Saturday, January 24, 2009

25 January 2009: 3rd Sunday After Epiphany

Deuteronomy 17:14-18:22

Our lesson from Deuteronomy today once again is rather practical, even to our day and age. It tells us how the king is to behave. He must not be a foreigner. He shouldn't have too many wives (as they might lead him astray as happened to Shlomo (Solomon), he shouldn't be worried about collecting silver and gold. He was to take a copy of the law (what we call the Torah or Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible) and copy them down and to read it each day of his life.

Now admittedly, our Bible is a little bigger today, but the idea of our President, Governor etc. Reading his Bible each day appeals to me. It helps him to set boundaries and know the standards. That is something that is important to any leader of the nation. The Bible will also remind him if he reads it through, that God has ultimately placed the leader in that position. Writing doesn't hurt either.

In my life I began a regular round of reading the Bible at a relatively early age, in conjunction with activities for Confirmation in the Episcopal Church and with activities aimed at receiving the God and Country Award. Even though through lack of good teaching I fell away from church in my college years and participated in some rather stupid things, I continued the Bible reading every day. During my senior year at Rice, I was reading the first chapter of the Gospel and it hit me. All the stupidity I had fallen into fell away immediately, for Yehsua (Jesus) was God and he had come into the world for me. It was a momentous occasion and the beginning of my return to life in the church. (This by the way is why I do not worry about my youngest son. He is not there yet, but he does read the Bible every morning and night, so I am sure the Lord will get through to him, the rest of them I worry about).

The lesson goes on to tell us the prerogatives of priests, which are important because we learn to support the clergy, as again Paul tells us in the New Testament. Then we are given some more commands. We are not to sacrifice our children, offering them to Moloch. Unfortunately today, we sacrifice our children through abortion to that God convenience, and unforgiveness. We often sacrifice our children in other ways, not giving them the time they deserve to help form them into mentally and physically healthy human beings and Christians.

We are also told to stay away from witchcraft, casting spells, necromancy and fortunetellers. Of course strangely enough, at least in Houston, the horoscope is right next to the comics, just to get the kids interested (and the comics are in the religion section, just what message are we sending?) How many Christians I wonder read the horoscope each day? Stay away from it. It will lead you astray. It lead me astray when I was young and foolish, and I know several pastors who were led astray as well. The Bible is not kidding, this stuff is eternally deadly to your soul.

The lesson ends with a prediction of the coming of Messiah.

Now believe it or not, the little stuff counts. When we learn to obey in the little things, like not reading the horoscope, women wearing a head covering when praying, then we are strengthened for the bigger things. Let us repeat that, obedience in the lesser things helps us to develop our spiritual muscles so that we can be obedient in the larger things. How many marathoners got up in one step and ran the Marathon. NONE. We all start the same way, one step at a time when we are babies, and building up our muscles for bigger and better things.

So let us get into the Bible, studying it each day, and learning to obey in all things. Let us claim the blessing, which may not be health and wealth, but is the true peace which passes all understanding.

No comments: