Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Book of the Law?

One of the first Bible passages I memorized is found in this morning's Old Testament reading, from the book of Joshua:
Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth, but you must meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do all that it written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
Joshua 1:8
I am not sure that anybody in history actually obeyed this injunction, except maybe the author of Psalm 119. Meditating on the law? Like this?
10If the offering is a burnt offering from the flock, from either the sheep or the goats, he is to offer a male without defect. 11He is to slaughter it at the north side of the altar before the Lord, and Aaron's sons the priests shall sprinkle its blood against the altar on all sides. (from Leviticus 1)
I hope not! I wonder if Joshua is mostly talking about the law given in the sermon Moses just finished -- that is, the book of Deuteronomy. Maybe the parts he's really excited about are the parts about mercy and justice and fairness?

Well, I'm not sure exactly what part he's talking about. What I am sure about are these two things:
  1. God wanted to bless his people; and
  2. Their obedience would help #1 to happen.
I believe that since God's character does not change, these two sure things still apply today.

And what strikes me is just this: we don't obey in order to trick God into blessing us; he wants to bless us. And so what I take from this verse today isn't the same thing I took from it when I memorized it back in the late ’70s (which was basically that meditating on the Scriptures is a good idea); what impresses me today is God's generosity -- how he wants to bless us -- and the great respect he shows us by having us take part in it.

Which is, as they say these days, way cool.

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