Journey to Daily Prayer – Day 22
Wednesday in Third Week of Lent
“His righteousness, our blessing”
Let’s be honest: today’s Deuteronomy reading sounds a little antiquated. Following the laws blesses us, and we’ll be the envy of people around us (Dt 4:6). What, even the laws on not eating shellfish? Because lobster is delicious! In fact, if I ate lobster every day, my neighbors would certainly envy me! So, what’s the connection between laws and righteousness? The Jewish apostles summarize the essence of the OT laws thusly: “It has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, from blood and from what is strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you do these things, you do well,” (Acts 15:28-29). In other words, we need to understand Deuteronomy in the context of God’s overarching plan of redemption, the crux of which is Jesus. How so? The only reason why Jesus was raised from the dead was because he was counted righteous (Rom 1:4). But by what standard? By the standard of the Law—“I came not to abolish the law but to fulfil it” (Mt 5:17). Yet, he didn’t die on the Cross because he was unrighteous, but because we were unrighteous. And it’s his righteous adherence to God’s law that blesses us with eternal life. As we approach the halfway point of Lent, it’s time to not only ask how much do we need to repent of breaking God’s laws, but also how much do we need to thank Jesus for fulfilling God’s laws for our sakes, so that we can experience the blessing of eternal life.
Give ear to our prayers, O Lord, and dispose the way of thy servants in safety under thy protection, that, amidst all the changes of our earthly pilgrimage, we may ever be guarded by thy mighty aid; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God; for ever and ever. Amen.