Today’s verses talk about commitment-fierce, unshakable, and, yes, even loving commitment in the face of the harshest adversity. The psalmist fiercely declares his strong commitment. More, the psalmist speaks out of pure and utter joy in his promise. Near the end of today’s passage, he sings,
Your decrees are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever.
The psalmist makes a profound commitment: to obey God’s commandments forever. He promises to follow God’s law every day in every aspect of his life. How many of us have the courage to make a commitment like that? Can we promise to obey God every single day?
The psalmist’s life isn’t all that easy. He states, “I am severely afflicted,” and “the wicked have laid a snare for me.” But the psalmist sticks with his commitment. That’s pretty amazing, especially when we have trouble making that kind of commitment in the face of minor annoyance—when work’s been especially stressful, when bills are due, and when some- one has the gall to cut us off in traffic.
But here’s the significant part. The psalmist tells us why he makes that kind of commitment, even in the face of danger and suffering. The surprise? It has nothing to do with reward, fear, duty, or obligation. The psalmist promises to obey God completely and in every way—because he finds joy in it. God is the source of all joy, all comfort—even in the face of suffering and despair. Read these words again: “Your decrees are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.”

Dear Lord God, help us to remember that you make your laws because you love us. When we follow them, we find joy, comfort, and peace. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

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Lectionary Week
July 10–16, 2017
Scripture Overview

Genesis 25 marks the beginning of the narrative of Jacob’s life. The theme that stands out in starkest relief is the election of Jacob to be the heir to the promise—Jacob, who has no claim to be the heir except that which the grace of God bestows. Psalm 25 re ects a general sense of alienation. Yet the psalmist expresses con dence in following God’s paths and truths. Paul sets out two polarities in Romans 8: those who “live according to the flesh and those who “live according to the Spirit,” a cosmic duality related to the rule of sin and the rule of God. The parable of the sower and the seeds in Matthew 13 is an object lesson in the mysterious grace of God.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Genesis 25:19-34. When in your life have you experienced favoritism from a parent, friend, coworker, or boss that created division?
• Read Psalm 119:105-112. The psalmist promises to follow God’s law every day in every aspect of his life—despite his circumstances. When did you last renew and affirm your commitment to God through daily obedience?
• Read Romans 8:1-11. How have you attempted to fill the “God-shaped” hole in your life?
• Read Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. What kind of soil are you? How bountiful a harvest do you produce for God?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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