Weekly Devotion By Pastor Tim Smith
This week's Old Testament lesson are words that Moses shares with the Israelites who have been wandering for more than a generation while waiting to enter the land promised to their ancestors. It's a pivotal moment. It's as if God is saying to them through Moses, "Now that you're about to receive what you've been looking forward to all these years, it's gut check time. You need to know that your choices will make a difference as to how this all plays out."
When we invite people to "Come Share Life" at Redeemer, we're echoing the invitation of Jesus in John's Gospel, "I came that you may have life, and have it abundantly." Christianity, contrary to popular opinion, isn't about "taking all the fun out of life" or never being able to live up to what's expected of you. It's about abundant life, just like receiving the promised land was intended to be abundant life, milk and honey, for the Israelites. The practices, disciplines, priorities, choices, and habits set before us make up "religion." Religion isn't intended to squelch and rob but to enhance and empower abundant living. God is saying to Israel through Moses that there are choices that are life- and community-destructive, and there are choices that are life-giving. God wants them to know that they are created with choices, and God loves them enough to wish for and guide them into the choices that are life-giving.
The key is to make sure we're worshiping the right God, the God who loves us, forgives us, promises us life here and now and to come. To do this we must (counter-intuitively) say no to other gods; namely, the gods of self, power, control, possessions, status, etc. and follow God's rules, practices, and religion for us (in this case, 10 commandments). God won't stop us from choosing unwisely, but God in love deeply wants us not to touch the hot stove...to choose life!
PRAYER: Gracious God, you set before us life and death. The things we seem to want are often not what we actually need. Help us to choose wisely, not in fear or because you won't love us if we don't, but precisely because you do love us no matter what. Help us to live in that abundant love and life. In the name of Christ, abundant life incarnate, Amen.