DEUTERONOMY 5:1-6:25 | LUKE 7:11-35 | PSALM 68:19-35 | PROVERBS 11:29-31
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If you thought Moses’ refresher to the people yesterday was a full and final one, there was actually more where that came from.
Today, Moses undertakes another summary of all the decrees and commands that the Lord has handed down to him over the years, and focuses on the Ten Commandments, in particular. He cannot emphasize enough the importance of holding dear to these laws. Most importantly, he says to them that to love the Lord beyond all else is paramount.
On this point, he exhorts the people in this way: 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
And as a final summary, Moses says this: 20 In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?” 21 tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Before our eyes the LORD sent miraculous signs and wonders—great and terrible—upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. 23 But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers. 24 The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. 25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”
Turning next to the book of Luke, we read of a fascinating account: Jesus raises a young man from the dead. He says to the dead man simply, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”
This, in and of itself is an amazing thing, and one is left awestruck at how this could have been—dead one moment, alive the next. Imagine what it must have been like to witness this! And yet, to me, the even more amazing thing about this story is the fact that Jesus is so moved by the grief of the dead young man’s mother, that he goes to her and says to her, “Don’t cry.”
Jesus comes to her on his own! The record does not say that the woman beseeched Jesus; it was Jesus who took notice of her and went up to her to comfort her.
What a savior! He comes to us sometimes even when we don’t know that we can call on him, or don’t know how to call on him. He comes and brings salvation with him, and says to us the beautiful words, “Don’t cry!”
Could there be a sweeter feeling than that moment of experiencing such great love in your hour of need? One can only imagine what must have been the rest of the days of that woman and her son—surely, they must have been changed forever more.
Next, there is mention of the ministry of John the Baptist, the forerunner to Jesus. While Jesus is busy performing a slew of miracles day in and day out, John is likewise carrying out another ministry– a most abstract one in that the baptism in the River Jordan is a symbolism of the washing away of the old life and taking on a new one, even as one looks forward to the greater Kingdom of God.
Two young men in their early thirties, John and Jesus, went about preaching, teaching, healing, comforting, and baptizing all those who came to them. And while John always pointed to Jesus as the one that Israel has long been waiting for, i.e., the Messiah, Jesus, in turn points to his heavenly father as the one who has sent him. And those who listened to him surely were blessed and saved. But for as many that did accept their message, there were twice as many of those who didn’t, chief among them being all the learned scholars and leaders of the day.
John and Jesus, both of them so different in style and ministry, but carrying the very same message: repent of your sins, open your eyes, and see that your Messiah has come before you! And yet, the people cannot see.
Jesus himself tells this very fact directly to the people: 33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.”’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” Woe to them who did not see the Truth when it manifested itself to them in the flesh.
Next, our Psalm for the day is another great psalm of praise. In our readings, we are fast approaching the moment when the children of Israel will finally reach the promised land, and this psalm is an early reflection of that. David presents a grand visualization of how the people must have crossed the mountains and other terrain to approach the land flowing with milk and honey. David says:
32 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth,
sing praise to the Lord,
33 to him who rides the ancient skies above,
who thunders with mighty voice.
34 Proclaim the power of God,
whose majesty is over Israel,
whose power is in the skies.
35 You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary;
the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people
Praise be to God!
Finally, in our reading from the book of Proverbs for the day, we have three verses, each one worthy of reflection and review. They are:
29 He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind,
and the fool will be servant to the wise.
30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
and he who wins souls is wise.
31 If the righteous receive their due on earth,
how much more the ungodly and the sinner!
That last verse is a sobering one. God will not be mocked. While there is abundant mercy and forgiveness to be had for the asking by the ungodly and the sinner, when there is no repentance, the ungodly and the sinner will surely receive their due. Just as the righteous receive their due, so also will the unrighteous and the unrepentant.
Let it not be said that this little truth was not proclaimed!
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.