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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Today's Scripture Reading | Deuteronomy 6:16–25

Do not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.

You must diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his decrees, and his statutes that he has commanded you. Do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may go in and occupy the good land that the Lord swore to your ancestors to give you, thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has promised. When your children ask you in time to come, “What is the meaning of the decrees and the statutes and the ordinances that the Lord our God has commanded you?” then you shall say to your children, “We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. The Lord displayed before our eyes great and awesome signs and wonders against Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his household. He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land that he promised on oath to our ancestors. Then the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our lasting good, so as to keep us alive, as is now the case. If we diligently observe this entire commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, we will be in the right.” (NRSV)

As I read this passage I am reminded of a joke that easily summarizes the Old Testament. God says, “Don’t do the thing,” and the people come back and say, “We did the thing” (repeat).

Here God lays out that he has instructions for his people to follow, and yet even God’s chosen people, who had witnessed God’s miracles personally, had a hard time following God’s rules. Part of the challenge is we come to expect certain things. Do good things and good things will come to you—like when you were a little kid and did something right and got a shiny sticker. But our journey with God isn’t as simple as that. The Israelites had a long, perilous journey to the promised land, and so do we. As I often remind myself, nowhere does it says do good and only good will come to you, or that good things will happen on your timetable.

God, give me the strength to put aside my expectations and restore my faith when the journey isn’t as smooth as I desire. Help me as I desire to do good but am easily tempted away and lose faith. Thank you for your guidance and patience. Amen.

Written by Katie Patterson, Youth Mission Coordinator

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