Monthly Archives: February 2022

Deuteronomy 13:1-16:8

During my childhood and even into early adulthood, I learned to follow a somewhat rigid set of lifestyle expectations. When I went to college, I found an even stricter set of rules – no movies, no dancing, no playing cards, no (non-essential) working on Sundays, dress up for church (skirts, ties, etc.), no smoking or drinking, no tattoos or colored hair, and so on. Every rule came with lengthy explanations about how the rule was to be followed, but not necessarily a lot of explanation as to why.

Today’s passage has some similarities to that long list of do’s and don’ts that I grew accustomed to growing up. Lots of details, but not a lot of reasons. Even commentaries debate the reason and even the meaning of some of the rules spelled out for the nation of Israel. Thankfully, we do not need to continue following every letter of the law and can now enjoy bacon without a guilty conscience. However, just as I did growing up, I still look for the “why” to help in determining relevance and my response.

Some principles seem to surface:

You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

Deuteronomy 13:4-5 ESV
  • Love and obey God, hate sin.

20 All clean winged things you may eat. 21 “You shall not eat anything that has died naturally. You may give it to the sojourner who is within your towns, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 14:21 ESV

  • Take care of your body, steward creation.
  • God calls his followers to live differently, to look differently than those around them.

You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. . . that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.

Deuteronomy 14:22-23 ESV
  • Give back to God.
  • Fear God above fear of want.

The list could continue:

  • Respect life
  • Value purity
  • Remember God’s past working on your behalf
  • Protect your faith and pass it on

I am thankful that we no longer need to hold ourselves to these eating and purification standards, but they still give me pause to understand what God values. His rules are not hasty and meaningless, and seeing past guidelines show us the deep love He had for the nation of Israel, and that He holds for us today.

Lord God, thank you for your guidance throughout history even in matters as varied as diet and government. Your wisdom and love flow through these chapters even if we do not understand every line and detail today. Many of the principles are clear and timeless. Thank you for communicating and desiring a meaningful relationship and for caring about each element of our lives. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Deuteronomy 9:22 – 12:32

 Moses continued to pour out his heart to the people.  To me it is like someone on their death bed, and you know it is the last time you may hear them speak to you, so you lean down your ear to their mouth listening carefully to the wisdom that they want to pass on.  These are Moses’ kids and grandkids.  He wants them to do what it right before God.  He is giving them a speech to help them have a blessed life.

So love God, your God; guard well his rules and regulations; obey his commandments for the rest of time.  (Deut. 11:1 MSG)

Moses summed it up in 19 words. Easy right? Things look easy on tablets, but I have found that it is not that easy in your walk.  Sometimes I do wrong unintentionally. I’ll see something on tv and think ooh I want that.  Is that coveting?  The first time the Israelites were left to themselves they failed the test and partied and danced around a golden calf.  They also did other things that angered their God.  So, Moses knew what he was dealing with.  Israel was stubborn, rebellious, and did not trust God. He had prayed to God on their behalf, and God heard and held back His wrath.  So, with his last breath to them he implores them to trust and obey God.

So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this:  Live in His presence in Holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love Him, serve God, your God with everything you have in you, obey the commandments and regulations of God that I’m commanding you today—live a good life. (Deut. 10:12-13 MSG)

I’ve brought you to the crossroads of Blessing and Curse.

The Blessing: if you listen obediently to the commandments of God, your God, which I command you today. 

The Curse:  if you don’t pay attention to the commandments of God, your God, but leave the road that I command you today, following other gods of which you know nothing. (Deut. 11:26-28 MSG)

Don’t continue doing things the way we’re doing them at present, each of us doing as we wish.  Until now you haven’t arrived at the goal, the resting place, the inheritance that God your God, is giving you.  But the minute you cross the Jordan River and settle into the land God, your God, is enabling you to inherit, he’ll give you rest from all your surrounding enemies.  You’ll be able to settle down and live in safety. (Deut. 12: 8-10 MSG.)

