DEUTERONOMY 2:1-3:29 | LUKE 6:12-38 | PSALM 67:1-7 | PROVERBS 11:27
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After some more wandering in the desert, Moses leads the people on up and through some of the regions where they do battle and defeat the natives. These are confidence-building measures even as they gear up to cross over the river Jordan and into the Promised Land.
But alas, it is not for Moses to see that day himself. In the past, Moses was most effective in arguing with God, so much so that he had prevailed upon God to have him change his mind many a time, but on this one last thing, God’s position is irrevocable: Moses will not go into the new land. Instead, Joshua is commissioned for that great task of leadership. And we shall soon see how Joshua fares.
In the meantime, turning to Luke, we find that the chapter starts out with a full and complete list of the twelve disciples as recorded by Luke. The twelve, as presented to us are: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
We see that there is always a great throng about Jesus because he is constantly performing these amazing miracles of healing. And yet, he pauses between all this hectic activity to talk to the people and speak to them about the greater Kingdom of God to come. Jesus says:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
And then, Jesus goes on to preach and teach the most unheard of things: love for enemies. Aren’t you supposed to crush them under your heel and spit upon them? Aren’t you supposed to heap curses upon them and wish them dead? Isn’t the ‘eye for an eye’ principle good anymore?
What does he mean by all this talk about turning the other cheek and blessing those that curse you? Can it even be done? Is it even humanly possible? Well, it must be, or else Jesus would not have commanded it of his disciples.
And so, if you consider yourself a disciple of this same Jesus, it goes without saying that you must also try to practice these inconceivable precepts, does it not? I will try, dear Lord Jesus, but I don’t know if I will succeed… I will try, so help me God.
Jesus’ very words are these: 27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Jesus clearly forces us to think about this love thing. He says: 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
And if all this wasn’t hard enough, he says this also: 37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
We’ll turn next to the Psalms, and we find that David’s psalm for the day is one of praise, one of many such psalms that have been written by him. May it be that like David, we are also able to say every day, these words, the very first verse of this psalm:
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine upon us.
Finally, a very straightforward verse from the Book of Proverbs, authored by Solomon, wise king of Israel, who says:
27 Whoever seeks good finds favor,
but evil comes to one who searches for it.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.