Posted by: Pauline | September 3, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday September 10

Psalm 149

The juxtaposition of praising God and at the same time raising swords to take vengeance probably makes many of us uncomfortable. Too many times in the past, people have claimed to wield a sword in the name of Christ, while acting contrary to the gospel of Christ. We can join enthusiastically in the praises of the first half of the psalm and the ending, but we don’t know what to do with the verses that speak of the honor of executing God’s judgment on people.

This psalm may have been written to celebrate a military victory, and it has been suggested that it was when David conquered the city of Jerusalem. Others tie this psalm to the return from the exile in Babylon, and still others see it as referring not to a past event but the future triumph of the Messiah over the enemies of God and His people. Whatever the case, it makes a clear distinction between those who know and serve God, and those who make themselves enemies of God and His people. We never want to use Scripture as an excuse to take vengeance into our own hands, but we do have to recognize the terrible reality of God’s judgment.

Rom. 13:8-14

Our society talks a lot about the importance of love, but often does not seem to understand what it means to love. Paul identifies love as that which fulfills all the requirements of the law, but by this he does not mean some vague feeling of goodwill to all people, but the active practice of doing what is right, to the benefit of others rather than to fulfill one’s own desires.

The commandments Paul quotes, as well as his own moral instructions, tend to be phrased in terms of what not to do. Love is not fulfilled merely by refraining from doing what is wrong, but we do have to stop doing what is wrong in order to do what is right. Perhaps in Paul’s day, as in our own, there were people who thought they could do what they pleased so long as they as they felt love for people. But Paul makes it clear that is not the way of Christ.

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