Tuesday 15 November 2016

Bible Book:

“So acknowledge today and take to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.” (v. 39)

Deuteronomy 4:32-40 Tuesday 15 November 2016

Psalm: Psalm 49


As King Josiah pushes through his religious reforms (2Kings 22-23), he uses the newly found "book of the law" tounderline that the laws described by Moses are given by a God whohas no comparison. His people may consider there to be many godsworthy of worship, but it was the God of the Israelites "whocreated human beings on earth" (v. 32), who spoke through the fireof the burning bush (Exodus3) and the thunder and lightning of the smoking mountain whenhe gave them the ten Commandments (Exodus20), and who liberated a nation enslaved by another, leadingthe Israelites from Egypt to the edge of Canaan. The retelling ofthe traditional stories of a God who performs great feats anddelivers his people to a Promised Land provides legitimacy for thelaws that will now need to be obeyed. These are the laws of the oneGod; there is no other god to turn to for an alternative code.

However the law stems from the relationship between God andGod's own people that is founded on the love God has for theirancestors (verse 37). It is this love which then leads God to stickby their descendants and help them to overcome times of greatdifficulty. For being God's people doesn't necessarily mean thatthey will be a great world power or have an easy time. They will befaced by greater and mightier nations (verse 38). And in thesesituations they cannot rely on their own strength to overcome theproblems they will face. It's the power of God that will help themto prevail (verses 37-38).

The people now need to accept that the God who has helped themand travelled with them to this place, wants thepeople to thrive inthe land they will now settle in. The way to do this is toestablish a rule for living that all can and should abide by. Itmay be a paternalistic approach, but God wants to ensure thewellbeing of the people and it is through abiding by these statutesand commandments that they may "long remain in the land" (v.40).

To Ponder

  • Do the traditions of the Church and the retelling of ancientstories help give a foundation to your faith or do you find themunhelpful? Think of a few examples that help or hinder.
  • How has God been present for you during difficult times in yourlife? Pray for those who you know who are currently facinghardship, that they might know God's love.
  • The promise of a land given by God "for all time" (v. 40) is atthe heart of the problems in Israel/Palestine. Pray for all peoplesliving in that land, and for a peaceful and just solution to thecurrent conflict.
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