Tag Archives: protection

Deuteronomy 23:15-27:10

In “miscellaneous laws,” I catch a glimpse of His heart.

For mercy and protection of others.  “If a slave has taken refuge with you, do not hand them over to their master. 16 Let them live among you wherever they like and in whatever town they choose. Do not oppress them.” (Deuteronomy 23:15-16, NIV)

Honor and glory. To honor your body and your life as a way of honoring God. “No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute. 18 You must not bring the earnings of a female prostitute or of a male prostitute into the house of the Lord your God to pay any vow, because the Lord your God detests them both.” (Deuteronomy 23:17-18, NIV)

Kindness. Kindness within the family of believers. “Do not charge a fellow Israelite interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest. 20 You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a fellow Israelite, so that the Lord your God may bless you in everything you put your hand to in the land you are entering to possess.” (Deuteronomy 23:19-20, NIV)

Integrity, following through, trustworthiness. “If you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the Lord your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin. 22 But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty. 23 Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the Lord your God with your own mouth.” Deuteronomy 23:21-23, NIV)

I’m learning that when I listen to others, I learn so much about them. What fires them up. What they value. Where their heart is.

When I read through the Bible, do I rush to get through a passage? Do I skim for a key word? Am I looking for something for me? Something happens when I slow down; when I start a passage over because I know I was rushing; when I sit with the language and listen. Am I looking for a tidy checklist, or am I looking for His heart?

The Old Testament becomes so fresh when I sit and listen. I learn so much about God. What fires Him up. What He values. Where His heart is.

Father God, I don’t want to walk away from my time with you not learning more about you. I’m trying to be a better listener. I’m learning to shush my voice so I can hear you. What if I were to give you the silence and the space to tell me what you want me to know, instead of filling it with noise (people’s opinions, debates, commercials, music, or my own assumptions)? You are so patient with me. Thank you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover, Deuteronomy, Old Testament

Exodus 8:16-11:10

While full and meaningful in itself, the story of the exodus feels like a foreshadowing. Plagues and devastation make me think of what’s to come in Revelation. And the three days of darkness and the death of the firstborn son make me think of Jesus’s death and three days in the tomb.

Other things I notice in the reading: God intentionally brings these things to pass so that generations will remember what he’s capable of, and so that Pharaoh and his officials will know there’s no one like him.

13 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, 14 or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. 16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. (Exodus 9:13-16, NIV)

God spares his people of these losses, and they are a witness to others of God’s promise.

But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.’”

The Lord set a time and said, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.” And the next day the Lord did it: All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died. Pharaoh investigated and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go. (Exodus 9:4-7, NIV)

A hardened heart is the breeding ground for corruption, deceit, sin, and cruelty. How quickly when the pressure is off, an unchanged heart returns to its wickedness. An unchanged heart cannot be trusted.

29 Moses replied, “When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. 30 But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.” (…) 33 Then Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. He spread out his hands toward the Lord; the thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the land. 34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. 35 So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had said through Moses.

In all the occasions that Moses spoke to Pharaoh, of all the things that happened as Moses said they would, Pharaoh still refused to believe him. And it would cost him dearly.

So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh. (Exodus 11:4-8, NIV)

God wants a relationship with his people. Here, he works to set them free from enslavement so that they are free to worship him (through sacrifice). And it makes me think of Christ’s sacrifice so that we could be free to worship God. So much of the Bible tells of this desire to be in relationship, and so that God will be known throughout the world.

Father God, Your Word is living and active, and I am so very grateful to have access to it.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan

Genesis 18:9-21:21

The word chosen catches my eye, and I’m hooked. “For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” (Genesis 18:19, NIV)

After delivering the news that Sarah will birth a child the next year, the Lord is on the way to Sodom and Gomorrah to examine the situation for himself. There’s a conversation between Abraham and the Lord, about sparing the city if there are at least ten people who are righteous. It turns out, there are not. Lot, his wife, and his two daughters are told to flee. In this, I read protection, and it is life. Protected from the angry mob that is struck blind. Protection from the impending destruction.

When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” (Genesis 19:16-17, NIV)

I’m currently reading a book written by a Hungarian Holocaust survivor (The Choice by Edith Eva Eger). There is a haunting mention early in the book where her parents had been given warning to flee, and papers to help with safe passage, and they didn’t act upon it. I think of them in this moment of Lot’s hesitation.

There are other moments of protection and provision in this reading: of Sarah being spared from Abimelek’s attentions, of Hagar’s provision when she is sent away.

When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob.

17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. (Genesis 21:15b-19, NIV)

In these Bible stories, I read of God’s very real presence, and it comforts me.

Lord, thank you for reminding me.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Old Testament

2 Chronicles 17; Revelation 6; Zechariah 2; John 5

“Then Jehoshaphat, Asa’s son, became the next king. The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father’s early years and did not worship the images of Baal. He sought his father’s God and obeyed his commands instead of following the evil practices of the kingdom of Israel. He was deeply committed to the ways of the Lord. He removed the pagan shrines and Asherah poles from Judah. Then the fear of the Lord fell over the surrounding kingdoms so that none of them wanted to declare war on Jehoshaphat.” 2 Chronicles 17:1-10 NLT

Jehoshaphat was unwavering in his faith. The Lord was protecting him. What ways am I trying to protect myself? To cover up? Do I believe that the Lord is my safety?

“As I watched, the Lamb broke the first of the seven seals on the scroll. Then I heard one of the four living beings say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked up and saw a white horse standing there. Its rider carried a bow, and a crown was placed on his head. He rode out to win many battles and to gain the victory. When the Lamb broke the second seal, I heard the second living being say, “Come!” Revelation 6:1-3 NLT

I can get too caught up in what I don’t understand about the imagery of Revelation, that I miss the message. Jesus is beckoning me to come. He calls after me and pursues me. Sometimes I let too many things hinder me. I come up with excuses, like the man in the story at the pool in Bethesda….

“After Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people-blind, lame, or paralyzed-lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking!” John 5:1-9 NLT

Dear Father, thank you that you never stop pursing me. That you look straight through to my heart. Thank you for coming to earth as a baby and that your coming back one day. I praise you. Amen.

“The Lord says, “Shout and rejoice, O beautiful Jerusalem, for I am coming to live among you. Many nations will join themselves to the Lord one day, and they, too, will be my people. I will live among you, and you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me to you.” Zechariah 2:10-11 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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2 Kings 1; 2 Thess. 1; Daniel 5; Psalms 110, 111

“Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him.” 2 Thess. 1:3-11 NLT

I am amazed at Paul’s faith and his ability to encourage when he is in prison. I think of when I am going through a trial. Sometimes I feel too stuck in my own pain, to reach out to someone else. But, when I do, I am reminded that I need other believers just as much as they need me. This letter could have been just what the Thessalonians needed to hear to keep going. They were human like me. I’m sure they were discouraged and hopeless at times. They needed wisdom from someone like Paul, who was stronger in his faith, to not give up. I wonder if Paul felt adequate for this position? I think he had to stay humble and ask God daily for wisdom. Isn’t this what I should be doing?

Who am I speaking life into today?

“The Lord stands at your right hand to protect you. He will strike down many kings when his anger erupts. He will be victorious. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails. Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.” Psalms 110&111 NLT

Dear Father, I pray for wisdom. Thank you that you are a generous God. You give me more than I ask for. Thank you for always being with me. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under 2 Kings, 2 Thessalonians, Daniel, Psalms, Uncategorized