Through the Bible in a Year – February 18

The Scheme for January and February can be found here

Exodus 15-16; Acts 24; Psalm 64-65

As the story moves on, we are shown what life with God means.

As we remembered yesterday, the Israelites are called to Remembrance of what God has done for them, and then as they walk with them, he provides – bread for the day. Not an excess, but what they need. Thus he reveals himself to be the source of their life, moment by moment. The bread is sacramental – as all food, it is more than a reminder of God presence. this is the food God has provided – we have it at his hand.

But for the rich there comes a double challenge. We have not learned our faith through such dependence – we forget where all we have comes from. God’s good creation is seen as a Right, rather than a daily gift. The connection is broken and often we will sit down now to eat without any thanksgiving.

We break bread to remember and in the remembering we are given life – but if we take more than that which God has given us, if we Grasp, if we seek to possess more, to take charge of our lives, to secure ourselves against tomorrow, that we might rest easy without faith – it turns to maggots in our teeth. For most of us in the West, the lesson of daily bread is one we have never learned. Perhaps this above all is why the church is so weak? For us, faith is not a daily act rooted in the material gift of God, now it is just a set of beliefs, little or nothing to do with the stuff of our everyday life, so ‘successfully’ have we secured this for ourselves

Through the Bible in a Year – February 17

The Scheme for January and February can be found here

Exodus 13-14; Acts 23; Psalm 62-63

One of the great challenges to living faith today is our all too easy discarding of history. We live in a culture where history counts for nothing, such are the apparent advances in technology and our seeming mastery of all things. What has history to teach US?

Yet we see in the instructions of Moses to the children of Israel, Remembering that which God has done is essential to continuing in faith. Precise instructions are given also, this is no mere retelling of a story – it is to be embodied in the continuing redemption of the first born, thus the story is told from generation to generation.

Of course in a sense the Israelites also lived in an ‘ahistoric age’ – no sooner are they free of the slavery of the Egyptians than they forget how things were and want to return – a constant theme of their story those next forty years.

Throughout God is present in the pillar of cloud and fire – a living presence amongst them – but they often will not allow the possibility of God’s future could be better than their known history. God calls them into a future of His making, much as Christ calls us to leave our nets and follow.

Of course it is clear here that it is not that the Israelites have forgotten the past in the way we readily discard it, but rather that they refuse to focus on what God has done in the past as a guarantee of the future.

The future is Always an unknown. The past is in truth all that we ever know.

The call of faith is to recall the mighty acts of God, or his daily small mercies. Thus we grow in faith and submit ourselves into his hands for the future. He has provided daily bread these many days, will he not continue to do so? We too readily discount the Goodness of God, which is both our Source and our End.