Today’s passage is Deuteronomy 10:12-21. Read along as I share with you:
(12-13) So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in his presence in holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you, obey the commandments and regulations of God that I’m commanding you today–live a good life.
(14-18) Look around you: Everything you see is God’s–the heavens above and beyond, the Earth, and everything on it. But it was your ancestors who God fell in love with; he picked their children–that’s you!–out of all the other peoples. That’s where we are right now. So cut away the thick calluses from your heart and stop being so willfully hardheaded. God, you God, is the God of all gods, he’s the Master of all masters, a God immense and powerful and awesome. He doesn’t play favorites, takes no bribes, makes sure orphans and widows are treated fairly, takes loving care of foreigners by seeing that they get food and clothing.
(19-21) You must treat foreigners with the same loving care–remember, you were once foreigners in Egypt. Reverently respect God, your God, serve him, hold tight to him, back up your promises with the authority of his name. He’s your praise! He’s your God! He did all these tremendous, these staggering things that you saw with your own eyes.
THINK: Here we are asked to identify what phrase, what quality of God, and what command stands out to us and why.
“God is my praise!” really sticks out to me. It’s curious to me that the very thing God would have of his creation – their praise – is what he is to me. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one.
The quality of God that most strikes me is the passage: “it was your ancestors who God fell in love with; he picked their children–that’s you!–out of all the other people. Because of the crucifixion and resurrection, we can now be called citizens of the kingdom to which God called the Israelites. And God knew me before he formed me in my mother’s womb.
Finally, the command that sticks with me is: Cut away the calluses from your heart and stop being so willfully hardheaded.
PRAY: Here are some ways to pray back the passage. Use as many of these suggestions as you wish:
- Express to God your thoughts about living in his presence. Has living in his presence been important to you or not?
- Express to God those areas in which you would guess he considers you “hardheaded.” (Pause and let this come to you. Don’t necessarily go with the first thing that comes to mind.)
- Express to God your feelings about the have-nots you know (widows, orphans, foreigners). Talk to God honestly about how willing or unwilling you’ve been to include such people in your life.
LIVE: Experiment with living in God’s presence while caring for the rest of the world. Relax. Quiet yourself. Just be.
I have to admit that I have long been more concerned with paying lip service to the idea of living in God’s presence than I have actually doing it. Most of my life, I’ve been concerned with it looking the way I think it ought to, more than just doing what I feel God’s calling me to do. I’ve put it off by waiting until the time was right. There’s always some “until” that would make things “just right” for me really get started. I’ve even put it off thinking that maybe I was about to start for the wrong motives and that would be a sin. Regardless, what happens is that I never get around to starting what I ought to. And it never fails that when I decide it’s time to start because it’s time to stop making excuses, there are always so many things that pop up that get in the way, or threaten to, that I usually rationalize or justify stopping by saying that if God had really wanted me to do “such-and-such,” then everything would’ve fallen into place. This is not always the case.
Abba Father, I thank you for this gentle reminder that you love me and that I have been chosen. But I have not been chosen just for the chance to go to Heaven. I have been chosen so that I might live down here, in the world, but not of it, being Jesus with skin on to the lost and hurting. Please help me to quiet my mind enough that I can hear your still, small voice, and then, help me to remember that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, including anything you ask or require of me while I am here on the face of the Earth. Help not to disgrace your name as I try to act in your service.
All these things I ask in Your Son’s Precious and Holy Name, Amen.