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Solomon Solves a Dispute

16Later, two women who were prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17The one woman said, “Please, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth while she was in the house. 18Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. We were together; there was no one else with us in the house, only the two of us were in the house. 19Then this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him. 20She got up in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while your servant slept. She laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast. 21When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, I saw that he was dead; but when I looked at him closely in the morning, clearly it was not the son I had borne.” 22But the other woman said, “No, the living son is mine, and the dead son is yours.” The first said, “No, the dead son is yours, and the living son is mine.” So they argued before the king. 23Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead’; while the other says, ‘Not so! Your son is dead, and my son is the living one.’” 24So the king said, “Bring me a sword,” and they brought a sword before the king. 25The king said, “Divide the living boy in two; then give half to the one, and half to the other.” 26But the woman whose son was alive said to the king—because compassion for her son burned within her—“Please, my lord, give her the living boy; certainly do not kill him!” The other said, “It shall be neither mine nor yours; divide it.” 27Then the king responded: “Give the first woman the living boy; do not kill him. She is his mother.” 28All Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered; and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him, to execute justice. (1 Kings 3:16-28, NRSV)

Solomon was asked by God what one thing he wanted God to give him and he asked for wisdom to rule the people. When this tragedy happened and the baby died and the mothers were arguing over whose child died and whose was still living. Solomon was able to discern whose baby it was.

Would you have handled the above situation the same way or differently?

If God asked you want you wanted God to give you would you have asked for wisdom?

 

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Pursue Justice

18You shall appoint judges and officials throughout your tribes, in all your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, and they shall render just decisions for the people. 19You 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. 20Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, so that you may live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you. (Deuteronomy 16:18-20, NRSV)

We are all supposed to pursue justice. We are to do this so we can occupy the land the Lord gives us.

God gives us hearts for justice and anything that deveats from that is not of God.

Live your life as God has called you to.

 

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The Ten Commandments

Moses convened all Israel, and said to them: Hear, O Israel, the statutes and ordinances that I am addressing to you today; you shall learn them and observe them diligently. 2The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. 3Not with our ancestors did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today. 4The Lord spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the fire. 5(At that time I was standing between the Lord and you to declare to you the words of the Lord; for you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And he said: 6I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 7you shall have no other gods before me. 8You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 9You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me,10but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. 11You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. 12Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 14But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. 15Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day. 16Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.17You shall not murder. 18Neither shall you commit adultery. 19Neither shall you steal. 20Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor. 21Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife. Neither shall you desire your neighbor’s house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Deuteronomy 5:1-21, NRSV)

As we started our trek into the 10 Commandments the other night at confirmation at St. John’s we read this passage and the passage from Exodus 20 of the 10 Commandments. I had those present count as the reading was done how many commandments they thought they heard. No one said 10, I got 13, 14, 12, all sorts of numbers, but everyone had more than 10. So why are there 10 Commandments and which ones are they? Also, did you know there are at least 3 different ways to number the 10 Commandments? Take a look at this chart from SundaySoftware.com which does a nice job of illustrating the different approaches to numbering the 10 Commandments.

So how do we know what we are supposed to do actually?

Well, in my opinion, these commandments were given to help us live in relationships. They are to help our relationship with God (1-3 or 4) and our relationships with others (4-10 or 5-10).

They help us know how to interact with God and with others. So don’t worry about the numbers, just love God and love everyone else and live that mercy and grace God gave you into the world.

 

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Pharaoh Finally Relents

29At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the prisoner who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock.30Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his officials and all the Egyptians; and there was a loud cry in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead. 31Then he summoned Moses and Aaron in the night, and said, “Rise up, go away from my people, both you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord, as you said. 32Take your flocks and your herds, as you said, and be gone. And bring a blessing on me too!” (Exodus 12:29-32, NRSV)

When the tragedy finally became real to Pharaoh he relented…

What does it take for us to know that a struggle is real for others? We can see what they are dealing with and empathize but sometimes we can’t. Sometimes we have to experience it first hand, in a way that is real to us.

How has God worked in a real way in your life that you can share with others?

 

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The First Sin

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’“ 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; 5for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. 8They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”10He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” 13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” 14The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” 16To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” 17And to the man he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” 20The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:1-21, NRSV)

Why were Adam and Eve removed from the garden?

Was it because they sinned?

Or was it another reason. You see when God created Adam and Eve God created them in the image of God. So they are like God in every way. Except…

What tree did God tell them not to eat from in the creation story from yesterday and how many special trees were there?

There were 2 special trees and God said not to eat from one of them, which one. The tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. But what was the other tree?

That is in the verses just after our reading,

22Then the LORD God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.

The other tree was the Tree of Life which gives eternal life and God didn’t say to eat from that tree, but since Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they had to be removed from the garden so they would not become exactly like God. We were removed from the garden so we couldn’t be like God, not because of sin. we could have lived in the garden forever if we hadn’t known good and evil, which is better?

 

 

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A Riverside Sabbath Day

11We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, 12and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. 13On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. 14A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. 15When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us. (Acts 16:11-15, NRSV)

Paul and his companions went down by the riverside on the Sabbath and spoke to the women who gathered there. They were probably not spiritual people per se but they gathered and listened.

We can worship and talk about God anywhere. And if people are open and ready to listen, they may just get the love that God has given to us.

Never stop living the life that God gave you to live and to allow God to speak boldly through your life.

 

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Faith in Waiting for the Promises

13All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, 14for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16, NRSV)

Life is not about where we came from but where we are going. It is about why we are alive now on this journey and where our destination will be.

None of these, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, saw the promised land. They only knew the promise and saw it from a distance but never obtained it. Yet they lived their lives in a way that showed the trust they had for God.

They lived so that others would be drawn to the love they knew God has for them. Notice not had but has, because they are with God, as we will be. Life is not about making sure we don’t screw up so we make it. Life is about giving God’s love to others as God gave it to us.

Trust the promise and give it away like it doesn’t belong to you, because it doesn’t. God is giving it to you to use and help the world see God’s love.  So know the promise is true and trust it and live like you want to see everyone there.

 

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