Free invitation…costs everything

15 04 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND TWO : Deuteronomy 16 v. 21 – 18 v. 22; Luke 14 v. 15 – 35; Psalm 44 v. 13 – 26

Worshipping Other Gods – God hates Asherah poles and sacred stones; symbols for the worship of other gods have no place in the worship of the Lord God. Don’t sacrifice blemished animals. The Israelites must investigate fully any man or woman suspected of worshipping other gods, and if true, they must be stoned to death. More than one witness is needed to testify, and the witnesses themselves must ‘cast the first stone’.
‘Evil must be purged from amongst you.’

The main threat to the new nation of Israel was idol-worship (paganizing worship of God); the second threat was idle worship (offering to God less than the best (a blemished sacrifice)… we worship reveals much of what we think about God.

Law Courts – The priests are to be consulted on cases which are too difficult to judge in court. The priests and the appointed judge will decide, and their decision is binding. This outcome must be followed to the letter. Any contempt shown towards the ruling of the priest and judge will result in being put to death.‘You must purge the evil from Israel.’

The King – God foretells the desire the Israelites will have for a ‘king’, like other nations. and commands that He chose the king, and that Israel accepts the king God chooses. He must be an Israelite king, and must not possess many horses, many wives or loads of silver and gold, to keep his heart pure. The king is to write out a copy of the ‘law’ on a scroll, to read all the days of his life, to revere God and follow His commands. He must think too highly of Himself.    

Offerings for Priests and Levites – a reminder that the Levites are not to inherit any land, but to live off the offerings presented to the Lord. ‘The Lord is their inheritance, as He promised them.’
The share of meat for the Levites is the shoulder, jowls and inner parts of bulls or sheep.
The share of grain, wine and oil and wool is the firstfruit, as the reward for ministering in the Lord’s name.
A priest may move from his position in any town, to minister at the appointed place God will choose (for the pilgrimage for major festivals for all Israel), and will then receive his share of what is presented there.

Detestable Practices – the dangers of the pagan practices all around them, in the nations they are about to inhabit, are outlined. God states the following as detestable : sacrificing sons / daughters in fire; divination / sorcery; omen-interpreting; witchcraft, casting spells; being a medium or spiritist. All these are ‘detestable to the Lord’.
‘You must be blameless before the Lord your God.’

The Prophet – rather than the sorcerers and diviners who are listened to by the nations, God will raise up a prophet (like Moses) ‘from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.’
The prophet has a great responsibility : ‘I will put my words in his mouth and he will tell them everything I command him.‘, but ‘a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say (or speaks in the name of other gods), must be put to death.’
The test is whether the prophecy spoken comes to pass – if not, the prophet is proven to have spoken falsely. ‘Do not be afraid of him.’

Parable of the Great Banquet – another story set around a feast – Jesus loves His banqueting stories, the image of a great feast to which all are invited – ‘the feast in the kingdom of God.’
The parable begins with the banquet all prepared, and the message going out to the ‘many’ invited guests, ‘Come for everything is now ready’.
But then come the excuses…a field to go and see; oxen to try out; a marriage to enjoy (
When the servant returns and relays these excuses, the master is angry, and orders the servant to ‘go quickly into the streets and alleys….bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
When there is still more room, the servant is sent out a third time to ‘make others come in, so that my house will be full’.

Jesus is explaining through this story how the poor and needy (the dispossessed) are entering the kingdom ahead of those who are strangled by their wealth, power and possessions.
Those who were invited initially will miss out on the banquet, because of their excuses.
We must be ready for Jesus to summon us to the banquet, at the time of His choosing.

The Cost of Discipleship – Jesus raises the bar really high (couldn’t be higher) amongst the large crowds following Him. To follow Jesus means counting the cost – to family relationships : God must have first place in people’s affections and decisions;
to our daily walk : taking up the cross to follow Jesus;
to our planning, financial and strategic : thinking things through and counting the cost before committing to it, being prepared to ‘give up everything…to be my disciple’.

Salt which loses its saltiness, its distinctive flavour, its healing properties, its preservative nature, cannot be made salty again. We must remain, in Christ, distinctive, bringing healing, preserving the good, otherwise we will be thrown out with the manure.

Listen to what Jesus is saying – really listen (if you have ears to hear….)

Nothing less than total commitment, total devotion is acceptable to Jesus if we are to truly be His disciples….
In this song, the writer feels abandoned by God, mistreated by Him, even, and cries out for God to stir Himself to act to bring favour to His people :
‘For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep?
Rouse Yourself! Do not reject us for ever.
Why do You hide Your face and forget our misery and oppression?
Rise up and help us; redeem us because of Your unfailing love.’




One response

15 04 2011

wondering about today’s pagan practises/Asherah poles/sacred stones…….practises that encourage people to put their faith in something or someone other than the power of our Almighty God(who is a ‘jealous God’…..He wants us to totally put our faith and trust in Him and not in anyone or anything else).
Same practises such as witchcraft are being practised today but also many other practises under different titles that appear acceptable and even trendy. We can often discern them by how much they cost!

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