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 instructs them 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." This event is God's basis for everything He does for Israel and subsequently asks of Israel; not just the consecration of the firstborn to the LORD, or the observance of Passover, but His provision, protection, and judgment of Israel are all rooted in 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 Jesus hanging out with tax collectors and sinners. They, the respectable religious elite, should have been the ones Jesus was interested in, not those sinners. Jesus compares these Pharisees and scribes to the older brother at the end of the chapter because 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 the worldly wealth God has given me, 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 all my resources. May I know the difference between earthly treasure and true riches.
Reading this chapter reminded me of 1 Corinthians 11:31-32, "But 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 an excellent place to start implementing Paul's instruction in 1 Corinthians 11:31-32. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I should examine myself and make the appropriate change, as well as trust God's strong hand of discipline as He sanctifies me.
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.