August 27, 2019

August 27, 2019

August 27, 2019
Psalm 10
Jeremiah 7:16-26
Revelation 3:7-13

by Anne Travis
Laity of Ebenezer UMC (Knoxville, TN)
Smoky Mountain District

I have been privileged to take Disciple I-IV, and I have been privileged to teach the newer in-depth Covenant Bible Study. (If you are one who has completed Disciple, I encourage you to look into Covenant, also an excellent Bible study curriculum.) In all those years of study and reading, one word comes to mind as I reflect back: covenant. The lectionary readings for today all remind us of covenant in one way or another.

Throughout the Old Testament, God calls God’s people into a covenant relationship. When the people stray from that relationship, which they seem wont to do, God calls them back, reminds them — sometimes with great patience and sometimes with great frustration.

In Psalm 10, the psalmist is first accusing God of leaving the people and causing them to suffer at the hands of the wicked. But by the end of the psalmist’s rant, the writer acknowledges:

“The LORD rules forever and always! The nations will vanish from his land. LORD, you listen to the desires of those who suffer. You steady their hearts; you listen closely to them, to establish justice for the orphan and the oppressed, so that people of the land will never again be terrified.” Psalm ‭10:16-18‬ ‭CEB‬‬

The prophet Jeremiah — trying to convince the people to return to God rather than humiliating themselves by offering burnt offerings to gods — shares these words from the Lord:

“On the day I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I didn’t say a thing—I gave no instructions—about entirely burned offerings or sacrifices. Rather, this is what I required of them: Obey me so that I may become your God and you may become my people. Follow the path I mark out for you so that it may go well with you.” Jeremiah ‭7:22-23‬ ‭CEB‬‬

Finally, in today’s New Testament reading, the writer John again reminds us of the need to be faithful to the New Covenant revealed in God’s Son, Jesus, the New Covenant to which we are called:

“Because you kept my command to endure, I will keep you safe through the time of testing that is about to come over the whole world, to test those who live on earth. I’m coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one takes your crown. As for those who emerge victorious, I will make them pillars in the temple of my God, and they will never leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven from my God. I will also write on them my own new name. If you can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” Revelation ‭3:10-13‬ ‭CEB‬‬

How many times does God have to call us back? I believe that even today we still are constantly breaking covenant with God, we still need to be reminded again and again that God wants to be in loving relationship with us, to be our God and show us the right way to live in relationship with God and with each other.

Prayer: Loving God, Thank you for your great patience with us, for we need reminders of your covenant with us and our covenant with you. We are eternally grateful for your great and abiding love. Guide us, Lord, and show us how to love you more fully by loving each other more fully. In the name of your son, our teacher and example, Jesus, we pray. Amen.