EXODUS 5:22-7:25 | MATTHEW 18:21-19:12 | PSALM 23:1-6 | PROVERBS 5:22-23
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Moses is quite the argumentative sort. At first he has a number of reasons for not wanting to do what the Lord asks of him, i.e., to go back to Egypt and lead the Hebrew people out and back into Canaan. And when he finally teams up with his brother Aaron, and goes down to talk to Pharaoh, he learns that the people are oppressed even more, and so he comes back and complains to God.
So, God reassures him and reminds him of the promise that was made to his forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and equips Moses and Aaron with a set of nifty miracle-tools courtesy of Aaron’s staff that turns into a serpent when flung to the floor and turns the Nile into blood. And so, they go back, but alas, Pharaoh will not let the people go!
Turning to our reading in Matthew, we find Jesus continuing his ministry of preaching to the people. He is unequivocal in his exhortation to forgive, and then to forgive again. Even the seventy-times-seven is only a figure of speech, the idea being that one must never refuse to offer forgiveness when it is asked for, and vice-versa, one must always be ready and quick to ask for it.
Jesus’ views on divorce seem straight-forward to begin with, but even in this, there is an underlying principle of forgiveness that is at work: forgive your spouse and take them back if that is possible, if not go your own way and seek forgiveness even in that.
Our Psalm of the day is one of the most widely recognized and beloved psalms (and another one that I have had committed to memory since the age of four, thanks to my mother). I reproduce it here in its entirety in the King James Version (KJV):
1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Finally, Solomon, wise king of Israel, has something to say regarding the wicked:
22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
the cords of their sins hold them fast.
23 For lack of discipline they will die,
led astray by their own great folly.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.