Deuteronomy 29:1– 30:20 Luke 11:37-12:7 Psalm 78:1-31 Proverbs 12:19-20
The reading from Deuteronomy is hard to read because it is full of the things God did and will do to those who do not follow his commands. The New Testament is said to be that of a much kinder God, but in today’s selection, Jesus speaks harshly,
46 Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.
I attend churches and hear the kind words that Jesus speaks, and he does this often, but rarely do I hear these words from Jesus. I do hear the tough talk from the Old Testament, but it still startles me. Why? I am reminded of words from Dietrich Bonhoeffer who spoke of Cheap Grace in his book, Cost of Discipleship, that which is not costly is not worth very much. There is a cost to grace, not that we can earn it, but once we accept, there is a cost. We are asked to live differently, to love differently, to give differently.
But we too are asked to speak the truth in love. How hard is that? Very hard, especially to those we love. We speak truth because we love those who are out of God’s will. I am not saying it is our job to be God’s policemen, how I detest self-righteousness, but if we allow those who are far from God to continue to wonder is that not selfishness and hatred in a way? There is a “payoff” to the tough talk we heard today. Listen to this from the Old Testament today:
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 this from the New Testament reading:
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.”
This passage gives me great comfort today. The world is the midst of this great Covid 19 pandemic and people are afraid. It is comforting to know that the God who made this world knows the number of hairs on our head.
I am confident I would fearful and much more worried if I did not have this assurance that God loves us and that is why he corrects us. I love my children and even though some of them are grown, I still seek to direct them as does any good father. So I say praise God today, even in the midst of this pandemic, as he directs me so I may be in his will.
What do you think? Until next time, peace.
Tyndale. The One Year Bible NIV (OYB: Full Size) (Kindle Locations 1511-1512). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.