|Published on Mon, May 18, 2020 3:00 PM|
Meditation for 19 May 2020 by Ruth Adams
“You must make no idols; you must set up neither carved image nor standing stone, set up no sculptured stone in your land, to prostrate yourselves in front of it; for it is I, Yahweh, who am your God.” Leviticus 26: 1
Laws, rules and more laws. That was the life for Israel, the nation of the ancient Hebrews. And God said “If you walk contrary to me, I will bring more plagues upon you” (v. 21). A blessed future life was foreign to the thought of the ancient Hebrews. The religious unit was the nation, not the individual; therefore, the goodness of God could hardly show itself in any other way than described, as universal blessings: “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season and the land shall yield its increase and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit”(v.4).
God made many other promises and offered blessings in verses 10 thru 13: that he would “dwell in their midst and break the yoke that bound them, so they could now walk with their head held high.” In verses 14 through 20 God tells them if they do not listen to him, he will “punish them sevenfold for their sins and their strength shall be spent in vain and their land will not yield her increase. Neither shall the trees yield their fruits.”
Rules, rules and more rules. That is how I grew up in a family that mostly lived by the Old Testament laws. The God of my early childhood was a fearful one. We never ate pork or shell fish. We weren’t supposed to cut our hair. I gave myself a haircut when I was four years old and my aunts and uncles talked about that until the day they died.
Thankfully, I had two wonderful grandmothers. I believe I received my gift of optimism from my Grandma Gertie. She could look at a field of weeds and find one flower to admire. She volunteered and was active until she passed at 96. Grandma Mary introduced me to Jesus and talked about his love; she told me not to be afraid of God’s punishment because He loved me too. She encouraged me to join the Episcopal Church when I was older, and I did that when I was nineteen. I was baptized and confirmed when I was twenty.
We, even more obviously than the Hebrews, are at a crossroad. We may choose the way of life or the way of destruction. Many issues exist: Covid 19, homelessness. Say “Yes” to the moral law of God, the law of justice, of mercy, of mutual brotherly help and love.
Leviticus 26:1-20 Psalm 78:1-39 1 Timothy 2:1-6 Matthew 13:18-23