Monday, 31 October 2016

One Year Bible: Days 91-120

Day 91
In Moses’ time, the people of God were to “arm themselves before the Lord for battle” (Numbers 32:20). In Jesus’ time, His disciples were given “power and authority to drive out all demons ...” (Luke 9:1). In every generation, the Lord’s people are to sing “a new song ... a hymn of praise to our God” so that “many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:3).
Day 92
The sheer dimensions of what God was doing with His people, Israel, are most impressive. This was no small thing. This was a mighty work of God. The feeding of the 5,000 was a mighty miracle. It was impressive because of the sheer numbers involved in it. When we think of such mighty miracles, we know that their origin lies in God the Creator. He created the world out of nothing, His mighty work of creation is described in Proverbs 8:27-29.
Day 93
To come to the end of the book of Numbers is to sense the great significance of the man, Moses. To read the transfiguration of Jesus is to realize that the glory of “Moses and Elijah … in glorious splendour” is nothing compared with the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Of Christ alone, the Father says, “This is My Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him” (Luke 9:35). We give thanks for men of faith who have played an important part in carrying forward God’s purpose of salvation. It is concerning the Lord alone that Scripture says, “may those who love Your salvation always say, ‘The Lord be exalted’” (Psalm 40:16). 
Day 94
We are to make progress in the life of faith. There can be no looking back. In Deuteronomy 1:6-8, the Lord calls His people to press on. In Luke 9:62, the Lord Jesus emphasizes that we must keep going forward. It will not be easy. There will be opposition. Nevertheless, the Lord gives His promise of blessing (Psalm 41:2).
Day 95
When the people of Israel were brought to the promised land, this was a great fulfilment of God’s purpose. When Jesus teaches us to pray, “Father ... Your Kingdom come”, He is teaching us to pray for an even greater fulfilment of God’s purpose. The Lord sets us in His presence for ever (Psalm 41:12). The song of the redeemed will be “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen” (Psalm 41:13).
Day 96
In Deuteronomy 5, we have the Ten Commandments. In Luke 11:28, we have Jesus’ words: “Blessed ... are those who have the Word of God and obey it.” “Blessed are those who keep My ways” (Proverbs 8:32). There is no blessing apart from obedience, and there is no obedience apart from Christ. He says to us, “Whoever finds Me finds life” (Proverbs 8:35).
Day 97
God’s people were called to enter the promised land. They were called to live in obedience to the Lord who had brought them into the promised land. To those who refuse to enter into God’s land of blessing, God says, “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering” (Luke 11:52). There is a better way - “My soul thirsts for God, the living God” (Psalm 42:2).
Day 98
As they entered the promised land, the people of God received this reminder of the undeserved grace of God - “It is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this land to possess” (Deuteronomy 9:6). In His free grace, God gave the land to Israel. To us, He has graciously given the Kingdom - “Your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12:32). To Israel, the Psalmist says, “Put your hope in God” (Psalm 42:11). To us also, this comes as a Word from the Lord and, with the Psalmist, we make our declaration, “I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God” (Psalm 42:11).
Day 99
The people of God lived in a situation where there was much idolatry. For them, there could be no compromise. We are to be watchful as the Lord’s Return draws near. We dare not live as the world does. We are to live in the Lord’s way. In the midst of “an ungodly nation”, we are to pray, “Send forth Your light and Your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to Your holy mountain, to the place where You dwell” (Psalm 43:3). As we look at this “ungodly nation”, it is easy to become “downcast.” We must learn to say to ourselves, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God” (Psalm 43:5). 
Day 100
In our day, there are many who say, “Let us follow other gods.” God says, “You must not listen” to such people (Deuteronomy 13:2-3). To follow the Lord’s instruction is not popular. Nevertheless, this is what we must do: “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24). Whatever the world may say, we must stand by the truth of God’s Word: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). 
Day 101
The people of God had been blessed by God. They had much to celebrate. The Lord had brought them out of the land of bondage. He was about to bring them into the land of promise. As we celebrate the love of God, we give the place of highest honour to Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Why did God give Israel the promised land? It was because He “loved them” (Psalm 44:3). We know the love of God in Christ. Concerning Christ, we say, with thanksgiving, “You give us victory over our enemies” (Psalm 44:7). In Him, we rejoice - “In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise Your Name for ever” (Psalm 44:8). 
Day 102
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet ...” (Deuteronomy 18:15). This prophecy has its greatest fulfilment in Christ. Jesus is more than a prophet. He is the substance of the prophecy concerning God’s Kingdom. The coming of God’s Kingdom is the coming of Christ - both His first coming (our foretaste of heavenly glory) and His second coming (the fullness of heavenly glory). In Christ, there is redemption - a redemption we have begun to know, a redemption which we will enjoy in its fullness when Christ returns. Then, we will know the full answer to the prayer of Psalm 44:26 - “redeem us because of Your unfailing love.”
