Meeting Times at 4th United Presbyterian Church

Cafe' Worship: 9:15 a.m. each Sunday in Gathering Hall (activities provided for children; coffee; snacks)
Adult Sunday School: 10 a.m.

Sunday Worship: 11 a.m.

Bible Study: each Thursday at 6 p.m.

Community Forum: last Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. with meal (no community forum in November, 2011)

About the 4th United Presbyterian Bible Blog

Posts on this blog are from me, Rev. George H. Waters, one of the two organizing co-pastors of 4th United Presbyterian Church. Our other organizing pastor was Rev. Sonya McAuley-Allen, who is now pastor of a church in Charlotte, N.C. Since June of 2011, Rev. Elizabeth Peterson has been our parish associate pastor for new church development. The earliest posts are sermon notes from the few I have typed the last two years. Then, there is a series of notes posted on the book of Romans. After that, it varies from week to week, sometimes church news, sometimes reflections on a happening, a passage of scripture, or even some pictures. This blog is meant to open the conversation we have going on in our church to others in our community.

The picture below is of our church's sanctuary, built in 1913.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Deuteronomy, Idolatry and Judgment

Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, and is Moses' final teaching given to the Israelites as they are on the verge of entering into the good land that was promised them. The theme of Deuteronomy is clear: God has freed them from bondage and chosen the Hebrews as a special people who are to honor and serve him and to never worship or serve any other god. If they honor God, they will be blessed. If they dishonor God by worshipping other gods or violating the holy laws, then they will be cursed.

In the books that follow Deuteronomy, a history is told about how the Israelites obeyed God at times but so often fell away into idolatry and violation of the holy law. And, the history beginning with Joshua and ending with Ezra and Nehemiah shows the blessings and curses that follow from obedience and disobedience. Of course, not all things work out that way in human life and history. Sometimes, a person obeys and follows the ways of God but suffers terribly. Since life doesn't always fit the pattern of history previewed in Deuteronomy, the Bible also contains wisdom literature like Ecclesiastes and Job and the Psalms as well other books and certainly portions of the prophetic books that acknowledge that there is a good bit of injustice that is just a part of life, even and sometimes especially affecting the lives of those who are devoted to God.

In the next post I will review the harsh judgments that are reported around the formation of Israel after the Exodus, and I will reflect on what we are to make of passages where God is presented as wiping out thousands in an outbreaking of wrath against the Israelites for their idolatry.

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