This passage from the Hebrew scriptures comes toward the end of the book of Deuteronomy and is part of a section known as the Final Words of Moses. Here, the author is making closing arguments as to why future generations should agree to the covenant offered by Yahweh. The author reminds the people of the great works of God, particularly how God freed them from captivity in Egypt and led them back to the land of their ancestors.

If for no other reason, the rationale goes, your freedom and life warrant that you live according to the covenant—a sign of gratitude for all Yahweh has done for you. But God does more than free individuals; God forms our spiritual ancestors into a community. The fates of these recently freed Israelites and their descendants rely on two things at the heart of the covenant: They must be faithful to Yahweh, and they must act with justice toward one another. By doing the latter they demonstrate the former.

This passage seems to be a dire pronouncement of punishment for those who stray. But there is more to this warning. God frees the Israelites from captivity, a great act of love for the people. In return, the Israelites and their descendants (both biological and spiritual) are asked to return God’s love and to pay it forward by loving one another. They act out this love through observance of the commandments. How we treat one another is a sign of our love for God.

Holy One, give me a heart of gratitude for the overflow of blessings in my life. Help me remember especially those whose freedom is threatened and those who have died fighting for that gift. May I be renewed this day to share these blessings with others. Amen.

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Leer Matthew 5:21-37

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Leccionario Semanal
February 10–16, 2020
Resumen de la Escritura

This week we continue to explore the importance of Christian morality. We do not earn God’s grace by our actions; rather, our obedience is a response to God’s grace. In Deuteronomy, we read that the choice of life will bring prosperity and is the proper response from a heart of gratitude. The psalmist echoes this sentiment, for blessed are those who follow the Lord not just with words but also with actions. The Corinthians have not understood this so they continue to act like those in the world around them, living by the flesh instead of by the Spirit. Jesus pushes us even further. God sees not only what we do on the outside but who we are on the inside. A true life of obedience begins on the inside and flows outward.

Preguntas para la reflexión

Read Deuteronomy 30:15-20. When have you experienced the choice God sets before us of life or death, prosperity or adversity, blessings or curses? How have you discerned how to obey God?
Read Psalm 119:1-8. How does following God’s commandments bring you joy?
Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-9. Consider the forms of love Paul and Saint Valentine display in their letters. What types of love help you serve God, who gives growth?
Read Matthew 5:21-37. When have you experienced legalistic interpretations of scripture? How do you get to the heart of scripture?

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