May 12: Morning Prayer Scripture

Deuteronomy 13
Luke 7:36-50

Continuing with the Ten Commandments theme, chapter 13 deals with the problem with idols, the second commandment.

Deuteronomy continues the directions about worship, instructing them to worship only God alone, no matter who or what tries to draw them away. This challenges normal objects of trust. It doesn’t matter if the craziest miracle or the most trusted friend (the empirical and relational) should be the source of doubt. They should never turn away from the God who delivered them. Compare this with Paul’s exhortation about those who would preach other gospel in Galatians 1:6-10. It doesn’t matter if an angel should come out of heaven and preach another gospel, don’t trust it.

Deuteronomy goes a step further and instructs total destruction of those who try to pull you away–even to the point of destroying whole cities. In a non theocratic world this is not applicable, but it is on the church and personal level. Excommunication and personal cut-off might be necessary, at least in terms of the influence that another has on one’s life. This is not to the destruction of that person, but the removal of their ability to sway. It’s “purging the evil from your midst” (Deuteronomy 13:5)

Nevertheless, it should be understood that this is not in an attempt to separate from others because of their sin, but because they are attempting to pull us away from the one who can forgive our sins. We who are thirsty do not separate from the dehydrated, but from those who would keep us away from the well. Consider this in light of the woman coming to Jesus to anoint him. Those who are justified are those who cling to Jesus, and those who are not are those who would make themselves holy by casting out sinners.

Illustrations to Consider (Running List)

  • Mary Magdalene by George Herbert

Related Catechism Questions

109. What is grace? (pg. 53)
Grace is God’s undeserved gift of his love, mercy, and help, which he freely offers to us who, because of our sin, deserve only condemnation. (Genesis 50:15–21; Psalm 106; Joel 2:12–13; Luke 7:36–50; Romans 5:15–21; Ephesians 2:4–9; Hebrews 4:14–16)

343. How is false witness given in respect to the teaching of the Church? (pg. 109)
All false or misleading teaching concerning the Christian faith bears false witness against the truth of God’s Word and abuses the authority given by Christ to his Body. (Deuteronomy 13; Matthew 24:3–14; 2 Peter 2:1–3; 1 John 2:18–27)

May 11: Morning Prayer Scripture

Deuteronomy 12
Luke 7:11-35

Beginning in chapter 12, the following chapters of Deuteronomy have something of a connection to the structure of the Ten Commandments given in Chapter 5. Chapter twelve has to do with the worship of God alone.

In Deuteronomy, the people are given direction on where and how they are to go about worship in the new life of the promised land. There has been some laxity and difference in worship among the people, but this is not representative of the rest that they will then have in the new land. What is striking is the use of the phrase “everyone doing what is right in their own eyes” which is of course characteristic of the people of Israel before they have a king (Judges 17:6). Over and over, God’s vision is to bring order to chaos–righteous rule to anarchy.

They are also told to not take up the practices of the pagan world which brings children to be sacrificed. In the chaos of the present moment, and in the pagan world (a world not just chaotic in practices, but in which God to worship), children are brought to death. But with Jesus, there is something different in Luke. Like John the Baptist before him, Jesus doesn’t dance to the world’s tune. Instead of chaos, he brings order. Unlike the pagan gods who demand the life of children, Jesus brings life to the widow’s son. He brings sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, and gospel proclamation to the poor (hope for the future).

John and Jesus’s ministries are brought into unity, but all of this is under God, not under the tunes of men. The world will play its song of death, but the unified theme of Jesus is the song of deliverance.

Illustration Ideas (Running List)
  • Consider the first chapters of The Silmarilion and the songs of Melkor and Eä.
  • Think about the songs of deliverance from Psalm 32.
  • Related Catechism Questions

  • 245. Why do Anglicans worship with a structured liturgy?  (Page 85)
    Anglicans worship with a structured liturgy because it embodies biblical patterns of worship, fosters reverence and love for God, deepens faith in Jesus Christ, and is in continuity with the practices of Israel and the Early Church. (Numbers 6:22–27; Deuteronomy 12:8–14; Psalm 96; Acts 2:42–47; Revelation 15; Didache 8–10)

  • 313. Is it always wrong to harm or kill another?  (Page 103)
    There are circumstances in which justice, the protection of the weak and defenseless, and the preservation of life may require acts of violence. It is the particular task of government to uphold these principles in society. However, our Lord calls us to show mercy and to return evil with good. (Numbers 35:9–34; Matthew 5:43–45; Romans 12:17–21; 13:1–4; Articles of Religion 37)