Posts Tagged ‘God’s law’

Deuteronomy 31:9-13 Revisiting

The world recognizes God’s plan of revisiting and re-commitment too. In a perfect world the results would be a perfect circle without deviation.

Moses has written down everything that God gave him. He has revisited it all with every man, woman, and child present. And he sets the requirements for future revisiting of the Law.

The people are all gathered together while Moses goes over every aspect of the Law. I believe this was only the second time that Moses sat the people down and went over it all. The first time was when God gave it to them initially.

This second time God is asking for a re-commitment from the people. We read where they were given the choice between life and death. Their choice will determine their direction. We know from history what choice they made. We also know that they didn’t keep true to that choice forever. Read more »

Deuteronomy 30:11-20 Live or Death

He is calling each of us to make this choice. It is YOURS to make. He won’t make it for you.

Moses calls for the people to make their choice. He has set out all the evidence. He has provided them with the incentives and the warnings. Now it’s time to choose.

All the blessings and all the curses have been listed. All God’s commands have been reiterated. All the people have born witness to the miracles. And all the people know what is about to happen. It’s time to choose to live in covenant with God. It’s time to decide if they will truly be His people and if they want Him to be their God. Read more »

Deuteronomy 30:1-10 Redo

Just as my cat knows my voice so we have to know our Father’s voice and return when He calls. And He IS calling!

Moses gives the people a message of hope; a message of restoration. But that message means that there was a failure first.

“When”, not “if.” God KNEW His people were not going to be able to maintain His covenant long term. He knew they would fall away. And He prepared for it.

God prepared in more than one way. He prepared for the short term covenant issues by incorporating forgiveness into the very fabric of His Law. This is seen in the sin offering. He KNEW that this offering was going to be made again and Again and AGAIN by His people. Not just by one person or one group but by EVERY person who sought Him; except One. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). He put the restorative power of this offering in place to hold us near to Him until His ultimate work could be completed. Read more »

Deuteronomy 29:1-29 The Question

It is decision time for every man woman, and child.

Moses brings the people together, EVERY ONE OF THEM, to pose a question. This is the same question that was posed to their fathers before them. How will they respond?

The forty years of wandering is drawing to a close. At Mt. Sinai, near the beginning of their journey into the wilderness God gathered ALL the people together to speak to them. He had a question for them. “Will you be My people and abide by My words?” The people as a whole answered “Yes” to His question but they didn’t live out that yes.

God gave them multiple opportunities to live up to their answer. He gave them enough evidence to “convict” if He were on trial. Yet they still didn’t truly give their hearts to Him. Moses states here a possible reason why. “But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear” (verse 4).

God didn’t do a miracle in their hearts. He left the choice up to them. They individually had to do the work on their hearts. They corporately had to decide to TRULY trust the Lord with their lives. They had to choose Him above ALL else. Above the draws of the past. Above the problems that were surrounding them. Above the uncertainty that lay ahead. Above even their own family. Joshua and Caleb made that choice forty years ago. Now God was going to ask this group to make it too.

“You are standing today, all of you, before the Lord your God” (verse 10a). It is time to make your own choice. Each and every one of you, from the leaders to the children to the foreigner who lives among you. What will you choose?

Moses carefully reminds the people of all that God has done to bring them to this place. He recites an abbreviated listed of the miracles God did along the way. He reminds them that this is just the beginning of God’s promise He made long ago to the fathers of their very nation. And he tells them flat out that this is an ongoing choice that their children and their children’s children will have to make. A right choice today will lead them into the future God has for them.

Each individual has to make this choice. There will be no hiding in plain sight for those who don’t choose to follow Him. Your family’s decision won’t be your protection. “Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart’” (verses 18b-19a). It will cost more than the one life. It will impact the whole nation because that root will begin to spread again.

God was at the point where He was NOT going to let that “root” grow. He would deal with it on an individual basis. “The Lord will not be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and His jealousy will smoke against that man, and the curses written in this book will settle upon him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven” (verse 20). This was personal responsibility to the max. To protect the many the one must be removed.

We know Israel’s history. This personal responsibility and immediate action by God didn’t continue to be as severe after they had finally come into possession of the land. If it had Israel never would have fallen away the multiple times it did. But to start them off in a healthy direction He had to be firm.

