The Daily Office | March 19, 2018
Psalms 95, 96, 97
Psalms 98, 99, 100, 101
Numbers 9:15-end and 10:29-end
Collect: Ash Wednesday
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect: The Fifth Sunday in Lent
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of this world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Obedience. “At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out.”
There is a difference in people who are set apart to God and others in the world. Our lives become governed no longer by ourselves and our own desires and passions. Instead we submit ourselves to the rule and standard of the One to whom we belong.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Even Jesus did this and told those who questioned him, “Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does.”
In Numbers 6 we see the commitment of the one who takes the vow of the Nazarite. He has strict guidelines to follow, sacrifices of self comfort and even family obligations. God is so gracious in providing a place of cleansing in the event that he becomes defiled, but the obligation to honor his vow to be set apart remains. “The previous days do not count because he became defiled during his separation.” And he begins again in his commitment.
We see the picture of daily obedience in the Israelites as they followed the cloud above the tabernacle. “Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted they would set out.” What does it look like for us, to moment by moment watch for the Lord’s direction and follow him?
In Titus, Paul gives a clear picture of what our lives are to look like as elders, older men, young men, older women, and younger ones in contrast to others he speaks of who claim to know God, but by their actions deny him. These are described as detestable, disobedient, and unfit for doing anything good. These directions for God’s people are given so that others might be encouraged and corrected, so that the word of God is not maligned, and that those who oppose the people of God will have nothing bad to say about them.
What do our lives show us to be? Do our lives look different than our unbelieving friends and neighbors? What places in your life is God showing you that you need to lay aside the world’s way and be separate?
Tomorrow’s reading in Titus is full of good news for us. Don’t miss it!