Deuteronomy 34:1-12 and Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17
Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18 and Psalm 1
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Peace be with you!
As a child, I use to love spending time in our small “orchard” (by small I mean six apple and peach trees and my grandpa came out in the spring to spray them and in the fall to pick the apples and preaches) with our family dog, Daisy. My dad had cut me a short trail through the tall grass, which allowed me to go to the orchard in my wheelchair. Even as a young child, I enjoy the peace and the stability the trees gave me each time I went back there.
Psalm 1 uses the imaginary of a big tree, probably a big majestic oak tree, to God the Father’s love for us as his children. An oak tree uses it roots to reach water deep in the ground, so it can survive the harshest winters. An oak tree stays the test of time and becomes a testament to us who only live on the earth a short time.
Like oak trees, God reaches deep into the darkness and pulls at our hearts to turn us towards him. God has been our answer time and time again. So when one of the Sadducees, lawyer, ask Jesus, “Which commandment in the law is the greatest?” (Matthew 22:36). Of course, Jesus understands the question is a test. Jesus answers, “The first is love your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40).
Now many Christians, including myself, believe Jesus is giving the Sadducees new commandments. But Jesus is repeating laws in Deuteronomy 6 and 19; laws the Jewish community, especially the Sadducees, should know. And by putting these laws above all others, Jesus is stating that loving God means to love others. This means following God’s commandments demonstrates love to others through our actions and relationships. And out of love we choose to follow the laws, which God gave us. Because we follow the laws, we tend to others’ well-being.
The last six commandments of the Ten Commandments give us structure to live by honoring our parents, not killing each others, keeping our relationships hold, not take what is not yours, not to lie, and to be happy with what you have (Exodus 20:12-17). And we choose to follow these laws, because we love God and each other.
Just as oak trees are grounded by their roots, we grounded by our love for God the Father and each other. This love is what keeps us grounded in our relationships and as Christians. Our life’s mission is to carry out God’s plan by being his instruments.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for loving us, even though we are broken and need forgiveness. Help us to love each other as you love us. Thank you for giving us the law and for the chance to love you, our Triune God, and each other by keeping the law. Amen.
Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit
Please feel free to answer the reflective questions through comments. Please agree to disagree and be respectable to each other. Please take a moment, if you have not already, to sign the covenant. You can answer all or just one of the questions.
1. What does it mean to love through the law?