Friday, March 28, 2008

The One Year Bible- March 28th

When I was in high school, I played on the basketball team. My first year I warmed the bench for the freshman “A” team. I would have liked to actually play on the “B” team but my coach was great and wanted me on his team. My sophomore year was a blur and I think I played a total of three minutes but I loved being part of a team. My junior year I got cut from the team and I poured my heart out to the coach and asked to just be able to practice with the team. He said “no” but the varsity coach put me back on the team, (I think there is a story of redemption there but that is not where I am going). Needless to say I played a total of zero minutes that year, but I never missed a practice and I worked my tail off. My senior year I made the varsity team and was encouraged by a great coach. Gene Campbell will always have a place of honor in my heart. He not only put me back on the JV team the previous year, he gave me shot as a senior. His pre-game speeches were amazing. Our team was picked by the local paper to come in last in the league; we were small, un-athletic, and inexperienced. That did not stop Coach Campbell from giving us confidence and inspiring us to be more than we were told we could be. We finished the year in fourth place out of ten teams. We missed the playoffs but made everyone stop and notice us. I see Moses as that type of person for the people of Israel. If the paper did a story on them, they would be picked last among the people in the area, they were small, un-athletic, and very inexperienced, but Moses had confidence in them. As he stands at the boarder of the Promised Land, he recounts the history of the people and gets them ready and pumped up for the battle ahead. This is how I view the book of Deuteronomy. I know I mentioned some of this last week but I really wanted to flesh it out for you this week. Keep this in mind as you read the rest of the book. On to the rest of the study...

Vicar Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament

I want to spend some time this week talking about one of the most important passages in the Hebrew Bible. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NIV). Mark Braun in his commentary on the book of Deute

ronomy says the following:

“Israel did not worship a pantheon of gods; their God was one, undivided. Because of that, God wanted them to give him undivided loyalty. The Baals of Canaan were manmade pictures of the various forces of nature, but Israel’s God was one. “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one” is the deepest statement of God’s nature as one Lord. For centuries the Jews have called this their Shema, from the first Hebrew word of this phrase. Observant Jews still say the Shema twice each day, as part of their morning and evening prayers, yet it is not so much a prayer as a statement of faith.”

This idea of one God is known as monotheism. It was a distinctive feature of the Hebrew religion. Many ancient peoples believed in many gods, or pantheism. But the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the God of the whole earth, the only true God. This was an important insight for the nation of Israel because they were about to enter a land filled with people who believed in many gods. God reminds the people over and over again before they enter the land, not to have anything to do with these other gods. We shall soon see that this is a bit of foreshadowing, as the gods of the land of Canaan are the cause of many problems and eventually captivity and exile for the people.

Right after the Shema, Moses then gives some instru ctions to the people regarding education. The LORD wanted to make sure that the following generations would hear the stories and know of the love and mercy of God and his statutes and teachings for His people. “These commandments that I give you to day are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6: 6-9 NIV).

Mark Braun continues in his commentary:

“God wanted education in the faith to be a family thing. God didn’t want his people confining it to Sabbath days, l eaving it to the religious professionals to conduct. Moses’ words in verses 7-9 were probably meant in a figurative way; parents were to talk about their relationship with their Savior God and they went about their day-to-day lives. Many later Jews, however, took these versed literally. Jewish males, thirteen and older, tie phylacteries on to their foreheads and their left arms—two little black boxes containing tiny parchment scrolls on which are written four passages of the Hebrew Scriptures. Observant Jew s also fasten mezuzoth to the door frames of their homes and public buildings—small wooden or metal boxes that hold two scrolls on which are written this verse and Deuteronomy 11:13-21. The Jewish teacher Maimonides said that those who look upon the mezuzoth and the phylacteries as lucky c harms are ignorant, yet by obeying Moses’ words literally, many Jews many have found these outward symbols served as strong reminders of their faith. Crosses or pictures of Jesus serve a similar purpose in our homes.”

Jesus makes mention of this practice in Matthew 23 when he says, “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you...

Everything they do is done for m en to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.'” Jesus points out that although the Pharisees seem to be doing the things on the outside right, they are not right on the inside. They need to do what Mo ses intended. The word must come out through our actions (tied to our hands) and should be always on our minds (tied to our foreheads).




Here are some pictures of phylacteries and mezuzoths that may help:


The New Testament
We continue our journey in Luke and there are some amazing passages from this past week’s readings. I like the quote from Jesus, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Luke 5:31 NIV). We are all definitely sick because of sin. We are all in need of a doctor and the great physician; Jesus himself is there for us. You may have wondered about this “Son of Man” reference that Jesus keeps making reference to. I could write a book about it but the short answer is that he is most likely making reference to Daniel 7 where a “son of man” comes in glory from the clouds to rule. This was what Jesus was on earth to do. I will try to remember to talk about that when we get into Daniel (in November).

Jesus’ teachings on loving your enemies should make us all a bit uncomfortable. Do we really have to love them? Remember that because of sin we are enemies of God. He still loved us so much that he sent Jesus to die in our place for us. How many of you would die for your friends let alone your enemies. Just amazing. To a Jew the heart was the center of the emotions, as well as all reason and intellect. When Jesus talks about the good things and the evil things that come from our hearts would really hit home. He is not just talking about emotions here. This is the whole shootin’ match. What you say flows from what is in your heart. So that begs the question, what is in your heart? Is it sin or is it love. If it is sin how can you get rid of it? If it is love, how did it get there? The only way the sin will be removed is through what Jesus did for us. Because of his death he has removed that sin and has put in it’s place love. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Bits and Pieces

I think I forgot to give you the vital stats for the book of Deuteronomy last week so here goes:

PURPOSE: To remind the people of what God had done and encourage them to rededicate their lives to him
AUTHOR
:
Moses (except for the final summary which may have been written by Joshua)TO WHOM WRITTEN: Israel (the new generation entering the promised land)
SETTING
:
The east side of the Jordan River, in view of Canaan
KEY VERSE
:
“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
KEY PEOPLE
:
Moses and Joshua
(7:9)

1 Comments:

At April 01, 2008 4:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello I just entered before I have to leave to the airport, it's been very nice to meet you, if you want here is the site I told you about where I type some stuff and make good money (I work from home): here it is

 

Post a Comment

<< Home


Free Hit Counter