Today's Lectionary Text
Hebrews 10:26-31For if we willfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy “on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by those who have spurned the Son of God, profaned the blood of the covenant by which they were sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
One passage from today’s lectionary comes from Joshua 7. It’s an interesting story of the Israelites being overconfident and being defeated in battle by the “men of Ai.” The lost battle was not the point of the story, however. It’s really about a man named Achan who took a beautiful robe, 200 shekels of silver and a single gold bar — items from conquest that were supposed to be reserved for God.
Achan’s sin led to a curse on the Israelites that caused them to be defeated by an inferior army. His punishment was to be burned by fire and stoned.
We aren’t all that different. Sure, we may not steal items during a conquest. But many of us sometimes take things reserved for God, don’t we? We fail to tithe to give God what is God’s, or we fail to take time to draw closer to God via the reading of scripture or through a purposeful time of prayer. We fail to use the gifts God has given us for the purposes of ministry. In each of those cases, we are failing to give to God what is God’s.
This passage from Hebrews alerts us to the fact that, like Achan, we face consequences for our sin. The difference is we have a Savior who is willing to forgive as long as we earnestly ask Him to do so. The Hebrews passage laments people who choose not to accept the blood of the new covenant — the gift of grace through the death and resurrection of Christ.
Consider this day what have you been withholding from God. And how might you turn those things over to God, not to avoid any kind of curse but rather to be a blessing to others who might come to know Jesus Christ because of you?
— Todd Seifert
conference director of communications
Published Aug. 15, 2019
Prayer for Reflection
Gracious God, help us to recognize what we are withholding from you. Grant us the faith to turn those things over to You. And help us to be a blessing to others who do not yet know the redeeming power and love of Jesus.
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