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Posts Tagged ‘the promised land’


Deuteronomy 32: The Song of Moses

Second Sunday of Lent, March 17, 2019

Moses

Yesterday we considered our Lenten Journey and how we might create for ourselves and our loved ones a physical sign of this promise of fidelity to the Living God who is Alive Among Us. Today we spend time with Moses’ words as he calls the Israelites to conversion and urges them to consider a change of heart and habit.  Moses calls his people, and he calls us, to a love that will endure forever. He calls us to love as God loves.

From commentary: In the style of the great prophets, the speaker is often God himself.  The whole song is a poetic sermon, having for its theme God’s benefits to Israel (vv 1-14) and Israel’s ingratitude and idolatry in turning to the gods of the pagans, which sins will be punished by the pagans themselves (vv 15-29); in turn, the foolish pride of the pagans will be punished, and the Lord’s honor will be vindicated (vv 30-43).  (Senior 222)

Who are these gods of the pagans to whom we turn?  Our obsession with immediate and empty gratification?  Our desire to put ourselves first and others last?

Jesus reminds us that in the Kingdom the world is turned on its head. The meek will inherit, the first will be last, what is empty will be full.

Where do we see our own foolish pride?   In the pumping up of self?  In the building of self rather than the building of Kingdom?

Jesus lays out for us the life and work of his disciples so that we might see that we are to act in servant leadership with salvific love. 

How is this foolish life punished?  The unwise are destined to become enslaved by the chains they put on others.  The reckless eventually find themselves enveloped in the same dangerous plots they weave for others.

Jesus shows us that forgiveness and compassion are the tools he uses to engender a love that endures forever and cannot be outdone. 

Moses makes a final appeal to the people, asking that they take to heart all the warning.  Let us too, take up the counsel to root out our foolish pride and banish false gods.  Let us climb our own Mount Hor to see the Promised Land from a distance . . . and then let us ask the Living God for safe passage in this journey of conversion of the heart.


A re-post from March 19, 2012. Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.222. Print.   

For more on The Song of Moses click on the image above or go to: http://www.revelation-today.com/song1.htm

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Numbers 14:11-38: The Lord’s Sentence

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Tissot: The Grapes of Canaan – The scouts return from the Promised Land

Written on April 22, 2010 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

In the Old Testament God measures out rewards and punishments and today’s reading is an example of this kind of relationship that humans have with the creator.  This is a story about trust, fidelity and awe (or fear) of the Lord.  Jesus and the New Testament tell us a broader story, one of forgiveness, compassion and love.

I do not believe that God really means to strike down his own people in this episode; rather, I believe that he gives his creatures the opportunity to enter into dialog with him and to speak on their own behalf.  What I like most about this story is first, the way that Moses steps up and speaks frankly with God and second, the way God responds in fairness.  It is easy to see that fidelity and trust are paramount in God’s kingdom.  These are qualities that bring Caleb and Joshua to the Promised Land.  They are also qualities that bring serenity to us today if we can only believe that God provides all that we will need in life.  And this is the sentence he delivers to each of us . . . God always gives us guarantee of mercy, forgiveness and love.


A re-post from March 13, 2012.

For more on the Book of Numbers, visit the Numbers – Arrangement of the Tribes page on The Book of Our Life tab on this blog.  Tomorrow we will reflect on the Israelite’s’ Unsuccessful Invasion.

Caleb and Joshua are interesting players in today’s story and for more information about this pair we might go to http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Story-of-Joshua-and-Caleb&id=19374

Visit The Stones Cry Out site to take a walk through the Bible.  Click on the link or the image above or go to: http://thestonescryout.com/the_bible/walk_through_the_bible

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Deuteronomy 5-8: The Covenant – Part II

Saturday, June 2, 2018

We explore a few Favorites as we consider that Christ is The Life we hope to live. 

