Render To Caesar

And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s,” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

Matthew 22:20-22 ESV

Today is one of America’s least favorite days: income taxes are due.

But taxes are nothing new—the pesky dues have been around for millennia.

In today’s verse, the Pharisees were out to get Jesus, attempting to “entangle him in his talk” (Matthew 22:15). And they decided to use the subject of taxes to trip him up.

The Pharisees sent their disciples to Jesus with a controversial question, hoping to provoke a response that’d get Jesus stuck.

Their lackeys approached Jesus and prefaced their question with flattery to deceive him, and then asked, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”

Matthew records that, “Jesus, aware of their malice” (Matthew 22:18) asked the hypocrites why they put him to the test. And then, he blew them away with an answer that encompasses all of life.

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God’s Glory, Our Good

And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the LORD has given you the city.

Joshua 6:16 ESV

We have all heard the story of Joshua fighting the Battle of Jericho. If you grew up in the church, you might have even learned a song about it.  It is a popular story that many are familiar with, but there is much to learn about the way God worked in this narrative.

Joshua was leading the Israelites into the promised land and it came time to take their first city. They arrived at Jericho only to face an extremely well fortified city.

It didn’t look good for the Israelites.

God then told Joshua to march around the city for six days and blow horns, and in doing so, they would win Jericho (Joshua 6:1-6).

This sounds crazy, but it wasn’t, because

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Favor of God

But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.

(Daniel 1:8 ESV)

There are at least two things we can learn from Daniel’s response to the king’s decree that they eat a certain food and drink wine (Daniel 1:5).

First, Daniel remained faithful to God when it seemed as though God was not faithful to him. Daniel  just had his home destroyed by the king of Babylon and was subsequently taken into captivity (Daniel 1:1-4).

To many of us, it may seem as though God had not taken care of Daniel and his fellow Israelites. Even though it appeared that way from a human perspective, Daniel stayed faithful to God and his commandments; even when it came to food.

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