Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Even When the Stones of Life Seem so Large
God’s Light in All It’s Beauty and Truth
Through Every Dark Wilderness
And Every Tempting Minute of Living
In the ‘Promised Land’
Moses returned to the Lord and said, ‘Alas, this people has sinned a great sin; they have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, blot me out of the book that you have written.’
Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today’, so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Words of Grace For Today
Moses was more than disappointed in the people. He’d been up the mountain, talking with God, receiving the ten commandments. They had waited, grown impatient and decided to take things into their own hands. Progress. They gather all their gold, give it to Aaron and insist he make them an idol of a god that they can worship, just like the ‘good old days.’
This is quite a step away from God, the God who brought them out of harsh racist slavery (the thanks they receive for their forebearer Joseph’s saving the Egyptians all from drought and widespread death) into the hardships of freedom – in the wilderness – as they learn to live faithful and trusting God so that they are prepared to enter the Promised Land.
This step proves that this generation is not ready to enter the Promised Land and will not. Still God forgives them and goes with them, in the ark of the covenant, as they wander the wilderness, raising another generation who will be prepared to follow God into the Promised Land. Well that generation is as much an unprepared, unfaithful generation as the last, as are all the successive.
Fast forward to after Jesus’ birth, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection and the leaders of the early church and honest ones in every generation up to today (and all people into the future) know that the temptations to take things into our own hands is overwhelming. People have constantly turned away from God to worship idols of their own making from their own treasures (whatever it is their hearts treasure that is not God’s steadfast love).
The writer of Hebrews does as well as most leaders: he admonishes all the people to exhort each other so that they will not ‘take things into their own hands’ and turn from God. This admonition is futile. Worse it sets the people up to play judge against each other, thus taking God’s Grace and turning it into everything but Grace.
This is God’s Word: fear and love God with all you heart, mind, and strength, yourself, your neighbour and especially your neighbour.
This is God’s Promise: God will forgive us our ‘taking things into our own hands’.
We need not fear God’s judgment. On every day that ends with ‘y’ (including each today) we get to bask in God’s favour, God’s Grace, and in God’s steadfast love. We get to forgive each other and offer each other the gifts of the ‘Promised Land’ that God has showered down on us.