Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Psalm 69.1-4, 8-9, 24, 29-30, Job 5.1-27, John 2.13-25 - Lectionary for 2/8/11

Today's readings are Psalm 69.1-4, 8-9, 24, 29-30, Job 5.1-27 and John 2.13-25.

The situation our Lord deals with in the cleansing of the temple shows us that we are capable of taking the best possible opportunities and turning them around for our own selfish desires. God's temple was a place appointed to give people access to worship of the true God. This worship was normally accompanied by offerings, and the offerings God required were often perfect animals. Because it is very difficult to bring an animal for sacrifice over a long distance and have it arrive undamaged, people would sell locally raised animals for sacrifice outside the temple. This would allow worshipers to travel with money and to arrive in the temple with a suitable offering. It's a very good plan. Yet the people who stood to benefit from it financially chose to engage in usury. They would accept only local money and would charge substantial fees to exchange money. They would sell substandard animals, again at an outrageous price. How is a person to come and worship the true, living, and pure God in this situation? The fact that the people engaging in this commerce were hindering worship - that's probably the worst of all their actions.

Look how Jesus deals with it. He disrupts the business but he does not ruin the stock. He doesn't take away the money, he simply scatters it. He releases the animals which can be gathered up again relatively easily. He doesn't let the birds out of their cages. He simply sends away the people selling them, along with their cages and birds.

Our Lord makes it clear to all of us that he is ready to confront sin. Yet his desire isn't to destroy us. His desire is to change us. May we look to the Lord's correction in humble repentance and gladly receive the change he works in us.

Dave Spotts
blogging at http://capnsaltyslongvoyage.blogspot.com

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