Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A

jesus-grasping-handWalk Humbly with Your God

Two great legendary figures of the Bible, Moses and Enoch, had something in common. They both walked with God. In Genesis we read:

Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him. (Genesis 5:24)

These are the descendants of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:9)

There was a time when Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden of Eden. But something changed. God still wanted to walk with them, but they were afraid to join him. In Genesis we read:

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”   (Genesis 3:8-10)

Adam and Eve now had some understanding concerning good and evil because they were tricked by Satan. They really did not understand God’s ways, but they understood that they were no longer blameless because they had disobeyed God.

God is a holy God. If we are to walk with him and abide with him then we must do what is right. The psalmist wrote:

Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle?
who may abide upon your holy hill?

Whoever leads a blameless life and does what is right,
who speaks the truth from his heart.

There is no guile upon his tongue;
he does no evil to his friend;
he does not heap contempt upon his neighbor.   (Psalm 15:1-3)

Adam and Eve made their own coverings to hide their nakedness. That did not work. They needed the covering that only God could provide.

The Prophet Micah tells us the way to walk with God:

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?   (Micah 6:8)

Noah and Enoch were legendary, but they were just ordinary men. What made them legendary was the fact that they walked with God when few, if any, did so. We, too, can walk with God. We are invited by God to do so.

How we walk with him is in humility. That is our starting point. In humility and in appreciation, we fully accept God’s  covering for our sins. That covering is the blood of Jesus, his Son. When we come under the blood and remain under the blood, God empowers us to walk with him. But we must come out of our hiding. It did not work for Adam and Eve and it does not work for us. Only Jesus can take away our shame.

Our stubborn human pride may be the primary impediment to walking with God. Perhaps in this Season of the Epiphany it is time to reexamine the Beatitudes found in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.   (Matthew 5:3)

Our walk with God begins when we realize how impoverished we are without him.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.   (Matthew 5:5)

Pride goes before a fall. We stumble but Jesus lifts us up. We cannot truly walk with God by our own strength or merit.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.   (Matthew 5:6)

Are we hungry for Jesus? Are we thirsty for him? He holds out his hand to us this day. Today is our day to step out of our shell. Today is the day to walk with God because he loves us and invites us to do so.

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Filed under Epiphany, homily, lectionary, liturgical preaching, liturgy, preaching, Revised Common Lectionary, sermon, sermon preparation, Year A

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