April 12: Costly Grace
Deuteronomy 23:1–25:19; 2 Corinthians 6:1–13; Psalm 39
When we say something hurtful to a friend or a family member, we know we can’t just ignore the harm we have caused (we should know, anyway). In order to repair the relationship and earn back trust, we have to acknowledge the rift we’ve created. But when it comes to our relationship with God, we don’t always look at it the same way. Sometimes, consciously or unconsciously, we belittle the incredible love that He has shown us.
When we don’t acknowledge our sin as an act of rebellion, we feel far from God. We’ve created this great divide because we’ve tarnished our relationship with Him. In Psalm 39, the psalmist is in great agony over his sin—to the point where he acknowledges that people are nothing and his life is vanity: “Surely a man walks about as a mere shadow” (Psa 39:6).
Without God, life is meaningless. The psalmist acknowledges that his transgression has done great harm. He turns to God and says: “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?” (Psa 39:7). At the heart of that cry is a need for redemption from a God that answers. He provided a way of salvation—one that was incredibly costly through Christ. In 2 Corinthians, Paul stresses the importance of not taking this great gift for granted: “Now because we are fellow workers, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain.… Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation!” (2 Cor 6:1–2).
Paul’s call is urgent because Jesus’ coming to earth wasn’t a small gesture. It was incredible. If we aren’t amazed at it, if we scorn it (even by accident), we may miss out. We have a greater hope than the psalmist was ever able to realize; his broken cry would not be fully answered for centuries. So today, when you hear God’s call, don’t respond with silence. Respond with a thankful heart.
Are you ignoring sin in your life? How can you live with a thankful heart, since Christ has bought you with such a great sacrifice?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- None that is hurt by bursting, or that hath his privy members cut off, shall enter into the Congregation of the Lord. A bastard shall not enter into the Congregation of the Lord: even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the Congregation of the Lord. The Ammonites and the Moabites shall not enter into the Congregation of the Lord: even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the Congregation of the Lord forever, Because they met you not with bread and water in the way, when ye came out of Egypt, and because they hired against the Balaam the son of Beor, of Pethor in Aram-naharaim, to curse thee. Nevertheless, the Lord thy God would not hearken unto Balaam, but the Lord thy God turned the curse to a blessing unto thee, because the Lord thy God loved thee. Thou shall not seek their peace, nor their prosperity all thy days forever. Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite: for he is thy brother, neither shalt thou abhor an Egyptian, because thou wast a stranger in his land. The children that are begotten of them in their third generation, shall enter into the Congregation of the Lord. When thou goest out with the host against thine enemies, keep thee then from all wickedness. If there be among you any that is unclean by that which cometh to him by night, he shall go out of the host, and shall not enter into the host, But at even he shall wash himself with water, and when the sun is down, he shall enter into the host,. Thou shalt have a paddle among thy weapons, and when thou wouldest sit down without, thou shalt dig therewith, and returning, thou shalt cover thine excrements. For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp to deliver thee, and to give thee thine enemies before thee: threfore thine host shall be holy, that he shall see no filthy thing in thee, and turn away from thee. Thou shalt not deliver the servant unto his master, which is escaped from his master unto thee. He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in what place he shall choose, in one of thy cities where it liketh him best: thou shalt not vex him. There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, neither shall there be a whore keeper of the sons of Israel. Thou shalt neither bring the hire of a whore, not the price of a dog into the house of the Lord thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not give to usury to thy brother: as usury of money, usury of meat, usury of anything that is put to usury. Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury, but thou shalt not lend upon usury, but thou shalt not lend upon usury unto thy brother, that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to, in the land whither thou goest to possess it. When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not be slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee, and so it should be sin unto thee. But when thou abstainest from vowing, it shall be no sin unto thee. That which is gone out of thy lips, thou shalt keep and perform, as thou hast vowed it willingly unto the Lord thy God: for thou hast spoken it with thy mouth. When thou comest unto thy neighbor’s vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes at thy pleasure, as much as thou wilt: but thou shalt put none in thy vessel. When thou comest unto thy neighbor’s corn, thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand, but thou shalt not move a sickle to thy neighbor’s corn. When a man taketh a wife, and marrieth her, if so be she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath espied some filthiness in her, then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and put it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, and gone her way, and marry with another man, And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a letter of divorcement, and put it in her hand, and send her out of his house, or if the latter man die which took her to wife: Then her first husband, which sent her away may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled: for that is abomination in the sight of the Lord, and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God doth give thee to inherit. When a man taketh a new wife, he shall not go a warfare, neither shall be charged with any business, but shall be free at home one year, and rejoice with his wife, which he hath taken. No man shall take the nether nor the upper millstone to pledge: for this gage is his living. If any man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him, that thief shall die: so shalt thou put evil away form among you. Take heed of the plague of leprosy, that thou observe diligently, and do according to all that the Priests of Levites shall teach you: take heed ye do as I