Today, after Jesus’ work on the cross, God has returned to the individual responsibility again. He doesn’t blot everyone off the face of the earth who doesn’t turn to Him, right now, but it is coming. Each of us has a decision to make. It doesn’t matter what our neighbors are deciding. This is a decision we can only make for ourselves. It is WONDERFUL if our family and friends make the same decision we do! But it can’t be the basis for our decision.

It comes down to trust and faith. We don’t know what tomorrow will hold. We don’t know the exact road He has for us to walk. We don’t know the obstacles that will face us. We don’t know what Heaven looks like. We honestly don’t understand all there is to know about God. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this Law” (verse 29). Do we trust Him enough to live with there being questions we won’t find answers to? Do we trust that what He has told us is TRUTH? Are we willing to accept Him and His word for our own lives? Am I? Are You?

Father God, my answer is YES! I have seen enough to sell me on Your love for my whole life. I trust You to keep Your word. No. I don’t have all the answers and I seem to come up with more questions all the time. But I trust that when we finally meet face to face You will open my mind to receive those answers, IF that is what You choose to do. I trust You to know best even then.

The years in the wilderness were not easy but were necessary to bring Your people to a place where they could truly answer this question. My “wilderness times” were to bring me to the same place. Some were before my first answer and some were after. But each time brought me closer and closer to You. Thank You for those wilderness lessons. I won’t say I enjoyed them but I am grateful for the outcome. My answer is YES.

Deuteronomy 28:15-68 Group Curses

God gives us the choice. And He also gives us more than enough chances.

Moses turns now to the curses that will happen to Israel if they forsake Him. These curses are widespread and affect all the people when the nation turns against Him.

The first words in this section set the tone for what is to come. “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all His commandments and His statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you” (verse 15). That NOT is key here.

God gives us choices. He also gives us chances. The curses we read about here happened to Israel but not until God had tried everything, including sending prophets and mild forms of these curses, to get Israel back on track.

If we look back at the blessings and compare them with the curses we find God initially using the same attention getting methods. Blessings or curses in the city and in the field. Blessings or curses in the basket and kneading bowl. Blessings or curses in fertility and infant survival for both human and animal populations. Blessing or curses in produce yield. Blessing or curses in battle. Blessing and curses in monetary arenas and esteem from others. ALL these areas God has power over. “For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6b).

The curses go into greater detail from this point. God is trying to scare the pants off the people! He wants them to have a VIVID picture of what awaits them if they turn away. He starts out slowly with “confusion and frustration in all that you undertake to do” (verse 20b) and moves on from there. By the end of His warnings He is describing cannibalism arising from desperate starvation. A father eating his child and doing so secretly so he doesn’t have to share the “meat” with even his own family. A mother hiding and eating her own afterbirth and infant secretly so she doesn’t have to share with the rest of her family.

If you think these things would never happen think again. In 2 Kings 6 we read that the famine in Samaria was so severe that two mothers consented together to eat their children. “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’  So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him” (2 Kings 6:28b-29). And this was not the end of that event so you can guess how much worse it got.

God doesn’t want to curse us. He wants to bless us but, just like I told my children when I punished them, they “paid” me for their “reward” and I had no choice but to honor our agreement. You cannot say you will do X if someone does Y without following through.

Jesus fulfilled the Law for us. We are no longer required to perform the sacrifices or wear the scriptures on our hands and heads. But we are still expected to follow His commands. We are to live out the commandments Jesus gave us. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul and love your neighbor as yourself.

These actions still carry blessings and curses but they are not spelled out so clearly. God continues to bless His people and He also withholds those blessings to bring us to repentance. God does NOT work by demand. You cannot force Him to give you want by doing specific works or making specific confessions. He rewards us how He thinks is best not according to what we want. He knows what we need. He knows how to bless us OR redirect us to bring us back in line with His perfect will for our lives. I’m MORE than happy to let Him take the lead here. I know I would just get myself in trouble if I tried following all my desires.

Father God, thank You for all the chances You have given me over my lifetime. I KNOW I have earned more “punishment” or “curses” than I have received. I have also received more blessings that I think I have “earned.” Thank You for loving me enough to bring me back to You when I wander away. I want only the good things of You in my life. Help me stay on Your paths. I know that trouble is part of this world and I am not isolated from it but I want to keep my quotient low by following Your will. Thank You for holding my life in Your hands.