Bread – If

December 2, 2008


Readings for Monday through Tuesday, December 1-2

            from the Book of Common Prayer:

            Isa. 1:1-31; 1 Thess. 1:1-2:12; Luke 20:1-18

            Psalms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11

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This writing marks the first anniversary of Bread.  It is the beginning of the Christian season of Advent, the beginning of the church year.  Bread began one year ago at the beginning of the church year, at the beginning of our joint anticipation of the coming of Christ into the world.

 

After describing a world which ignores God and is rampant with sin, Isaiah says:

 

“‘If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.’  For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”  Isa. 1:19-20

 

Everything hinges on that little word “If.”  Built into that little word is a major assumption … that man (we) have the ability, that we are able.  In other words, the statement “If you are willing and obedient…” assumes that we have the ability to choose to be willing and that we can choose to be obedient, both at the same time.

 

The “willing” which is being referred to here is not a “willing” such as an exercise of the will, but more of an attitude of “wanting” or “desire.”  The Hebrew word (Strongs #14) “[G]enerally speaking … represents the inclination or disposition which leads toward action, rather than the volition which immediately precedes the action.”*

 

So, another way of saying this is that “If you can have the right attitude of desire and from that desire be obedient (in all things), then …”

 

Put this way, the “If” becomes a much higher hurdle.  It is not a simple exercise of the will which is needed, coupled with some obedience, but a radical attitude adjustment from our natural status as rebel to “willing obedience (to the commands of God) in all things.”

 

In fact, the hurdle of “if” is so high that we cannot jump it on our own — we need help.

 

And as we begin the church year, we acknowledge that help is indeed on the way.  Thanks be to God!

 

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Lord, help us to love your Word, incarnate in Jesus Christ and written in Scripture.  Help us Lord to come to you and to bring others to you.  Help us know that you are God and we are not.  Assist us Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be both willing and obedient.  It is only through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ that we are empowered to even make this prayer.  And so we thank you and praise you!  Amen.

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*Citation is from the “Lexical Aids to the Old Testament,” contained in the Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible (NASB) (AMG Publishers 1990)

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One Response to “Bread – If”

  1. Kathy Kremer Says:

    Your coments are right on- “if” is a small word with big implications. But God always asks us to make a choice. He carefully lays out the consequences of those choices: choose life (his way) and everything will go well. Choose death (our own way) and everything will be awful, ending in destruction. “Therefore choose life,” he begs. Whatever our choice, God lets us make it and abides by it.

    As we follow His will, gradually our choices shape us into the person that God intended us to be. It’s like a woodcarver who starts with a block of wood and patiently uses chisel and hammer to bring out the hidden beauty inside. Once the form is revealed, the work is not done. The artist must sand down all the rough areas and use a finish which will bring out the beauty of the grain. This process will not be finished until the artist sees before him what he envisioned at the beginning of the process.


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