Day 103
Above all men, it can be said of Christ: “You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever” (Psalm 45:2). When we read the parable of the prodigal son, we are reading the words spoken by the perfect Son. His lips were “anointed with grace.” In this parable, He points us to the heavenly welcome which is ours through returning to the Father. With the perfect Son of God, we will share the blessing: “God has blessed you for ever.” Blessed by Him, we are to fight for Him without fear and with the assurance of His victorious presence (Deuteronomy 20:1).
Day 104
Holiness and honesty are two qualities which are to characterize the life of the Christian. The ‘laws’ in Deuteronomy stress the importance of holiness. Jesus, in His parable of the shrewd manager, emphasizes the importance of honesty - “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10). We are not to put on a facade of holiness. We are to be honest in our seeking holiness. If we despise the way of honesty and holiness, we will go the way of folly against which we are warned in Proverbs 9:13-18.
Day 105
Scripture speaks of both salvation and judgment. The Israelites were given “the land ... as an inheritance.” The Amalekites were to be “blotted out” (Deuteronomy 25:19). Lazarus received salvation - “carried ... to Abraham’s side.” The rich man received judgment “in hell” (Luke 16:22-23). We must seek to honour Jesus Christ our Lord (Psalm 45:11). This is salvation - confessing Christ as Lord with the mouth and trusting Him with the heart (Romans 10:9).
Day 106
The Lord blesses an obedient people (Deuteronomy 28:2). Our obedience to God arises from our thankfulness to Him (Luke 17:16). With grateful hearts, we make confession of our faith: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). To His people, God says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations” (Psalm 46:10). God is exalted among the nations when His people are obedient people (Deuteronomy 28:9-10).
Day 107
Sadly, it is possible to be living in the promised land yet living in disobedience and thus losing out on the promised blessing. The Pharisee, in Jesus’ parable, lived and worshipped within the tradition which remembered God’s mighty act of redemption. Nevertheless, his heart was far from God. He considered himself superior, He was not justified, and he would not be exalted (glorified). Those who are justified, who will be glorified, rejoice in the Lord with much gladness: “Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises” (Psalm 47:6).
Day 108
The Lord is looking for His people to stand up and be counted as His faithful servants. There is a commitment to be made, a commitment to be maintained. It is not only beginning with Christ. It is going on with Him. This is illustrated in the story of Zacchaeus. We are to walk securely as men of integrity (Proverbs 10:9).
Day 109
A comparison may be made between Israel’s entry into the promised land and Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Ahead of both, there lay conflict, but beyond the conflict, there was triumph. Their triumph is the triumph of God - “As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure for ever” (Psalm 48:8).
Day 110
Moses was God’s servant. Joshua was God’s servant. The prophets were God’s servants. Jesus is God’s Son. He is the Cornerstone of our salvation. Without Him, there is no salvation. With Him, there is full salvation. Concerning Him, the Word of God says, “This God is our God for ever and ever” (Psalm 48:14). He loves us with an “unfailing love” and His “praise reaches to the ends of the earth” (Psalm 48:9-10). 
Day 111
The contrast between Moses and Jesus continues. Moses died. Jesus is the Lord: “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet” (Luke 20:42-43). In Him, we have the promise of eternal life: “God will redeem my life from the grave; He will surely take me to Himself” (Psalm 49:15).
Day 112
Israel’s entry into the promised land was a highly significant event in the history of God’s redemption. ‘The momentous event’ is the Return of our Lord Jesus Christ: “The Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27). We must be ready for His Return, for there is a great difference between the righteous and the wicked (Proverbs 10:16).
Day 113
“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you” (Joshua 3:5). Jesus shared the Passover with His disciples, while teaching them that something greater than the Passover was about to take place - redemption through the shedding of His precious blood. God says, “Gather to Me My consecrated ones, who made a covenant with Me by sacrifice ... Sacrifice thank offerings to God ... “ (Psalm 50:5,14-15). 
Day 114
Achan suffered death because of his own sinful disobedience. Achan died, and the judgment of God did not come on the whole people of God. Jesus suffered death as the sinless Son of God, who bore the sins of many that we might be saved through faith in Him. Achan died because he disobeyed the will of God. Jesus died in obedience to God’s will: “not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). As we look on what Jesus has done for us, we are to “sacrifice thank-offerings” to God that He might “show us the salvation of God” (Psalm 50:23).
