Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

A depiction of the Hebrews' bondage in Egypt, ...

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Bricks Without Straw 082911

 

Sometimes it seems as if we have to try to make bricks without straw, like the Israelites’ story in Exodus today. Sometimes we have to make do without the resources or tools we need to succeed, or to make the work easier.

 

But like the Israelites, God is still with us. Despite the difficulty of continuing to work ‘without straw’ we must continue to believe, and as we do, God will be with us, and we’ll know it.

 

Many of us are poor, but we are often not poor in either the world’s view or in God’s view, because we do have resources; we have tools or can borrow them. e have in some manner everything we need. But like the Israelites we do not see the abilities and resources we have left, even when we’re lacking ‘straw’.

 

Pray today for God today to show us he has given what we need, for the work we need to accomplish. Pray for our vision to see God’s help in all we do.

 

Pray for peace.

(brother) Bill

 

 

Psalm 17

Exodus 5:1—6:13

Revelation 3:7-13

 

Psalm 17

1Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.

2From you let my vindication come; let your eyes see the right.

3If you try my heart, if you visit me by night, if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me; my mouth does not transgress.

4As for what others do, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.

5My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped.

6I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me, hear my words.

7Wondrously show your steadfast love, O savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.

8Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,

9from the wicked who despoil me, my deadly enemies who surround me.

10They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly.

11They track me down; now they surround me; they set their eyes to cast me to the ground.

12They are like a lion eager to tear, like a young lion lurking in ambush.

13Rise up, O Lord, confront them, overthrow them! By your sword deliver my life from the wicked,

14from mortals—by your hand, O Lord— from mortals whose portion in life is in this world. May their bellies be filled with what you have stored up for them; may their children have more than enough; may they leave something over to their little ones.

15As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.

Exodus 5:1—6:13

5Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, so that they may celebrate a festival to me in the wilderness.’“ 2But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should heed him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and I will not let Israel go.”

3Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has revealed himself to us; let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to the Lord our God, or he will fall upon us with pestilence or sword.” 4But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their work? Get to your labors!” 5Pharaoh continued, “Now they are more numerous than the people of the land and yet you want them to stop working!” 6That same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people, as well as their supervisors, 7“You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as before; let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8But you shall require of them the same quantity of bricks as they have made previously; do not diminish it, for they are lazy; that is why they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’ 9Let heavier work be laid on them; then they will labor at it and pay no attention to deceptive words.”

10So the taskmasters and the supervisors of the people went out and said to the people, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I will not give you straw. 11Go and get straw yourselves, wherever you can find it; but your work will not be lessened in the least.’“ 12So the people scattered throughout the land of Egypt, to gather stubble for straw. 13The taskmasters were urgent, saying, “Complete your work, the same daily assignment as when you were given straw.” 14And the supervisors of the Israelites, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and were asked, “Why did you not finish the required quantity of bricks yesterday and today, as you did before?”

15Then the Israelite supervisors came to Pharaoh and cried, “Why do you treat your servants like this? 16No straw is given to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ Look how your servants are beaten! You are unjust to your own people.” 17He said, “You are lazy, lazy; that is why you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18Go now, and work; for no straw shall be given you, but you shall still deliver the same number of bricks.” 19The Israelite supervisors saw that they were in trouble when they were told, “You shall not lessen your daily number of bricks.” 20As they left Pharaoh, they came upon Moses and Aaron who were waiting to meet them. 21They said to them, “The Lord look upon you and judge! You have brought us into bad odor with Pharaoh and his officials, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” 22Then Moses turned again to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you mistreated this people? Why did you ever send me? 23Since I first came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has mistreated this people, and you have done nothing at all to deliver your people.”

6Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh: Indeed, by a mighty hand he will let them go; by a mighty hand he will drive them out of his land.” 2God also spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord. 3I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name ‘The Lord’ I did not make myself known to them. 4I also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they resided as aliens. 5I have also heard the groaning of the Israelites whom the Egyptians are holding as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. 6Say therefore to the Israelites, ‘I am the Lord, and I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians and deliver you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians. 8I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I will give it to you for a possession. I am the Lord.’“ 9Moses told this to the Israelites; but they would not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and their cruel slavery.

10Then the Lord spoke to Moses, 11“Go and tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his land.” 12But Moses spoke to the Lord, “The Israelites have not listened to me; how then shall Pharaoh listen to me, poor speaker that I am?” 13Thus the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, and gave them orders regarding the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, charging them to free the Israelites from the land of Egypt.

Revelation 3:7-13

7“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens: 8“I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but are lying—I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 10Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. 11I am coming soon; hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12If you conquer, I will make you a pillar in the temple of my God; you will never go out of it. I will write on you the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem that comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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