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12 You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the LORD your God, a covenant the LORD is making with you this day and sealing with an oath to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
These are Moses’ words to the children of Israel on the eve of their entry into the “promised land.” God is renewing his covenant with them, and Moses serves as spokesman.
He goes on to tell them this as well: 15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
And finally: 19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Turning next to our reading in Luke, we find Jesus in a fierce mood, telling it like it is. He is criticized for not washing before sitting down to a meal, and in response tells the Pharisees and all the other experts in the law just what he thinks about their doings: which is not too flattering. 42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
Jesus does not suffer these high-and-mighty and much-learned men of the day. He tells them to their faces that they are hypocrites and their attempts at upholding the law are in vain.
And he exhorts his disciples in this way: 4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
David’s Psalm for the day is a very long historical account of his people. David chronicles the life and times of his ancestors who were brought out of Egypt by this amazing God who took care of their every need for forty years before bringing them into a land flowing with milk and honey. This was a most amazing God indeed, and David recounts for all future generations the great mercies and blessings that have come forth from the hand of God.
Finally, the two verses from our reading in the book of Proverbs are worthy of reflection:
19 Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,
but those who promote peace have joy.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.