Day 115
In their opposition to Christ, “Herod and Pilate became friends - before they had been enemies” (Luke 23:12). The people of Israel had to battle against many nations - different from each other, yet having one thing in common: their opposition to the Lord. Everything which is displeasing to the Lord must be resisted, as we pray, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:2).
Day 116
The Lord gave victory to His people, and the defeated enemies were hung upon trees (Joshua 10:25-26). When Jesus was hung upon a tree, this was not defeat. It was victory. Concerning Jesus, it was said, “Surely, this was a righteous man” (Luke 23:47). Proverbs 10:25 tells us that “the righteous stand firm for ever.” This truth was mightily declared in Jesus’ resurrection, which demonstrated Him to be more than a righteous man. He is the Son of God.
Day 117
Israel’s victory over the heathen nations was given to them by the Lord. The spiritual dimension in this military situation must not be overlooked, if we are to learn the lessons God is teaching us from His Word. God has much to teach us from His Word. Those who listen to Him will always have this testimony: “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us” (Luke 24:32). Why does the Lord’s Word burn in our hearts? - so that we might pray to the Lord, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
Day 118
Although many victories had been won, there was still “the land that remains” (Joshua 13:2). The land which had been taken was shared among God’s people. There is strength in sharing. Some are called to leadership, e.g. Caleb (Joshua 14), but their leadership is not for their own satisfaction and benefit. It is for the blessing of the whole people of God. Those who had witnessed the appearance of the risen Lord were sent out to preach the Gospel (Luke 24:46-49). The testimony of the Lord’s people is to be: “I will praise You for ever for what You have done” (Psalm 52:9).  
Day 119
Each tribe had its limited allotment of land. Jesus Christ, “the Word” who “was God”, “became flesh” (John 1:1,14). He accepted the limitations of being human. He was human, yet without sin. “There is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 53:1,3).  This is true of every human being except Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God. In Him alone, there is “salvation” (Psalm 53:6).
Day 120 
Joshua 17:1-18:28; John 1:29-51; Proverbs 10:31-11:8
Each of the tribes had their part in the promised land. Each of Jesus’ disciples, whom He called to Himself at the outset of His ministry, had his part in the work of the Lord. What God did with Israel and with Jesus’ first disciples will be surpassed when Christ comes in glory: “You shall see greater things ... You shall see the heavens open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:50-51). On that Day, there will be both salvation and judgment: “The righteous man is rescued from trouble, and it comes on the wicked instead” (Proverbs 11:8).

A Real Word From The Lord

"God has spoken once. I have heard it said twice" (Psalm 62:10).
Some things are  worth repeating! Again and again, God speaks to us of His great love for us. He loves us. He emphasizes this point. He says to us, 'Make sure that you don't miss this.' If, in our preaching of God's Word, we set out on an endless search for novelty, we will miss lose our focus on the things that really matter. Our preaching will lack emphasis. It will lack the kind of passion that comes when we're really seeking to emphasize the teachings that are at the heart of God's Word. When God emphasizes something, He's saying, 'This is important.' We see this in God's revelation - "God has spoken once. I have heard it said twice." We see it in His call for our response - "Rejoice in the Lord always, and, again, I say, rejoice" (Philippians 4:4). In our preaching, let us make sure that we emphasize the teachings that are so important in God's Word. This kind of preaching will bring joy to the Lord's people. The more we feed our hearts and minds on God's Word, the more we will rejoice in the Lord, the God of our salvation. Preaching that's seeking earnestly to share the Good News of salvation will bring blessing to the hearers. We don't need to pack our preaching with as much information as we possibly can. We may end up with so much information that people are left wondering, "What was all that about?" We need more than information. We need inspiration. We must pray for inspiration. We need a real Word from the Lord. May our words be a true echo of God's Word. May the heart of God reach out to the hearts of those who hear His Word.      

Leading sinners to the Saviour of sinners

"My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20).

It is a great thing to rejoice in God's salvation. We give thanks for the truth upon which our salvation rests. As well as rejoicing in God's salvation and standing upon His truth, we must also speak directly to those who have wandered from the truth, calling upon them to turn from the error of their ways.
Turning "a sinner from the error of his way" - we don't hear much of this kind of talk nowadays. People like to hear the Good News of salvation. They like to be assured of the truth of God's Word. If, however, our teaching regarding the Good News of salvation and the truth of God's Word are to have real depth, we must speak forthrightly about turning "a sinner from the error of his way."
 * Speaking about our "multitude of sins" - this is not to be dismissed as a purely negative reaction against the easy-going outlook of so many people in today's world. There is something much more positive than that - we speak about our sin so that we might learn to glory in God's salvation.
