The Eternal God Is Your Refuge

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DEUTERONOMY 33:1-29 | LUKE 13:1-21 | PSALM 78:65-72 | PROVERBS 12:25

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Moses’ long song is followed by a series of individual blessings to each of the tribes.  To each, he offers a choice blessing, and finally, a blessing to all of Israel.  It goes like this:

27The eternal God is your refuge,
   and underneath are the everlasting arms.
He will drive out your enemies before you,
   saying, ‘Destroy them!’
28 So Israel will live in safety;
   Jacob will dwell secure
in a land of grain and new wine,
   where the heavens drop dew.
29 Blessed are you, Israel!
   Who is like you,
   a people saved by the LORD?
He is your shield and helper
   and your glorious sword.
Your enemies will cower before you,
   and you will tread on their heights.”

These are the blessings for the children of Israel that are claimed by them to this day.

Turning next to our reading in the Book of Luke, we see Jesus continuing with his ministry of teaching, preaching, and healing.  The parable of the unfruitful fig tree serves to make the point that despite the call to repent or perish, there is still another chance that is given to the tree to bear fruit before it is cut down.

And here we see yet again another time that Jesus is willfully violating the laws of the Sabbath:  a crippled woman is made whole.  To me what is even more startling than the miracle itself is how the leaders of the synagogue are more concerned with this violation of the Law than they are at the miracle at hand!

A little yeast and a tiny mustard seed.  That is what the kingdom of God is compared to by Jesus.  Why, you ask?  Well, take both of these things:  they start out small but they turn to something very large.  God’s word in our heart is like a mustard seed indeed.  And as the small amount of yeast that makes the dough swells up to large proportions, so also the kingdom of God that starts small in our hearts will spread to the ends of the earth.

Next, our Psalm for the day is one in which this very analogy is exemplified:  David, the lowly shepherd boy is chosen to be king of Israel.  Like the tiny mustard seed and a small portion of yeast, David, the youngest shepherd boy of Jesse is given the honor to become one of the greatest kings of Israel and is a direct ancestor of Joseph and Mary, the two unknown youngsters chosen to be the earthly parents of God incarnate, Jesus himself.  David says of himself:

70 He chose David his servant
   and took him from the sheep pens;
71 from tending the sheep he brought him
   to be the shepherd of his people Jacob,
   of Israel his inheritance.
72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;
   with skillful hands he led them.

Finally, our verse for the day from the book of Proverbs is a lovely one:

25 Anxiety weighs down the heart,
   but a kind word cheers it up.

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

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