Devotion: Monday, March 25, 2019

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from 1 Corinthians 10:11-13, where the Scripture says,   

11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

POWERFUL REMINDERS, POWERFUL INVITATIONS!

I don’t read through the Old Testament as much as I should. How about you? Very often when people read through the pages of the Old Testament, they get lost in the stories, the names, and the events. Yet we should read it again and again and again, but why? What’s it all about? What makes those people any different than the people of other nations, with other stories and other events?

Good questions. And here are a few answers to bless you as you engage God’s Word which is His letter of love, life, forgiveness, and salvation for you!

1. The people in the Old Testament are no different than you, me, or anyone else. We all are 100% sinners through and through. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and deserve nothing but judgment and death for our thoughts, words, and deeds. (Be honest with yourself here, you know what’s in your heart and mind!)

2. Though the people of the Old Testament weren’t special in and off themselves, the God of the Old Testament was and is. And their uniqueness was because God chose them to be a promised, forgiven, and graced people who would embody those promises for all the world to see, inviting every tribe and nation to put their faith in Yahweh, the God who would save and redeem the entire world by grace.

They were, as Genesis 12:1-3 reminds us, people who were blessed to be a blessing so that all the nations of the world would be blessed by the God who brings life to undeserving, rebellious folks like us. We’re just like them, sinners through and through, who have been saved by God’s actions alone, actions of grace offered to all by faith as a gift.

So, just read some of the Old Testament stories with that in mind. As I do, I often wonder why God didn’t just give up on all of them and start fresh. But then I’m so very thankful that He didn’t do that with them and He doesn’t do that with me. It’s amazing to see God’s mercy in action in the lives of people like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Esau, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Deborah, Samson, Jonathan, David, Solomon, Ruth and others, and to realize that that same mercy and grace are available to you and me, in the One who fulfilled all of God’s promises for salvation by sending Jesus into the world.

Those stories are powerful reminders of God’s grace, but our reading for today points out that they are also warnings to us about what sin and evil can do in our lives. Their stories remind us that when it comes to the things that matter, things like faith, a purposeful life, family, relationships, and so on, “if you think that you [on your own, with your strength alone] are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12). However, those Old Testament stories are even greater invitations to trust in the One who did not leave us in our sinful state, but came to give us life abundantly (John 10:10).

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, remind us of the futility of trying to live life on our own. But also remind us even more of your invitation to live life joyfully and abundantly by grace through faith in You. AMEN.

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