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Bible Study Guide for Sunday, March 6, 2022

March 6, 2022
  • Deuteronomy 26:1-11
  • Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
  • Romans 10:8b-13
  • Luke 4:1-13


Our Collect this Sunday begins with the admission that we are all assaulted by many temptations. It is therefore easy to dive immediately into Jesus’ temptations in the dessert as narrated by Luke. But if we step back a bit, I think we can relate all of the readings to the Collect’s acknowledgement of our weakness. And this would have been as true for the ancient Israelites as it is for us today.

In Deuteronomy, the Law is Moses’ gift to the Jews as a way of dealing with human weakness. Following declaration of the Ten Commandments and an extensive discussion (Ch. 5-11), the book becomes very specific (Ch. 12-26) with pages of “Do this . . . “ and “Don’t do that.” Those commands end with our reading for today, a Jewish celebration party, thanking God for their rich new life and God’s guidance provided by the Law. This constitutes what we might call the Sinai Covenant between God, through Moses, and  God’s people, the Nation of Israel.

This week’s Psalm is much less specific regarding the Law, promising simply that one who proclaims his/her trust in God will  be protected: “I will protect him, because he knows my Name.” Doesn’t that hint that the Sinai Covenant may not be the final word? Furthermore, we know that several Old Testament authors predicted that a New Covenant would be established between God and human-kind. (Jer. 31:31 is a very clear example.)

Now turn to Luke’s report of the 40 days in the wilderness, the model from which today’s Lenten observance has derived. Jesus’ responses to the devil’s temptations are nearly direct quotes from Deuteronomic passages: “one does not live by bread alone” (Deut. 8.3); “by his name alone you shall swear” (Deut. 6.13); “Do not put the Lord your God to the test” (Deut. 6.16). Jesus, fully human but also knowing the divine Law of Moses, is able to deflect those temptations. But Jesus promises us a New Covenant (Luke 22:20) expanding that older Covenant and expressed by the “Greatest” and “Second” commandments (Matt. 22:38) that provides us a new way to be strengthened in our weakest moments. In this week’s reading from Romans, Paul, understanding that New Covenant, proclaims “The word is near you…” Truly believing that Jesus is Lord will ensure God’s protection from temptations. Thanks be to God for ancient wisdom and for Jesus.

Chuck Medler

How do you react to rules of behavior? Do they invite your analysis or your obedience?

Jesus asks us to pray “…and lead us not into temptation.” How does that work for you?


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