Scripture Prompt – The meaning of Matthew 14.2-4

This blog post is written by Emma Swinden, one of Scripture Prompt contributers.

During Scripture Prompts this week we explore the meaning of Matthew 14.2-4 and how we can apply it to our day to day life.

Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Matthew 18.2-4
Child exploring puddles

How does the view of a child change things?

Is there something Jesus wants us to learn through the humble eyes of a child? 

Imagine how a child might put on their wellies on a rainy day and approach a puddle?  How might a child see that puddle? As something exciting to jump in and make splashes with perhaps? 

My 6 year old son has a love/hate relationship with water.   I am reminded of the ear-to-ear grin on my son’s faces as he charges with utter joy into puddles on rainy days.  I am also reminded of how he can thrash around in the bath, resisting the hair wash.

My role as his Mum is to speak encouraging words to him, try my best to be calm when his emotions rage and even sometimes lift him out of the bath to keep him safe until he calms down.  And he does calm down.  We talk about how I’m trying to help him so that he doesn’t get a yucky itchy head and that his part is to surrender so it can be over with quickly. So he can return to playing with his rubber duck.  It’s a team effort!  Then he wraps his wet arms around, saying, “I’m sorry”, in acceptance and love.

There’s something very humble going on when a child needs help with something or when they delight in a puddle. 

Being child like jumping in puddle for Meaning of Matthew 14.2-4.

The childlike faith of Jesus.

Relate these two scenarios to the child-like faith Jesus asks of us when approaching Him and we may ask, how can I be more humble in God’s eyes? 

Now I’m not saying that submitting to something you don’t want to do (even though it’s good for you) or getting soaked in puddles is everyone’s idea of fun. But perhaps there’s an area of your life where you can experience this kind of childlike humility.  Where you let God be in charge of things and take care of you, or where you can choose to see the delightful, perhaps less obvious, adventure He has placed before you.  Where you can humble yourself and relinquish control and find love, acceptance, understanding and delight?  God wants us in a position where we can be His child and become the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Putting into action the meaning of Matthew 14.2-4

Thinking about some of these themes why not step out and begin to explore that in movement and prayer. You can try some of the following:

Create a movement or shape with your body which acknowledges a desire to humble yourself, in child-like trust, to God. This might include thinking about levels, the focus of your eyes and the size that your body is.

You can also consider whether there is anything you need to lay at Jesus’ feet and say sorry for today. Talk to God about this and receive His forgiveness, using words, movements or during a time of quiet.

You can explore more about scripture and movement by reading another Scripture Prompt blog – The meaning of Psalm 5.12. You can also check out our Deeper Scripture membership.

Splashing in puddles

Scripture Prompt – The meaning of Psalm 5.12

Imagine being worried about stepping forward, not sure what experiences it would bring or how it would impact your journey. Now picture that with shield in front of you! How does that change your perspective? I want to share in the blog today 3 ways to dive deeper with the meaning of Psalm 5.12 and consider how we can apply it to our lives now.

Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
    you surround them with your favour as with a shield. Psalm 5.12

1. How does righteousness fit with the meaning of Psalm 5.12?

People will independently decide what the meaning of righteousness means for them. But in this verse it can viewed as a quality that is within God and therefore within us. It’s the depth of how you approach something morally and justifiably.

Look at your life now, do you life a righteous life? That question sounds heavy doesn’t it, but if you think of it another way. What efforts are you making to live, give and receive in the way that God would? Due to being made in God’s image, we have that righteous quality within us, as it is within God. But, because of the fall of Adam and Eve we have the choice with how we use it.

Take some time to reflect and see if there are any changes that you can make in your life so you better represent this quality that God has give you.

2. What’s the impact of choosing to put a shield on?

There are many layers to the meaning of Psalm 5.12. First there is the layer of righteousness and whether we recognise and live out that quality that God has.

The second layer is an acknowledgement of how blessing comes out of being righteous. By this I mean that if we choose to live a righteous life, we are choosing to live out that quality that God has given us. This results in us recognising those moments in our life where we see God move and give thanks. It’s a personal relationship that recognises this blessing and how it affects others. It isn’t a one time thing, but something that is part of a cycle.

Part of the meaning of Psalm 5.12 here is recognising that God’s blessing, his favour is all around us. It’s a shield that can protect us as we move forward, in safety on our own, or as a group.

Have a listen to Blessed be Your Name by Matt Redman and ask God’s favour and shield to surround you and those that you know need to be aware of that now.

3. How can you apply movement to the meaning of Psalm 5.12?

My final thoughts about the meaning of Psalm 5.12 is in relation to movement. Movement triggers memories, the memory of the movement that your muscle created which offers the association of how God can carry and protect us.

To finish there are two words from the verse that I’d like to encourage you to explore using movement.

Surrounded

Shield

For both words think through the images they create and other words that you might use to describe them, including your feelings. Both will have a very personal meaning to you. Do the movements long enough that your body knows them, feels them and can initiate what’s coming.

Going forward, I hope because you’ve taken the time to look at the meaning of Psalm 5.12. Next time you have the ability to associate movements to the words surrounded and shield you can remember they brought you closer to God. You can identify when you’re not being righteous and be intentional with your choice to bless and seek favour others.

If you want to read more ways to explore scripture and movement, check out these blogs.

This was blog was written as part of the Scripture Prompt series. If you wish to find out more about scripture prompts contact us.

Surrounded with a rainbows flag exploring the meaning of Psalm 5.12