March 14, 2016

Deuteronomy 26-28  -
 Once you enter the land that God, your God, is giving you as an inheritance and take it over and settle down, you are to take some of all the first fruits of what you grow in the land that God, your God, is giving you, put them in a basket and go to the place God, your God, sets apart for you to worship him...  

Then place it in the Presence of God, your God. Prostrate yourselves in the Presence of God, your God. And rejoice! Celebrate all the good things that God, your God, has given you and your family; you and the Levite and the foreigner who lives with you.

Every third year, the year of the tithe, give a tenth of your produce to the Levite, the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow so that they may eat their fill in your cities. And then, in the Presence of God, your God, say this:

I have brought the sacred share, I’ve given it to the Levite, foreigner, orphan, and widow. What you commanded, I’ve done. I haven’t detoured around your commands, I haven’t forgotten a single one. I haven’t eaten from the sacred share while mourning, I haven’t removed any of it while ritually unclean, I haven’t used it in funeral feasts. I have listened obediently to the Voice of God, my God, I have lived the way you commanded me. Look down from your holy house in Heaven! Bless your people Israel and the ground you gave us, just as you promised our ancestors you would, this land flowing with milk and honey....

And today God has reaffirmed that you are dearly held treasure just as he promised, a people entrusted with keeping his commandments, a people set high above all other nations that he’s made, high in praise, fame, and honor: you’re a people holy to God, your God. That’s what he has promised.

Moses commanded the leaders of Israel and charged the people: Keep every commandment that I command you today... As soon as you cross over the river Jordan, write on the stones all the words of this Revelation so that you’ll enter the land that God, your God, is giving you, that land flowing with milk and honey that God, the God-of-Your-Fathers, promised you...Write all the words of this Revelation on the stones. Incise them sharply...

That day Moses commanded: After you’ve crossed the Jordan, these tribes will stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. And these will stand on Mount Ebal for the curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.

The Levites, acting as spokesmen and speaking loudly, will address Israel:
God’s curse on anyone who:
carves or casts a god-image—an abomination to God made by a craftsman—and sets it up in secret... demeans a parent. moves his neighbor’s boundary marker. misdirects a blind man on the road. interferes with justice due the foreigner, orphan, or widow. has sex with:    his father’s wife; he has violated the woman who belongs to his father, an animal, his sister, the daughter of his father or mother. his mother-in-law. kills his neighbor in secret. takes a bribe to kill an innocent person. does not give substance to the words of this Revelation by living them.
All respond: Yes. Absolutely.

If you listen obediently to the Voice of God, your God, and heartily obey all his commandments that I command you today, God, your God, will place you on high, high above all the nations of the world. All these blessings will come down on you and spread out beyond you because you have responded to the Voice of God, your God:

God’s blessing: inside the city, in the country; on your children, the crops of your land, the young of your livestock, the calves of your herds, the lambs of your flocks, on your basket and bread bowl; in your coming in, in your going out.

God will:       defeat your enemies who attack you. They’ll come at you on one road and run away on seven roads.
        order a blessing on your barns and workplaces; 
        bless you in the land that God, your God, is giving you.
        form you as a people holy to him, just as he promised you, if you keep the commandments of God,.. and live             the way he has shown you....
        lavish you with good things: 
        throw open the doors of his sky vaults, pour rain on your land on schedulq, bless the work you take in hand.         make you the head, not the tail; you’ll always be the top dog, never the bottom dog,... 

Here’s what will happen if you don’t obediently listen to the Voice of God, your God, and diligently keep all the commandments and guidelines that I’m commanding you today. All these curses will come down hard on you:

God’s curse:     in the city, in the country; on your basket and bread bowl; on your children, the crops of your land, the young of your livestock, the calves of your herds, the lambs of your flocks. in your coming in, in your going out.

God will:     send The Curse, The Confusion, The Contrariness down on everything you try to do.. 
        infect you with The Disease, wiping you right off the land that you’re going in to possess.
        set consumption and fever and rash and seizures and dehydration and blight and jaundice on you... 
        rain ash and dust down on you until you suffocate.
        defeat you by enemy attack.... 
        hit you hard with the boils of Egypt, hemorrhoids, scabs, and an incurable itch... 
        hit you with painful boils on your knees and legs and no healing or relief from head to foot.
        lead you and the king you set over you to a country neither you nor your ancestors have heard of;.. 
        allow the foreigner who lives among you will climb the ladder, higher and higher,..He’ll be the head; you’ll be             the tail.

All these curses are going to come on you. They’re going to hunt you down and get you until there’s nothing left of you because you didn’t obediently listen to the Voice of God, your God, and diligently keep his commandments and guidelines that I commanded you. The curses will serve as signposts, warnings to your children ever after.

Because you didn’t serve God, your God, out of the joy and goodness of your heart in the great abundance, you’ll have to serve your enemies whom God will send against you. Life will be famine and drought, rags and wretchedness; then he’ll put an iron yoke on your neck until he’s destroyed you...

If you don’t diligently keep all the words of this Revelation written in this book, living in holy awe before This Name glorious and terrible, God, your God, then God will pound you with catastrophes,... Because you didn’t listen obediently to the Voice of God, your God, you’ll be left with a few pitiful stragglers in place of the dazzling stars-in-the-heavens multitude you had become.
And this is how things will end up: Just as God once enjoyed you, took pleasure in making life good for you, giving you many children, so God will enjoy getting rid of you, clearing you off the Earth.... In the morning you’ll say, “I wish it were evening.” In the evening you’ll say, “I wish it were morning.” Afraid, terrorized at what’s coming next, afraid of the unknown, because of the sights you’ve witnessed.  God will ship you back to Egypt by a road I promised you’d never see again. There you’ll offer yourselves for sale, both men and women, as slaves to your enemies. And not a buyer to be found.

Galatians 3:1 - 3:27
You crazy Galatians!... Something crazy has happened for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives....  let me ask this question to you:  How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God?  Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you?  Are you going to continue this craziness? ...Answer this question:  Does the God who lavishly provides you with his presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you?  Don’t thing things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham?  He believed God and that act of belief turned into a life that was right with God... It was all laid out beforehand in Scripture that God would set things right with non-Jews by faith.  Scripture anticipated this in the promise to Abraham:  “All nations will be blessed in you.”...Anyone who tries t live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure...The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him.  Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you.... We are all able to receive God’s life, his Spirit, in and with us by believing---just the way Abraham received it

The purpose of the law was to keep a sinful people in the way of salvation until Christ (the descendant) came, inheriting the promises and distributing them to us...the original promise is the direct blessing of God, received by faith...  The laws purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship with God, and therefore to show us the fertility of devising some religious system for getting by our own efforts what we can only get by waiting in faith for God to complete his promise...Until the time when we were mature enough to respond freely in faith to the living God, we were carefully surrounded and protected by the Mosaic law.