The reading from Deuteronomy contains two lengthy addresses by Moses to the Israelites, now deep into their sojourn in the wilderness. The first of these begins with a historical review (for them and for you!) of their journey since departing Sinai. It emphasizes God’s mighty and marvelous saving power. Their wilderness wanderings—and their wanderings from the way that God has established for them to live—are recounted. Moses’ second address focuses on the law and its meaning, the essence of which is contained in the “Shema,” found in Deuteronomy 6:4. “Shema,” means, “hear”: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone.”
Our reading in Luke begins with Jesus’s teaching on prayer and the giving of the Lord’s Prayer as the essential model. Jesus exhorts his followers to ask for whatever they need, in his name, and God will hear and answer their prayers. This is a powerful chapter, which will repay our close and repeated reading. The following chapters are likewise filled with encouragement for Jesus’s disciples, cautioning us to guard against all forms of greed and warning us not to worry or to give ourselves up to anxiety. Rather, we are to trust in the healing power that Jesus demonstrates throughout these chapters and to attend to the lessons he offers us in his parables.
As you read a psalm each day, no doubt you are encountering phrases and passages which resonate with your own experience and which also have been echoed in countless hymns and works of art. Psalm 55, which you will read this week, contains one such: “O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” One of the many beauties of the Psalms is the way they express so vividly feelings we all share and offer these to God. I hope that your reading of them in the Bible Challenge leads you to use the Psalms as prayers for yourself and for those you love and those your fear and those who hurt you.
May you feel God’s presence with you as you read and come to know more fully the blessings of his Word.