Exploring these chapters of Deuteronomy, we return to the Readers’ Guide, page RG 112: “One of the themes that sets Deuteronomy apart from earlier thinking in Israel is that God’s promises either to Moses or to David are not simply guarantees that God will stand by this people with protection and help, no matter what they do.  Earlier theologies of God as divine warrior that always fights for his people is now transformed into a new view of God who will uphold the covenant and all of its terms, including blessings and curses, according to how Israel keeps its part of the treaty.  The stress falls on both faithful worship and social justice as ideals for Israel.  Repentance and change of heart are often required if Israel is to return to covenant loyalty”. And so we see that God’s love is merciful and ever present, yet requires us to forgive because God will forgive all who repent.  God, being God, must forgive us because God is good.  God longs and aches for us to answer the call to love, just as the prophet Hosea longs for his harlot wife Gomer. God is always waiting with outstretched arms, asking us to own our faults and ask forgiveness. Perhaps the difficulty of this kind of living is reinforced by Jesus when he says that he has come to “set the world afire”.  (Luke 12:49)

The writer of Deuteronomy tells us in Chapter 8: “Be careful to observe all the commandments I enjoin on you today, that you may live and increase, and may enter in and possess the land which the Lord promised on oath to your fathers”.  In this way, we know that our promised land awaits us. All our impossible dreams wait to be fulfilled In accord with our covenant, we only must turn, repent, repair and ask forgiveness.  Then will God’s all encompassing, ever-abiding, deeply trusting love restore us to our best potential.

God in heaven, God of all, we know that you are constant, just and compassionate.  Be patient with us as we search here in the desert for the narrow path that leads to you.  Save us daily through Jesus Christ.  Send your Holy Spirit to abide in our small little temples that we maintain in constant waiting for you.  Stay with us, comfort us, restore us.  Amen.

From a reflection written on August 25, 2007.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. RG 112. Print.   

Tomorrow, our life in the New Covenant. 


Image from: https://christianitymalaysia.com/wp/easter-covenant/

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013 

Jeremiah32-17[1]

Jeremiah 32

A Pledge of Land

God made a promise to Abraham to bring him descendants, renown and a land in which his progeny might be secure.  In return, Abraham and his descendants were to obey God, worship him only, and keep to him always.  Today we read about a time when the Promised Land is breaking into factions and falling into hostile hands.  The covenant into which the chosen had entered has come undone; the descendants of Abraham have been taken into exile to be scattered by the four winds.  All looks bleak and yet, God tells Jeremiah, redemption, healing, transformation and restoration are all possible . . . indeed, they are at hand.  This is how much God loves us.

Some few of us prefer the solitary life but most humans look for security in a landholding either individually or as part of a group.  Private homes, rented and purchased apartments, communes, even tent cities of the homeless indicate this common yearning to have a place we call home and in which we might be secure.  Many of us go home for a holiday.  We look toward the end of a day when we might go home to kick off the worries of work to rejuvenate for the next morning.  The people who had once known the protection and security of the pillar of fire and smoke in the desert now suffer the insecurity of not knowing where they will lay their head at night.  They are vulnerable to the whims of capricious captors.  The siegeworks have arrived at the city to breach it; the city will be handed over to the Chaldeans who are attacking it, amid sword, famine, and pestilence. 

And what does God reply when his people ask to be rescued from these hopeless circumstances?  Is anything impossible to me?

It is true that in the next portion of this story the people are handed over of to their attackers as a consequence of their having abandoned the terms of their covenant with God.  It is true that in this story God puts Israel out of sight for the incense they burned to Baal and the libations they poured to strange gods.  It is also true that even as God promises to hand over the corrupt ones to the king of Babylon he also will gather the lost together from all lands to which they were banished.  He will bring them back to the same place to settle them in safety.   The Lord God says, they shall be my people and I will be their God.  One heart and one way I will give them that they may hold me in awe always, to their own good and that of their children after them.  I will make them an eternal covenant, never cease doing good to them; into their hearts I will put an overpowering love of me, that they may never depart from me.  I will take delight in doing good to them: I will replant them firmly in this land, with all my heart and soul.

Perhaps the soul yearns for the security of a firm relationship with God just as the mind years for a pledge of land through which to be secure.  Imagine what a world it might be if . . . we sought the security of the pledge of the heart . . . rather than a pledge of land. 

Written on August 29, 2010 and posted today as a Favorite.

For an audio version of Jeremiah 32 with sound effects, click on the image below or go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9n7_7vJ5fM 

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