OT: Deut. 4: 1-49
Moses is really hitting his stride in his discourse today. There are some really good passages throughout this chapter. However, I don't have one overarching thought, so instead, I'll just note the little things that occurred to me:
--In verse 2, Moses told the people not to add or subtract from the Law. In building up their hedge around Torah, I guess the Pharisees missed that memo.
--Moses repeatedly urges the people to pass their Law and history down to their children and their children's children. It reminds me of the importance of passing our values and faith down to our children. Teaching our children seems like something that everyone agrees that we should do, but I don't know if we always understand what a monumental task it is. It takes a lot of work, prayer, and consistency! And it is so vitally important to the future of our family. All it takes is just one generation to go wrong, and you have some serious problems on your hands! As much work as it takes to pass down our faith, it is still a lot easier to keep a ship on course than to have to turn it around later (or salvage the wreckage)! Moses' repeated instructions on the matter are a good reminder to me of the importance of my job as a parent.
--Verse 7: "What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?" Cool.
--In verse 9, Moses tells the people to "be careful, and watch yourselves closely." To follow the Law requires very deliberate, purposeful living. I try so hard to live purposefully, but it is so easy to slip. For one thing, it is hard to keep my brain "on" and focused all the time. I so often fight the urge to just relax, to let my guard down, spiritually speaking.
--In verse 21, Moses tells the Israelites for the third time that it is their fault that he can't enter the Promised Land. For goodness sake, Moses, ain't that dog died yet? (Sorry, I tend to think in "Georgian" sometimes.) And for the last time, it's your own stinkin' fault!
--One of my favorite concepts in the Bible is found in verse 29: "But if from there you seek the Lord you God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul." Incredible.
--In verses 32-38, Moses just brings it. I mean, he speaks incredibly. It was at this point that I actually began to visualize him, to hear the cadences of his words (which were, conveniently, in English). To me, this is some really good oratory.
NT: Luke 6:39-7:10
Today, we finished up the Sermon on the Plain, which is much shorter than the Sermon on the Mount. We got the plank-eye stuff again, and the idea of a tree and its fruit. I am always convicted by the tree/fruit analogy. No matter what kind of person I believe I am, no matter what kind of person I can convince others I am, the proof is in my actions. When I am impatient with my kids, or lazy and self-indulgent, or easily angered, I show my true colors. It's easy to blame those actions and words on circumstances (stress, fatigue, sickness, etc), but Jesus puts it bluntly and succintly: "For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks" (45). If I get impatient, it is because I am an impatient person. If I am lazy, it is because I am a lazy person. If I am easily angered, it is because I am an angry person. You can judge a tree by its fruit. Wow.
But you can't judge me b/c you are not supposed to judge:).
I always love the wise man. Maybe I'm deluding myself, but I do feel like my house is built on the rock. I believe in my heart that God can get me through anything.
Love the centurion. Luke isn't the only one to write about him, but he does tend to portray Romans and other outsiders favorably.
Psalm 68: 1-18
This psalm really highlights the complexity of God. He has a ferocity that can blow his enemies away like smoke and melt them as wax before the fire. And yet, he is also "a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows" (5). And He "sets the lonely in families" (6). What a wonderful image. It always hits me on two levels. For one, this verse is true of everyone who has a good family. As individuals, we would be so lonely, but God has set us in a wonderful family. And two, I think this also refers to our spiritual families. As a church, we are supposed to be family to each other. This verse also makes me examine whether God is perhaps needing me to be the family for someone who needs it right now. Is there anyone whom I am overlooking?
"Whoever trusts in riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf." This verse goes well with the parable of the wise and foolish men that we read about in Luke.