|Exodus 23; John 2; Job 41; 2 Corinthians 11|
Today’s post is written by my friend Carol Snyder. Carol and I met about 6 years ago when I moved down the street from her. We were fast friends! Carol currently picks me up at 5am to go to the gym 2-3 days per week. It’s amazing what ground we can cover in 11 minutes to the gym and 11 minutes home! I love those conversations. Carol has encouraged me in a lot of ways over the past couple of years, including cheering me on as I accepted the challenge of writing a Biblejournal.net post each week during 2016. When Carol learned of my plans to be out of town for a few days this week, she was quick to volunteer as a guest writer. What a great friend!
Carol, I’m grateful for our friendship. I look forward to many more early morning conversations in the days to come!
As I start to write my first bible journal entry, I am nervous yet excited. How can I follow in the footsteps of this team of bloggers? Back on January 1st when I heard the team was going to “read the bible in a year”, I was all in. Even after growing up the daughter of a Lutheran minister, I am sadly remiss in reading the bible. As I have been reading along, I am rereading many stories I know, but also working through hard chapters (such as Job), which I never spent much time with before. The daily blog entries are just as inspiring and enriching as the bible verses; they speak to me in an every day interpretation of the bible. Thank you for my daily enrichment!
On to our daily reading and the verses I chose for today’s journal entry. It was a tough choice between the almost fairy tale “Wedding at Cana” in John 2 which I love or the “Do this, not that” story line of Exodus. I chose the latter because it reflected the choices we are given on a daily basis.
Think back to the time when you were a little child and your parents told you:
- “Don’t touch that stove, it’s hot.”
- “Don’t put that toy in your mouth, you might choke.”
- “Don’t wander off, a stranger might take you.”
Oftentimes, they did not give you an alternative. They just said, “Don’t do that”.
As we grew older, our friends started to weigh in:
- “Don’t hang out with that person, they are different. Hang out with me!”
- “Don’t dress like that, people will think you are weird. Wear this!”
- (We were even bombarded in magazines by the DO/DON’T fashion police!)
- “Don’t join that club, it’s for nerds. Play this sport.”
Sometimes we followed our friends but sometimes we made our own choices as we started to develop into adults.
As adults, we will hear the same “don’t do that, do this” messages:
- “Don’t be a couch potato, exercise 30 minutes five days a week!!”
- “Don’t eat bread or sugar, go paleo or do the 21-day fix.”
- “Don’t vote for that candidate, they are corrupt. Vote for this guy or gal.”
We are faced with many mixed messages on a daily basis. How can we go through the day and not feel some pressure from our own choices? Do we make the best choices possible? Do we help others make good choices? Do we follow God? Most likely, we don’t make perfect choices, for we are sinners.
In Exodus 23, God is very clear on his expectations for what we should not do:
1You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. 2 You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, 3 nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.
4 “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. 5 If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.
If we are presented with gossip, do we spread it? Or if we are presented with helping someone in need who might have lost something, do we return it? We can make many parallels just to these verses. I sum it up as “Do the Right Thing” or as I tell my kids “Make Good Choices”.
God continues with his expectations, including taking a break from the daily pressures. He knows we aren’t perfect and we do have a lot on our shoulders. We have many mixed messages and as each week unwinds, he gives us time to refresh, renew and relax.
12 “Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien, may be refreshed.
He understands we need to start anew each week. He gives us a chance to improve and to make better choices. The best part is he sends an angel to help us. All we have to do is listen for the voice, the inner voice helping us through our daily choices.
20 “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 21 Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him.
22 “But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.
As we get further into the New Testament, he references the Holy Spirit in John 14:26:
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Lord, please help me to make the right choice in my daily life. Let me refresh and begin the week with a new outlook. Shine your Holy Spirit on me so that I might be a light for you. Amen.