DEUTERONOMY 26:1-27:26 | LUKE 10:38-11:13 | PSALM 76:1-12 | PROVERBS 12:15-17
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“My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous. 6 But the Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, subjecting us to harsh labor. 7 Then we cried out to the LORD, the God of our ancestors, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression. 8 So the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. 9 He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; 10 and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, LORD, have given me.”
This is the summary of the history of the children of Israel, and Moses tells this to the people by way of instructing them to take the first-fruits of their labors in the new land they are about to enter.
The priest who accepts your first-fruit offerings will invoke these very words so as to serve as a reminder of how you even came into this good fortune, says Moses.
The rest of the chapter records the rest of Moses’ instructions to the twelve tribes. Yet another important deed that is to be done in the new land, Moses says, is to build an altar of field stones, on each of which the law is to be written. These might have been just the Ten Commandments, or it might have included all the many details, we do not know, but regardless, the power of the written word is established here.
And just as important, the power of the spoken word is also established here, because it is at this place of the altar, Mount Ebal, that the people of Israel are instructed to speak out curses on all the things that the Lord abhors. Let it be written, and let it be heard that which is good and that which is not.
Turning next to Luke, we see Jesus continuing to minister to the people, and yet, there are instances every so often when we see someone else ministering to him. Martha was one such woman. Along with her sister Mary, Martha was earnest in her efforts to perhaps prepare a meal for the Lord, but she is so caught up in these practical matters that she forgets the importance of the event itself: Jesus has come to their house to spend time with them!
And therefore, Mary, her sister is perhaps the wiser one in sitting down to engage in conversation with Jesus. As important it is to spring into action to serve the Lord, it is just as important or perhaps even more important to first spend time with him. Would that we might understand this little truth and practice it well!
It is also in this passage that we find Jesus giving us a template on prayer. What is prayer, you ask? How must one pray? Well, Jesus gives us this excellent template:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
3Give us day by day our daily bread.
4And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
Jesus goes on to speak to the importance of prayer and encourages this of his listeners: 9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
David’s Psalm of the day conjures up images of a God mighty and powerful over the rulers of the earth, nay, over everything under the sun.
And finally, the verses from the book of Proverbs for today are all worthy of being reproduced here for the nuggets of wisdom embedded within them:
15 The way of a fool seems right to him,
but a wise man listens to advice.
16 A fool shows his annoyance at once,
but a prudent man overlooks an insult.
17 A truthful witness gives honest testimony,
but a false witness tells lies.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.