Thursday, March 16, 2006

Genesis 42:29-38; Psalms 70, 71; 1 Corinthians 6:12-30; Mark 4:21-34

The problem with sin in our lives is that it often must be concealed, at which point it takes on a life of its own. “Little sins” cause pain and distance from God, but things like selling your brother into slavery present another class of problems. In this story from Genesis 42, the brother, of course, is Joseph. God had preserved his life and caused Joseph to go from being a slave to a ruler in Egypt, and he has just met his brothers again after many years.

The Scripture in I Corinthians also deals with concealment, in that those who find themselves caught in the web of sexual sin often must conceal what they are doing. To me these are extreme examples of what can happen to each of us if we let bitter feelings or desires go unchecked by the grace of God. Lest we think we have too much self-control to kill or to engage in sexual sins, the New Testament doesn’t let us off. We are to have pure thoughts.

Some things can’t be concealed. Think of the way the Bible speaks of the glory of God and his kingdom. In the reading in Mark 4, Jesus likens the gospel to a light which is to be placed for all to see. Not only that, the good new is like a little seed which grows into a crop. These are things of growth, of light, of blessing to all – just like our lives should be.

The psalmist and Joseph have the common attitude of what I call the “drop in the ocean” view of God’s love. No matter how much evil is present in life, the evil is like a drop in the whole ocean of God’s love. Joseph knows this and explains God’s dealings in his life when he reveals himself to his brothers in Genesis 45. The psalmist writes about this in these Psalms. Although he has seen troubles, “many and bitter” (Ps. 71: 20), he praises God for God’s goodness. If we realize this about sin ­ – that it has its limits when compared to the love of God – we can find hope.

Linda Merola

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