I listened to the blessings God promised his people. Followed by... "You will be cursed if..." (idolatry, intermarriage with non-Israelites, etc.) The people had wandered out of slavery with few manners and no godly culture. They were prone to building idols, sacrificing improperly, and treating others poorly. Moses set up a code of law in conjunction with his relationship and communication with God. Many of the laws might have been a response to bad behavior, like today's civil laws tend to be.
But the laws and restrictions also functioned as separators from other cultures. There were many unique aspects of living in the nomadic tribe that God had chosen. Not all of them were easy or intuitive in daily living. In fact, many of them were opposed to natural human desires and a mystery to the Israelites. They kept going back to what seemed right to them, disobeying and reaping the consequences.
I got up thinking about that it costs us EVERYTHING to be truly, holistically Christian. I asked myself some questions about my own relationship to God and the world:
- Have we asked God for the benefits of his provisions and his blessings without expecting to use those to bless others?
- Do we expect his interventions in our troubles without surrendering to the lessons and disciplines of hardship and trials?
- What would it cost us to live with total integrity among people who hate what God demands from humanity? Are we willing to stand apart from our friends and neighbors on the "unpopular pedestal" with Jesus?
- What compromises have we allowed to have a comfortable life rather than living out our radical, transforming faith?
*Then God said to Abraham, "Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah. And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants." Genesis 17:15-16 NLT
*As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. 2 Samuel 22:31-34 NIV
*LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?
- He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous,
- who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue,
- who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman,
- who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD,
- who keeps his oath even when it hurts,
- who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things will never be shaken. Psalm 15 NIV
*Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:15-17 NIV