Saturday, March 28, 2009

29 March 2009: Five Sunday in Lent

All three of our Tanach lessons express some degree of hope. Our first lesson from Deuteronomy speaks of thanking the Lord, once the people have come into the promised land. The last lesson from Chronicles talks of restoration of the King, and the people tearing down the temple of Ba'al, but our second lesson from Isaia (Isaiah 56:1-57:13) talks of a different kind of hope. The Lord says, "keep judgement, do rightousness" and tells us some of the results. The foreingner and eunuchs will not be rejected. We might recall, that we have read that Eunuch's foreingners and others were not allowed to participate in the worship of Israel, but in today's lesson we learn of a change. To keep judgement, and to do righnteousness stems from a condition of the mind. If we carefully look at Jesus's miracles, many restored people in a broken relationship to worship. Curing the blind, cleansing leapers, etc. not only gave people wellness of body, but wholeness in relationships, especially the relationship with God.

Those who truly obey God from the heart in love and thanfulness will be restored to a true right realtionship with him. This is in contrast with those who worship idols and who have forgotten the covenent. Those who mock God, will be punished and be destroyed.

Le us be careful then not to mock God, but to obey him in spirit and truth. Do you love Yeshual? Then obey him. Do you really love Yeshua? Then be as intent on telling other people about him as you are to espouse the latest fad diet or proclaim your favourite TV show. Are you sure you love him? Then be as joyful in talking about him as you are about your favourite band or sports team. Let us love him in Spirit and truth and learn to gossip the Gospel.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

15 March 2009: 3rd Sunday in Lent

Deuteronomy 24:1-22

Today's lesson is an interestin combination, mostly showing the mercy of the Lord. The lesson starts straight out on marriage. If a man divorces his wife, she marries another, and they divorce, she is not to return to her first husband. It would be detestabel

The second lesson is probably something more applicable today. It basically defines a honeymoon as a year. I think there is great wisdom in this, and it would be wonderful if we could fully apply this to all newly weds, that within reason they should not be separated from each other durnig the first year of mariage so they can truly get to know each other.

Continuining and jumping around a bit, a principle is laid out that if we were to apply it today, life would be much easier for any. We are not to take someone's means of livelihood as a guarantee of a payment. The Israelites were agricultural, and the millstone was necesary to make bread, the staff of life. LIekwise we treat the person we are loaning to with respect. We do not enter his house to collect the surety, we allow him to bring it to us. Even more important, if that surety is something he needs to live, we are not to keep it. The example given is a cloak, with which the poor not only used as a coat in the cold, but as a blanket as well.

We go on, no kidnapping, and listen to what the doctors say about disease, so that it will not spread.

Do not keep back wages. In other words pay your employees on time. Also treat everyone fairly, not only our brothers, but the stranger in the land as well. Each person is to be punished for his own sins. The son is not held responsable for what his father has done, nor is the father held repsonsable for wht the son has done, in ohter words we are to be responsable for our own actions.

The last in practice is maybe the most difficult to apply. A person is only to harvest his field once. Anything he missed is to be left for the poor the widow and the orphan. In other words, we are to help the helpless, but do so in such a way that allows them their dignity. For example, when working with street kids in Honduras, I did not just give them food. I would send them on errands, or even have them help in the kitchen or get coconuts. to allow them to feel that they were earning there own keep.

The lesson today is truly a mixed hodgepodge, but the principles apply even today.