Scripture Exercises

The Martin Institute Part 19 of 20

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The New Stone Tablets

The Lord said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain. No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain.”

So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the Lord had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands,and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”

10 Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snareamong you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles.[a] 14 Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose nameis Jealous, is a jealous God.

15 “Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. 16 And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.

17 “Do not make any idols.

18 “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt.

19 “The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. 20 Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons.

“No one is to appear before me empty-handed.

21 “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.

22 “Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year.[b] 23 Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord, the God of Israel. 24 I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the Lord your God.

25 “Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast,and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning.

26 “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.

“Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

27 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water.And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.

The Radiant Face of Moses

29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. 32 Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.

33 When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.

Scripture Memorization

Those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Lectio Divina

In the practice of Lectio Divinayou will choose a text of Scripture for meditation and prayer. For this exercise you are asked to use the text “Consider the Sparrows.” (II Cor. 3:12-18 NIV)

12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

 

To begin:

Place yourself in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become silent.

  1. Read/Listen: Turn to the text and read it slowly, gently. Savor each portion of the reading, constantly listening for a word or phrase that speaks especially to you in some way. You may wish to read the passage through slowly two or three times.
  1. Meditate: Next take the word or phrase into yourself. Memorize it and slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, memories and ideas. Do not be afraid of “distractions.” Memories or thoughts are simply parts of you. Don’t try to chase them away, just return to the word, phrase or image you are pondering.
  1. Converse: Then speak to God. Whether you use words, ideas, images or all three is not important.  Interact with God as you would with one whom you know loves and accepts you.  Give to Him what you have discovered in yourself during your experience.
  1. Rest: Finally, simply rest in God’s embrace. Enjoy his presence. And if he invites you to return to your pondering of His word or to your inner dialogue with him, do so. Rejoice in the knowledge that God is with you in both words and silence.

Bonus Passages

Take some time to slowly read through the following two passages of Scripture, which underscore God’s desire to be with us.

Mary’s Song: Luke 1:46-55

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
 ofthe humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
 holyis his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
 fromgeneration to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
 hehas scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
 buthas lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
 buthas sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
 rememberingto be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
 justas he promised our ancestors.

Reflection

  1. It is appropriate to consider that in addition to Mary being chosen by God to be a vessel of Christ’s incarnation and birth, she was also the prototype Christian. That is, future Christians are presented the same question offered to Mary: “Are you willing for Christ to be formed in you?”
  2. What are your feelings about being offered such startling invitation?
  3. What are some things you can do to be more award of the great mystery and truth of living out the Apostle Paul’s number one teaching point: Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Abiding in Christ as His Friends: John 15:9-15

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Reflection

  1. What is your emotional response to being called a “friend” of Christ?
  2. What are some creative ways of enjoying this friendship today, tomorrow and the next day.
Listen to all parts in this Practicing the Presence series