OT: Ex. 12:14-13:16
One thing I just loved when I read the Bible through the first time was getting to see all the methods the Israelites used to remember things. They sang songs, they gathered for public readings of sacred material, they bound things to their foreheads, they worked them into conversations with their children...and they had ritual celebrations. The Passover, which we read so much about today, is the granddaddy of Hebrew feasts. It commemorates an amazing time in their history and serves as an indelible yearly reminder of how powerful their God is. I love that God has them do that.
I am drawn to methods of remembrance because I myself am passionate about remembering things. That passion expresses itself in different ways: it makes me a meticulous secretary, it results in elaborate scrapbooks and regular blog-upkeep, and it distills into nerd form and makes me ravenous for history. But in 2009, my brother's death shook up everything inside me, and my passion for remembering slammed into my desire to know God and to celebrate His blessings. Suddenly, I felt a gripping compulsion to record the blessings of everyday with my family and to thank God for each and every one of them. Thankfully, God knew that all that was coming in my life, and so He put a scrapbook kit called Project 365 into my hands two months before Mike's death. Thank You, God.
In case you are wondering about my logic, yes, I just indirectly compared the celebration of the Passover to my personal scrapbooking habits. You read that right. And yes, I must have just a touch of narcissism to see them as on the same plain (I really don't, btw). But I honestly do believe that the desire to record and celebrate God's works comes from God. It was His idea, after all, to institute the Passover. And I wish, for example, we did a better job recording our own church history. I think God does a lot of amazing things that get missed because we don't collaborate and write them down. At our year-end Wednesday night devo this year, the assistant minister opened up the floor for people to tell about their years and how they saw God in their lives. I was floored by the common threads that so clearly ran through all of our experiences. Turns out, this was a big year for our little church. God did some amazing things in a lot of lives. Some amazingly similar things, too. It made me wish that we had an annual church yearbook where we tracked the baptisms, the ministries, and the ways in which we as a church saw God work.
It was very important for the Israelites to remember how God worked. Why shouldn't it be important for us, too?
NT: Matt. 20: 29-21:22
Wow, I don't know if my brain has stopped working or what, but I just don't have a lot of thoughts about the triumphal entry today. I just took in the crowd's reaction, their enthusiastic praise, and I reflected how this crowd would change their tune in just a few short days. I also thought it was interesting how the crowd identified Him: "This is Jesus, the Prophet from Nazareth in Galilee" (21:11). That response shows how "off" they were about Him, despite their enthusiasm at His presence. Jesus was much more than a prophet, and for that matter, He wasn't even from Nazareth, which is actually quite an important detail!
Psalm 25: 16-22
Whoa, I just realized that this is the second half of that amazing, uplifting psalm I just read yesterday! Talk about a change in tone! In retrospect, it kind of makes all those lovely things about seeking God's guidance yesterday to seem somewhat more desperate and pleading than I had first read them. At this point in the psalm, David is completely dejected. There is a lot of the usual brutal honesty before God and pleas for God to help him. One phrase that I find pretty fascinating is David's request for God to "take away all [his] sins" (18). It's like David had an innate understanding of his deepest need, which was redemption. He longed prematurely for what only Christ could accomplish. Interesting.
I also like his statement, "May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you" (21). I like the idea that our integrity will protect us. And lest we get the idea that our own moral uprightness is what saves us, David quickly clarifies that His hope is in God. David's hope in God causes his integrity and uprightness. I love that idea, especially in light of the New Testament gift of the Spirit. Because God lives in us, He is quite literally our integrity and uprightness.
Proverbs 6: 12-15
Another potent warning about not being a jerk. What goes around comes around, people! (And apparently, with sin, it "comes around" a little harder than it "goes around." The consequences for sin, as described by the Bible, are steep.)