Saturday, February 26, 2011

Deuteronomy 30-34

You probably noticed that I am reading 1 less chapter.  Sorry, no good excuses.  I have been with the confirmation class the last two days and they have taken a lot of time and finishing at the end of the chapter feels right, too.  I'll make it up later, I hope.

We had a great time on our confirmation weekend in spite of the weather.  We were not able to visit the Greek Orthodox Church as planned because of the slick roads on Saturday morning and loss of power at the church, but it was still a good time.  We have 8 excellent young people in the class and Erica Griffit, Lisa Lunsford, Kelly Gouldsmith and Joyce Adams were great helpers and chaperones.

 Chapter 30 contains some of my very favorite passages.  I am preaching on it tomorrow so I don't want to get carried away.  Moses is completing his oration to to Israel, his last speech before going home to the Lord and he reminds them that he has told them everything that they need to live in this great and good land that God has prepared for them.  they have been told all that they need to know to be more than chose.....which shall it be?  will it be blessings or curses?  Will it be life or will it be death?  Seems pretty easy doesn't it?  And it was in the moment.  To a person, they swore allegiance to God, but from our perspective, historically we know that it didn't last.

As soon as the new car smell was gone, sin was in the camp again.  We'll read about it in a little bit in the book of Joshua.  But isn't that the same as it is for us?  In the emotional high of a spiritual encounter with God we commit ourselves to holy and righteous living and then the world begins to creep in at the edges.  We miss church because we have tickets to the big game or because Saturday night lasted too long and we need the sleep.  And its not that we missed church, it is just that we put a higher value on some other activity and God is debased and an idol begins to appear.  We place a higher value on the children's sporting activities or we need to use the place at the lake more because we have so much money invested in it.  It's not that those activities are bad, it's just that they elevate the things of this world to a place that belongs only to God and an idol begins to grow.  Soon one generation who know God forgets to tell the stories to the next and within three generations God is no longer honored and the church is a place for Christmas and Easter.....the pastor a person we call for funerals and weddings.  What is it that we want?  Is it blessings or curses?  Is it life or death?  We know the way to both and both are available.  Which do we chose?

At 120 years, Moses is ready to enter into his rest, but not before his successor is installed.  One of the great calls of leaders is to replicate themselves.  Much of the unrest in the Middle East and Africa, maybe to a different degree in our own country is how leaders want to stay longer than they should and adequate leadership has not been raised up and prepared and consecrated to the important work that is ahead.  The church must always be raising up new leaders.  Who are the Pastors, the deacons, the trustees, the Sunday school teachers among us who have not yet been called and trained to take over when the capable folks now in charge are ready to enter into their rest?

God, who knows everything even before it happens, tells Moses that despite all of his work, this stiff necked people will fail to keep their promises and they kingdom that he is building will crumble and fall.  These people that God has claimed as his own will reject him and they will be scattered across the face of the earth.  But one day, God will again here their cry and he will again gather them together.  Doesn't that sound like the prophecy of the reincarnation of Israel following WWII.  The Jews had not had a home land since the destruction of the temple in 68AD, they had suffered cruelly at the hands of many nations, anti-semitism was worldwide, Adolf Hitler sought to exterminate them and then Israel appeared again.  Israel is God's and so should we be.  the only eternal protection in all of eternity is to be adopted into the family of God and to trust in his promises.  What did I say earlier?  chose life!!!

Moses died at 120 years, still filled with vision and strength.  Joshua was filled with that same spirit, that same vision.  Moses had tutored him, had mentored him and at just the right time had passed the mantle of leadership to him.  there would never be another Moses......but just now, what Israel needed was Joshua.......bring on Jericho.......let's see what we can do with that mountain!!

Hope to see you on Sabbath Day.  God's best to you. 

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