 * Speaking about "the error of our way" - this is not be dismissed as a 'know-it-all' attitude by which we 'look down our noses' at the 'anything goes' approach that is so common in today's world. There's something much more positive here - following our Saviour, we warn against the folly of building on a foundation of shifting sand so that we might learn to build our life upon the Solid Rock: Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:24-27;  1 Corinthians 3:11).
 * Speaking about "death" - this is not be dismissed as out-of-touch with the positive outlook of today's world. Once again, there is something very positive here. We emphasize that "the wages of sin is death" so that there might be a greater appreciation of "the gift of God" which is "eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
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Why do we speak of sin, error and death? 
 - We speak of sin so that people may be called back from the way of sin to a much better way  - the way of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, our Saviour: "He is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God through Him" (Hebrews 7:25).
 - We speak of error so that people may be called back from the way of error to a much more reliable way than the way of error - the way of truth, trusting in Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6). 
 - We speak of death so that people may be called back from the way of death to the much more wonderful way that God has planned for all who put their faith in His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ - the way of eternal life: "God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life" (1 John 5:11-12).

Coming Home

In Luke 15:13, we read of the prodigal son going into the “far country”. In Luke 15:20-22, we read of the joy of his homecoming -“So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.”

Notes on Deuteronomy

DEUTERONOMY

1:1-46 -  With the exception of Caleb and Joshua, the older generation – including Moses – was not to enter the land (34-38).  For the new generation, there was a challenge.  There must be no more failures.  One wasted generation was enough.  This was the time for real commitment to the Lord.  He loved them – He had ‘set the land before’ them.  They were to rise up in faith and ‘ take possession of the land’ (8).  We are called to go on with the Lord.  ‘You have stayed long enough’ at a low level of Christian living.  God is calling us on to maturity: ‘go in and take possession of the land; (6,8; Philippians 3:13-14).  Do not hesitate to move forward with God:  ‘do not fear… It is a good land which the Lord gives us’ (21,25).  Will we be the new generation, ‘a new creation in Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5:17) ?
2:1-37 -  During their wilderness years, God’s people had many problems.  God is greater than all the problems!  Israel’s journey began in the land of  ‘bondage’ (Exodus 2:23-25).  From there, He led them to the land of promise, ‘the land which the Lord our God gives to us’ (29).  This is ‘amazing grace’:  ‘Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home’ (Mission Praise, 31).  In the giving and taking of the land, we see both grace and faith: ‘I have begun to give… this land over to you; begin to take possession…’ (31).  We are not saved by grace apart from faith.  We are ‘saved by grace through faith’.  We are not saved by faith without grace.  We are ‘saved by grace through faith’.  Saved by the Lord, let us press on to a life of ‘good works’ (Ephesians 2:8-10).
3:1-29 -  The promised land was near.  For Moses, it was ‘so near and yet so far’.  He was excluded.     Together with the sadness of Moses’ exclusion, there was the joy of the people’s entrance (27-28).  When we consider Moses’ sadness and the people’s joy, we must remember this: Nobody deserved to go into the land!  The land was God’s gift.  Without His strength, the people of Israel would fail.  With Him, they would be victorious:  ‘You shall not fear them; for it is the Lord your God who fights for you’ (22).  There is here a basic principle of Christian living: ‘not by might , nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts’ (Zechariah 4:6).  ‘In heavenly armour we’ll enter the land.  The battle belongs to the Lord.  No weapon that’s fashioned against us will stand. The battle belongs to the Lord’ (Mission Praise, 639).
4:1-43 -  The people of Israel were involved in the work of the Lord.  The work was based on God – not Moses.  Moses would not be in the promised land.  God would be there.  Moses would ‘not go over the Jordan’.  As God’s man. he was to prepare the people for their task:  ‘you shall go over and take possession of that good land’ (22).  Privilege involves responsibility.  Israel was a privileged people, redeemed by the Lord, delivered from bondage ‘by a mighty hand and outstretched arm’ (34).  Israel was a responsible people, called to obey the Lord: ‘Obey His laws and commands’ (40).  The Lord our God is ‘a merciful God’ (31).  He has saved us.  We are to serve Him.  Let Him reign in your heart.  Let there be ‘no other besides Him’ (35).  Flee to Christ for refuge (42-43), and live each day with ‘the attitude of gratitude’.
