January 27, 2008

What We Said That Day

Deuteronomy 27:9-16

Then all the people shall say, "Amen!"
Deuteronomy 27:15


Police officers, secret-service agents, and soldiers make oaths that they will put their lives on the line, if necessary. Losing one's life in the course of such duty is honorable, but it's painful for those who remain behind.

In today's reading, Moses teaches Israel to put its life on the line. Once they are in the land of promise, they will pronounce the blessings and curses of the covenant (see Joshua 8:30-35)-blessings for faithful living, curses for disloyalty. The Levites will pronounce the curses, and the people will say, "Amen!"

Pronouncing these blessings and curses amounts to making a vow, a promise to be loyal to God and enjoy his benefits, or to pay the penalty for disloyalty.

We have to admit that the curse on sin is valid for us all. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). God's judgment is what we have coming, but in his mercy God offers his blessings as a gift.

Christians put their lives on the line not because it's their job but because it's their calling. They've placed their lives in the hands of Jesus, who took the curse up­on himself.

In worship services all over the world today, Chris­tians confess that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Will you say "Amen!" to that?

Thank you, heavenly Father, that Christ took on himself the curse we deserve. We confess our sin, and we give thanks for your forgiveness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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