I have been working lately on a series of celebration kits that follow the church calendar. I have a number of them just about ready to go. An optional module for each kit is a set of devotionals for personal or family worship or for small group Bible study. These devotionals are based on the Lectionary, probably the oldest Bible reading system in the world. A version of the lectionary system was in use in the synagogues in Biblical times.
With some slight variations within the major branches of Christianity, the system takes you through the Bible in a three-year cycle. The unique feature of the Lectionary is that it has three readings per day: a Psalm, a New Testament and an Old Testament selection. These selections are arranged so that they help us to see the parallels and resonances between the Old and New Testaments.
In celebration of Faithful Friday, I am looking for some test readers. If you would like to receive email previews of these devotionals as I compose them, and if you would be willing to comment on them so that I can make them more useful, please email me and I'll put you in the loop.
Here is a sample to whet your appetite:
Seeing and Hearing
Ps. 139, 146; Romans 11:1-10; Deuteronomy 29:16-29
Discussion & Study
- According to Deut. 29, who stands in danger of God’s wrath?
- According to Deut. 29 and Rom. 1, what will God’s judgment look like?
- What is God’s judgment designed to accomplish?
- Compare God’s abilities in today’s two Psalms with the abilities of the false gods Israel worshipped. How do your ‘false gods’ measure up?
- What difficulties in your own life, would you like to re-assess in light of God’s goodness and might?
Deuteronomy is a reiteration of Israel’s original national constitution, which was first instituted at Mt Sinai. This second pronouncement is Moses’ exhortation to the generation that survived the forty years of wandering to ratify the constitution for itself before it entered the Promised Land.
This second generation had been children at the time of the Exodus. They had seen and heard everything God had done. They had witnessed the humiliation of the gods of Egypt one by one as each of the plagues targeted a major deity; each one as powerless as the next against Jehovah. They had witnessed, too, the judgment against their parents, who had also seen but had refused to see. They were cursed to die in the wilderness without ever seeing the Promised Land. These grown children had seen God’s unbelievable provision for them over forty desert years; they had clearly heard God’s gracious Law and His glorious promises to them.
For Israel in Paul’s day, as for God’s people in any day, there was no escape from God’s searchlight gaze. They had become like the gods they truly worshipped, the sawdust gods of their own imagination. They had eyes, but couldn’t see. They had ears but couldn’t hear. They had watched while Jesus had reversed the work of those demonic false gods, opening the eyes of the blind, the mouth of the dumb, the ears of the deaf. He had cast down and bound the demons just as He had in the plagues of Egypt.
The question to that generation of the Conquest and to the generation who would face the destruction of the Temple was, “Which God will you worship, and therefore, imitate?” Would they see and hear without understanding like the gods of wood and stone? Or would they begin to see like Jehovah, beyond mere appearances, beneath the surface, in the dark?
The question to us, two thousand years later, is the same. Will we choose to see only the surface appearances: the suffering, the widows, the fatherless, the hungry, the wicked’s prosperity? Will we worship our own wisdom, becoming increasingly rigid in our righteous indignation against God’s administration of the world? Or will we learn to see as God sees? Will we understand that suffering reveals to us the might, justice and love of God? Will we see what God has revealed or will life remain a locked secret?
Find other springboards to faith at Faithful Friday.