The psalmist sings praise to the Lord and gives thanks because the Lord’s steadfast love endures forever. But then the psalmist acknowledges a bitter truth: “Both we and our ancestors have sinned; we have committed iniquity, have done wickedly.”
Case in point: The Israelites sinned by worshiping a gaudy idol—the...
God of forgiveness, help me to be honest about the ways I have hurt myself and others, the ways I have tripped up in my walk with you. Then fill me with your forgiving spirit, with your steadfast love, and with a heart full of pure praise. Amen.
The texts this week remind us of how quickly we can turn away from God. Even while Moses is on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments—the first of which is not to worship any other gods—the people fashion an idol and begin to worship it. The psalmist refers to this story as evidence of how often the Israelites have gone astray, and yet God repeatedly has restored them. The parable in Matthew speaks of many who are invited to a banquet, yet they reject the invitation of the king. It is often read as a warning about turning our backs on God’s gracious invitation. Paul encourages the Philippians to seek God with confidence in difficult situations and to focus their thoughts in ways that lead them closer to God.
Read Exodus 32:1-14. When have you or your faith community gotten it wrong? When have you interceded with God on others’ behalf?
Read Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23. How has forgetting that you can be wrong hurt you or your faith community? How has admitting that you were wrong strengthened you or your faith community?
Read Philippians 4:1-9. What issue or conflict has divided your faith community? How might Paul’s urging to “be of the same mind in the Lord” help you work toward peace?
Read Matthew 22:1-14. What work might you need to do to open your heart so you can resolve a conflict?
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