4:44-5:33 -  Obedience is grounded in salvation.  The Ten Commandments (7-21) are preceded by the divine declaration: ‘I am the Lord your God’ who brought you… out of the house of bondage’ (6).  He has redeemed us.  We are to live for Him.  The Word of God was spoken to Moses before it was spoken by him (27).  We cannot begin to live for the Lord until we begin to listen to Him.  The way of obedience is the way of blessing.  Our obedience is to be offered in a spirit of gratitude to God for His gracious salvation.  Never imagine it is because of our obedience that God loves us.  His love for us is always prior to our love for Him.  Remember what the Lord has done for you, and your love for Him will grow stronger.  Forget, and you love will grow weaker.  Loved by God, let us love Him – more!
6:1-25 -  ‘Hear’ and ‘do’ (1-3; James 1:22-25).  In our obedience to God, there is to be the fear of the Lord and love for the Lord (2,5).  Fear and love: the two belong together.  God is holy – fear Him.  God is love – love Him.  This is for every generation: ‘you and your son and your son’s son’(2).  ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart’ (5).  Teach the children well so that the blessing of God may be ‘prolonged’ among us (7,2).  Our promised land – heaven (John 14:1-3) – is far better than Israel’s promised land.  Through faith in Christ, we have received ‘eternal life’ (John 5:24; 6:40).  Never take the Lord’s blessing for granted.  Always remember to thank Him for all that He has done for you (10-12).  Teach the children what the Lord has done for them (20-23).  Then, and only then, tell them what they must ‘do’ for Him (24-25).
7:1-26 -  Enter, Destroy, Possess (1-2).  Don’t try to jump straight from entering to possessing.  Don’t forget to destroy.  We enter the Christian life through faith in Christ.  We will not ‘take possession of’ a fuller enjoyment of His salvation if we refuse to ‘destroy’ the obstacles to His blessing in our  lives.  Sin is like a ‘cancer’.  It will ‘kill’ us if we let it (Romans 6:23).  This is why we must fight it – with ‘the whole armour of God’ (Ephesians 6:10-17).  From beginning to end, our salvation is the work of God:  ‘…it is because the Lord loves you… that He has… redeemed you…’ (6-8).  The Lord’s love speaks of His keeping power.  He will complete the work He has begun (17-19; Philippians 1:6).  Saved and kept by the power of God, we travel from Christ’s Cross to our Crown (Romans 1:16; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 2:24-25; 5:4).
8:1-9:21 -  The ‘wilderness’ was a place of ‘testing’.  God was ‘disciplining’ His people.  He was teaching them to ‘walk in His ways’ (2,5-6).  In the ‘wilderness’, we must remember this: ‘man does not live by bread alone… man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord’ (3).  Everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord – His warnings as well as His promises!  He speaks to us in warnings: ‘Take heed lest you forget the Lord your God…’ (11).  He speaks to us in promises:  ‘the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land’ (7).  ‘God forbid that I should glory…’ (8:17-18; 9:4-6; Galatians 6:14).  God gave Israel the land.  He gives us ‘the Kingdom’ (Luke 12:32).  As earthly kingdoms rise and fall, ‘the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed’ (Daniel 2:44).
9:22-10:22 -  ‘We will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word’ (Acts 6:4).  Moses was an intercessor (25-29).  The ministry of the Word needs to be grounded in prayer.  Prayerfully seeking the Lord’s help, we are to place His Word at the centre of the life of His people (5).  God shows His mercy by providing His servants to carry His Word in a ministry of blessing to the people, a ministry which helps the people to ‘go in and possess the land’ (8,10-11).  In gratitude to God, our Creator-Redeemer, we are to give ourselves to Him in obedience (12-15).  Let your heart and life be changed by the Lord, never forgetting this: ‘He is your praise; He is your God, who has done for you… great… things’ (16-21).  ‘God… gives the growth’ (22; Corinthians 3:7).  Read Psalm 126:6 and pray!
11:1-32 -  God is at work among His people, teaching them many lessons.  Through His precious promises and strong warnings, He leads us in the way of obedience and blessing (31-32).  If we are to enjoy the Lord’s blessing, we need the whole Word of God – the warnings as well as the promises.  Obedience to God – This is the most important thing in the life of faith.  Obedience demonstrates the reality of faith.  By our obedience, we show our ‘love’ for the Lord.  We rejoice in ‘all the great work of the Lord’.  By ‘His mighty hand’, He has provided for us a great salvation.  Our enjoyment of His salvation increases as we live in obedience to Him (8-15).  Without obedience, there can be no blessing (16-17).  Teach others to obey God – especially the ‘children’ (18-21).  God is good.  He loves us (22-25).  Obey Him.  Choose blessing (26-28).
