Prayer for the day
Your statutes have been like songs to me wherever I have lived as a stranger.
Scripture for the day
John the Baptist must have been quite the sight. He was standing in the water, probably fairly unkempt, covered in his skins, eating his locusts and honey. I imagine John with wild eyes. I imagine him with matted hair and thick, wiry beard, screaming his rebukes to the people around him.
John shouted all sorts of things. He talked about the fruit that leads to repentance. He talked about the Pharisees and their wickedness. He talked about the path to God and the one to come after him. And he talked about dads.
The Pharisees, actually any of the Hebrews, were very concerned with genealogy. They cared about who their fathers were. They cared about where they came from, because many of them saw that God had been good to their fathers, and that goodness was inherited. They believed that with Abraham as their father, they were “in like Flynn.”
They were wrong, according to John. Their ancestry was important, sure, but far less important than they thought. What was important was their fruit, their connection to their God, the way they connected and followed and obeyed.
The people of Israel were encouraged to do the same thing by Joshua. In fact, he told them their story to remind them that they couldn’t rely on their history to save them. They needed to understand that their lineage, while important, was not the be all and end all. Only their following of God was important. They needed to understand that God wasn’t impressed with who they were…God desired of them that they follow him.
God loves us not for who we are, but for who He is. God desires of us not our ancestry, but our love. Our following. Our devotion.
May we follow.