of a meal for being he first to read from or quote the Torah. 

The words of God should take priority over the meal. Service to God is more important than the details of serving God. That is how many people get burned out in the church. The focus too much on the details of service and not enough on the recipient of the service. 

The first lesson of prayer is to sit at God’s feet, become His student and feed on His words. When we do that, we then can pray more effectively because we know what it really means to want God’s will to be done in our lives and those who we are praying for. 

The Lord hears and He answers. 

Think about prayer as download and upload. We download God’s word and we speak it back to God and this positive loop of gratitude and praise uplifts us and brings us closer to the God who gives us all good things. 

Speaker: Jeff. Summary: Tammy.

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