Union

Marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman

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[This may appear as a bonus post, because I crossed the international date line today so this is my second run through Friday 9 June 2018.]

Read: Deuteronomy 22

If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must be put to death. You must purge this evil from Israel. (Deuteronomy 22:22)

Reflect:

God takes marriage very seriously. His instructions for the people of Israel reflect that. In this chapter, Moses warns against a number of evils:

A husband who decides he doesn’t like his wife must not lie about her to others and he is not to divorce her (22:13-19). A bride who is found to not be a virgin (obviously this does not apply to widows marrying a second time) shall be stoned to death (22:20-21). Adultery is punishable by death also (22:22). Consensual sex outside of marriage is punishable by death (22:23-24). If a woman engaged to be married is raped, her attacker shall be put to death (22:25-27). If an unmarried, unengaged woman is raped, the attacker must pay a massive fine, but they are to be married and he may never divorce her (22:28-29). A man may not marry his father’s wife (22:30).

Without contraception and protection from STDs, these laws provided for the protection of the vulnerable, including women and any children born from a forced sexual union. However, the biggest messages from these laws are the sanctity and sacredness of marriage, the immense importance of the one flesh union, and the seriousness of sexual sin which would harm this one flesh union.

Though the laws of my county differ sharply, as a Christian and as a wife I must recognise my marriage is precious in God’s eyes – and live accordingly.

crux:

Marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

Thank you for the huge blessing and privilege of my marriage relationship with Jeff. Thank you for enabling us to keep our marriage bed pure and undefiled for nearly 18 years of wedded joy.

Thank you for Jeff’s faith, for his sacrificial love for me, for his compassionate care for our children and for his desire to serve you by serving your people as a pastor.

LORD, please help Jeff while I am away (and when I return) to remain faithful to you, to me, to our children and to our church. May he have the strength and patience, insight and kindness to love and lead in our marriage, our family and our church in a way that brings glory to Jesus.

Amen.

Rain

The LORD sends rain because he cares for his people and their land

Read: Deuteronomy 11

But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to the end. (Deuteronomy 11:11-12)

Reflect:

This morning as I went in to work there was a rainbow arcing over the razor wire, a beautiful promise from God. The rainbow reminds us (and God – Genesis 9:14-15) of God’s covenant to never again destroy all life with a flood. It is a promise of forgiveness, rather than punishment.

In Egypt, where the land was watered through irrigation from the Nile, rain seldom fell. So the people of Israel would have missed the constant reminder of the rainbow while they were in Egypt. Now, they were entering a new land where rain fell seasonally and the land drank “rain from heaven” – not solely from the clouds or from the sky, but from the hand of God. The LORD, the author and sustainer of the water cycle, cared for the land and it is he who would water it, ensuring rain fell in the necessary seasons.

Today, as farmers enjoy the heavy rains of the past few days here in the Great Southern, I am thankful for God’s caring provision. I thank God that his eyes are on his land and his people, throughout the world. And I thank God for the promise of forgiveness and restoration that I read in his rainbows.

crux:

The LORD sends rain because he cares for his people and their land.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

Thank you for the rain that has fallen from heaven in the last few days. Thank you for the rain that is drunk thirstily by our dry land.

Thank you that the rain seems to have put out a multitude of fires that were spreading fast in the high autumn winds. Thank you for keeping me safe on the highway on Friday as I travelled through fire, wind-storms and rain-storms.

LORD, please send more rain. You know our farmers depend on the rain you send to grow the crops that feed others and themselves. Please help the farmers here in the Great Southern to receive the rain their land and crops need because they rely on your merciful provision.

Amen.