Psalm 89:19-29; Joshua 3,4; Luke 12:1-12

Writing this morning from Geneva, IL.

Psalm 89:19-29: This portion of the psalm is a paean to King David, “I found David my servant, with My holy oil anointed him,” (21) and how God is on his side, “I will grind down his foes before him and defeat those who hate him.” (23)

But as at the beginning of the psalm, the underlying theme is God’s faithfulness, “My faithfulness and My kindness are with him, and in My name his horn will be lifted” (25) and that David will reciprocate that faithfulness: “He will call me: ‘My father You are, my God and the rock of my rescue.’” (27).

Again, we must observe that it is God who is first faithful to David. David did not seek out God, he responded.  I was again reminded that we are a responding people when two children were baptized yesterday at Bethel Lutheran in Madison, WI.

So, too, for us.  How many people are vainly “looking for God?” They think it is their duty to find, and then to please God in order for God to reveal Himself.  And yet, there He is all the time: right alongside us. We need only drop our mask of pretension that it is through our effort and our need to control our circumstances that God can be found. And once having done that we find God standing there all the time.

Joshua 3,4:  There is remarkable symmetry in Israel’s departure from Egypt and its entrance into Canaan. As they water in haste to escape the pursuing Egyptians, now they cross water as a conquering army. Both times they must do so in haste. No time can be wasted.

Both times God holds back the water so that they cross over on dry ground. Besides the practicalities of hundreds of thousands of people not slogging through water, (and now an army of thousands doing the same), what is the significance of the water being “cut off?” Certainly it’s a demonstration that God has power over nature–and we are reminded of Jesus stilling the waters of Galilee.  I think it also demonstrates how God removes barriers when we follow Him willingly–and when we understand and follow His instruction.

The twelve stones play a major role in this crossing-over story. Joshua places them “in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood” (4:9). A clear symbol to me, anyway, that Israel’s duty was to follow in God’s footsteps–just as it is our duty is to follow Him.

The phrase, “they are there to this day” is a reminder that God intervenes in real space and real time, and is a God of linear history.  We have been given the gift of memory; we are to use it. But as we know from Israel’s own history, they forgot where the Ark had crossed over.  And our own history is littered with the relics and events of the ongoing tragedy of forgetting history and forgetting God–and having to learn the hard lesson all over again. Exactly as our society is managing to do once again.

Luke 12:1-12: Would that those who conspire and think they can get away with it had listened more closely to Jesus’ observation that “Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.” (2) Every conspiracy eventually sees the light of day, as those who have followed the trajectory of American politics for the past 40 years know all too well: from Watergate to Edward Snowden: “Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.”

Here, I think Jesus is warning the Pharisees and other authorities that their conspiracy that results in his death and resurrection him will eventually “be proclaimed from the housetops.” Which is is exactly what happened and is still being proclaimed some 2000 years later.

Jesus then goes on to remind us what is so evident in the OT: God is in the details and concerns Himself with every detail of His creation, especially we humans: “But even the hairs of your head are all counted.” These words, coming as they do, immediately after Jesus’ warning that conspiracies will always be found out remind us that our our attempts to hide evil will always be exposed because God knows what’s going on. 

But if we follow God, then the fact that God knows every aspect of our lives will bring great peace: “Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (7) 

As for the “unforgivable sin,” when Jesus says, “whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” (10b) I think he is simply saying that as long as we keep rejecting the presence of God in our own lives then we are neither seeking, nor will receive, forgiveness. But when we acknowledge and then accept that God, via the Holy Spirit, is the one who leads, we will come to the sudden realization that we need forgiveness–and we will indeed be forgiven.





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