The land you are about to cross the river and take for your own is a land of mountains and valleys; it drinks water that rains from the sky.  It’s a land that God, your God, personally tends—He’s the gardener—He alone keeps His eye on it all year long.  Deut. 11:11-12 MSG)

A long time ago, when I was in a bible study called BSF, I first read about the blessings and cursing and it was then I decided I wanted to have a blessed life, not a cursed one.  But it is an individual choice, and everyone doesn’t think like me.  I have a simple mind, but I am also stubborn and have a rebellious streak—like when there is a sign “Do Not Touch” I just feel the urge to touch.  I don’t know why! But, it is up to me to make the right choice each and every day.  But as I read the benefits of living under the blessings—rest from your enemies, safety, provision of livestock and crops—it seems like a no brainer. Who wouldn’t want God’s provision for their life, but I know from experience that there will be times where I take the wrong road, but I can only learn from my mistakes and get back on track with God. God sees my heart and He knows if my heart is bent towards him or away from Him.  I heard Joyce Meyer say this week “weakness is different than wickedness”. God knows if I am weak or wicked. God also knows if Israel is being weak or wicked.

Instead find the site that God, your God, will choose and mark it with His name as a common center for all the tribes of Israel. (Deut. 12: 5 MSG)

As God wanted to be in the center of the tribes of Israel, He also wants to be in the center of my life.  Once I became a Christ follower, the center of my life, my heart, was marked with His name.  And, so it is for everyone else who put their faith and trust in Jesus.

Diligently do everything I command you, the way I command you: don’t add to it, don’t subtract from it.(Deut. 12:32 MSG)

It is not easy for me to do everything exactly like I should.  I like to take short cuts sometimes.  But when it comes to the things of God, that is not allowed.  I could add or subtract just because I don’t know fully all the things of God.  I need to be sure what I say or do is accurate before I say it.  I am a blurter and then a regreter. But God needs us to show Him off correctly, so that others around us do not get confused on what behavior is acceptable for a Christ follower.

By all means, do the right thing in God’s eyes. (Deut. 12:28c MSG)

That sums all things up. It is God I must strive to please, not other people.  For if I am following God’s ways, all people will be treated fairly and just.

Oh, my Father, who art in Heaven, Holy are your ways.  Teach me daily to walk in a way that is pleasing to you.  Help me to be a good example for others to follow, not one who leads one astray.  Help me to stay under your blessings, because I know that I am the best me I can be, when I am walking close to you. Never let me stray away, I want to be under the shelter of your wings forevermore! Amen and Amen!!

Carol (carolvorwe)

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Deuteronomy 6:16-9:21 

Nothing speaks directly to me more than the way Deuteronomy 8 is laid out in truth and in the pursuit of following God. It is here that Jesus quoted from when He repelled the first temptation in the desert. It is His response then that has guided me my whole life.

It is this chapter that I can proudly proclaim that grace exists in the Old Testament – at least a form of it with boundaries and everything established.

“Whether thou wouldest keep His commandments or no.” Whether thou wouldest be brought to love Him with all thy heart, as thou art commanded; to serve Him with all thy strength; to make His will thy rule in all thy actions; to make His glory thy end, and not thy own honour, or interest, or pleasure. – J. Benson

The power of humility screams at me. It does not matter how heavy the trials and tribulations come – those trials have established a faith more precious than gold. It is found in the praise and honour and glory of Jesus.

Keep and live out the entire commandment that I’m commanding you today so that you’ll live and prosper and enter and own the land that God promised to your ancestors. Remember every road that God led you on for those forty years in the wilderness, pushing you to your limits, testing you so that he would know what you were made of, whether you would keep his commandments or not. He put you through hard times. He made you go hungry. Then he fed you with manna, something neither you nor your parents knew anything about, so you would learn that men and women don’t live by bread only; we live by every word that comes from God’s mouth. Your clothes didn’t wear out and your feet didn’t blister those forty years. You learned deep in your heart that God disciplines you in the same ways a father disciplines his child. – Deuteronomy 8:1-5 MSG

I know that there are people we know that we would call good and honourable, of reputation – but they live by bread alone. I know people who live in a manner most honourable and some call themselves followers of Jesus, but they live by bread alone. A folly and a sin that separates from God. Somehow there has to be a light that turns on and warns that I have moved to honouring the creature above the Creator.

