Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 23 Mar 18:
1. Deuteronomy 9:1, 2 — God’s purpose doesn’t include many easy tasks. Are you ready to be challenged for God’s glory?
2. Deuteronomy 9:2 – “Who can stand before the sons of Anak?” Anak and his sons were Nephilim (Numbers 13:33), giant, ungodly people. “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.” (Genesis 6:4) Goliath, who was from Gath (one of the towns of the Anakim – see Joshua 11:21, 22) might have been one of the Nephilim. The Nephilim had been feared throughout history, but God warned His people to not fear what everyone else had feared throughout the generations. What seemingly reasonable but limiting fears have been passed down to you, from generation to generation? If you remain in God’s will, you have nothing to fear. The apparent size of your ‘giants’ are irrelevant.
3. Deuteronomy 9:3 — You can do anything God tells you to do because He will empower you. It is when you are operating outside His will that you have reason to be concerned.
4. Deuteronomy 9:4-6 — We deserve none of God’s blessings and can take no credit for our successes. We can only rejoice in and proclaim God’s mercy and grace.
5. Deuteronomy 9:20, 25, 26 – “And the Lord was so angry with Aaron that he was ready to destroy him. And I prayed for Aaron also at the same time…. So I lay prostrate before the Lord for these forty days and forty nights, because the Lord had said he would destroy you. And I prayed to the Lord, ‘O Lord God, do not destroy your people and your heritage, whom you have redeemed through your greatness, whom you have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.” Aaron and the Israelites made Moses’ life miserable due to their stubborn sinfulness, and they incited Moses to sin enough to keep him out of the Promised Land, yet Moses never stopped praying for them and interceding on their behalf before God. Is that what you do for those who make your life hard, those who never seem to change? Who have you continued to pray for over the last 40 years?
6. Duet 10:12, 13 – “What does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?” Love and daily obedience go hand-in-hand.
7. Deuteronomy 10:15, 16 – “Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.” The meritless love God has shown you should compel you to love and obedience. Surrender to God’s love.
8. Deuteronomy 10:19 – “Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” With a grateful heart, love others the way God has loved you.
9. Deuteronomy 10:21 – “He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen.” Is the reality of God in your life so great that He is your praise? Is Jesus what you are excited about and talking about most?
10. Proverbs 23:4 – “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.” Acquiring too much wealth can be a sign of a lack of faith in God’s future provision and only leads to needless suffering. Acquiring excessive wealth is also evidence that a person has failed to meet God’s commandments of love and has failed to understand their God-given mission in life:
– Luke 12:13:21 — And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
11. Proverbs 23:4 — “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.” The first test for God’s people was whether or not they would honor the Sabbath.
12. Proverbs 23:10, 11 — “Do not move an ancient landmark or enter the fields of the fatherless, for their Redeemer is strong; he will plead their cause against you.” Jesus protects the weak. When people work against the weak, they are challenging Jesus.
13. Proverbs 23:13, 14 — “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.” God disciplines you to keep you from destruction. Be grateful for His discipline.
14. Proverbs 23:22 — “Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” God’s plan is for a man and woman, a father and mother, to raise up godly children. A man and a woman each represent different attributes of God. They are made intentionally different. Together, as one, they provide balanced life direction to the next generation.
15. Mark 4: 10 — “And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables.” Get alone with Jesus so He can teach you.
16. Mark 4:11, 12 — ” And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that ‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’” Only through the Holy Spirit can you truly understand the word of God. Humans cannot naturally understand the Kingdom. They need God’s revelation.
17. Mark 4:18-21 — “’And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.’ And he said to them, ‘Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand?’” I pray that the worries of the world won’t keep us from keeping “the main thing the main thing,” won’t cause us to neglect the Great Commission, won’t cause us to get distracted and miss our life’s purpose. I pray that we won’t put our lamp under a basket for sake of career or sociability. I pray that every one of us will bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold. If the world around us is very dark, it might be that our light is not very bright.
18. Mark 4:41 — “And they were filled with great fear.” Nothing was more fearful to the disciples than the power of Jesus. If you don’t have a healthy fear (respect and awe) of the Lord, it is because you haven’t experienced Him as you ought. Walk with Jesus by abiding in His word, and watch Him work in a way that overwhelms you.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 23 March: Dedicate one hour today to solitude with Jesus. (Mark 4:10)