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Friday, July 11, 2014

Three Keys to Life

In Morning Prayer we are reading Deuteronomy and Matthew 14. I will mention the latter in Sunday's blog.

Deuteronomy begins with Moses doing a summary of the situation as Israel stands ready to enter the Promised Land.

The first thing you notice is that Moses is written about as a character, i.e., third person. This is one reason why the "authorship" of Moses is a loaded concept. I know some people believe Moses wrote the entire Torah by himself. That is because for us that is the meaning of the word author. However, if we really think about it, we use the word author in a broader sense, too. When the President gives a speech it is his speech, but we all know he does not write all his speeches. Some books have ghost writers. And there is also a sense of that someone initiating a process is called the author. So there is, in my mind, no doubt that Moses was the originator/author, and that the memories were repeated (oral tradition--recall these were desert nomads with very few literate people for a long time, probably until King David and the establishment of his court where a professional class of scribes could thrive). However, in this final form my belief is someone other than Moses was writing the actual final copy. And, of course, that is why the word "Moses" appears and not the word "I"!

The thing that jumped out at me in these readings was the exhortation (Do not fear! or Be Bold!) based on a declaration of faith (God is with us, God will lead us, God will do it) and a warning (Be faithful or you will suffer). These themes are woven into the text over and over, and they constitute the ground floor of Judaic-Christian life.

We are a people who have "heard" of God's acts of salvation. We are a people with eyes to discern His subtle hand at work among us. We know that He has been faithful, and that what He did in the past is something He can do again today or in the future.God, as we understand Him, is a Merciful and Loving (and Holy!) Creator/Savior.

We are a people who must live in faith. Not fear, not worry, not enumerating a hundred different reasons why "it won't work" or "we can't." Boldness is understood as acting in deep faith. (In dark days, like this time, where doubt and unbelief are so prevalent, it is easy to be discouraged and doubting) Fear is a crippler, it takes away our heart (dis-heartened//dis-couraged). That is a besetting sin of every age. We must live in trusting faith (Courage is from the root for heart) Bravery is the virtue that allows us to live ordinary life with extra-ordinary boldness, knowing that if we desire His will God will work through us.

We are also a people who need to remember that infidelity is a choice which we can and do make. The life of God is a gift, but it seems to flow best in the life of one who worships God, loves & trusts God and obeys & serves God. Faithfilled and faithful go hand in hand. The wrath of God, often times, seems to be God handing us over to our own choices and the consequences of our behavior. Sin produces death literally and figuratively. And the sins of a people fall upon all the people (hence the sins of the fathers fall on the third and fourth generation; evil done by our grandparents impacts us). God's desire is blessings to the 1000th generation (roughly 25,000 years). However, we have, by His gracious kindness, been given a say in how things turn out (life or death, blessing or curse). So we need to choose wisely!

I love Deuteronomy, I hope this was a blessing to you, dear reader.

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