Bible reading for June 20 weekend.
"And you shall rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you." (Deuteronomy 26:11)
JUSTICE, continued. Chapters 25 and 26 give more instructions before Israel enters the land. Levirate marriage (25:5-10) may seem odd to us, since we live in a culture where marriage (or cohabitation) is considered only in terms of romance or personal fulfillment. In the ancient world marriage and children made the difference between survival or not, and perpetuating a family name or not. God's plan for marriage includes love and tenderness, to be sure, but also family security and nurture for future generations. Then also, a fair and consistent measure of exchange (25:13-16) is foundational for a just society. Any intent to deceive, even by an ounce or two, is considered an abomination.
REMEMBRANCE AND JOY. After settling the new land the Israelites are to bring offerings of the first-fruits, and tithes, to the Lord (26:1-15). This was to be a celebration of joy and thankfulness to God, a time to remember and recite their national history, and a ministry of giving to those in need. As the Lord has stated throughout the Scriptures to his people, "...you are a people for his treasured possession, as he has promised you, and that you are to keep all his commandments, and that he will set you in praise and in fame and in honor high above all nations that he has made, and that you shall be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he promised" (26:18-19; Rev 21:3). God has never wavered from his purpose to gather a people for himself, and this he has accomplished through his Son (John 17:6, 24).
"Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!" (Psalm 118:1)
LOVE ETERNAL. We should love the Lord for who he is and not merely for what he has done for us. He is worthy of our love and devotion. Having said this, we should also love him for what he has done on our behalf (116:1-2). He hears our prayers. He delivers us. He rescues us from distress. He has set us free. We respond by loving him, calling upon him, and giving thanks to him in the presence of others. The next two psalms highlight the everlasting nature of God's love. By faith we are united to God's beloved Son, and so, "His steadfast love endures forever" means that God's merciful, faithful, covenantal love toward us will never fail, wear out, or come to an end. Ever!
JUNETEENTH. On June 19, 1865, Union Army General Gordon Granger announced federal orders that all slaves in Texas were henceforth freed. This day has been celebrated as Emancipation Day, Jubilee, or more recently, Juneteenth. The day is an official holiday in the state of Texas, and traditionally celebrations were church-centered. Here is the third verse of an emancipation hymn, which is an appropriate prayer for our own troubled days...
"God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land."
"Lift Every Voice and Sing"
Lyrics: James Weldon Johnson (1900)
Image credit: photo by Benjamin Lambert on Unsplash.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The NET Bible is a free, online resource, and a ministry of bible.org.