How does God communicate with you? I have had a few “mountaintop” experiences on retreat or after a time of intense prayer, meditation, and holy conversation. But most of us encounter God in our daily routine. We would have the good sense to pay attention to a burning bush. But to hear God’s voice in the daily round of life presents a greater challenge. The problem arises not with a lack of God’s speaking but with our inability to listen.
The author of Hebrews looks to the past to affirm the faith of the ancestors and then encourages that same faith in the present generation. Abraham listens to God, and God continues speaking despite Abraham’s doubt. He obeys God’s call and believes God’s promises. The particulars that surround his dramatic encounters with God occur amidst the mundane and ordinary daily grind.
How often and in how many different ways does God come to us through our circumstances, the wise counsel of others, impressions of the still small voice of the Spirit within our hearts? If we feel too harried and hurried to stop and listen, we miss the encounter.
Abraham hears God in the midst of the ordinary and believes. This simple yet bold response of faith and belief in the promise of God regardless of the circumstances is what God credits as righteous standing in Abraham’s behalf.
The writer of Hebrews points to the singular focus of Abraham’s faith when observing that he “obeyed,” “stayed,” and “received” both the promise and the power of God. At the end of his life he still looked forward to the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise.
Dear God, in the daily routine of life may I hear and do your will. Amen.
ThelessonfromIsaiahandthepsalmcallthe people of God to “Hear!” The message has to do with sacri ces and burnt offerings: God does not want them! The sacri cial system had come to be understood as a means of attempting to manipulate God for self-centered purposes, and the texts there- fore call for worship that is God-centered. The Gospel lesson also calls the people of God to decision. Our use of nancial resources is inextricably linked to our conviction that the future and our destiny lie ultimately with God. What we believe about the future affects how we live in the present. This af rmation is precisely the message of Hebrews. The entrusting of one’s life and future to God is “the reality of things hoped for, the proof of things not seen.” For those who trust in God’s reign, “God is not ashamed to be called their God.”
• Read Isaiah 1:1, 10-20. In what ways can you let go of a self-centered focus in worship?
• Read Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23. What are your antidotes to worry? How do they allow you to deal with anxieties in your life?
• Read Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16. What allows you to focus on the awe and wonder of being held in God’s grace?
• Read Luke 12:32-40. Where do you see God at work in your life? How is this awareness a part of having your “lamp lit”?
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