Apologies readers – I’m blaming my eyesight for the wrong passage from OT today & apologies to Greg for jumping to his reading.
Yesterday Glen’s passage outlined the wonderful blessings God had for His people when they OBEY His commands. He is for them (and for us) but today we see that God is almighty, all powerful, and is not to be trifled with.
The people of Israel had trouble remaining faithful especially when God’s blessings – provision and protection- flowed to them, and easily turned to what seemed like more attractive, less demanding gods.
Are we very different today?
Though we are only reading three verses today, the chapter goes on to spell out God’s punishment and rejection of those who do not follow His ways. He requires obedience, and we need a saviour.
The little letter Paul writes to Philemon is full of encouragement to behave in love towards others, reflecting God’s own character.
The beginning, ( v 4-7) is a great testimonial to Philemon’s Christlike behaviour- keeping his faith in Jesus, and demonstrating the love of others, which God requires of His followers.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if that is what other church members could say about us?!
Presumably Philemon lived in Colossae. He had been converted under Paul’s ministry and was wealthy enough to have slaves. One of these, Onesimus, had left Philemon, an action punishable by death, but, under Paul’s ministry he had been converted and had joined the group supporting Paul in prison. Paul had grown to love and value him.
Paul makes huge demands both of Philemon and Onesimus as he sends the salve back to face his master, and he asks Philemon to welcome him as a brother in Christ – so unheard of in the culture of the day.
When we are faced with difficult relationships, do we see the other person as if they are loved by Christ, or is that too much to ask?
‘ This is a delicate and highly skilful piece of writing,’ according to Tom Wright,and is certainly a way for us to follow.
Peter and Elizabeth Smart.