Bible Cliff’s Notes (My dog ate my Bible!)
Jeremiah witnesses a potter turning a worthless pot into something usable and beautiful. God tells Jeremiah that he can do this and much more with the people of Israel. Basically, no person or nation is beyond the redemption of God.
The author of Deuteronomy is warning the people of Israel of what will happen if they stray from God’s commandments, which is, of course, precisely what does happen when they do just that. Basically, there are two paths laid out: one of life and prosperity and one of death and destruction. Those who obey God will find life, and those who look elsewhere for meaning will watch all that is of true value slip between their fingers.
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
A beautiful piece of poetry about how intimately and thoroughly known by our Creator we truly are. God knew us before we were born, helped get us together in our mother’s womb and knows us so completely that every hair on our head is counted. No one else on earth knows us for what we truly are like God does.
Another word of warning that resonates with the cautions laid out in the Deuteronomy text. Those who cling to God and God’s word will prosper; those who stray will perish.
Paul and Timothy write a letter to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus. Paul has become somewhat of a father figure and mentor to him and he asks that Philemon put him to work for the cause of the new Christian community. Formerly, Onesimus was considered less than human, fairly worthless. But now Paul says he is of great value, and so Paul is pleading on his behalf. He wants to see that all of his former debts are settled and that he is treated as an equal, a brother, rather than a lesser person or as property.
Jesus is speaking in measured hyperbole to those who are following him about the cost of being one of his disciples. Basically, when met with the question, what does it take to truly be a disciple of Christ?” his response is, “everything you’ve got.” Not only do you have to be willing to give up all of your possessions, but even your emotional bonds to friends and family. It is an investment that cannot be done through half measures.
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