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The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost A, July 30, 2023

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The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost A, July 30, 2023

“Holy.”  What a word!  By one digital count of its use in our bible, the word appears 1,286 times.  We come from a culture that has long used the word “holy” to describe men and women, places and buildings, tools, utensils, and food itself.  Usually, the meaning of “holy” understood in such use is a claim on some special sanctity or relationship with God, the Father of our lord Jesus Christ— or whatever god.  This long common usage fits well with the work of consecration—the setting apart of something for use by God.  This usage consecrates men and women, places and buildings, tools, utensils, and food itself to make them “holy” and set apart for use by God.

According to the text from Deuteronomy, this long-standing common practice of “consecrating to make holy” is wrong… or at least our text calls it into question.  We on the human side of this consecrating to make holy are not the ones able to consecrate anything… making holy is a divine act, not a human one.  The Lord your God spells it out quite clearly.  After announcing the reality of the situation in vs. 6—“You are a people holy to the Lord your God,” the Lord continues by naming how it is that this people has become holy… holy to him.  The people have been chosen by God.  Not only does the Lord’s choosing of them make them holy but it also makes the people into their God’s most prized treasure.  No other tribe or people on earth are so prized.  This people, chosen by the Lord, holy and prized, possessed no inherent qualities which caused the Lord to set his love upon them (vs. 7).  They were few… they were slaves… they were in bondage to another (vs. 8).  Only their Lord choosing them in the midst of their unworthiness demonstrates the steadfast love and faithfulness of their Lord.

Table Talk:  Discuss how “worthiness” on the part of the recipient of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness stifles his choosing of them and his making them holy.
Pray:  Heavenly Father, choose me again and again that I may be holy and precious to you.  Amen

Deuteronomy 7:6-9

6 For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

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