Prayer for the day
Bless our God, you peoples; make the voice of his praise to be heard; Who holds our souls in life, and will not allow our feet to slip.
Scripture for the day
It’s a worry, sometimes, that God seems to allow some absolutely crazy stuff int he First Testament, stuff that we find abhorrent today. We wonder, as we read, how God could allow slavery, allow the capture of someone’s wife as a spoil of war, how God could seemingly encourage polygamy and all sorts of vile and detestable practices.
It’s amazing to me that God did allow these things. Why didn’t He completely do away with everything that would harm our sensibilities? Why didn’t God make it clear right from the outset how wrong these practices were?
What’s even more amazing is the condescension of God. One of the best answers to these questions is to say that God knew the context of the people of Israel and in knowing that context allowed for a certain amount of latitude. He allowed them to be as they were before, as the nations around them, yet insisted on some gradual changes over time. God knew the times and knew how to lead the people through the times to different and better times.
In the Second Testament passage in Mark today, Jesus says we’re to be aware of the times also. We’re to be watching and waiting, looking for signs of the end. This is not to say we should be preoccupied with the end as some preachers have been in recent years, but that we shouldn’t be ignorant of the times in which we find ourselves, watching for signs of God’s presence, watching for signs of Christ’s return.
As we watch and wait, it’s wise for us to remember the Israelites, that God gives us revelation according to our context and according to what He knows we can handle. Our responsibility is to be engaged with that revelation, to watch, to listen, and to wait for the voice of God.