Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, C "Table Talk"

The 16th Sunday after Pentecost–September 8, 2013
Deuteronomy 30:15-20
“if your heart turns away, and you will not hear…” Vs. 17
Moses’ time is drawing to a close. In just a little while he will ascend
the mountain for a glimpse of the Promised Land. His successor Joshua
will lead the people into it. Moses will die upon the mountain, the last of
the generation of people who failed to listen to the promises of their God
when He said that He’d deliver the Promised Land to them. Because they
didn’t hear their good God’s good Word, they wandered in the
wilderness until that unhearing and unheeding generation died.
Moses was the last and he wouldn’t set foot in the Promised Land
either. But he preached to the people gathered before him awaiting
their entry into it. He preached the importance of their listening to… of
their hearing… of their heeding the Word of the Lord. All they would
receive would come from that Word. Heeding it surely meant life and
goodness. Not hearing it surely meant death and evil. God’s Word was
their life. Outside of that Word there was nothing but death.
Moses seems casino fond of the word “obey” or at least his translators are.
While the origins of our English word obey rest in the combination of two
Latin words for “direction” and “hear,” its ancient sense is obscured
today. In those bygone times, those who online casino heard, did. They could do no
other. In the modern religious situation, the use of the words obey and
obedience cannot be separated from an act of the human will—a choice.
The human act of “willing” is inserted between hearing and doing.
Moses was well aware that the people before him still carried the idols
their parents brought with them out of Egypt (cf. Jos. 24:23; 1 Sa. 7:3).
He knew their hearts were already turned away so he tells them
“choose…” “choose life…” choose to have the Word of your Lord in your
ears. It is your repentance and it will repent you.
So, too, you who wander among the idols of your own making:
Choose to hear the Word of the Lord. It will repent you of your old self
and its “willing” and make you the new person whom God wills.
Table Talk: Discuss how choosing to hear the Word takes away choice
Pray: Heavenly Father, give us the Word of life, Jesus Christ. Amen

Table Talk is written by the Reverend Timothy J. Swenson
and provided by the Institute of Lutheran Theology
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