A Daily Dose of Good News
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
This devotional is offered online at https://youtu.be/0U1ugeihIEk
A printer-friendly version of today’s devotion can be downloaded at DDGN 20200721
Good morning! It’s July 21 and it’s time for our Daily Dose of Good News. We are reading from Galatians 4:21-5:1 today.
Tell me, you who desire to be subject to the law, will you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and the other by a free woman. One, the child of the slave, was born according to the flesh; the other, the child of the free woman, was born through the promise. Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One woman, in fact, is Hagar, from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the other woman corresponds to the Jerusalem above; she is free, and she is our mother. For it is written,
“Rejoice, you childless one, you who bear no children,
burst into song and shout, you who endure no birth pangs;
for the children of the desolate woman are more numerous
than the children of the one who is married.”
Now you, my friends, are children of the promise, like Isaac. But just as at that time the child who was born according to the flesh persecuted the child who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the scripture say? “Drive out the slave and her child; for the child of the slave will not share the inheritance with the child of the free woman.” So then, friends, we are children, not of the slave but of the free woman.
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Here ends the reading.
I wonder what you think of that passage? Because it holds up two opposite components: being a child born into slavery or being a child born into the promise. I don’t know how many of you have possibly seen the movie “Harriet” which came out recently, but it’s about Harriet Tubman who led many people to freedom through the underground railroad. But the very beginning of the movie is about how there were some children the parents wanted to birth, they wanted to have children, and they wanted to have their freedom before they birthed their children; because they didn’t want their children to be born into slavery and to be stuck with that as their inheritance or as their future. So, they had worked long enough that they were supposed to be free already, and had worked years beyond that already, and when they went to the master and said “we want to go have children and we’d like to go ahead and obtain our freedom, which we’ve already earned”, the master refused that. He insisted that they remain in slavery and that any children born to them, basically become the master’s and be slaves. And that is so different from what God promises us.
It is so different to be a child of the promise. In this passage, it correlates to the Jerusalem above, it correlates to God’s kingdom. Children of the promise have possibilities spread before them that are endless, grace-filled and fruitful and that are not tied to bondage and slavery. I’m curious as to what you think might enslave you right now? What is it that holds you fast and causes you not to live a life of joy-filled freedom in the grace of God? That could be numerous things. I think one thing that could be is: perfectionism. I think we have many of us at Holy Trinity, who are high achievers, or hard workers, or who strive to do well. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, one example of a yoke of slavery would be a desire to be perfect, or a desire to look perfect, or a desire to be flawless. That can feel like a yoke because that makes any task feel like work or like slavery, rather than freedom in just being who we are- not called to be perfect, not called to be anything besides children of God. So, that’s one possibility. But I ask you to kind of think about that and explore what might be possibilities for you, because that last sentence is a beautiful call to freedom. “Stand firm, therefore, for freedom, Christ has set us free, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery”. As it says in this passage as well, this is part of what’s occurring in the world now. The children that are born of the Spirit are being hampered by children born of slavery. Just as Hagar’s son hampered or hindered Isaac, initially. There are lots of components that feel like slavery around us. That’s one of the reasons why there’s this huge justice movement right now, is to right some of those slavery components and to bring freedom to all of God’s beloved children- and you’re one of those! So, I ask that you lift that up to God today, and you ask for help in seeing: what is it that yokes me, God? What is it that I’m a slave to? And what is it that You want to set me free from? So, that’s an awesome way to start your day. Have fun with it. Take care everybody. Bye-bye.