Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Life long learners

As the children of Israel are about to leave the wilderness and settle in God's promised land, Moses exhorts them to vigilance, lest the forget their experience of liberation from captivity, the need to trust God, letting his law guide their path in the new life ahead of them. It will be of no benefit to anyone to take God's favour for granted, as previous experience showed this leads disastrously to rebellion and rejection of God. It is better to see ourselves as life-long learners and teachers when it comes to faith in God. Like every other relationship in life, faith in God requires conscious effort to maintain.

'.. be careful, watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.' (Deut 4:9)

Jesus says; 

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Matt 5:17)

Paul in Romans 13:10 sums up what keeping the law strives to achieve 'Love does no wrong to its neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.'

There is more to what love can achieve in us than simply not doing wrong to others, but this is the foundation of health and peace necessary for development in prayer and the service of others. The scriptures record prayers uttered in the face of threat, instability insecurity and desperation. Some of the Psalms cry out in anger, exhibit vindictiveness in the face of enmity and betrayal. Such honesty to God is part of the struggle to recover composure and stability. By God's grace we can move away from being dysfunctional and alienated and recover inner tranquility and harmony. Learning how to wait without reacting is vital.

'Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.' (Psalm 37:7)

It can take time to get back to where we'd prefer to be, and restore lost peace within. For some, it can take years to learn true patience.

'Lord ... I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.' (Psalm 131:2)

There are times when prayer in the 'secret place' where we habitually go to pray fails to be a place of comfort. Taking refuge in a place where others pray together, or find quiet sanctuary as individuals - a church or other place made sacred by the prayers of previous generations - can make a difference, and give us needed perspective.

'One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.' (Psalm 27:4)

'When I pondered to understand this, It was troublesome in my sight, until I came into the sanctuary of God; Then I perceived their end. ' (Psalm 73:16-17)

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