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The Bible In A Year: Day 79

Deuteronomy 7-9
Psalm 78
Luke 6:6-26

Deuteronomy 7-9

Moses reminds the people that they’ve been chosen by God to be a people set apart from the other nations. He didn’t do this because they were great in numbers or had great power, this all began when it was just one childless elderly couple. The reason he has chosen them is to have them set apart as a light to all nations to testify to his name, and that’s why its so shameful when this chosen people fall from the pedestal he’s placed them on time and time again.

They’re warned to utterly destroy the peoples living in the land when they go into it, to make no treaties with them and to destroy all their idols, or else they’ll be a stumbling block to them. Just like a recovering addict is told to stop hanging out with friends who shared the addiction with them, or else they’ll relapse before too long, the Israelites were recovering from 400 years of pagan polytheism and if they hung around with people worshiping idols they’re bound to relapse.

Moses warns them not to forget God, and be ungrateful for all he has done. He reminds them that they were fed and had water to drink, even in a barren desert. Even the cloths on their backs and shoes on their feet didn’t wear out even after 40 years in the desert. He reminds them that God has done all this not because he hates them but because he loves them, just as a father disciples his child for their own benefit.

They’re also warned of the consequences of disobedience, consequences they’ll unfortunately suffer time and again. He tells them not to think too highly of themselves because it’s not due to them that he’s giving them the land and fighting on their behalf, because they are not good or righteous, it’s because of his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

He went over the incident with the golden calf, and several of the other rebellions in the desert. He reminds them that they deserve nothing but death and destruction for all their unfaithful behavior and sinfulness, but God has shown them unending and undeserved mercy.

Every single thing Moses is saying to these people is applicable to me personally. I used to read the account of their desert wandering and shake my head at how stubborn and rebellious they were, but after confession one day it dawned on me that their story is my story. I deserve nothing but destruction for all the times I’ve rebelled, and yet God still gave his Son for me and has shown unending mercy.

Psalm 78

Once again, I usually leave the psalm of the day out of the commentary because they’re mostly short and straightforward. But today is a little different, first because it’s about three times longer than the average psalm, and second because it’s a recap of the same story we’re reading in Deuteronomy.

In this psalm, the psalmist is recounting the history of Israel, how great God is and has been to them and how petty and ungrateful the people have been in return. Just like Moses is reminding them of the faithfulness of God despite their unfaithfulness, the psalmist is reminding them of all the times they have rebelled, from the exodus all the way to king David.

Luke 6:6-26

This reading from Luke starts off with a similar situation as yesterday’s left off. The Pharisees are trying to trap him in another violation of the sabbath, so Jesus exposes them by asking if it’s proper to do good on the sabbath. He then heals the man’s withered hand. Saint Bede sees an allegory here between the man’s hand and all of mankind,

The crippled man signifies mankind corrupt and fallen from grace. His hand is withered in sin because it stretched forth to eat the forbidden fruit in paradise. Christ now comes with forgiveness to restore man to spiritual health.

Saint Bede

Jesus then has an all night prayer vigil before selecting his twelve apostles from among the disciples that are following him. Those terms get used interchangeably, but are only so in certain circumstances. All the people that followed a teacher were the disciples of that teacher. So all of the apostles were also disciples, but only twelve of the disciples were apostles. The apostles were the twelve men chosen by Jesus to be the foundation stones of his new assembly, the church he is going to found. These twelve men eventually pass on their office to successors, like Judas’ office was taken by Mathias after his selection by the remaining eleven apostles. This will repeat itself over the next 2000 years until we reach todays modern bishops, and they’re the descendants of the apostles.

Tomorrow’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 10-11
Psalm 79
Luke 6:27-49

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