Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Deuteronomy 9:4

"After the LORD your God has
[crossed over the Jordan ahead of you
and subdued your enemies] for you,
don't say to yourselves,
'The LORD has given us this land
because we are so righteous!'
No, it is because of the wickedness
of the other nations that he is doing it.
Deuteronomy 9:4
When good fortune strikes, who do you give credit too? Some give credit to luck and coincidence -- and sometimes it is. Others are wiser; they more frequently give credit to God -- and God's providential hand is very often involved, indeed! 
But here's where the problem comes in ... Imagine that you prayed and prayed and you finally, wonderfully got the job you'd been praying for. Well, there were probably plenty of other people who prayed and prayed too. Did God bless you ... at the expense of another? Hmmm. And does this mean that God likes you more than the others? Hmmm. And -- and here's the dangerous step -- does this mean that because you were blessed that approves of everything in your life -- just the way you are? Hmmm.
Too many of us are tempted to turn our blessings into "evidence" of God's approval for who we are. And therefore, I've known people who've used life's blessings to justify all kinds of dubios behavior. So what is that standard for righteousness? 
Imagine me pointing to the ceiling and saying, "Imagine the best person you know -- Mother Theresa, for example. Let's say she's high up -- on the goodness scale, as high as the ceiling itself. And let's imagine the worst person you know -- a serial rapist and murderer. They're belly is scraping the floor. You, on the other hand, are somewhere in between. And when enough blessings come along, your self-perceived value inflates, and you see yourself rising farther up the scale."
But what if I told you the scale wasn't as high as the ceiling? What if I told you that the scale is as high as the sky, because on the scale of God's absolute perfection and unwavering holiness, even the Mother Theresa's are sinful and unclean. 
A correct evaluation of ourselves demands -- as today's lesson suggests -- that we don't view good fortune as a prideful testament to how good and righteous we are. 
A correct evaluation of ourselves is 1) that we are sinful and unclean, and yet 2) God loves us deeply anyway.
A correct evaluation of the world is that in spite of our failings, our God is an awesome God!
In Christ's Love,
a very blessed guy
who needs to be thankful
rather than proud
What I have learned ... 
sometimes bad, even tragic, things happen to us because of someone else's sin.  
What this verse is telling me ... 
sometimes good, even wonderful, things happen to us because of someone else's sin.

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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