Deuteronomy Blog Part One
Feb 16/12 - Deuteronomy 4:44-49, NIV
This is the law Moses set before the Israelites. These are the stipulations, decrees and laws Moses gave them when they came out of Egypt and were in the valley near Beth Peor east of the Jordan, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon and was defeated by Moses and the Israelites as they came out of Egypt. They took possession of his land and the land of Og king of Bashan, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan. This land extended from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge to Mount Siyon (that is, Hermon), and included all the Arabah east of the Jordan, as far as the Sea of the Arabah, below the slopes of Pisgah.
We often speak of the law of Moses as if Moses originated the Law. It is the Law of God given through Moses. Moses was the instrument through whom the Law came, but it is vital to see the Law as coming from God. God cannot give "bad" gifts. The Law is actually a gift of God's grace to let us know how life works and what He expects. Without it we would be forever in the dark. The law is a reflection of the perfect character of God. Christians who despise the Law are actually despising God.
Feb 15/12 - Deuteronomy 4:41-43, NIV
Then Moses set aside three cities east of the Jordan, to which anyone who had killed a person could flee if he had unintentionally killed his neighbor without malice aforethought. He could flee into one of these cities and save his life. The cities were these: Bezer in the desert plateau, for the Reubenites; Ramoth in Gilead, for the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, for the Manassites.
The Cities of Refuge were designed as a safe place a person who had accidentally killed someone could flee to. This was to protect them from being killed as a murderer. The taking of human life is always a serious matter. It is the humanist world - which claims to honour humanity and be compassionate - which it truly barbaric. It is humanist governments which have murdered literally millions of their own people. It is humanists who release murderers to commit repeat murders. And it is humanists who fight for the "right" to murder millions of defenceless babies. God works to protect life, while the humanists, claiming to love life, destroy it on a massive scale. The humanists have murdered more people in the last 150 years than have died in all the religious wars from the beginning of time!
Feb 14/12 - Deuteronomy 4:40, NIV
Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.
People tend to go to two extremes regarding the law of God. They either used it as a method of salvation called legalism or they deny that the law is for us today. Both positions are in serious error. While the law can never save - that was never its intention - neither has it disappeared. It is God's instruction manual on how life works. The closer we follow the law the better life works. We need the law. Without it we would never be able to tell what was right or wrong. Look at the world today. They are increasingly rejecting the law of God and then calling evil good and good evil. And then they stand confused as to why their lives and nations are a mess!
Feb 13/12 - Deuteronomy 4:39, NIV
Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.
Ever since Adam rebelled mankind has been scrambling after other gods in order to escape the true God. The gods have taken the shape of physical idols, of power, of lust, of entertainment, of desires or pleasures and a million other forms, but it is the same seeking after another god. We need to just stop our madness and our business long enough to consider what we are doing. Look around. This is only one God and He is Jesus Christ. Let us seek after Him and leave the rest in the trash heap.
Feb 11/12 - Deuteronomy 4:37-38, NIV
Because he loved your forefathers and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence and his great strength, to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you into their land to give it to you for your inheritance, as it is today.
God acts because He chooses to love. God has no need to love outside of the Godhead, but He chooses to do so. When God chooses to put His love on someone, He looks after them and their descendants. God always thinks multi-generational. I am sure that many times going through the desert it did not look like God loved the Israelites. At times they felt abandoned and helpless. Yet, the truth was God was with them, caring for them and leading them into the great things He had planned for them. The same is true in our lives. It does not always appear that God loves us, but the truth is that He does and He is working on our behalf.
Feb 10/12 - Deuteronomy 4:36, NIV
From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, and you heard his words from out of the fire.
We often think of discipline in a negative sense, as in punishment. Discipline is teaching or learning a skill. God was teaching His people how to related to Him and live a successful life on earth. Learning a discipline does sometimes involved correction but that is a small part of a big picture. God teaches from heaven and earth. He works with both spiritual and physical things to being us to the place we should be for His glory and our fulfillment.
Feb 8/12 - Deuteronomy 4:35, NIV
You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.
God reveals Himself so that we might know Him. We can never discover God on our own, in fact, we are not even looking for Him. Things of the Spirit must be given by revelation. We are totally dependent on the mercy of God. It is the love of God that reveals Himself to us and we learn about the true God…the only God. All other gods are figments of man's imagination used in an attempt to avoid the true God.
Feb 6/12 - Deuteronomy 4:33-34, NIV
Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by miraculous signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
Satan's temptation is always to look for another god. We may look down on those who form their gods out of wood or stone, but we have our own gods which are just as foolish. The gods of the modern world are many: entertainment, drugs, sex [which is really just Baal revisted], politics, democracy and the list continues on. Whatever we seek to give us salvation is our god. All false gods and religions are legalistic…you have to do something to earn the "salvation" they offer. And it always leaves you empty and needing a bigger dose to try and attain the same amount of temporary satisfaction. Only Jesus is God and can give real salvation and meet out needs. God invites us to look at the false gods, their hollow promises and their impotent actions and compare them with Him. When you really stop to think about things there is no comparison.
Feb 4/12 - Deuteronomy 4:32, NIV
Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created man on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of?
We need a sense of history. History has rightly been called His story. God began building at creation about 6,000 years ago and will continue building His plan until the climax, the Return of Jesus Christ. We study this plan as it develops in the Old Testament leading to the New Testament in the Covenants series. The Christian view of history is progressive - a line beginning at a point and ending at another point. Heathen views of history tend to see history as either an unconnected series of dots which has no purpose or an endless circle.
Feb 3/12 - Deuteronomy 4:31, NIV
For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.
Sometimes we are fed the lie that in the Old Testament God was harsh, judgmental and unloving while in the New Testament He is merciful, forgiving and loving. Since God cannot change this comes extremely close to believing in two different Gods [as some cults do]. God's character in the Old Testament is the same as His character in the New Testament. God was merciful and loving in the Old Testament and He still judges and punishes sin in the New Testament. Let's look at the whole picture and not divided God into little pieces. One of the things we look at in Life Line is this concept of God.
Jan 28/12 - Deuteronomy 4:30, NIV
When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him.
God designed us to have continual fellowship with Him. It is a sad comment on our lives that often we only turn to Him when we are in trouble. Problems and disasters beyond our control cause us to look for Someone who is in control. It is then we really focus on God. That is not the way it should be. We should be developing a relationship with God daily through the good times and the bad times.
Jan 26/12 - Deuteronomy 4:29, NIV
But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.
It does not matter how far we have fallen. If we will turn to God, He will hear us. The key is that we turn to Him with ALL our heart and soul. If we are half-hearted, if we are still wanting to engage in our sin or have things our own way, He will not hear. God is not playing games and He will not help us to play them. But if we are serious, no matter where we are in life, He will hear and answer. He is just waiting for us to smarten up and start pursing Him with everything we have. It is a search of desperation. We need to be desperate for God, realizing that without Him we have no hope.
Jan 23/12 - Deuteronomy 4:27-28, NIV
The LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the LORD will drive you. There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell.
One of the worst things God can do to us is let us have our own way. If we persist in rejecting Him for our own ways, even as Christians, God withdraws Himself. We get what we think we want. only to discover it is empty and self-destructive. Western Civilization has pursued humanism and pleasure and now we are reaping the results. I don't want to be a prophet of doom, but unless there is large-scale sorrow for sin and repentance things will only get worse. We need to pray for the Holy Spirit to be released across our lands.
Jan 21/12 - Deuteronomy 4:25-26, NIV
After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God and provoking him to anger, I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed.
The danger of prosperity in the physical sense [which is a natural result of a nation following the laws of God] is that we forget God. We forget that He is the One Who gives us everything. We begin to take our blessings for granted, think we deserve them. We become lazy and take life easy. With spare time on our hands - because we don't have to work so hard to survive - we invest it in ungodly pursuits or in just abandoning our God for our pleasures even if they are legitimate. This is the position of Western civilization today. Unless there is a mass sorrow for sin, repentance, restoration and reformation we are headed for destruction.
Jan 20/12 - Deuteronomy 4:24, NIV
For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
We tend to think of jealousy in strictly negative terms. Jealousy can be both good and bad. For example, a spouse has a right to be jealous if the affections of their spouse are being turned to someone else. God has designed us for Himself. Those He has chosen are "married" to Him. This is a total commitment both on God's part and on our part. For us to flirt with sin or to be half-hearted brings legitimate, positive jealousy on the part of God. We are turning our affections away from Him Who alone has the right to be the center of our love. Such actions will bring judgment. In our modern, individualistic society we often lose the fear of God. We need a healthy and balanced fear of the Almighty God.
Jan 19/12 - Deuteronomy 4:23, NIV
Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden.
The Western nations used to be Christian nations. They acknowledged the rule of God and His law no matter how imperfectly they followed it. This is the case no longer. We, in the West, live in heathen nations which are becoming increasingly hostile to Christianity. We have forgotten the covenant of God and have rejected His ways. Unless there is a major sorrow for sin, repentance and reformation we are witnessing the fall of Western Civilization. I suspect that the Christians in Asia and parts of Africa who have long invested in the Kingdom of God with their blood will in the future see Christian nations arise in their part of the world. I trust, in their coming days of prosperity, they will take a lesson from the fall of the West and not forget the covenant of their God.
