Sunday, February 16, 2014: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


A Reading from the Book of Deuteronomy (30:15-20)


See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.


> Deutero = second;  onom = law

> The Israelites are in Moab, the place where Moses eventually dies.

> The verses focus on the covenant between God and the Israelites.

> The two possible choices are clearly explained by Moses.

> Theology:  If you obey God you will be healthy and wealthy.

> If you disobey God you will be poor, destitute, and sick.
> In the later books of the O.T., they realize life does not always work this way.

> The concept of life after death also came into play at the end of the O.T. writings.



Psalm 119:1-8


1 Happy are they whose way is blameless, *

   who walk in the law of the Lord!

2 Happy are they who observe his decrees *

   and seek him with all their hearts!

3 Who never do any wrong, *

   but always walk in his ways.

4 You laid down your commandments, *

   that we should fully keep them.

5 Oh, that my ways were made so direct *

   that I might keep your statutes!

6 Then I should not be put to shame, *

   when I regard all your commandments.

7 I will thank you with an unfeigned heart, *

   when I have learned your righteous judgments.

8 I will keep your statutes; *

   do not utterly forsake me.


> This is the largest of the Psalms: an acrostic:  A, B, C, for each set of verses.

> Eight verses for each letter time 22 letters.

> A number of different terms are used for he Torah to avoid redundancy.



 A Reading from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians (3:1-9)


 And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food.  Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you  not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.


> The people are arguing about if its better to follow Paul or Apollos.

> Paul reprimands them and refers to them as “infants in Christ.”

> Jealousy may actually refer to being over zealous, which subsequently leads to quarreling.

> Paul tries to get the people to focus on God and not Paul or Apollos.



The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew (5:21-37)


Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell. It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.  Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”


> Sometimes these are referred to as the six antitheses of Christ.  (First four in these verses.)

> They actually go beyond that as Jesus raises them to a higher level.

> Jesus raises the law to a higher level – no name calling.

> The picture of a burning hell may have a reference to the burning of the trash outside the Dung Gate in Jerusalem.

> 1) Proverbs (6:1-5) You must also reconcile with your brother or sister.

> Luke (12:58-59) is the “Q” source – last penny.

> 2) Adultery: just looking with lust – better to get rid of the roving eye.

> 3) Divorce: Deuteronomy (24:1) – recognizes divorce happens in certain circumstances and regulates it.

> Luke did not include the phase of unchastity.

> 4) Do not swear at all.  Warns against swearing to reckless oaths.