Daily D – Luke 11:27-28
As he was speaking, a woman in the crowd called out, “God bless your mother—the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you!” Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” LUKE 11:27-28 (NLT)
“You must be careful to obey all the commands of the LORD your God, following his instructions in every detail. Stay on the path that the LORD your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy,” (Deut. 5:32, 33).
And so, my children, listen to me,
for all who follow my ways are joyful.
Listen to my instruction and be wise.
Don’t ignore it.
Joyful are those who listen to me,
watching for me daily at my gates,
waiting for me outside my home!
For whoever finds me finds life
and receives favor from the LORD.
But those who miss me injure themselves.
All who hate me love death.
We have it good here in the USA. We have limitless opportunities. We have abundant provisions. We have a say in how things get done. We take for granted many freedoms others only enjoy in their hopes and dreams.
When I was in my teens, my dad started losing his hair. I liked my hair and did not want to lose it so young. I thought that by the time I was his age, science would provide a remedy. And it did! Fortunately, I didn’t need it. Now, if science can do something about this stuff growing out of my ears, that would be helpful.
“Better living through chemistry,” was DuPont’s slogan for some years. It is now, “The miracles of science.” Thirty years ago, I was given Hismanal for my allergies. After a few years on that, it was withdrawn from the market because it could cause fatal arrhythmias.
Twenty years or so ago, I was given Zantac and told it was a “good, safe drug” and that I could not get too much of it when used in combination with my other allergy, asthma, and GERD medications. Zantac was pulled from the market recently because it may cause cancer.
The blood pressure medication I take in generic form is combined using different ingredients by different companies. Apparently, at least a couple of those companies use an ingredient that may cause cancer.
I am beginning to lose faith in science.
Maybe a better way to say it is that science is a good servant, but a poor master. The tools of sound science grew from an understanding that a good God created an orderly world full of good things that could be used to make life better for many. Instead of superstition and folk remedies, we can rely on painstaking development and trials that take years to prevent unintended consequences and dangerous side effects of chemical combinations.
The reason prescription medications cost so much when they are new is because it costs so much to bring a drug to market. After a time of patent-protected sales, medications can be sold generically at reduced costs. The whole world benefits from the processes followed here in the USA.
When is the last time you thanked God for good, safe medications? When is the last time you prayed for those people who are working to find cures and vaccines? Now is a good time to redouble those prayers. Now is a good time to give God thanks for creating such a world where people can apply the intelligence and wisdom he gives us in a manner that saves and improves lives.
As good as we have it, we can improve life even more. The texts above give us direction on how to make that happen. First and foremost, we can do what God says. Obedience sometimes causes discomfort. Disobedience causes more. Proverbs 8 is a chapter that personifies Wisdom. This is a literary device, not another god or goddess (Sophia). Solomon uses this method to teach us how valuable gaining wisdom is.
Moses, Solomon, and Jesus all agree: Doing what God says brings blessings. Deliberately choosing another path causes problems.
Notice what Jesus said in reply to the woman who said how blessed it was for Mary to be his mom. He said, “even more blessed” are those who do what God says. As good as we have it, it can be better. Aligning our thoughts with God’s and attuning our hearts to his bring the most delightful rewards.
I grew up with television commercials for enriched bread. Who knew bread could be so good for you? It “helps builds strong bodies twelve ways.” Enriched living is a matter of saying Yes to God’s invitation to a life worth living, a life that is even more blessed, a life that is enriched and enriches others.
We can live even more blessed lives even during this season of pandemic. Our season of enforced stillness places us where we need to be to hear God, to know him, to experience him, and to learn to do what he says. It is a good season to learn how to live an even more blessed life.
I will live an even more blessed life.
Our Father, in Deuteronomy, in Proverbs, and in the gospels, you make it clear that obedience is not nearly as burdensome as disobedience. You help us see that obedience frees us while disobedience imprisons. You want to fill our lives with those things which matter most. You want to protect us from those things which steal life from us. Teach us your wisdom and your ways during this time and in these days. Realign and refocus our lives that we may bless the whole world with enriched abilities to bless and to serve. Amen.
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2 Chronicles 35:25 Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments. (NIV)
2 Chronicles 33:15, 16 He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel.
Matthew 3:8 “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
2 Kings 20:2, 3 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”