According to Your Love Remember Me, For You Are Good, O Lord

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EXODUS 10:1-12:13 | MATTHEW 20:1-28 | PSALM 25:1-15 | PROVERBS 6:6-11

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A plague of locusts and a plague of darkness are the two terrible things to befall the land, but the Pharaoh changes his mind each time the plague has been ended and will not let the people of Israel go.  I suppose all this must have been getting a little old for Moses and Aaron by now, but God then tells them that there is one last thing that is to befall Pharaoh:  the plague of the death of the firstborn. 
In all the land, the firstborn of male and female, even the firstborn of the livestock will come under the shadow of the angel of death, and yet, not a man, woman or child of the Hebrew children will suffer from it.  This is the origin of the festival of Passover for the Jewish people. 
They do just as they are instructed by Moses who is the mouthpiece of God.  They sacrifice the perfect lamb, one for each household, and apply the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their houses so that the angel of death will not touch them.  That is the sign of life:  the blood of the lamb.  Sound familiar? 

This was the original covenant made by God to the people of Israel to serve as a symbol of life and salvation, and many centuries later, God continues with the very same symbolism in sending his son Jesus Christ to be the perfect sacrifice — and not just for the chosen people of Israel but for all who will believe in the power of the blood of the sacrifice of God himself.Death has no power over those who believe in the saving grace and power of the blood of Christ because just as the blood on the doorposts warded off the Angel of Death — who passed over the houses (thereby giving the event its name) — so also the blood of Jesus Christ has the power to save us from everlasting death. 

We have no perfect lamb to offer, and therefore, God has provided the perfect lamb for us in the person of Jesus who has taken upon himself all of our sin, and in his death and resurrection we have been offered redemption.  We could not save ourselves, which is why God provided the perfect lamb for us:  Himself. 

What a concept!

Turning next to our reading in Matthew, we continue with the account of Jesus’ ministry in his last days.  There is the parable of the workers in the vineyard.  This is a most unique and fascinating story that exemplifies the concept of grace. 

Grace is unfair — we get what we do NOT deserve!  The workers who came last got the same wages as those who toiled all day.  There is justice in paying those what was promised to them — regardless of who else might have been hired after them — but there is sweet grace to those who might not be deserving of a full-days’ wages. 

Such are the mercies of the Almighty — and it is not our place to question or grudge our brother for the grace that is shown to him.  Tomorrow, it might be that we are in his shoes in want of mercy and grace.  Isn’t it comforting to know that the quality of mercy is not strained no matter the person who asks for it, or the time at which it is asked?  It is available to one and all — freely, at that.  All we need do is ask.  Humbly, sincerely, and with a thankful heart.

Finally, in response to a mother’s request to appoint her two sons in high places in Heaven, Jesus gently explains that it is not suitable to want to be the first, because, He says, “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Next, we turn to the Psalms, and find that Psalm 25 is a wonderful psalm of praise.  We see David engaging in intimate conversation with God.  He says:

4 Show me your ways, O LORD,
teach me your paths;
5 guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
   for you are good, O LORD.

Finally, in the readings for the day in Proverbs, Solomon offers an exhortation for industriousness and resourcefulness, and cites the lowly ant to serve as an example:

6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.  Amen.

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