God has called me to lead in the midst of today and while I may not be fully mature in dignity, honour and manliness, in fact it may be latent right now, but when I find myself in Him, He has someone to use when He has need and my response will be – “here I am.”

Father, You could not have made it any clearer. You lead, I follow – passionately. What this world has to offer is only bread, You offer life. May I never be confused between the two as I journey with You. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar)

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Deuteronomy 4:1-6:15 

“Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below.  There is no other.” (Deuteronomy 4:39, NIV)

When I drop my kids off for an evening with a sitter, I’m a flurry of last-minute instructions.  “Remember how we act.  Eat everything they serve you without complaining.  Don’t ask for anything greedy, don’t forget to be grateful and respectful, and be a good example for your sisters.”  Suddenly I feel compelled to cram nine years of training into two minutes of lecture.

Perhaps Moses felt similarly.  Forty years of leadership, coming to a close as Israel prepared to enter Canaan without him.  “What are the most important things to say when time is running out?”  Moses reminded Israel of her responsibilities and of God’s character.  “And above all,” Moses said, “remember that our Lord is God.  There is no other.”

How often do I forget that fact?  How frequently do I, in my heart, dethrone the God of heaven and earth?  When I worry about my finances instead of trusting His provision, I dishonor Him.  When I spend more time on that which is self-absorbed instead of God-honoring, I don’t acknowledge Him as Lord.  When I “worship” other things—my children, my computer, or even my ministry!—I forget that truly “there is no other” God but Him.

God, You alone are Lord of heaven above—bigger than any problem and more powerful than any circumstance.  You are also God on earth, here in the middle of my intimate, secret fears and doubts.  Today I acknowledge You as Lord.  Help me to take this to heart, and worship You as the only God.  There is no other but You, Lord.  Amen.

-amystorms

From the archives. This post originally published March 2, 2009.

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Deuteronomy 1:16-3:29

I’m training to run a half marathon at the end of March. I love running, and this milestone is in sight. So why, recently, has my mind become my biggest foe? I cut short a longer run yesterday because my thoughts hammered away at me that I was too sore to finish (I was sore from a weight workout from the day before, but in all honesty, I wasn’t THAT sore). It’s been a struggle lately, these thoughts, whether it’s about a distance to run, or a food to eat, or even a broader perspective toward faith and peace.

In these chapters, Moses recounts the occasions where the people grumbled and complained. Where their hearts were rebellious and unwilling to obey (really, trust) the Lord. There was a price to pay for their disobedience.

26 But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. 27 You grumbled in your tents and said, “The Lord hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. 28 Where can we go? Our brothers have made our hearts melt in fear. They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.’”

29 Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. 30 The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”

32 In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God, 33 who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.

34 When the Lord heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: 35 “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, 36 except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly.” (Deuteronomy 1:26-36, NIV)

Whether it’s a workout, a choice, or a thought, I can sabotage my training (including my walk with the Lord) by not taking control of my thoughts/attitudes. By favoring the path of least resistance (I’m too sore … or, maybe [this situation] isn’t as bad as it seems … or, maybe [this situation] is way worse than it seems), I can talk myself out of doing what needs to be done. How often am I looking to my own understanding than seeking the faithfulness and direction of God?

Father God, I need you every day. You are the fire and cloud that guides. You are the one who equips. You are the one who goes ahead of me. I can trust you. Your track record of faithfulness, love, trustworthiness, and more is unblemished. You’ve been training me my whole life for life’s challenges. You’ve been with me every step of the way. I want to seek you–your guidance, your strength, your wisdom, your presence. Help me to take my thoughts captive and make them obedient to you.

Courtney (66books365)

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