God begins the case against the Israelites by reminding them of God’s saving acts of service, mercy, and love toward them. It is as though God is asking the beloved people, “Do you not remember who I am and who I have been to you?”
When we’ve been in a relationship a long time, we can easily forget the attributes that make us love, appreciate, and rely on our loved ones. Familiarity breeds comfort—but not always in a good way. The Israelites’ seeming loss of memory is doubly astounding because God has saved their lives time and again. God delivers them from slavery in Egypt and gives them not one but three leaders to help them. Moses teaches and instructs them. Aaron atones for them, and Miriam demonstrates the call to worship and praise in constant recognition of God’s provision and deliverance. Even when others plot against the Israelites or they sin and should be punished, God still chooses to protect them. God’s complaints are justified, and God wants answers.
We may be uncomfortable with thinking about where we have let God down. But self-reflection on how we may or may not be nurturing that relationship is an important practice in our relationship with God; it is a healthy practice for any important relationship. Our relationship with God should be our most important one because it helps us remember who we are, whose we are, and who we are called to be in all areas of our life.
God, thank you for your mercy and grace. Forgive me when I take your loving actions toward me for granted. You watch over me even when I’m unaware of it. Remind me of all your good works toward me, and help me to be faithful in my relationship with you. Amen.
We must beware counterfeit gospels. According to one current counterfeit gospel, we deserve God’s favor based on our deeds or intellect or status. The readings for this week remind us that this is false. Yes, the Israelites offer sacrifices, but they are first and foremost called to show mercy because they have received divine mercy. The psalmist asks who can stand in God’s holy dwelling and so provides a list of ways to live morally. Ultimately no one can stand before God on merit alone. Paul reminds the Corinthians that human wisdom is foolishness compared to the wisdom of God, and thus we should not puff ourselves up based on our intellect. Jesus teaches that those who may seem insignificant in the eyes of the world are great in the kingdom of heaven.
Read Micah 6:1-8. How have you let down God? What changes can you make to recommit to your relationship with God?
Read Psalm 15. Consider the notion that the requirements for dwelling with God are in how we treat our friends and neighbors. How does this change the ways you seek God?
Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. When have you seen God’s work in the world in a way that is antithetical to human standards?
Read Matthew 5:1-12. How do you maintain a poverty of spirit in your relationship with God? How does this help you to serve God and others?
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