A Promise Broken

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Exodus 23-24, Matthew 20:1-1-16

istock_000005050572small

 

24 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of Israel’s elders, and worship from a distance. Only Moses may come near to the Lord. The others shouldn’t come near, while the people shouldn’t come up with him at all.”

Moses came and told the people all the Lord’s words and all the case laws. All the people answered in unison, “Everything that the Lord has said we will do.” Moses then wrote down all the Lord’s words. He got up early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain. He set up twelve sacred stone pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. He appointed certain young Israelite men to offer entirely burned offerings and slaughter oxen as well-being sacrifices to the Lord. Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls. The other half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the covenant scroll and read it out loud for the people to hear. They responded, “Everything that the Lord has said we will do, and we will obey.”

Moses then took the blood and threw it over the people. Moses said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord now makes with you on the basis of all these words.” (Exodus 24:1-8, Common English Bible).

“Everything that the Lord has said we will do, and we will obey.” Really? Do and obey? Did you forget to tell each other that you had made a promise to God? I ask the questions because about 15 minutes (not literally, but soon after they made the promise) they were already breaking the promise they made to God. It is the pattern they repeated again and again throughout the Old Testament.

Shortly after going to my first appointment, I was sitting at my first board meeting and the subject came up for the church to do something that violated the United Methodist Book of Discipline. Here I am at my first Board meeting and I am already having to deal with an issue that I wouldn’t have wanted to face ten years later. As I think about it, it wasn’t an earth-shattering issue, but it was an issue none the less. And, I really didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot with these folks. Something a far wiser pastor than I shared with me early on, “Choose your battles wisely. You only get so many silver bullets so don’t fight battles you can’t win or when there is nothing to be gained in the fight.”

As I sat there that night, it seemed to me that this was one of those times. So, I decided, preachers can’t always stop congregations from violating the Discipline. As long as they didn’t involve me, I was going to just let it go.

The thought had no more than passed through my head when the person sitting next to me said, “…and we could have the preacher do some of the work on his computer.” Here I was, feeling all proud of myself for having dodged an issue and the other shoe fell and I had dodged nothing at all. As I have thought about it, I am pretty sure I was about to commit a sin of omission.

In the end, I said something that I had once heard another preacher say (I don’t think I know enough to come up with these things on my own), “I made a promise when I was ordained to uphold the doctrine and discipline of the United Methodist Church. If I break that promise I made to God and the Annual Conference, what good is any promise I make to you.”

Everything worked out fine. They ended up not taking the action being discussed and I didn’t hear much more about it the rest of my time at that church.

In our lesson today the Israelites began what they all too often did, they would make a promise to God, fall away from the promise, start to struggle with life as a whole until it was impossible to maintain, repent to God, make a new promise and continue with the cycle all over again.

As I think back on it, I came really close in that board meeting to following the Israelites example and not in a good way. Probably more often than I would care to admit, I do more than come close. I suspect we all don’t just come close, we actually follow through. Thank God, there is grace. And, there is more grace in God than there is sin in us (another thing said by someone far wiser than I).

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

 

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: