Leviticus 25:47-27:13; Mark 10:32-52;
Psalm 45:1-17; Proverbs 10:22
Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale of all.
~Hans Christian Andersen
~Hans Christian Andersen
Today in our reading God gives us a glimpse into the future story of the Israelites. This is a prophetic portion of Scripture. We see that there is going to be plenty of conflict in God's story with His chosen people. There will be no boring tale here. The story is marked by "ifs" and "thens." If you do this...then I'll do that.
God reiterates the Ten Commandments and begins to weave the story of the trouble that Israel will have in obeying these commandments. Here are some of the ifs and thens:
- If you obey my statutes, then you will receive rain in due season and your crops will multiply. You will eat your fill in a peaceful land. It will not be overrun by wild beasts or enemies. You will defeat your enemies and I will multiply your population. I will also dwell with you and walk among you. Vs. 3-13
- If you disobey my commandments and despise my statutes, then...you will have terror, consumption of your crops by enemies, burning fevers and disease, sorrow of heart and crop failure. This is the first pronounced judgment.- Vs. 16-17
- Next, no rain and no crops Vs. 18-20 second judgment
- Overrun by wild beasts that kill your children and cattle Vs. 21-22 third judgment
- Enemies will breach your community and illness will strike the Israelites. This ends in their captivity in Babylon. Vs. 23-26 fourth judgment
- You will eat the flesh of your sons and daughters -Vs. 27-29 (This does happen. Keep reading.)
- Your cities will be destroyed and taken over by enemies and the Jews will be scattered. Vs. 30-33 fifth judgment. This has occurred several times for the Jewish people (Samaria, Babylon, Rome)
- God says the land will rest while you are in captivity (Babylon) since you would not let it rest as I commanded. Vs. 34-35
- Anti-Semitism will prevail Vs. 36-39
- Now we start a new "if." If the Israelites will confess their sins, be humbled and accept the punishments I have given them, then..I will remember my covenant with Jacob (Israel) and Abraham and I will remember the land. (Please note: God always ties the Jews back to the land He promised them. This continues until the end of time on earth.) The final verses indicate a reconciliation of the Israelites with God and the land.
How has God used conflict in your life? Can you list how God has been involved in your failures and successes? What do you learn about God's mind and personality through this?
Jesus takes this opportunity to reemphasize a lesson he has been trying to teach them...to be a leader in God's Kingdom, you must be a servant. To emulate Christ, you must be baptized with suffering. Do you realize that the suffering you experience in this life, if faced with humility and faith, develop you as a spiritual leader? Are you always jockeying for a power position here on earth? In God's future Kingdom, those who have endured suffering, while relying on God, will be the leaders. Those who have served others will be in the power positions.
How do you think our modern church is perhaps not understanding the lesson Christ is giving in this passage?
Here is a love song to God. As our King and husband, can you sing this song to God with honesty?
There is no sorrow attached to the type of wealth that comes from God's blessings. This is a beautiful and truthful statement.
What did you see today? Please share.