Day 32 (Fear Not)

[My response to the readings from April 7-9 in the One Year Bible (links to the full readings on the right)]

Pattern recognition is something that humans do. There are millions of helpful applications of this skill, and some not so helpful applications, see e.g., “the man on the moon” and the myth of the hot hand. Indulging this tendency, I note the similarity in today’s readings between Moses’ message to Joshua and the Israelites as he is about to die and not reach the promise land, and Jesus’ message to the Disciples as he is about to die before the Kingdom of God had been established on Earth.

Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Deut. 31:7-8.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Luke 12:32-34. I don’t think there is an intentional parallel, as for example with the author of Matthew tells of Jesus avoiding infanticide to come out of Egypt, but I think these passages are connected by a common tradition. Recognize that both were written after a great tragedy–Deuteronomy after the exile, Luke after the destruction of the temple–and thus, the admonition to fear not and face adversity with courage would have spoken to hearer. Being true to your values and keeping your faith is not the only possible response to adversity. So, I think it is noteworthy if it is a consistent theme in Judeo-Christian writings.

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