12:1-32 -  In our hearts, nothing else must compete with the Lord.  There is no room for idolatry.  ‘Destroy’ everything that threatens to take the place of God in your life. (2-3).  We are not to ‘do what is right in our own eyes’.  We are to worship as the Lord ‘chooses’ (5,8,13-14).  Remove every distraction.  Get rid of those things which keep you from crowning Christ as Lord of your life.  When you are tempted to put other things before the Lord, ‘be careful not to be ensnared’ in the ways of the world (29-31).  When we are tempted, we must take our stand on God’s Word.  ‘Everything’ He has given to us – This means more than our favourite passages!  Don’t ‘add to it’, making ‘the traditions of men’ more important than the Word of God.  Don’t ‘take from it’, ignoring the parts you don’t like (32; Mark 7:8; Acts 20:27).
13:1-14:21 -  Obedience to God involves an uncompromising attitude toward those who would lead people away from God.  Those who say ‘Let us go and serve other gods’ (13:2,6,13) must not be permitted to exert their evil influence on God’s people.  God says, ‘You must not listen to them (13:3,8).  Temptations to ‘idolatry’ can come under the guise of ‘spirituality’ – ‘a prophet… a dreamer of dreams… a sign or a wonder’ (13:1; 1 John 4:1).  ‘Idolatry’ can come from within one’s own family.  The Lord must come first (13:6-11; Luke 14:26).  God’s judgment is upon ‘idolaters’ so that others may see their folly, turn from ‘idolatry’ and receive God’s mercy (13:12-18).  Remember God’s purpose of love (John 3:17).  In our worship and in the whole of life, we are to be ‘a people holy to the Lord our God’ (14:2,21).
14:22-15:23 -  ‘Tithing’ (Giving the tenth to God) emerges out of holiness: ‘You are a people holy to the Lord your God… You shall tithe’ (14:21-22). It is more than giving things to God. It is giving ourselves to Him. It also involves caring for others (7-11; Isaiah 58:6-7). We have been ‘earmarked’ as servants of the Lord (17). Being ‘earmarked’ for God involves listening to God (Isaiah 55:2-3). Bring ‘the firstling’ to God (19). ‘We are here to bring You the best that we can bring. And it is our love rising from our hearts’ (Mission Praise, 717). ‘Just as I am… to be the best that I can be for truth, and righteousness, and Thee, Lord of my life, I come’ (Church Hymnary, 448). No second bests – Only the best will do for God.
16:1-17:13 -  Blessed by God, the people of Israel had much to celebrate. They had been brought out of the land of bondage. They were about to enter the land of promise. The keeping of the feasts (16:1-17) was a response to God’s love, a way of celebrating His love. Why did God bring Israel to the promised land? It was because He ‘loved them’ (Psalm 44:3). The Passover was a continuing reminder of God’s mighty work of redemption. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial of what God has done for us in Christ. In remembering His dying love for us, we remember what we were without Him and we give thanks for all that He has done for us. As well as ‘joy’ (45), there is to be justice (16:18-17:13; Micah 6:8). Note the effect of justice: ‘And all the people shall hear, and fear, and not act presumptuously again’ (17:13).
17:14-18:22 -  Even the king is subject to God’s ‘law’. His supreme responsibility is this: Pay careful attention to God’s Word (17:18-20). Politically, he may be in an elevated position – a ‘king over’ others (17:14-15). Spiritually, he must not allow ‘his heart’ to be ‘lifted up above his brethren’ (17:20). There must be humble obedience to God’s Word. Priests speak to God for us. Prophets speak to us for God. We need both – ‘prayer and the ministry of the Word’ (Acts 6:4). In our worship, we must keep the Lord at the very centre. Anything or anyone who distracts our attention from the Lord is no help to true worship (9-14). ‘A prophet like Moses’ (18:15): Jesus is the ultimate prophet – to see and hear Him is to see and hear God (John 5:19; 12:49; 14:9). He preaches God’s Word.  He is ‘the Word of God’ (John 1:1).
19:1-20:9 -  Justice is concerned with (a) the protection of the innocent – ‘innocent blood will not be shed in your land’ (10); (b) the punishment of the guilty – ‘you must purge the evil from among you’ (19). Through justice, God is to be glorified among His people. We are to fight for the Lord without fear, confident of His glorious presence (20:1-4). In the service of the Lord, we must not be ‘fearful and fainthearted’ (20:8). We are to be ‘good soldiers of Jesus Christ’ (2 Timothy 2:3). We need to give careful attention to the Word of God: ‘When you draw near to the battle, the priest will come forward and speak to the people, and say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel…’ (20:2-3). God’s Word is not concerned only with ‘Church work’. It sends us ‘back to our house’ – ‘dedicated’ to the Lord (20:5-9).
