We live in a culture that celebrates choice. We have a vast
number of options for what airline to fly, what cell phone
carrier to use, what side we’d like with our combo meal. In a
recent interview, the chairman of Starbucks noted that on the
typical Starbucks menu there are over eighty-two thousand possible
drink combinations. We can find it overwhelming to consider
the number of options we negotiate and choose between
on a daily basis!

The Israelites had never known a life of choice. While
enslaved, they obeyed Pharaoh’s demands if they wanted to live.
In the wilderness, they depended on God’s provision for their
daily needs in order to survive. The Promised Land, however,
offers new options. They will no longer need manna and quail
sent from heaven in a land flowing with milk and honey. The
gods of the Canaanites might prove tempting choices when they
want a divinity a little more controllable than one who answers
only to the cryptic name, “I am who I am” (Exod. 3:14).

For Moses, however, the choice is stark: The people can
choose life or death, prosperity or adversity. Choosing to follow
God’s commands, to live by God’s ways of love, is to choose
long life, thriving in the land, and flourishing of community.
Choosing to listen, instead, to the call of the idols of their new
neighbors is a clear-cut choice to perish; they will not last long
as a community without the ways laid out by the God who has
brought them together.

What choices do you face today? What will it look like if
you choose the life God desires for you in each decision?

God, many choices confront me every day. When it comes to setting the course for my life, help me choose the things that say yes to your way of being in this world. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 5:21-37

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Lectionary Week
February 6–12, 2017
Scripture Overview

How are Christians to understand and relate to the Jewish law? The text from Deuteronomy confronts Israel with a sharp choice: Follow the commandments of Yahweh or bow to the gods of the Canaanites. Choosing the law means choosing a way of life. Psalm 119 praises the Torah as God’s gift bestowed on Israel to be the authentic guide as to how life should be lived. Jesus becomes the authoritative interpreter of the Torah, the one who pushes beyond external behavior to a consistency between disposition and deed. Christians are invited by the text to be different and become what Paul describes as “spiritual people.”

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Deuteronomy 30:15-20. How do you go about choosing between the call of God and the call of the idols that surround you?
• Read Psalm 119:1-8. How has keeping God’s command- ments been a joyful experience in your life?
• Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-9. What do you consider to be the “milk” of the gospel versus the “solid food” of the gospel?
• Read Matthew 5:21-37. Which of the “But I say to you” teachings of Jesus surprise you the most? Why?

Respond by posting a prayer.

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