Jan 17/12 - Deuteronomy 4:21-22, NIV
The LORD was angry with me because of you, and he solemnly swore that I would not cross the Jordan and enter the good land the LORD your God is giving you as your inheritance. I will die in this land; I will not cross the Jordan; but you are about to cross over and take possession of that good land.
Even as Christians all our actions have consequences for good or bad. God will judge our actions. We are secure in Christ as far as our relationship with God and our eternal position goes, but, on this planet, we will often have to live with the results of negative decisions. Moses lost his heart's desire, to live in the promised land, because of an outburst of anger that misrepresented the glory of Christ. We need to realize that the Kingdom of God and life is serious. It doesn't mean we can't have fun, but we can't afford to be careless or sinful.
Jan 16/12 - Deuteronomy 4:20, NIV
But as for you, the LORD took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are.
We do not like pressure and trouble. We like to be comfortable and at ease. Unfortunately for our desires, character is formed and tested in adversity. Israel endured the slavery and oppression of Egypt, but in the right time God brought them out and made them His people. Likewise, God will use the difficult or painful circumstances of our lives to make us into the people He wants us to be…if we will let Him. If all we do is whine and cry we will miss much of the potential benefit. It is better to praise God in all things, trusting that He is working it out for good. Deliverance will come in God's timing.
Jan 13/12 - Deuteronomy 4:15-19, NIV
You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.
Today most Westerners would laugh at the idea of worshiping an idol. In pride they think themselves above such things from man's "primitive" past. In fact, they worship just as many idols…just in different forms. Sex is one of the biggest idols worshiped in magazines, movies, the Internet, and in actual practice all over the world. The forms of the creature - men and women, boys and girls - are beheld and worshiped. Pleasure is also a huge god these days as many people still have more money than brains. We seek satisfaction in making ourselves feel good. It all revolves around humanism - man is the centre. We reject God so ultimately we worship ourselves. Satan is pleased because when we worship ourselves we are really joining his rebellion and worshiping him as god.
Jan 12/12 - Deuteronomy 4:14, NIV
And the LORD directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess.
Teachers are placed in the body of Christ to instruct us in the ways of God. This does not mean we are not to study the Word of God for ourselves. We are. But we can gain insight and instruction from people who are able to study the Word of God full time or, at least, devote large portions of their time to study. We should check out what they say with the Word of God and then, if it is actuate, we can build on it to increase our knowledge and application of the Word of God. The Word of God ultimately is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jan 11/12 - Deuteronomy 4:13, NIV
He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets.
God has made seven major covenants with mankind which we study in detail in The Love Covenants. Each covenant builds on the previous one like stepping stones to the final covenant, the New Covenant. In the Mosaic Covenant the Ten Commandments are the heart. In fact, they are the heart of the entire law. The Ten Commandments are the summary of the Law of God, or to look at it the other way around, the rest of the Law is a practical explanation of the Ten Commandments. Jesus later summed up the Ten Commandments into two laws: Love God and Love your neighbour.
Jan 10/12 - Deuteronomy 4:12, NIV
Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.
All the Israelites heard the voice of God in an awe-inspiring way. There could be no doubt about Who was speaking to them. There could be no doubt that their God was far greater than all the gods of the heathen nations. Yet their obedience was short-lived. They quickly turned to gods who could not speak but whose belief systems allowed or required them to indulge in sensual please. Why? The heart of man is totally corrupt. Only a true change of heart can change the course of a life. Nothing else can.
Jan 9/12 - Deuteronomy 4:11, NIV
You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness.
Drawing near to God can be a scary thought. He is absolute Perfection and we are sinful. He is the Light that exposes our weakness and sin. Many times we do not want that revealed. We want to hide in the darkness. In the New Testament era we have comfort because we can look at the face of God in Jesus. We can see that God is loving and forgiving if we will only come to Him. Still, approaching the Light takes courage.
Jan 7/12 - Deuteronomy 4:10, NIV
Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”
It is good to take time to remember what God has done for us in the past. When we are going through troubles or face challenges we can get our eyes on our problems and off of God. We need to take time to remember and refocus. We need to take time to study the Word of God for ourselves, to immerse ourselves in the ways of God. And again we see the emphasis on teaching our children. This is a vital issue that God will not ignore. His greatest responsibility to parents on this earth is the children He gives them. Training the next generation, especially our own children, is not optional.
