Today's passage is
Deuteronomy 10:12-21. Read along as I
share with you:
(12-13) So now
Israel, what do you think God expects from you?
Just this: Live in his presence
in holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love him, serve God,
your God, with everything you have in you, obey the commandments and
regulations of God that I'm commanding you today--live a good life.
(14-18) Look around
you: Everything you see is God's--the
heavens above and beyond, the Earth, and everything on it. But it was your ancestors who God fell in
love with; he picked their children--that's you!--out of all the other
peoples. That's where we are right
now. So cut away the thick calluses from
your heart and stop being so willfully hardheaded. God, you God, is the God of all gods, he's
the Master of all masters, a God immense and powerful and awesome. He doesn't play favorites, takes no bribes,
makes sure orphans and widows are treated fairly, takes loving care of
foreigners by seeing that they get food and clothing.
(19-21) You must
treat foreigners with the same loving care--remember, you were once foreigners
in Egypt. Reverently respect God, your
God, serve him, hold tight to him, back up your promises with the authority of
his name. He's your praise! He's your God! He did all these tremendous, these staggering
things that you saw with your own eyes.
THINK: Here we are asked to identify what phrase,
what quality of God, and what command stands out to us and why.
"God is my
praise!" really sticks out to me.
It's curious to me that the very thing God would have of his creation -
their praise - is what he is to me. I'm still trying to wrap my head around
The quality of God
that most strikes me is the passage: "it was your ancestors who God fell
in love with; he picked their children--that's you!--out of all the other
people. Because of the crucifixion and
resurrection, we can now be called citizens of the kingdom to which God called
the Israelites. And God knew me before
he formed me in my mother's womb.
Finally, the command
that sticks with me is: Cut away the
calluses from your heart and stop being so willfully hardheaded.
PRAY: Here are some ways to pray back the
passage. Use as many of these
suggestions as you wish:
Express to God your thoughts
about living in his presence. Has
living in his presence been important to you or not?
Express to God those areas in
which you would guess he considers you "hardheaded." (Pause and let this come to you. Don't necessarily go with the first
thing that comes to mind.)
Express to God your feelings
about the have-nots you know (widows, orphans, foreigners). Talk to God honestly about how willing
or unwilling you've been to include such people in your life.
LIVE: Experiment with living in God's presence
while caring for the rest of the world.
Relax. Quiet yourself. Just be.
I have to admit that
I have long been more concerned with paying lip service to the idea of living
in God's presence than I have actually doing it. Most of my life, I've been concerned with it
looking the way I think it ought to, more than just doing what I feel God's
calling me to do. I've put it off by
waiting until the time was right.
There's always some "until" that would make things "just
right" for me really get started.
I've even put it off thinking that maybe I was about to start for the
wrong motives and that would be a sin.
Regardless, what happens is that I never get around to starting what I
ought to. And it never fails that when I
decide it's time to start because it's time to stop making excuses, there are
always so many things that pop up that get in the way, or threaten to, that I
usually rationalize or justify stopping by saying that if God had really wanted
me to do "such-and-such," then everything would've fallen into
place. This is not always the case.
Abba Father, I thank
you for this gentle reminder that you love me and that I have been chosen. But I have not been chosen just for the
chance to go to Heaven. I have been chosen
so that I might live down here, in the world, but not of it, being Jesus with
skin on to the lost and hurting. Please
help me to quiet my mind enough that I can hear your still, small voice, and
then, help me to remember that I can do all things through Christ who
strengthens me, including anything you ask or require of me while I am here on
the face of the Earth. Help not to
disgrace your name as I try to act in your service.
All these things I
ask in Your Son's Precious and Holy Name, Amen.