Scriptures and Reflections for the week of October 16 – October 21
Monday, October 16
[Joshua addressing the tribes of Israel] 14“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.”
“Who’s your daddy?” This rhetorical phrase is often used as a boastful challenge of dominance over another person. It confronts the receiver with the message that it is the sender who is in charge. Using this unusual analogy, Joshua is reminding the tribes of Israel about the covenant that Yahweh established with Abraham; which was renewed with Moses, and now Joshua is reminding the tribes of Israel what the Lord God did for them: (a) Joshua 24:5 freed the Israelites from bondage in Egypt; (b) 24:8 defeated the Amorites and gave Israel possession of their land; (c) 24:11 after crossing the Jordan, the Lord God defeated the various enemies; and (d) 24:13 “So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.” Who’s your daddy? Read verse 14 again … what is the Lord God asking of us? Do we have difficulty getting rid of the other ‘gods’ in our lives?
Tuesday, October 17
14“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
From Monday and verse 14: What does it mean to “fear” God? Do you think that God wants us to fear him? We sometimes hear the phrase, “He or she is a God-fearing person” … what does that mean to you? The word for “fear” in verse 14 is translated “to revere” … God is certainly worthy of our reverence. How do you “serve” God? And serving God “with all faithfulness” – what does that involve? Start making a list of all the ways that you serve God with all faithfulness. When you read verse 15, did you see this as an “out clause” in the contract; a first right of refusal? But what is Joshua telling us? Look at Romans 12:1-2 … in view of God’s mercy, present yourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove the will of God – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.
Wednesday, October 18
Joshua 24: 14a and 15c
14“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. 15But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
When someone says, “I know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior” … are there certain expectations, or a different level of awareness, when we make that statement? What does it mean “to know” someone? Is it the same as knowing something “about” a person? Are we saying that we know Jesus by faith? Is it possible that the more we know about Jesus … what Jesus said and accomplished … the more fully our faith knowledge of Jesus is developed and supported? Looking at the Romans passage from Tuesday: Is it conceivable that the more we know about Jesus leads us to an understanding of what it means to be a “living sacrifice” where we involve our heart, mind, and will into obedient service? Read Romans 12: 3-8 to understand the measure of faith that God has given each of his servants. Joshua drives home this point … but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord … serve him with all faithfulness. From Tuesday … how is your list coming along on all the ways that you serve God with all faithfulness? Try putting your list into categories: (a) hands-on service; (b) indirect, like writing a check; (c) spontaneous acts of service; (d) sharing your ‘walk’ in Jesus with others; (e) other categories.
Thursday, October 19
John 13: 1-5
1“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. 2The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
Jesus, in washing the feet of his disciples, establishes an example of servanthood for his followers. In the Jewish culture at that time, it was important to wash the feet of those about to partake of a communal meal. It was customary for this task to be completed by the lowliest of servants; and it begs the question if the disciples of Jesus would have washed each other’s feet in the absence of a lowly servant? Obviously the disciples were stunned when their leader, their Master, stooped to this lowly task. A powerful message from this scene, and there are many others, is that Christians should be willing to perform the most menial services for one another … a humble servant performing a humble service.
In one respect, the disciples were more than embarrassed, because in Luke’s account (Luke 22:24) they were debating who was the greatest of the twelve! In that account, Jesus replied, “For which is the greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves? Is it not the one who sits at table? But I am among you as one who serves.” Jesus adds more to the equation in this passage from Luke, because He was exemplifying servant leadership. Look at your list of service to God with all faithfulness … look for that spark of servant leadership.
Friday, October 20
John 13: 6-11
6He came to Simon Peter, who said to Jesus, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet.” 7Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8Peter said, “No, you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9Peter replied, “Then, Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10Jesus answered, “A person who had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not everyone was clean.
Was Peter’s love for Jesus genuine? Look at how Peter responds to Jesus … he just keeps on dictating to the Lord!
Note: Jesus washed everyone’s feet that fateful evening … is there a lesson to be learned from this? In your service to God with all faithfulness, whose feet do you wash?
Saturday, October 21
Matthew 20: 28
[Jesus talking] 28“… just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
As we faithfully serve our Lord and Savior, we are to emulate Him … serving one another in lowliness of heart and mind, seeking to build one another up in humility and love. When we have the servant’s heart … the Lord promised, we will be greatly blessed.