Jan 6/12 - Deuteronomy 4:9, NIV
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
It is easy to get distracted from following God. It is easy to give into temptation [just a little bit, of course]. However, small compromises lead to bigger compromises until, one small step at a time, we find ourselves going in the opposite direction. Who would have thought that in less than a hundred years we would have gone from honouring marriage to trying to legitimize pedophiles. We must be diligent not only in ourselves but in training the following generations in the ways of God. Humanists have long realized the importance of training children. They have captured the public schools, and most private schools, colleges and universities. Yet we still violate the Word of God by sending our innocent children to be corrupted and trained in everything from atheism to sexual experimentation. We are afraid or willfully ignorant of the responsibility God has placed on us, but God will accept no excuses on Judgment Day.
Jan 4/12 - Deuteronomy 4:8, NIV
And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?
Only by following the Law of God can we discern what is right and wrong. In our sinful state we are not in a position to trust our own judgment. Our logic is twisted and corrupted. Only the Word of God can show the true path. We have to trust it even when we don't understand it. As we follow the Laws of God personally and nationally we discover that life works. When we walk away from God's Laws all sorts of things begin to fall apart…things we did not even know were connected. And every time we try to fix it with our wisdom, we only make it worse. The Word of God is the only true guide.
Jan 3/12 - Deuteronomy 4:7, NIV
What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?
Every person and every nation worships a god or gods. It may be the god of humanism, the god of sexual license, the god of pleasure, the god of money or power, etc. The list could go on forever. A true atheist simply believes himself to be god so even he hasn't escaped the belief in god. Every god except the true God leads eventually to destruction. When a nation [or a person] sets their eyes on the true God, God as revealed in the Bible, God draws near to them. He begins an intimate relationship with them. He is there to hear and answer prayer. He will do what no false God can do.
Dec 31/11 - Deuteronomy 4:6, NIV
Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”
Unfortunately even many Christians despise the law of God. Yet these very laws are the wisdom of God in living a successful life on earth. No wonder that satan rejoices as people turn their backs on God's law. God has laws - or instructions - for every aspect of life. Even our national life needs to be controlled by the law of God. The nation that is wise enough to follow the laws of God will find it is a prosperous and safe nation whose citizens enjoy tremendous freedom. As nations reject the law of God they go into poverty and slavery. By embracing and promoting sinful lifestyles, the formerly great Western nations are going into darkness and death. The other nations of the world would do well to note it, and begin following the laws of God. They would then see themselves raising to the top. It is not democracy which saves, it is Jesus.
Dec 30/11 - Deuteronomy 4:5, NIV
See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it.
Many Christians today do not understand the laws of God. They have been taught that the laws are "Old Testament," that they do not apply today and other lies to keep them from living the full, healthy and rich life God wants for them. We need honest men and women of God to teach us the laws of God and their current applications so that we can live in a way that is pleasing to God and beneficial to us and others.
Dec 29/11 - Deuteronomy 4:3-4, NIV
You saw with your own eyes what the LORD did at Baal Peor. The LORD your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor, but all of you who held fast to the LORD your God are still alive today.
God is not some permissive, Santa Claus-like God Who overlooks rebellion - which is the root sin of every sin. The scars on the body of Jesus testify that God can not overlook sin and Christianity is serious. Judgment will come to everyone outside of the Blood Covenant of Jesus Christ, whether they go by the name of "Christian" or not. God is not playing games and neither should we be. This year millions will forever step into the torture chamber of the universe without hope, without escape, and without change. Yet many Christians are caught up in the things of this world ignoring their true mission - expanding the Kingdom of God by spreading the gospel and obeying the Law of God. It does not take long for light to dispel darkness…if the light is turned on! Let us live the Light of God or rather, let us live so the Light of God can shine through us.
Dec 23/11 - Deuteronomy 4:2, NIV
Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.
God is the only One Who can make law. The only laws humans [state, church, family] are allowed to make are application laws. Application laws are laws which apply God's laws in specific modern situations, beyond that they are not allowed to go. Any application law that is shown to be in violation of God's law is void. Of course, today - in direct rebellion to God - humanistic laws are enacted on every level. These are illegal laws because they violate the Law of the Ultimate Lawgiver and Owner of the universe.
Sometimes Christians get into trouble because they add to the laws of God be creating "fence" laws. Fence laws are laws designed to keep you from breaking the real law. If a person wants to impose fence laws on himself, fine, but to try to impose them on others is sin and legalism.
Dec 22/11 - Deuteronomy 4:1, NIV
Hear now, O Israel, the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
The land was given to Israel, but on the condition of obedience to the laws of God. Those who teach that the land was given unconditionally have not read their Bible very well. Many times God links possessing and remaining in the land to obedience to the commands of God. Disobedience would mean expulsion.
