August 16, 2017

Deuteronomy 34:1-12


Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar. The Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigor had not abated. The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.

Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands on him; and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. He was unequaled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.


Psalm 66:1-3A, 5, 8, 16-17


Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;

    sing the glory of his name;

    give to him glorious praise.

Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!

Come and see what God has done:

    he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.

Bless our God, O peoples,

    let the sound of his praise be heard,

Come and hear, all you who fear God,

    and I will tell what he has done for me.

I cried aloud to him,

    and he was extolled with my tongue.


Matthew 18:15-20


“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”






Jesus explains how God wills for His people to be united and gathered into one in Him, that is, in love. For when we are gathered together He is with us, and we operate in His will and our prayers are effective. But this precious unity must be safeguarded by appropriately dealing with our sins. Unlike the Holy Trinity, which is sinless, our human unity is constantly subject to division when we sin against each other. And while it is not always easy to tell people when they have wronged us, if we fail to do so, the hurt remains and festers, the unrepented sinful behavior will repeat, and the unity will be further broken. Our Lord encourages us to plead for unity and reconciliation, but also to place boundaries as consequences if we are not heard to preserve the peace in that way.


It is also not easy to receive correction when we are in the wrong. We can take an example from Moses today, the mightiest prophet and meekest man of the Old Testament. Rebuked by the Lord for his sins, he was not permitted to enter the promised land, only to see it. Yet under the weight of this heavy rebuke and consequence, Moses never argues with God, does not become defensive or point out the number of times he was not in the wrong or the great things God has done through him, he merely humbles himself and accepts. And he continues to do the Lord’s work and serve his people the rest of his days. While he is shown a boundary in this world, he is received into the next.


Today we find ourselves in extreme disunity with many members of our human family. All too much time is wasted pointing fingers and arguing about whose sin is the greatest. Let us follow our Lord’s command to have the courage to speak up when we are sinned against as well as the humility to listen when we are reproved. Let us pray for the meekness to accept correction and keep working to get all God’s people to the promised land. Let us pray for the grace to reprove not to punish but to regain each other. And as we pray for these graces together, may the Lord truly come into our midst to bind us into one.


Prayer: Jesus, thank you for being with us when we gather in Your Name, and for hearing and answering our prayers. Help us to restore the unity that has been lost to sin, that Your human family may be one in You and one in love. We pray this in agreement in Your Name. Amen.

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