20:10-21:23 -  The offer of ‘peace’ is made (20:10; Romans 5:1). Some refuse to ‘make peace’. They choose to ‘make war’ (20:12). When the enemies of  Christ and the Gospel are raging, we must be resolute in our commitment to living ‘as the Lord our God has commanded’ (20:16-18). We are to ‘do what is right in the sight of the Lord’. This will involve ‘going forth to war against our enemies’. It will involve ‘purging the evil from our midst’ (21:9-10,21; Ephesians 6:10-13; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Hebrews 12:1-2,11). Our life of holiness is grounded in the death of Christ who, on the Cross, was ‘accursed by God’ so that we might be saved by God (21:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24). Through faith in Him, we have been declared holy (Romans 5:1,3-5,9-10).
22:1-30 -  Care for ‘your brother’ (1-4). Our caring is not to be selective  – ‘If the brother does not live near you or if you do not know who he is’ (2). When Jesus says, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Luke 10:27), He means much more than loving the people who live near us, the people that we know. The ‘Samaritan’ didn’t know ‘the man who fell into the hands of robbers’ (Luke 10:30,33). ‘Jews did not associate with Samaritans’ (John 4:9). Jesus says, ‘Love your enemies (Matthew 5:44). Love your enemies with the love of the Lord – ‘when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son’ (Romans 5:8,10). Don’t love the ways of those who ‘live as enemies of the Cross of Christ’ (Philippians 3:18). ‘Purge the evil from the midst of you’ (21-22,24).
23:1-25 -  God sees us as we really are. He ‘looks on the heart’ as well as ‘the outward appearance’. We must live to please Him, praying, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!’ (14; 1 Samuel 16:7; Psalm 139: 23-24). God calls us to be holy: ‘you shall keep yourself from every evil thing’ (9). This ‘holiness’ is not to be a proud, arrogant thing. It is to be filled with compassionate caring. Don’t write anyone off, saying, ‘They’re not our kind of people’ (7). Don’t be out for all you can get for yourself without any thought of how your actions affect other people (24-25). Let your holiness be real. Don’t say one thing and do another. Don’t pretend to be more ‘holy’ than you really are. Choose to be holy – every day (21-23).
24:1-25:29 -  Justice for the vulnerable is grounded in God’s redemption (24:17-18). This is an important principle for us. God loves us. He has done great things for us. He cares. We are to care. Let His love be the guiding light in every part of your life. Scripture speaks of both salvation and judgment. Israel was given ‘the land’ as ‘an inheritance to possess’. The Amalekites were blotted out (25:19). The Christian life is a spiritual warfare. When we are ‘faint and weary’, we will be ‘attacked on the way’. If we ‘lag behind’ in our walk with God, those who ‘do not fear God’ will try to ‘cut us off’ from the Lord and His people. This is the work of Satan. We must not be ‘ignorant of his devices’. God is with us in the battle. He is leading us on to our eternal ‘inheritance’ (25:17-19; 2 Corinthians 2:11).
26:1-27:10 -  The people of Israel had a testimony. They had been redeemed by the God of love.   Thankful for His love and salvation, they brought their offerings to the Lord (26:5-9). The call to obedience is grounded in the gift of salvation. Redeemed by the Lord, we are called to be ‘a people holy to the Lord our God’ (26:16-19). There is no privilege without responsibility. Israel was privileged: God was giving them ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’. Israel was responsible: God was saying to them, ‘Keep all the commandments which I command you this day’ (27:1-3). God blesses us. We obey Him. We enjoy more of His blessing. This leads us to obey Him more. Break the ‘vicious circle’. Get on to God’s ‘victorious circle’: He shows us His love. We love Him. He shows us more of His love. We love Him more… (John 14:21).
27:11-28:24 -  Through His strongly worded warnings, God calls us back from the way of disobedience (27:15-26;28:15-24). Through His promises of blessing, He calls us to the way of obedience, the only way to true happiness (28:1-14). God’s blessing cannot be taken for granted. Where there is disobedience, there is no blessing. Our ‘enemies’ will triumph over us (28:25). We need not be defeated. God has shown us His way of blessing. It is the way of obedience (1-2). We are not blessed because we deserve to be blessed. We can never earn the Lord’s blessing. The blessing comes from Him (8). He blesses us because He loves us – not because we are worthy of His blessing. You can be in ‘the promised land’ without enjoying the promised blessing. Don’t ‘suffer loss’ – ‘saved, but only as through fire’ (1 Corinthians 3:15).