Likewise we do not get or keep anything from God - either physically or spiritually - by walking in disobedience. We must walk in obedience to "possess our land." God will not honour rebels in the long run. He may, in patience and mercy, delay judgment to give ample time for repentance, but He will not bless the efforts of those who oppose Him forever. This definitely includes Christians who reject the ways of God and choose to walk in their own stubborn ways. A Christian is to be a disciple. Those who would not be "disciplined ones" may find themselves on the side of the goats when Judgment Day arrives. This has nothing to do with the heresy of working for or earning salvation. If salvation has been a genuine work in our hearts, it will have results that are seen.
Dec 19/11 - Deuteronomy 3:28-29, NIV
But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.” So we stayed in the valley near Beth Peor.
Moses had a successor. He had someone by his side whom he had trained for a long time to take his place when the time came. God had selected and placed Joshua by Moses. Joshua had proved himself as a faithful and loyal helper. Many times ministries and even businesses fail because there is no plan of succession when the founder dies or the chosen successor proves to be the wrong person for the position. For any organization with long-term vision, it is important to have a plan for succession and a training program in place. A potential leader should prove himself [or herself] before they get in a place of authority and power.
Dec 17/11 - Deuteronomy 3:26-27, NIV
But because of you the LORD was angry with me and would not listen to me. “That is enough,” the LORD said. “Do not speak to me anymore about this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah and look west and north and south and east. Look at the land with your own eyes, since you are not going to cross this Jordan.
Moses does a little bit blame shifting. We are all responsible for our own actions; however, I can understand how Moses was pushed to the limits of endurance by an ungrateful and whining people.
The incident what caused God to prevent Moses from going into the Promised Land was when Moses hit the rock to bring water out of it instead of speaking to it as he was instructed. On a previous occasion he had been instructed to hit the rock, but on the second time he was to speak to it. It seems a small thing, but disobedience is never small. Plus it ruined the picture God was painting of Christ. The rock was a picture of Christ. He was to be hit once [on the cross] and never again. After that we speak to Christ as we come to Him in prayer. Moses, in a sense, struck Christ twice.
Dec 15/11 - Deuteronomy 3:23-25, NIV
At that time I pleaded with the LORD: “O Sovereign LORD, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do? Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan—that fine hill country and Lebanon.”
Moses knew he was not allowed to cross over into the promised land; yet he still asked God one more time to be allowed to go over. It was his heart's desire to see what God had promised to Abraham hundreds of years previously. There is nothing wrong with asking God to change His mind. Part of any deep relationship is to be able to talk honestly about your thoughts and feelings. However, like Moses [and Jesus] we have to be willing to accept the answer even if it is one we don't like.
Dec 14/11 - Deuteronomy 3:22, NIV
Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you.”
Many times they were instructed not to be afraid. Why? Because fear was the natural reaction when they saw the impossible odds against them. Fear would drive them into inaction and defeat or back into the desert. It is so easy to allow great opposition or the impossibility of a situation to allow us to get our eyes off of God. With God nothing shall be impossible. We need to maintain our focus on God, then we will have a proper perspective to face life.
Dec 12/11 - Deuteronomy 3:21, NIV
At that time I gave Joshua a command. I said, "Your own eyes have seen everything the Lord your God has done to Sihon and Og. He will do the same thing to all of the kingdoms in the land where you are going.
Moses was wise enough to train a successor. Joshua was right beside Moses all throughout the desert experience. He saw how the man of God handled hard situations and he saw God come through time and time again. Joshua led battles under the direction of Moses. When it came time for him to take over he had a wealth of faith and experience behind him. He would need it for the impossible task God had assigned him. Like Joshua, we need to be submitted to those God places over us. We need to watch and learn. The time will come when we will have to apply it. Will we be ready?
Dec 10/11 - Deuteronomy 3:18-20, NIV
I commanded you at that time: “The LORD your God has given you this land to take possession of it. But all your able-bodied men, armed for battle, must cross over ahead of your brother Israelites. However, your wives, your children and your livestock (I know you have much livestock) may stay in the towns I have given you, until the LORD gives rest to your brothers as he has to you, and they too have taken over the land that the LORD your God is giving them, across the Jordan. After that, each of you may go back to the possession I have given you.”
Two and a half tribes of Israel wanted their inheritance on the wrong side of the Jordan. They liked what they saw and were willing to settle there. At first this created some confusion, but it was sorted out and they were given that land as long as it wasn't being used as an excuse not to fight in the Promised Land. Their soldiers still had to go over and fight until all the land was conquered. In a sense they were willing to settle for less than God's best, but they were not allowed to discourage those who wanted all God had for them.