commanded them. Remember what the Lord thy God did unto Miriam by the way after that ye were come out of Egypt. When thou shalt ask again of thy neighbor anything lent, thou shalt not go into his house to fet his pedge. But thou shalt ask again of thy neighbor anything lent, thou shalt not go into his house to for his pledge. But thou shalt stand without, and the man that borrowed it of thee, shall bring the pledge out of the doors unto thee. Furthermore if it be a poor body, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge, But shalt restore him the pledge when teh sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is needy and poor, neither of thy brethen nor of the stranger that is in thy land within thy gates. Thou shalt give him his hire for his day, neither shall the sun go down upon it: for he is poor, and therewith sustaineth his life: lest he cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be sin unto thee. The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children put to death for the fathers, but every man shall be put to death for his own sin. Thou shalt not pervert the right of the stranger, nor of the fatherless, nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge. But remember that thou wast a servant in Egypt, and how the Lord thy God delivered thee thence. Therefore I command thee to do this thing. When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgotten a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fet it, but it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt: therefore I command thee to do this thing. When there shall be strife between men, and they shall come unto judgement, and sentence shall be given upon them, and the righteous shall be justified, and the wicked condemned, Then if so the wicked be worthy to be beaten, the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his trespass unto a certain number. Forty stripes shall he cause him to have, and not past, lest if he should exceed and beat him above that with many stripes, thy brother should appear despised in thy sight. Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. If brethen dwell together, and one of them die and have no son, the wife of the dead shall not marry without, that is, unto a stranger, but his kinsman shall go in unto her, and take her to wife, and do the kinsman’s office to her. And the firstborn which she beareth, shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. And if the man will not take his kinswoman, then let his kinswoman go up to the gate unto the Elders, and say, My kinsman refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel: he will not do the office of a kinsman unto me. Then the Elders of the city shall call him, and commune with him: if he stand and say, I willnot take her, Then shall his kinswoman come unto him in the presence of the Elders, and loose his shoe from his foot, and spit in his face, and answer, and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother’s house. And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him whose shoe is put off. When men strive together, one with another, if the wife of the one come near, for to rid her husband out of the hands of him that smiteth him, and put forth her hand, and take him by his privities. Then thou shalt cut off her hand: thine eye shall not spre her. Thou shalt not have in thy bag two manner of weights, a great and a small: Neither shalt thou have in thine house divers measures, a great and a smal: But thou shalt have a right and just weight: a perfect and a just measure shalt thou have, that thy days may be lengthened in the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are abomination unto the Lord thy God. Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come out of Egypt: How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of you, all that were feeble behind thee, when thou was fainted and weary, and he feared not God. Therefore, when the Lord thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, then thou shalt put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven: forget not. Deuteronomy 23:1–25:19
- Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother (which is the first commandment with promise) That it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest live long on earth. And ye, fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in instruction and information of teh Lord. Servants, be obedient unto them that are your masters, according to the flesh, with fear and trembling in singleness of your hearts, as unto Christ, Not with service to the eye, as men pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will, serving the Lord, and not men. And know ye that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, that same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free, And ye masters, do the same things unto them, putting away threatening: and know that even your master also is in heaven, neither is there respect of persons with him. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the assaults of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, and against the worldly governors, the princes of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness, which are in the high places. For this case take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to resist in the evil day, and having finished all things, stand fast. 2 Corinthians 6:1–13
- I thought, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth bridled, while the wicked is in my sight. I was dumb and spake nothing: I kept silence even from good, and my sorrow was more stirred. Mine heart was hot within me, and while I was musing, the fire kindled, and I spake with my tongue, saying, Lord, let me know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: let me know how long I have to live. Behold, thou hast made my days as an hand breadth, and mine age as nothing in respect of thee: surely every man is his best state is altogether vanity. Selah. Doubtless man walketh in a shadow, and disquieteth himself in vain: he heapeth up riches, and cannot tell who shall gather them. And now Lord, what wait I for? mine hope is even in thee. Deliver me from all my transgressions, and make me not a rebuke unto the foolish. I should have been dumb, and not have opened my mouth, because thou didst it. Take thy plague away from me: for I am consumed by the stroke of thine hand. When thou with rebukes dost chastise man for iniquity, thou as a moth makest his beauty to consume: surely every man is vanity. Selah. Hear my prayer, O Lord, and hearken unto my cry: keep not silence at my tears, for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner as all my fathers. Stay thine anger from me, that i may recover my strength, before I go hence and be not. Psalm 39