The Kingdom of God is Near

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DEUTERONOMY 21:1-22:30 | LUKE 9:51-10:12 | PSALM 74:1-23 | PROVERBS 12:11

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These two chapters in the book of Deuteronomy make as much sense to me as a string of pearls to a pig.  I see no value in them, and may as well look at them, poke them around, and toss them out.  So far removed is it from every fiber of my socio-cultural-moral schema, that I too, can do no better than the pig. 

But it is what it is, and the children of Israel observed these laws to the best of their ability.  It doesn’t take too long to see that this was a male-dominated, nay, a male-chauvinistic society that viewed women as chattel.  And stoning by death was the ultimate punishment established to serve as a deterrent, but whether it did as much or not, is anybody’s guess.

Turning next to our reading in Luke, we see both the human and the divine in the personality of Jesus who is continuing in his ministry of teaching, preaching and healing the people in the regions.  So intriguing is this godman who speaks these strange things and performs these inconceivable miracles that there are times when the people are terrified and would much rather he go away! 

Which is what happens in the town of Samaria which Jesus departs when he sees that he is not wanted there.  And Jesus goes away willingly, and even tells those who might wish to follow him that this is no ordinary calling.  If you wish to be in the service of the kingdom of God, he says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Got that?  Good.  And then, if you thought those were stern words, Jesus goes on to speak even more stern words when he says that when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.” 

Mark these words, my friend, Jesus is no push-over!

Next, we turn to the Psalms, and David’s psalm for the day is one of meditation on God’s greatness as seen in the marvels of nature.  He says:

12 But you, O God, are my king from of old;
   you bring salvation upon the earth.
13 It was you who split open the sea by your power;
   you broke the heads of the monster in the waters.
14 It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan
   and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert.
15 It was you who opened up springs and streams;
   you dried up the ever flowing rivers.
16 The day is yours, and yours also the night;
   you established the sun and moon.
17 It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
   you made both summer and winter.

Finally, the proverb for the day is one that is an exhortation on the importance of working for one’s living.  Daydreaming will not put food on the table, mind you, it is your work and effort that will.  Solomon, wise king of Israel, and writer of the Book of Proverbs says this:

11 He who works his land will have abundant food,
   but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.

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

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