Moses is giving final instructions to Israel before the nation enters the Promised Land. I got a kick out of this section:
After the LORD your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, “The LORD has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is going to drive them out before you.
Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked (stubborn) people. Deuteronomy 9: 4, 6 (NIV)
Isn’t that true of us?
It’s not because of any good in us that God brings us into the promised land, a relationship with Him. No — He wants to get rid of the sin in us. And because we are stiff-necked, it takes a while!
Of course, that’s why Jesus came, to carry us across our spiritual Jordans and get rid of our enemies – our sins – in the promised land.
Speaking of… I like what Luke quotes Zechariah saying about his newborn son John (the Baptist):
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace. Luke 1: 76-79 (NIV)
(An aside: I love moving from Matthew and Mark — which are very similar — to Luke. Lots of new things in Luke.)
I keep focusing on the phrase “tender mercy” by which God sent the rising sun/Son to bring light into darkness, guiding us to peace.
God saves us by forgiving our sins, then He tenderly leads us. He is out to kill off the remaining sin in our flesh, but He does so because of His tender mercy, leading us ultimately to light and to peace. Amen!
Today’s Readings: Deuteronomy 79:1-10:22, Psalm 37:12-15, Proverbs 12:11, Luke 1: 57-80. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts.