EXODUS 34:1-35:9 | MATTHEW 27:15-31 | PSALM 33:12-22 | PROVERBS 9:1-6
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Moses goes back to meet God on the mountain and after forty days and forty nights, he returns with the new tablets which will eventually be placed in the Ark of the Covenant, the fabulous golden chest that was kept in the Temple built by Solomon in Jerusalem until it disappeared from history following the Babylonian invasion of the city in 597 BC. [And has been the inspiration for many a book and motion picture!]
He came unto his own, and his own received him not. That was the irony and great misfortune of the Jewish people.
Instead, they say, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!”
As we continue through Matthew, we now approach the scene of Jesus being brought before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of the day, and there is the well-known account of Pilate, who upon the prompting of his wife, wishes to release Jesus as the Passover amnesty. But the crowd chants, “Crucify him!”
And so, Pilate does what is to thereafter become a well-known symbol for not taking personal responsibility: he washes his hands. How very convenient it was to grant oneself absolution by the mere act of the washing of hands—but if only it were that simple!
If only he could have exonerated himself that easily! The fact is that no amount of washing would ever wash the blood off his hands. Because Pilate sets into motion the greatest event in the history of the known world. He sends this man to his death. Only this man is no ordinary man. And as we shall soon see, this man does what has since then never been done before or after. He rises from the dead!
Next, turning to the Psalm of the day, we find Psalm 33, a beautiful psalm for corporate worship. David, the author and one of the greatest kings of Israel was a most fascinating character. Great, not because of his military prowess or his intellectual acumen, but because of all his weaknesses. He fell from grace time and again, and yet, it was never long before he turned from the error of his ways and sought forgiveness.
But above all, he had a heart that was on fire for God. He loved God with all his heart and mind and soul and being. We see him express this love countless times in his many psalms of praise. This psalm is one in which David as leader of his people proclaims an affirmation of trust in the living God. Furthermore, it is a reflection on the greatness of God and the futility of our human efforts when we place our trust in horses and princes. The psalm is reproduced here in its entirety:
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he chose for his inheritance.
13 From heaven the LORD looks down
and sees all mankind;
14 from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth—
15 he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do.
16 No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.
Finally, a few verses from the book of Proverbs in which Solomon, wise king of Israel serves as Wisdom’s mouthpiece in extending this invitation:
4 “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
5 “Come, eat my food
and drink the wine I have mixed.
6 Leave your simple ways and you will live;
walk in the way of insight.”
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.