Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday after Ash Wednesday

God asks much; He also gives much, and the harshness of yesterday's reproof is submerged in the beauty of today's promises. If Israel does as He asks, they “shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.” In any desert city, you can tell the wealthy area by the trees and lush grass. It's wonderfully green, and refreshing, and enormously costly. And it's what God is promising to all of his people, always – this abundance that most of them can scarcely imagine. If they honor the Sabbath, if they do not follow their own ways...

...if they follow Him. Today's Gospel is the calling of Levi/Matthew, who was considered wealthy by Israelite standards but had gained that wealth precisely through “oppression, false accusation, and malicious speech.” Those were the stock in trade for men of his profession, who dealt with the Romans against their own people. If the Lord, through Isaiah, was not speaking to such as he, then the Lord was not speaking to anyone. It is sinners whom He calls to repentance; sinners who will “delight in the Lord”. By the time of Christ, that's been forgotten. The Pharisees, the leaders, are the righteous followers of the Law, and in their eyes, they are the only ones that matter, the only ones that God would ever deal with. They've forgotten the people who God called in the Old Testament, continued to call in the New, and still calls today – for those who will answer.

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