Bible Readings – The first step – (Day 30)

Dear Lord God, in today’s readings Your theme is a consistent reminder of our fallen nature, a nature that rejects You by refusing to do what we believe and trying to replace You with other more convenient and accommodating images of a god that servers his people as we see fit, rather than a people that server their God the way He commands them to. O Lord thank You for opening my heart, mind and soul to the truths of Jesus; that of renouncing myself and for continuing to teach and share with me what and how I am to replace my own senses, passions and will – all that is sinfully natural to me under the sun with that which is of You, pure, selfless, humble, giving and serving. You never told us tat seeking Your image would be easy, You blessed me wit men in my path like Pastor McCord that clearly and boldly said it would not, but You have given me the means and the ways to do my part and You walk with and in me; it is my task to continue to be less of me and more of You. So that is my prayer today, for me, for my love ones, for all those who You but in my path, help us to keep taking each step as if it was the first step a step of renouncement of ourselves for acceptance of You, Your will, Your purpose. O Lord for the sake of my Lords sorrowful passion, have mercy on me and on the whole world. Amen.

The first step to be taken by one who wishes to follow Christ is, according to Our Lord’s own words, that of renouncing himself – that is, his own senses, his own passions, his own will, his own judgment, and all the movements of nature, making to God a sacrifice of all these things, and of all their acts, which are surely sacrifices very acceptable to the Lord. And we must never grow weary of this; for if anyone having, so to speak, one foot already in Heaven, should abandon this exercise, when the time should come for him to put the other there, he would run much risk of being lost.

— St. Vincent de Paul

Exodus 32:7-14

7 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down; for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves; 8 they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them; they have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, `These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'” 9 And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people; 10 now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; but of you I will make a great nation.” 11 But Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, “O LORD, why does thy wrath burn hot against thy people, whom thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, `With evil intent did he bring them forth, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou didst swear by thine own self, and didst say to them, `I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it for ever.'” 14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people.

Psalm 106:19-23

19 They made a calf in Horeb and worshiped a molten image. 20 They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass. 21 They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt, 22 wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red Sea. 23 Therefore he said he would destroy them — had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them.

Bible Study: [Psalm 106] Israel is invited to praise the God whose mercy has always tempered judgment of Israel (Psalm 106:1-3). The speaker, on behalf of all, seeks solidarity with the people, who can always count on God’s fidelity despite their sin (Psalm 106:4-5). Confident of God’s mercy, the speaker invites national repentance (Psalm 106:6) by reciting from Israel’s history eight instances of sin, judgment, and forgiveness. The sins are the rebellion at the Red Sea (Psalm 106:6-12; see Exodus 14-15), the craving for meat in the desert (Psalm 106:13-15; see Numbers 11), the challenge to Moses’ authority (Psalm 106:16-18; see Numbers 16), the golden calf episode (Psalm 106:19-23; see Exodus 32-34), the refusal to take Canaan by the southern route (Psalm 106:24-27; see Numbers 13-14 and Deut 1-2), the rebellion at Baal-Peor (Psalm 106:28-31; see Numbers 25:1-10), the anger of Moses (Psalm 106:32-33; see Numbers 20:1-13), and mingling with the nations (Psalm 106:34-47). The last, as suggested by its length and generalized language, may be the sin that invites the repentance of the present generation. The text gives the site of each sin: Egypt (Psalm 106:7), the desert (Psalm 106:14), the camp (Psalm 106:16), Horeb (Psalm 106:19), in their tents (Psalm 106:25), Baal-Peor (Psalm 106:28), the waters of Meribah (Psalm 106:32), Canaan (Psalm 106:38).

John 5:31-47

31 If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true; 32 there is another who bears witness to me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony which I receive is from man; but I say this that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen; 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent. 39 You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from men. 42 But I know that you have not the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; it is Moses who accuses you, on whom you set your hope. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

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