22 04 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND NINE : Deuteronomy 30 v. 11 – 31 v. 29; Luke 19 v. 11 – 44; Psalm 48

Life or Death – God presents the people with a choice – not too difficult, not beyond them, not bound to heaven, nor across the sea –
‘No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so that you may obey it….I set before you today life and prosperity, death and desctruction’.
The path of obedience, devotion, walking in God’s ways leads to life, fruitfulness, blessing, promised land.
The path of disobedience, turning to other gods leads to destruction, loss of land, loss of life.
‘This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.
Now choose life….for the Lord is your life.’

I’ve always loved these verses – choices and consequences – life or death, blessings or curses, fruitfulness or destruction.
God created us with freewill – He loves us too much to manipulate us or coerce us – He sets before us a choice.
As I write this, we’re coming to the end of Holy Week – Maundy Thursday, a day of stark choices;
Good Friday, a day of life through death, of blessings through a curse, of fruitfulness through destruction.
What will you choose today…..

Joshua to Succeed Moses – Moses tells the people, since He is now 120 years old, that he is unable to lead them further, and he will not cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land with them, but the Lord will lead them, and Joshua will be with them.
‘Be strong and courageous….for the Lord your God  goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.’
And Joshua is summoned and blessed, praying strength and courage for him, as he is to take the people into the land to possess it, and divide it out.

Reading the Law – Moses wrote the law and handed it to the priests. At the end of every seven years, in the year for cancelling debts (Sabbath Year), during the Feast of Tabernacles, the law is to be read out to all the men, women and children (even foreigners). It’s all part of learning the law which will sustain them in the Promised Land.

Israel’s Rebellion – Nearing the time of Moses’ death, the Lord calls him and Joshua to the Tent of Meeting, to commission Joshua. The Lord appears at the Tent in a cloud, and speaks to them.
Moses will soon die. The Israelites will ‘prostitute themselves’, worshipping other gods, breaking the covenant. God foresees His anger and says He will ‘hide my face from them, and they will be destroyed’, disaster and difficulties will befall them.
God gives them instructions to write down a new song to teach the Israelites, as a reminder that He has predicted all that will happen for ‘I know what they are disposed to do, even before I bring them into the land I promised them on oath.’
God, once again, tells Joshua to ‘be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land…’ (think God’s’ trying to make a point to Joshua about his need for strength and courage!!)

Moses finishes writing the Book of Law, and has it placed alongside the Ark of the Covenant, ‘as a witness against you’. He condemns the Israelites for being stiff-necked and rebellious (how much more they will be so, when Moses is no longer around). He, too, predicts the disaster which will befall God’s people when they turn away from Him.

The Parable of the Ten Minas – This story is told because Jesus is nearing Jerusalem, and some were anticipating the Kingdom of God would immediately be ushered in / established, in an instance.
A noble man goes on a long journey (to be appointed king), so gives a mina each to ten servants, with the instruction to put the money to work.
Although there was a protest by his subjects that he not become king, he was made king, nonetheless.
He newly appointed king calls back his servants to find out what they’d done with the money.
One had earned ten more minas – he is commended, ‘because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities’; one had earned five more; another servant, though, had wrapped his mina in a piece of cloth, keeping it safe for fear of the master. There is a sort of bitterness towards the master who ‘takes what he’s not worked for, and reaps what he’s not sown’.
The master says it would have been better to have invested the money, benefiting at least from the interest (not in this day and age !!!).
This man’s mina is taken from him and given to the first, who already has much……and those who opposed the king are to be summoned and killed !!

No happy ending here – what a disappointing story for those who were expecting Jesus to be a very different type of King !

The Triumphal Entry – after that story, Jesus headed into Jerusalem. He sends two disciples ahead of Him, to find a colt, untie it and bring it to Him. The expectation is that someone will ask what they are doing, but they are simply to say, ‘The Lord needs it.’

Is this a pre-arranged sign, or simply something which will show the disciples how much Jesus is in control of events? Love the mystery in all this.

The disciples throw cloaks over the colt and ‘put Jesus on it’ (can’t He get on it Himself?).
People spread their cloaks on the road, and the whole crowd begin to joyfully praise God in loud voices
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

When the Pharisees (in the crowd?) see and hear all this, they tell Jesus to stop them. Jesus says that even if they were silenced, ‘the stones will cry out’.

Jesus weeps over Jerusalem as He sees the city spread out before Him. He knows that Jerusalem is about to reject God’s ultimate offer of Peace, and that Jerusalem will be destroyed in the times to come.

‘Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise….’




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