28:25-68 -  There is nothing inevitable about the chain of events described in these verses. These are the consequences of disobedience. God is warning His people: ‘If you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God…’ (28:15). Why does God warn His people of the consequences of disobedience? He wants them to draw back from the way of disobedience and follow the pathway of obedience and blessing. These ‘curses’ were avoidable. They would only happen if Israel persisted in rebelling against the Lord. We can bring ‘curses’ upon ourselves. Don’t imagine that God doesn’t care how you live. He does. That is why He calls us back from the pathway of disobedience. That is why He exhorts us to choose holiness. Read Hebrews 10:26-31; 12:25-29. Pray for God’s mercy (Luke 18:13). Ask Him to make you more holy (Hebrews 12:14).
29:1-29 -  God has done great things for His people – ‘in the land of Egypt… in the wilderness’ (2,5). Acknowledging Him to be the Lord their God, they were to live in obedience to Him (6,9). The way of obedience is the way of blessing. Moses warns the people that they must not depart from the way of blessing. Moses warns the people that they must not depart from the way of obedience (16-28). Turning away from the Lord leads to judgment – ‘anger and fury and great wrath’ (24-28). There are ‘secret things’. There are ‘things that are revealed’. Some ‘things’ we will never understand. These ‘things belong to the Lord our God’. There are many ‘things’ we have learned and have firmly believed. ‘The things that are revealed’ are found in ‘the Holy Scriptures’. Through God’s written Word, we are brought to ‘salvation’ and we are ‘thoroughly equipped’ for Christian  living (29; 2 Timothy 3:14-17).
30:1-31:13 -  For Israel, a real turning to the Lord with ‘all the heart and soul’ involved obedience to ‘His commandments… written in this book of the law’ (30:10). We are not left wondering what God wants us to do – ‘…the Word is very near you…’(11-14). Through His Word, God ‘sets before’ us a choice. He calls us to ‘choose life’ (15-20). Joshua was to succeed Moses (31:1-2,7-8). Conflict lay ahead. God’s people needed His Word of encouragement: ‘Be strong and of good courage, do not fear or be in dread of them’. Beyond the conflict, there would be triumph. God gave His Word of promise: ‘It is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not fail you or forsake you’ (31:6). Turning from the people to Joshua, Moses spoke the same words (31:7-8). Hear; Learn to fear the Lord; Be careful to obey His Word (31:12-13).
31:14-32:18 -  ‘Write this song, and teach it to the people of Israel’ (19,22). Moses did not delay his obedience to God. ‘Write… Teach…’: God is speaking to us about the renewal of our worship. Don’t say, ‘It’s never been done that way before’ – ‘the seven last words of the church’! Moses’ song was ‘a witness for God against the people of Israel’ (19). It can still help us, in this generation, to confess our sin – We ‘have dealt corruptly with Him’ (5) – and glorify our God – ‘I will proclaim the Name of the Lord’  (3). Modern music can help us to hear afresh the ancient message: ‘Ascribe greatness to our God…’ (3-4; Mission Praise, 40). Let us praise God ‘in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs’ (Ephesians 5:18-20).
32:19-33:17 -  Here, we have both the warning of judgment and the promise of salvation. Rebuking ‘a perverse generation’ – ‘They are devious people, children who can’t be trusted’ – God says, ‘I will hide My face from them’ (20). When, in our need, we look to Him for mercy, we have His promise: ‘The Lord will… have compassion on His servants, when He sees their power is gone’ (36). ‘This is the blessing…’ (1). For each tribe – Reuben (6), Judah (7), Levi (8-11), Benjamin (12), Joseph (13-17) – , there is a different Word from the Lord. Each of us is different. Our circumstances are different. God knows what we need to hear. He speaks the Word which is just right for each one. He ‘loves’ every one of us. We are ‘in His hands’. Let us ‘follow in His steps, receiving direction from Him’ (3).
33:18-34:12 -  ‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’ (27): This is no guarantee of peaceful tranquillity. For Israel, there was conflict. ‘Saved by the Lord’, Israel had found true happiness. Still, there were ‘enemies’ to be ‘thrust out’ and ‘trampled down’ (27,29). Knowing the blessing of God’s salvation is no guarantee that life will be easy. When the enemies of the Gospel see a believer intent on glorifying the Lord, they do all they can to create problems. We have ‘enemies’ in ‘high places’ (29; Ephesians 6:12). Their argument is not with us. It is with God. If God’s work is to do well, there needs to be spiritual leadership. Moses had led God’s people in his day. Joshua was to take his place (9). Moses was important. Joshua was important. The Lord is more important  –  ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31).                                        

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Pray to God, preach His Word - and care for the people.

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