Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 15 March 21:
Note: Here is a short video overview of Deuteronomy: https://youtu.be/NMhmDPWeftw
Deuteronomy 1:43-45 – “You would not listen; but you rebelled against the command of the Lord… presumptuously…. And you returned and wept before the Lord, but the Lord did not listen to your voice or give ear to you.”
Deuteronomy is the Bible book most quoted by Jesus. Deuteronomy means “second law” and is a retelling by Moses of the teachings and events of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, expanding upon the Ten Commandments. It is Moses’ farewell address to the next generation as they prepare to enter the Promised Land. Try to imagine how important this message was to Moses, his final message to his people after all they had been through together and as he realized he would no longer be there to guide them. His basic message to the people was love God wholeheartedly, listen to Him intently, obey Him unconditionally, and live a life of blessings rather than curses, shining as a light to other nations for God’s glory. The Greatest Command was/is love. Moses understood that Love had to be the motivation for obedience. Without love, the people wouldn’t obey – laws could never be a substitute for love; and actions compelled by fear of punishment or self-righteousness are certainly no substitute for graciousness compelled by mercy, compassion and kindness. And when the people refused to obey, it was simply because they did not love God and others as they should, as they were created to do. Moses will warn the people he so desperately loves, ‘Choose life and blessings rather than death and curses’ by living in love rather than living in selfish pride, greed and lust. Unfortunately, he knows they will fail, but God will use these failures to point to grace and the saving work of Jesus Christ, the only name by which anyone can be saved. “’Who then can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” (Matthew 19:25, 26)
Today, Moses reminds the Israelites of their history of presumption, when they refused to listen to the Lord and obey Him and when, subsequently, He refused to listen to them or dry their alligator tears as they faced both the natural consequences of their sin and the Lord’s mighty arm of discipline. He reminds them that they can’t defy God in unrepentant sin and then expect God to be with them and bless their efforts, even if they ‘dedicated’ their vain efforts to the Lord. Christians should take heed, lest we take the form of religion but live powerless lives because we dishonor the Lord presumptuously in word and deed and quench the Spirit, grieve the Spirit, and get out of step with the Spirit. What does God say? “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8) “And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (1 John 3:3) God forbid that we should treat grace as a cheap thing, losing sight of the blood of Christ which paid the penalty of our sin. Demonstrate your love for God through obedience – “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)
- Romans 2:4 — Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
Perhaps you have presumed upon God’s grace by remaining complacent in sins you justify as “no big deal.” Repent. Don’t let compromise hinder your relationship with God and others –
- 1 Peter 1:14-16 — As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
- Hebrews 12:1-4 — Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 15 Mar 21: Pray that God will convict your heart of sins which might be hindering your right relationship with Him, and pray that God will give you the love to obey Him with passion and joy, as your heart’s true desire.