Not everybody has the drive and motivation to "go for the gold." Some people are willing to settle for less than what they could have in God. They still love God and serve Him, but they have decided to stay where they are. It is pointless to try to push or force them to go further than their desire. However, the temptation for these people is to discourage those who want to go further. This is the operation of envy and God is firmly against that. They are to actively encourage and support those who want to press further in to God. They can stay were they are, if they like, but they are to be willing to aggressively help their brothers and sisters in Christ go all the way.
Dec 5/11 - Deuteronomy 3:12-17, NIV
Of the land that we took over at that time, I gave the Reubenites and the Gadites the territory north of Aroer by the Arnon Gorge, including half the hill country of Gilead, together with its towns. The rest of Gilead and also all of Bashan, the kingdom of Og, I gave to the half-tribe of Manasseh. (The whole region of Argob in Bashan used to be known as a land of the Rephaites. Jair, a descendant of Manasseh, took the whole region of Argob as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites; it was named after him, so that to this day Bashan is called Havvoth Jair. And I gave Gilead to Makir. But to the Reubenites and the Gadites I gave the territory extending from Gilead down to the Arnon Gorge (the middle of the gorge being the border) and out to the Jabbok River, which is the border of the Ammonites. Its western border was the Jordan in the Arabah, from Kinnereth to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea, below the slopes of Pisgah.
We tend to forget that the earth belongs to the Lord. He made it and He owns everything in it. We only are managers of His possessions. If He wants to take something away from us and give it to someone else, that is His right. From some of the parables of Jesus we know how He feels about abusive managers. We often proudly think that we will always have our home country [Canada, US, or wherever], but continually on is conditional upon obedience. When a nation walks away from God, He may patiently wait a long time to see if there will be repentance, He may eventually remove the people from the land and give it so someone else - or even allow the land to remain virtually empty for a period of time. And we have no cause to complain because it is not our land to begin with. Obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ by the majority of people in a nation is needed if the nation is to enjoy the long-term blessing of God. Democracy, which the heathen think is a cure-all, by itself is not the answer.
Dec 3/11 - Deuteronomy 3:2-11, NIV
The LORD said to me, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon.”
So the LORD our God also gave into our hands Og king of Bashan and all his army. We struck them down, leaving no survivors. At that time we took all his cities. There was not one of the sixty cities that we did not take from them—the whole region of Argob, Og’s kingdom in Bashan. All these cities were fortified with high walls and with gates and bars, and there were also a great many unwalled villages. We completely destroyed them, as we had done with Sihon king of Heshbon, destroying every city—men, women and children. But all the livestock and the plunder from their cities we carried off for ourselves.
So at that time we took from these two kings of the Amorites the territory east of the Jordan, from the Arnon Gorge as far as Mount Hermon. (Hermon is called Sirion by the Sidonians; the Amorites call it Senir.) We took all the towns on the plateau, and all Gilead, and all Bashan as far as Salecah and Edrei, towns of Og’s kingdom in Bashan. (Only Og king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaites. His bed was made of iron and was more than thirteen feet long and six feet wide. It is still in Rabbah of the Ammonites.)
When we follow the instructions of Jesus, we are undefeatable. The struggles and battles are real but the end result is guaranteed. It is when we march to our on band, do things our own way or follow with self-centred motives that we met with defeat. Of course, we have to realize that victory from God's point-of-view is often different from our perspective. For God, the voluntary death of Jesus on the cross was the greatest victory ever achieved. Job's greatest victory was praising God in the midst of the loss of all things.
Dec 2/11 - Deuteronomy 3:1, NIV
Next we turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan with his whole army marched out to meet us in battle at Edrei.
Do ever notice how much opposition the children of Israel faced just getting to the Promised Land. Satan does not want us to have and enjoy what God desires to give us. He will place obstacles in our path, he will march out against us, he will lie to us about God's goodness, he will do whatever he can to get us to quit. God takes his efforts and turns them into training exercises and opportunities to develop maturity in our lives. Without opposition we would remain children forever. God wants mature sons and daughters - people who are skilled and willing to expand the Kingdom of God in the earth until the glory of the Lord covers the earth as the waters cover the sea. We have a long way to go, but it begins by facing the opposition we have today.
Dec 1/11 - Deuteronomy 2:37, NIV
But in accordance with the command of the LORD our God, you did not encroach on any of the land of the Ammonites, neither the land along the course of the Jabbok nor that around the towns in the hills.
