“What do you want me to do for you?”….following Jesus, praising God.

21 04 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT : Deuteronomy 29 v. 1 – 30 v. 10; Luke 18 v. 31 – 19 v. 10; Proverbs 10 v. 1 – 10

Renewing the Covenant – so, the covenant established between God and the Israelites at Horeb is now renewed at Moab. The Israelites are reminded that they have witnessed God’s dealings with Pharaoh and the Egyptians; during 40 years in the wilderness, shoes did not wear out, there was no bread or wine; they had defeated the kings of Heshbon and Bashan; in light of all this, the covenant is presented for all the people (those present and those not present – i.e. future generations).
‘Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations (a root which would produce a bitter poison)’
There is a terrible life of unforgiveness and curses for those who wander from this commitment, and the whole land will experience destruction (a burning waste of salt and sulphur), and all nations will see that this has happened because Israel broke the covenant of allegiance and faithfulness to the Lord God.
They are a privileged, chosen people, because ‘the secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may follow all the words of this law.’

Prosperity – Moses words have prophesied the time(s) when Israel will drift from God, be drawn towards other gods, be conquered and exiled, but then return to obedience and devotion to the Lord God, and experience His blessings and their well-being again.
‘when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and with all your soul…then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again…’
Even from far-flung places, they will return, to the promised land, and be more prosperous and numerous than before.
Hearts will be circumcised, to love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, to live. Your enemies will suffer the curses.

The ‘circumcision of the heart’ suggests a work of God in a person’s inner being, inclining the person to love God wholeheartedly, to be surrendered completely to God’s will. God’s way.

Jesus Predicts His Death – Jesus explains to the twelve that they are headed to Jerusalem, where all the prophetic words about the Son of Man / Messiah will be fulfilled. Arrest, mockery, insults, spitting, flogging and killing lie ahead, but they don’t really grasp what Jesus is telling them…how could they ? But they wouldn’t have to wait long, now, to understand all too painfully what was coming.

a reminder, continuing on from yesterday, that the next two stories complete the series of five which answer the earlier question about inheriting eternal life / entering God’s Kingdom…
(iv) those who cry out for mercy (God’s help) enter the Kingdom
(v) those who joyfully put things right inherit eternity

The Blind Beggar – So, on this route, and approaching Jericho, Jesus meets the blind beggar at the roadside. Aware from others that ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ is passing by, the man begins to call out for Him : “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (even though he was told to shut up, over and over again, he continued, acknowledging Jesus as ‘the Messiah’ by calling Him Son of David).
Jesus stopped ! He was open to being distracted by cries for mercy (help), and asks for the man to be brought to Him.
“What do you want me to do for you ?” asks Jesus…..what a wonderful question, tumbling down the years to us today…what is our heart’s desire, before Jesus ?
“Lord, I want to see” comes the reply….and our need today is to ‘see’ what God sees, to have our eyes opened to the Kingdom all around us.
The man receives his sight from Jesus, and is commended for his faith. His response is to ‘follow Jesus, praising God’.
And everyone around praised God too.

Zacchaeus – Fresh from this last encounter, Jesus gets into Jericho where there is such a crowd, and a little man, Zacchaeus (the unpopular town’s WEALTHY tax collector) has to climb a tree to see Jesus. Jesus spots him, calls him by name, gets him to come down, and invites himself to his house for tea!
Imaging the mutterings in the crowd!! ‘He’s eating with that low-life, traitor, sinner.’
Zacchaeus is a changed man, though. His greedy, hard heart becomes repentant, generous and caring. He gives away half of his possessions for the poor, and agrees to pay back four times what he has unlawfully taken from the people, beyond the call of restitution in Numbers / Leviticus (the value plus 1/5th more).
“Today salvation has come to this house…now, he too, is a son of Abraham. (as a Jew he already was, but has now ‘spiritually’ become a son of Abraham!)
The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

stunning story about a life (and consequently a whole community) transformed, by the work of salvation, of Jesus’ presence in the life of Zacchaeus, and a chance to underline Christ Jesus’ mission on earth – to seek and to save what was lost.
Let it be so, Lord. Today.

PROVERBS (wise words from Solomon)
‘a wise son brings joy…ill-gotten treasures are of no value…
the righteous won’t go hungry…lazy hands create poverty / diligent hands create wealth
whoever sleeps during the harvest is disgraceful…
blessings crown the head of the righteous…
The wise in heart accept commands, a chattering fool comes to ruin.
The man of integrity walks securely…he who winks maliciously causes grief.’




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