Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today
NL Daily Devotion for Thursday, January 17, 2019
by Daniel D. Maurer, Clergy Stuff Writer
Sometimes it’s hard for me to take Satan very seriously. I don’t tend to be a believer in a literal Satan. That is to say, I don’t believe there’s some evil red guy with horns and a pitchfork, sporting a bifurcated tail, and wanting to possess your soul.
However, there is evil.
Evil is tempting, for the very reason that it doesn’t look evil.
True sociopaths and blatantly evil people (like Hitler, Ted Bundy, or Pol Pot) are few and far between. Much more commonly we see good people who bend the edges to fit something that they feel will ultimately be “good” for them.
In this way, we have God’s law to remind us that we need God’s correction to bring us back to fold. It’s not a fear of Satan or Evil that ultimately changes us, I feel—instead, it is God’s corrections and willingness to work with us.
Today’s reading seems like it would be a conditional sort of agreement that God enters into with God’s people. Perhaps it was, in some respects. But considering how often the Hebrew people goofed up and God continue to work with them and welcome them, I’m apt to believe that the only condition that God places on God’s love and commitment is that God will never break it.
God never gives up on us. Ever, ever.
Narrative Lectionary Daily Reading:
Joshua and Satan
Then he showed me the high priest Joshua standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this man a brand plucked from the fire?’ Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’ And to him he said, ‘See, I have taken your guilt away from you, and I will clothe you in festal apparel.’ And I said, ‘Let them put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him in the apparel; and the angel of the Lord was standing by.
Then the angel of the Lord assured Joshua, saying ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. Now listen, Joshua, high priest, you and your colleagues who sit before you! For they are an omen of things to come: I am going to bring my servant the Branch. For on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven facets, I will engrave its inscription, says the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the guilt of this land in a single day. On that day, says the Lord of hosts, you shall invite each other to come under your vine and fig tree.’