Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

God’s Redeeming Power 091311

Sallah and Indiana lift the Ark of the Covenan...

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Joshua 3:1-17

Psalm 77

Hebrews 11:23-29

 

The readings from Joshua and Psalm 77 both give examples of the awesome power of God. My pop culture coated imagination was quick to recall the thrilling conclusion of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, when I read about Joshua taking the ark of the covenant across the Jordan. Specifically images of gut burning lightning bolts and face melting flames defeating Indy’s Nazi captors. While this does leave me a little shaky, thinking of thundering whirlwinds and trembling earth in a time of heightened natural disasters, I am reminded by Psalm 77 that God’s strength is used to redeem his people. With his mighty power, He can bring Justice to those who would oppress their fellow man and bring about a state of Shalom. So, after our faith gets us through all the storms, fires, earthquakes and face melting, there’s something worth it on the other side. The singer of Psalm 77 is in a troubled time, full of sorrow so deep he cannot sleep, but he gets through it by meditating on the works of God that have brought about great things. Whenever I feel things are at getting a little dark, it helps me to imagine all the things in this world that I am grateful for, especially the people I love, who are all great works of God. So I’m going to spend some time meditating on gratitude right now, so I can stop thinking about those Nazi eyeballs!

 

Jackie

 

Joshua 3:1-17

3Early in the morning Joshua rose and set out from Shittim with all the Israelites, and they came to the Jordan. They camped there before crossing over. 2At the end of three days the officers went through the camp 3and commanded the people, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place. Follow it, 4so that you may know the way you should go, for you have not passed this way before. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, a distance of about two thousand cubits; do not come any nearer to it.” 5Then Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” 6To the priests Joshua said, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass on in front of the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went in front of the people.

7The Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses. 8You are the one who shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” 9Joshua then said to the Israelites, “Draw near and hear the words of the Lord your God.” 10Joshua said, “By this you shall know that among you is the living God who without fail will drive out from before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites: 11the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is going to pass before you into the Jordan. 12So now select twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap.”

14When the people set out from their tents to cross over the Jordan, the priests bearing the ark of the covenant were in front of the people. 15Now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest. So when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the water, 16the waters flowing from above stood still, rising up in a single heap far off at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, while those flowing toward the sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea, were wholly cut off. Then the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.

Psalm 77

1I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, that he may hear me.

2In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.

3I think of God, and I moan; I meditate, and my spirit faints. Selah

4You keep my eyelids from closing; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

5I consider the days of old, and remember the years of long ago.

6I commune with my heart in the night; I meditate and search my spirit:

7“Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?

8Has his steadfast love ceased forever? Are his promises at an end for all time?

9Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah

10And I say, “It is my grief that the right hand of the Most High has changed.”

11I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord; I will remember your wonders of old.

12I will meditate on all your work, and muse on your mighty deeds.

13Your way, O God, is holy. What god is so great as our God?

14You are the God who works wonders; you have displayed your might among the peoples.

15With your strong arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah

16When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; the very deep trembled.

17The clouds poured out water; the skies thundered; your arrows flashed on every side.

18The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lit up the world; the earth trembled and shook.

19Your way was through the sea, your path, through the mighty waters; yet your footprints were unseen.

20You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Hebrews 11:23-29

23By faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after his birth, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26He considered abuse suffered for the Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, unafraid of the king’s anger; for he persevered as though he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. 29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned.

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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