Notice the repeated phrase "by a strong hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt" in this passage. This event, the Exodus, the redemption of the nation of Israel, is the basis from which God deals with His chosen people. He delivers them from slavery before He gives the instruction of how they are to live as His people. Exodus 20:2, the preamble to the ten commandments begins, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery". Everything God does for Israel and asks of Israel is based on this event; not just the consecration of the first born to the LORD, or the observance of the Passover, but His provision, protection, judgment, everything is founded on this event.
Similarly, in the NT deliverance from slavery, the cross of Jesus Christ, is the central event. Everything Jesus does for His bride and asks of her flows from Him delivering her with a strong hand out of the bondage of sin.
What a great and mighty God we worship and serve. He alone delivers with a strong hand.
To understand this parable and Jesus' instruction, it is important to remember what just happened. In Luke 15, the Pharisees and scribes were grumbling about the tax collectors and sinners hanging out with Jesus. They were the respectable ones whom Jesus should have been interested in, not those sinners. Jesus compares them to the older brother at the end of the chapter. They were unwilling to rejoice at the repentance of sinners.
In Luke 16, Jesus is speaking to the disciples, but as we see in verse 14, the Pharisees heard His instruction. The lesson of the parable of the dishonest manager is his shrewdness in preparing for the future. In the same way, Jesus emphasizes the importance of His followers managing their possessions with eternity in mind. How faithful am I with the blessings God has provided? Do I use them to benefit others? Am I responsible with worldly wealth? Or am I trying to serve two masters? Am I, like the Pharisees, ridiculing Jesus through my love of money?
Father, may I have eyes to see long term. The possessions with which You have blessed me have no eternal value except for how I use them for Your glory and Your kingdom. May my love for You be the ruling principle in how I use my earthly resources. May I know the difference between earthly treasure and true riches.
As I read this chapter, I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 11:31-32. "If we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world".
Job lists what he has been accused of by his friends. It is an extensive list. As I was reading, it occurred to me this is a good place to start implementing what Paul suggested in 1 Corinthians 11:31-32 and to examine my life since I became a believer.
My God and Father, just as Job, I know You see my ways and number my steps. I desire to have an honest heart and a clear conscience before You as I judge myself. As I examine my life based on Job 31, please quickly convict me of my sin and stir in me an immediate heart of repentance.