Monday 12 May 2014

"CURSED BE ANYONE WHO ..." Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings - May 10th


            We continue reading Moses’ final instructions to his people before they cross the Jordan into the promised land without him.  When they enter the land they are to build an altar to the LORD.  On the stones of the altar they are “to write … all the words of this law very plainly” [ch. 27 v.8]
            Moses and the Priests then say “to all Israel, ‘Keep silence and hear, O Israel: this day you have become the people of the LORD your God.  You shall therefore obey  the voice of the LORD …”[v.9,10]
            We can draw a comparison in this with the day when we took on the name of Christ in baptism (or when we do do so).  Moses then says that when they have come into the land “the Levites shall declare to all…”[v.14] certain specific warnings about behaviour God hates, for they, as the people of God, members of his chosen nation, bring dishonour upon themselves and, in a sense, upon him should they do so.  Most of these are equally applicable to those who take on the name of Christ through baptism and then dishonour the name of Christ in aspects of their behaviour.
            Moses says, when they are in land,  “ … the Levites shall declare to all the men of Israel with a loud voice [v.14] such things as, “Cursed be anyone who dishonours his father or his mother.  And all the people shall say, ‘Amen’” [v.16]  Similarly, “Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due  to the sojourner, the fatherless and the widow,  And all the people say, ‘Amen.’ [v.19] – And by saying that they acknowledge awareness of this warning.
            There are curses on a variety of sexual misconduct, also, “Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe …” [v.25]  And the final verse, “Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.  And all the people shall say ‘Amen’ “  
 Is it the same with following the teachings of Christ?  Yes, but we can be most thankful that there is the principle of grace.  But, Paul asks believers, “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  By no means!  How can we who died to sin still live in it?” {Rom. 6 v.1,2]  Let us all “live in” service to Christ, using our various individual talents and opportunities to bring honour to his name.
Deuteronomy 27:2 we read of the stones which we covered:
"...that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaister them with plaister"

The stones were covered, why were they covered? For Gods word to be written on (v3)
"And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law..."

For what purpose? For all to see (v8)
"And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly"

We are stones, which have received a covering through Christ our Master and Saviour. We are to have the word of a God written on us, and that dwells in us richly. When we think of the word "plainly", our minds are taken to the whole purpose of the word of God written on stones:

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare PLAINLY that they seek a country" (Heb 11:13-14)

The Septuagint has the word "plaister" as the Greek used of Jesus' words of the the rulers being hypocrites and WHITED sepulchres. Our lives are to exude the character of those in Hebrews 11 and PLAINLY show Gods word, showing the word of God as much more than an observance, it was their whole way of life. May we follow these faithful examples set before us for our learning.  

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