I knew we would encounter these verses sometime during our Bible discovery challenge! While I’m not a fan of preaching about “rules” for Christians to follow, this counsel spells it out clearly and is repeated in other places within the Bible for added emphasis.
It’s pretty much a no brainer that if we are believers, we love God. But do we love him with our whole heart, soul, and strength? Are we even capable of loving him that much? Don’t we have our spouses, families, and friends whom we also love? How do we give God our “whole” heart?
When the world feels like it is crashing in around you, read this psalm! As we are looking at God’s character from the perspective of his majesty and grace, these verses remind us of his great love and care for us. We may be disappointed by friends and family, but God is steadfast and true.
There are some great images here for us to cling to. I have always liked the picture of a mama bird huddling her chicks close when I read, “He will shelter you with his wings.” Moms can be very protective! I always found it comforting to find my mom when I fell and scraped my knee or broke up with a boy at school. Moms are great, but God protects us even more!
Samuel still carries a lot of weight with the people. We see clearly he is respected as well. He has done nothing overtly sinful for which the people seek revenge or retribution. Do you have someone in your life that you look up to and respect? I know we are all sinful, but there are people who don’t have “visible” sins that adversely affect other people. Samuel was this and so much more.
Samuel is going to take this opportunity to point out a couple things to the people, aside from his good reputation. That is, the importance of remembering what God has done and being faithful followers. You can sum up what Samuel impressed upon the people that day in those two things.
We’ve all heard how it important it is to love God and love each other. If we get those two things right, many of the other things we’ll face in life will simply fall into place. That’s not to say life will be “easy,” but it does mean we’ll enjoy life more fully when we can learn what it means to love with Christian love.
Again, Paul seems extremely impressed with the Thessalonians and how these young Christians are getting it right. “We urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.” Paul uses some examples that these Gentiles would understand when he speaks of sexual sin. Adultery and other sexual freedoms would have been common among the Gentiles (pagans or new believers) of that day. Certainly, this is behavior that doesn’t please God.
If you’ve ever attended a lecture or webinar, or heard a sermon preached, you’ve heard repetition. It’s how you drive home certain points. Maybe the orator is crafty, and you don’t even know you’ve heard the message before. It is powerful to repeat a message. We often need to hear things multiple times and multiple ways before we actually understand or take action.
Today, Moses is recalling stories from their journey. He starts with the rescue in Egypt. It is important to remember what has happened to us, too, because there are life lessons all along the way that can help us navigate other situations. Moses wanted to keep the stories alive not only to encourage the people who had been there personally, but more so for those that came after that hadn’t seen for themselves. These stories point to the greatness of God.