Prayer for the day
Let them know that you, whose Name is YHWH, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.
Scripture for the day
It seems to be a constant refrain in the First Testament: they did not drive out the ____ites. They were commanded by God and by their leaders to ensure that those who lived in the country they were to possess were driven out, entirely dislocated and sent away (or worse).
Even in what seems a simple task (though doubtless it was difficult), they are not entirely obedient.
It reminds me of being a kid. I remember being obedient to a certain extent, knowing I could get away with not doing exactly what was required. Or worse, following the letter rather than the spirit of the law. The people of Israel wanted to obey and wanted to follow God, but constantly tried to cut corners, constantly tried to get away with doing the bare minimum.
On the other hand, the shepherds encounter angelic counsel and, instead of meandering toward Bethlehem, they run full tilt to see what God is doing. They not only desire to obey, they find it a delight. They’re excited to do what God has told them to do, believing that in doing so they will be blessed. And they are.
The Israelites are blessed beyond measure when they obey God. The shepherd are blessed when they obey God. It seems that obedience has something to do with the blessing and joy of the presence of God. Disobedience, as the Israelites find out, does not bring joy and blessing, but brings the consequences that God continues to warn the Israelites of. God regularly tells them what will happen if they cannot drive out the inhabitants of the land. And God is right.
Obedience may not be easy, it may be incredibly difficult, but it is the right way.