God has a plan. When God gives us limits we should not try to go beyond them. The heart of discipleship is obedience. We should not be grasping for what God has not given. What He has given is so great, we need to focus on that. Sometimes we get caught up in the "grass is greener on the other side" syndrome. We become concerned or jealous because of what we cannot do or do not have. We need to repent and refocus on the goodness of God in our lives. There is a lot more that we can do than we can't do.
Nov 30/11 - Deut. 2:36, NIV
From Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge, and from the town in the gorge, even as far as Gilead, not one town was too strong for us. The LORD our God gave us all of them.
When God is fighting for us - or to be more accurate when we are fighting God's battles in God's way and God's timing - we cannot ultimately loose. God will give all He has promised. He has the power and ability to accomplish His Word. It doesn't matter how big and strong the enemy is, it does matter how experienced and organized they are, they will fall when we stand with God and go forward in faith. No weapon formed against you shall prosper.
Nov 29/11 - Deut. 2:34-35, NIV
At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed them—men, women and children. We left no survivors. But the livestock and the plunder from the towns we had captured we carried off for ourselves.
This sounds harsh to our ears…and in most cases the Israel army was required to give the enemy an opportunity to surrender. But the war of Canaan was a unique war. The Canaanites were totally corrupt. God, as the Owner of all, had passed a death sentence on them and the Israelites were commissioned to carry it out.
Beyond that, it is a picture of the total warfare the Church is to have with Satan. We often compromise with evil [only a little bit, mind you], but that is actually collaboration with the enemy. There is no spark of goodness in Satan or his demons. They ravish human lives and wreak destruction wherever they go. We are to rescue their victims by presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ, helping people's physical needs and opposing every manifestation of evil, anti-God activity on the planet.
Nov 28/11 - Deut. 2:32-33, NIV
When Sihon and all his army came out to meet us in battle at Jahaz, the LORD our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army.
I am sure the ex-slaves, whose parents had spent most of their time complaining, were a little nervous as Sihon and his experienced army swept down on them. Put yourself in their position. Nevertheless, they stood their ground and fought back. As they put their faith into action, God came through. We will never see the miraculous power of God working on our behalf if all our enemies see is our back as we run away. This wasn't just a partial victory, but the enemy was annihilated. God does not do things half way.
Oct 24/11 - Deut. 2:31
The LORD said to me, “See, I have begun to deliver Sihon and his country over to you. Now begin to conquer and possess his land.”
As I have pointed out before, God gave them the land but they had to go in and fight for it. God uses these things to train and develop us, to bring us to maturity. He does not want a welfare people who expect everything to be handed to them. He wants men and women who will work hard with Him to achieve what He wants them to have.
Oct 20/11 - Deut. 2:30
But Sihon king of Heshbon refused to let us pass through. For the LORD your God had made his spirit stubborn and his heart obstinate in order to give him into your hands, as he has now done.
Sometimes we read a verse like this and we think, "God forced a poor man against his will to resist in order to destroy him." That is not a complete picture. Sihon was, like all unredeemed people, a rebel against God. He did not want to do the right thing. No one seeks after God. God choose Sihon as a training tool for His children before they faced strong opposition of the people in the Promised Land. God designed Sihon for this purpose and he followed it of his own will.
Oct 16/11 - Deut. 2:26-29
From the desert of Kedemoth I sent messengers to Sihon king of Heshbon offering peace and saying, “Let us pass through your country. We will stay on the main road; we will not turn aside to the right or to the left. Sell us food to eat and water to drink for their price in silver. Only let us pass through on foot—as the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir, and the Moabites, who live in Ar, did for us—until we cross the Jordan into the land the LORD our God is giving us.”
Even though God had told them that Sihon would oppose them in battle and they would be given the land he currently possessed, they sent him an offer of peace. They made very reasonable requests, requests that other nations had accepted. We need to be careful that we are not brash, rude or unreasonable in dealing with those who oppose us. We need to act with integrity and honour. We do not compromise on Truth [like many Christians do with evolution] nor do we step back from God's promises to us just to please others. But in all we do, it is to be honest and reasonable.
Oct 14/11 - Deut. 2:25
This very day I will begin to put the terror and fear of you on all the nations under heaven. They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you.”
When we are moving in the will of God, He will prepare the way. That doesn't mean it will be easy - good things seldom are - but we can have the confidence that God is on our side. What we see, as we look ahead, are the giants. What we don't see is how afraid Satan really is if we are moving ahead in the will of God. Satan knows even better than we do, that his giants will fall one after another before the army of God. He is scared that we, too, may catch that vision so he tries his best to get the people of God to accept fear instead of faith. We need to keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ, Who moved through Calvary to Resurrection, and follow in His footsteps.
Oct 12/11 - Deut. 2:24
“Set out now and cross the Arnon Gorge. See, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his country. Begin to take possession of it and engage him in battle.
