Tagged: temptation

Genesis 22:1-14

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on July 2, 2017.

“God Will Provide”
Life is a promising and dangerous adventure. The stakes are high. Participation is not optional. Everyone has to decide and act on the decisions made. We all have to figure it out. So we ask, “God, how can we successfully live out this adventure of life on earth?”. And it is as though God says, “Glad you asked. Because I will provide what you need when you need it.” Patience is trusting in God’s timing. And a life well lived requires well-placed trust.

The drama of Abraham & Isaac at Mt. Moriah revealed this drama in a troubling fashion. Why would God, whom we believe is loving, good, and trustworthy – ask for the human sacrifice of Abraham’s beloved son? Or for that matter any human sacrifice? What we find is that nowhere else in Scripture does God ask anyone else to offer a human sacrifice.  So the bigness of this passage includes a major teaching that shaped the rest of Scripture and informs our life today. God’s goodness is what we can trust in when the options of our circumstances don’t indicate that we have any good options.  Let’s pay attention to the story and let the meaning show us the way forward.

Spiritual Map Making
Abraham & Sarah and Isaac were spiritual mapmakers. That is, they followed God’s leadership into faith territory not previously understood or traveled. By their obedience to God’s call, and by God’s grace which forgave their failures –  they became the leaders in God’s faith movement. (Known as   Patriarchs and Matriarch of faith.) Their story is frequently referred to in the Old and New Testaments. They define how to live the meaning of faith as defined in Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.’

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Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on March 5th, 2017.

The first Sunday in the Lenten season focuses our attention on Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7.  Those who observe this season engage in fasting, moderation, self-denial and repenting have a heightened connection with, dedication and sensitivity to the Lord God. It is also a season when one is more susceptible to temptation; one must, therefore, exercise discipline. These are major emphases of this text.

As the preacher studies and meditates on this pericope, he cannot avoid seeing themes of God giving an assignment, setting boundaries, giving freedom of choice, expecting obedience, and imposing consequences. The text also indicates that we are to have a heightened connection with and sensitivity to the Lord God, whether or not we are observing the Lenten season.

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Luke 4:1-13

This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on February 14, 2016.

Hermano Leon Clipart
Hermano Leon Clipart

Jesus’ journey into the wilderness serves as an annual launching pad for our own 40 day journey into the Lenten wilderness. Occurring with variation in each synoptic, the preacher may be tempted to choose another lection this year. Before doing so, the preacher should consider whether they have sufficiently mined Luke’s depiction of Jesus’ testing, for it is rich with biblical allusion and spiritual guidance.

The first few verses alone are packed with dots that need to be connected. The 40 day journey immediately reminds us of other biblical heroes who have undergone a similar experience. Moses’ 40 day fast (Exodus 24:28; Deuteronomy 9:9) and Elijah’s 40 day flight to the mount of God (1 Kings 19:4-8) come to mind, offering a subtle connection here between Jesus, the great law giver and the great prophet. Then there’s the not-so-subtle connection between Jesus and Israel. Jesus passed through the waters of the Jordan (Luke 3:21-22) just moments before being led into the wilderness by the Spirit. His first temptation: To make bread (think: manna). The connections between Jesus’ 40 days and Israel’s 40 years are not coincidental. Look closely. Jesus answers each test with a quote from Deuteronomy, the book that begins “these are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the wilderness east of the Jordan…” (Deuteronomy 1:1). Two of those quotes (Deuteronomy 6:13; Deuteronomy 6:16) come right after the prayer faithful Jews were to pray twice daily, the Shema, and the third comes within 2 chapters (Deuteronomy 8:3). In this story Luke identifies Jesus as both Israel and the model Jew, and the biblical allusions don’t stop there. Instead, Luke continues to draw a line from Jesus’ present experience all the way back to the beginning.

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