Old Testament Lesson
When I worked at a bookstore between college and seminary we did something every time we checked in new books. We had to make sure they had the correct price. If someone picked up a book that was supposed to be $20 but we had it marked for $.20, we had to sell it to them for 20 cents. That is what the price was marked as, so that is what we sold it far. We made sure things were marked correctly, or we did get in trouble.
All we have in life is our word. If folks can't trust us to do what we say we will do, what are we really worth. Today, the Israelites were tricked. They were fooled. They had every right to be mad and angry. But, they stood by their word. Even though they could have broken the treaty, they kept their word.
Today, or this week, or next week, something will happen you don't like. It may be at work. It may be at church. It may be in your family. But, when that time comes, will you be true to your promises, true to your vows, true to you word? As Christians, we must be true to what we say we will do and who we say that we are. God is true to us, we must be true to others.
New Testament Lesson
Paul said that those that are strong should "put up with" the failings of the weak. Sometimes we want everyone to be perfect. We can get upset at work when our coworkers don't do things the way we'd like it. We can get frustrated when our children and grandchildren don't do things that we'd like it. Folks can and do make mistakes. Each of us are imperfect.
So, what we must do is that we must remember that we once too were new at somethings, we were younger. Once, we made the same mistakes. Once, we made foolish decisions. This is not to say that is is alright to do dumb things. But, we must remember that we once did dumb things as well. But, hopefully, we have learned and grown from them.
So, if we see someone doing something that we know they should not, we should not simply say it is not right, but we should stand against it. But, we must also show them a better way. We must not just stand against evil; we must teach good. It is not just enough for us to be against everything, we must be for something. We should condemn evil, we must teach good.
And, we see the failings of Peter at this moment. He denied Jesus 3 times. He failed Him in this moment of need. But, we must remember that this is not the end of Peter's story. The same Peter that denied Jesus here was the same Peter that preached at Pentecost when thousands were saved. The difference was the power of the Holy Spirit that was in him. We like Peter because he made lots of mistakes like we do. But, Peter didn't give up, and he allowed God to work through him. Do we do the same. Let us not just imitate Peter in making mistakes, but let us imitate Peter by letting God's Holy Spirit work through us in powerful ways.