Make Your Face Shine On Us

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JOSHUA 3:1-4:24 | LUKE 14:7-35 | PSALM 80:1-19 | PROVERBS 12:27-28

When they crossed the Red Sea, the children of Israel witnessed a great miracle in how the waters were parted and God allowed them to cross on dry land—out of slavery as they began the great exodus into the “promised land.”  And now, forty years later, there is another miraculous crossing:  the crossing of the River Jordan.  The waters of this river are stayed from coming downstream as soon as those carrying the Ark of the Covenant step into the water, and about a quarter million people cross over into the land that was promised to their ancestors eons ago. 

While Moses was the leader for that first crossing, today it is Joshua who leads them to their new homeland.  And so this great event establishes Joshua as God’s chosen, indeed.  The account tells us this about what Joshua did next:

20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.”

Turning next to our reading in the Book of Luke, we find Jesus giving advice on etiquette related to being a good host and guest.  As a guest, do not aim to be shown as important, Jesus says, because:  11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

And for a host, Jesus has these words of advice:  “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Jesus goes on to speak about the cost of discipleship:  it can be a very high price, Jesus says.  Prepare to leave family and friends, wealth and comfort, and perhaps everything that is dear to you in order to follow me.  This ain’t no joyride, people, this is some serious stuff!  “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear” is Jesus’ sole exhortation on this matter.

Next, we turn to the Psalms, and find that Psalm 80 is a plea of mercy.  David’s tone is one of deep remorse even as he pleads for redemption and restoration of his people.  He says:

16 Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire;
   at your rebuke your people perish.
17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
   the son of man you have raised up for yourself.

18 Then we will not turn away from you;
   revive us, and we will call on your name.

19 Restore us, LORD God Almighty;
   make your face shine on us,
   that we may be saved.

Finally, a verse from the Book of Proverbs to ponder upon:

28 In the way of righteousness there is life;
along that path is immortality.

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

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