From the Word: 27 And if in spite of all this, you will not follow me, but walk contrary to me 28 then I will walk contrary to you — in wrath — and I will discipline you seven times for your sins. (Leviticus 26:27–28)
From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Table of Duties
Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, warning them about their duties and responsibilities:
For Everyone in Common
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. In this, all the commandments are summarized (Rom 13:8ff). And persevere in prayer for all people (1 Tim 2:1-2).
Let each his lesson learn with care,
And all the household well shall fare.
Pulling It Together: Paul is famous for writing greetings like: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:2). How could he wish such abundance on the saints, if he did not love them and pray for them? Contrast this with today’s Old Testament reading. Seems harsh, at first glance. But ask yourself why God would perfectly punish any wayward children of Israel. Any father who really loves his kids, will punish them when they do wrong, so that that they learn through discipline how to rightly conduct themselves through life.
So, whether our neighbors do right or wrong, we ought to follow God’s example of loving them. That love sometimes includes discipline, but it always involves prayer. And beyond prayer, the love of neighbor (especially our closest neighbors: spouse and children) includes the example of right walking, of following Christ Jesus. If we have learned these lessons well, our children will stand a better chance in life.
Prayer: Help me to walk with you, Lord. Amen.
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