Wednesday Reflection – September 11, 2019
A Life of Worship
Prelude: As I thought about today, I believe we cannot escape remembering the devastation of what is called ‘9/11’. It was as if the world stood still. History.com summarizes the events as follows: “On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks…”Today brings back bitter and painful memories for many across the world. We pray for their strength and perseverance. Today’s Watchword says: You must not distort justice; you must not show partiality; and you must not accept bribes, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.Deuteronomy 16:19
In the context of today’s text, Moses continues his final speech as he prepares the people to enter the Promised Land, a place he would be able to experience. He started with the basics and has developed a very well delivered guide for how they must stay the course in serving God. The land they are about to enter is flowing with milk and honey, bountiful, fertile and productive. However, there is the present threat that they may get distracted and derailed by the plenty, that they forget God and the principles of God. Prosperity may blind their vision and purpose. They must stay focused.
In chapter 16, Moses outlines the procedures for three feasts- Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. The people were to ensure that their corporate worship life was in order and the stipulations adhered to. Interestingly, immediately thereafter Moses announces that judges and officers were to be appointed to administer the judicial affairs, and then follows today’s text. The judges are to rule justly and with equity and do not allow themselves to be bribed. Bribery and justice are opponents; and those who are in the right will suffer if the judges are bribed.
I believe the essence of this instruction in the context of the three feasts is to point out that while observing the rituals and worship requirements is important, they become of no value if our engagement with each other is unjust. Worship is not just confined to our sanctuaries and personal or family devotions. Worship is a way of life. In our thoughts, words and actions God must be glorified. So many people compartmentalize their lives, so there is the secular and there is the sacred parts. Not so with the Lord! We are called to live total lives that honour God. Hear today’s New Testament text: Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness. 2 Timothy 2:19 (NASB).
We may not be like the terrorists who continue to wreak havoc across the world, bombing up places and killing people. However, the words we say to others and about others can be so harmful that they leave long-term debilitating effects. Our actions also come under scrutiny. We ought to demonstrate the love and compassion of Christ in all our interactions and engagements with others. May our aim always be that God is pleased with us and his name glorified.