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JUDGES 2:10-3:31 | LUKE 22:14-34 | PSALM 92:1-93:5 | PROVERBS 14:1-2
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16 Then the LORD raised up judges,who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. 17 Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the LORD’s commands. 18 Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. 19 But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.
This was the state of affairs of the children of Israel. So much for the Lord’s commands; so much for Moses’ reminders; so much for Joshua’s telling them their history and exhorting them to love the Lord and only the Lord.
So much for all of that! Because within a couple of generations, Israel has become so assimilated with the ways of the natives that they have forgotten who they are, where they have come from, or how they even got there. And it wasn’t as if this was a two-way street in terms of a cultural exchange either; it was all one-way where the Israelites completely gave up their faith and adopted the natives’ gods for their own.
If there was one thing that was taboo, it was this, i.e., idolatry. But time and again, the children of Israel suffered from complete lapses of memory. Their memories, however, seemed to return only when a leader or a judge rose up from among them and petitioned God for mercy. When this happened, God did indeed honor the request of the judge, and the people prevailed against their enemy. But it wouldn’t be long before the memory lapse would occur again. And so it went.
Turning to our reading in the book of Luke, we find Jesus serving the Passover meal to his disciples, but this is no ordinary Passover. The disciples most likely didn’t fully understand what Jesus meant when he referred to the bread and wine as his own body and blood. But it would all make sense in a few days.
This is what Luke tells us Jesus did: 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’
Jesus goes on to speak to his disciples on the matter of who is really important. Jesus says: the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. And these aren’t empty words, indeed. Jesus speaks these words just moments after he has washed the feet of all his disciples and has served them the Passover meal.
May it be that we are able to practice what we preach! But we are weak in that our actions don’t often match up with our words. Just as the ancient Israelites’ actions didn’t match up to their words, or even Simon Peter’s actions didn’t match up to his words. There he was vowing in the presence of the other eleven that he would go with Jesus to the very end, even to prison or to his death in serving the Lord, but Jesus calmly looks at him and says to Peter: “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
Turning now to our reading of the Psalms, we find two. The first one, Psalm 92 starts out with verses of great praise:
1 It is good to praise the LORD
and make music to your name, O Most High,
2 proclaiming your love in the morning
and your faithfulness at night.
And in the next psalm, we see David declare the omnipotence of the Lord in these verses:
1 The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the LORD is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
2 Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.
Finally, a verse from the book of Proverbs for all women for all time. Solomon, the wise king of Israel says this:
1 The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.