Preaching to the Choir

These are some sermons, but mostly lectionary discussions. It also has prayers for some Sundays.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

For Sunday, March 9, Deut. 4:1-9

Deuteronomy 4:1-9 New International Version

Obedience Commanded
1 Hear now, O Israel, the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.
3 You saw with your own eyes what the LORD did at Baal Peor. The LORD your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor, 4 but all of you who held fast to the LORD your God are still alive today.
5 See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, "Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people." 7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? 8 And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?
9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

The focus for my sermon is on verse 9. "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;"

I like how it starts out with "Only be careful". It reminds me of the NYPD Blues tv show many years ago, where after their morning briefing and before they headed out, the Sargent would tell everybody: "Let's be careful out there." How can we be careful?

The Israelites were instructed to keep their souls diligently. The word "keep" means, "to guard, keep watch over, and observe." The soul is the inner self - the emotions of the heart and the thoughts of the mind.
They are the same two words used when Joshua told them, Josh. 23:11 “So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the LORD your God."
How could they stand guard over their inner selves? The proverb says, Prov. 19:16 "He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, but he who is careless of conduct will die."

What are your thoughts?


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