When the time was right God began to fulfill His promise. We always want things now, but God has a perfect timing for everything. Also, receiving the promise of God was not a passive action. They would have to be active. God had told them what He was giving them, but they would actually have to go in and take it against opposition. People who lean back and say, "If God wants me to have it, He'll give it to me" and lazy are will not receive very much from God. We first have to find out what it is that God wants us to have, when He wants us to have it, and then pursue it until it is ours.
Oct 11/11 - Deut. 2:16-23
Now when the last of these fighting men among the people had died, the LORD said to me, “Today you are to pass by the region of Moab at Ar. When you come to the Ammonites, do not harass them or provoke them to war, for I will not give you possession of any land belonging to the Ammonites. I have given it as a possession to the descendants of Lot.” (That too was considered a land of the Rephaites, who used to live there; but the Ammonites called them Zamzummites. They were a people strong and numerous, and as tall as the Anakites. The LORD destroyed them from before the Ammonites, who drove them out and settled in their place. The LORD had done the same for the descendants of Esau, who lived in Seir, when he destroyed the Horites from before them. They drove them out and have lived in their place to this day. And as for the Avvites who lived in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorites coming out from Caphtor destroyed them and settled in their place.)
God controls the nations for His own purposes. Sometimes He overthrows one heathen nation only to give it to another heathen nation. Esau and Lot, although outside the covenant, each received land from God that the covenant people were not to touch. God rules the universe and He doesn't ask our advice - although we are more than willing to give it!
Oct 8/11 - Deut. 2:13-15
And the LORD said, “Now get up and cross the Zered Valley.” So we crossed the valley. Thirty-eight years passed from the time we left Kadesh Barnea until we crossed the Zered Valley. By then, that entire generation of fighting men had perished from the camp, as the LORD had sworn to them. The LORD’s hand was against them until he had completely eliminated them from the camp.
The people had taken two years to reach the Promised Land - which was itself far longer than the actual journey needed to take. Their rebellion at its borders added another 38 years to their wanderings. Rebellion has its consequences. All the warriors [except Joshua and Caleb] had cut themselves out of God's plan for their lives. Undoubtedly, they all died younger than they would have had to. The fruits of rebellion are bitter. Let us learn from their lesson and walk in obedience to the Lord our God. We do not want the hand of the Lord to be against us because of a hard heart within us.
Oct 6/11 - Deut. 2:10-12
(The Emites used to live there—a people strong and numerous, and as tall as the Anakites. Like the Anakites, they too were considered Rephaites, but the Moabites called them Emites. Horites used to live in Seir, but the descendants of Esau drove them out. They destroyed the Horites from before them and settled in their place, just as Israel did in the land the LORD gave them as their possession.)
Nations and civilizations come and go. They rise a fall. Usually a civilization is destroyed by moral corruption within before it is conquered by an enemy without. Western civilization, in rejecting God and accepting/promoting sexual immorality/perversion and wholesale murder [abortion], has signed its own death warrant. The day will come when Western civilization will be just another sad history lesson. The only way to stop this is by national repentance, turning the God, and again enforcing His law. This cannot be done by a minority against an unwilling majority, but must be a 'grassroots' movement that involves - or, at least, has the support of, the majority of the citizens.
Oct 4/11 - Deut. 2:8-9
So we went on past our brothers the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. We turned from the Arabah road, which comes up from Elath and Ezion Geber, and traveled along the desert road of Moab. Then the LORD said to me, “Do not harass the Moabites or provoke them to war, for I will not give you any part of their land. I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession.”
Israel obey God [this time!] God had promised them their own land. They did not take what was not theirs. As Christians we are to take possession of everything God has given us without being envious for things that God has not give us. It is so easy to want what others have, especially if if haven't yet or are still in the process of inheriting our own "land." We need to focus on what God wants us to do and what He has given us and let others live in peace. This is one of the many reasons why socialism is anti-Christian at the core. It can never leave others in peace. It always seeks to dispossess, control and harass others.
Oct 1/11 - Deut. 2:7
The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.
Even through they had refused to enter the Promised Land through fear and unbelief and were under the discipline of God, God did not abandon them. He continued to look after them. They had missed His best, but He was still there for them. Never once did He leave. It gives us hope, through our many stumbles and failures. God will not give up on us either. He will walk right beside us through all of life's ups and downs. The Israelites felt that that lacked things at times, but, in reality, they had not lacked anything. Our heavenly Father looks after us, even when we think He has forgotten us.
Sept. 29/11 - Deut. 2:6
You are to pay them in silver for the food you eat and the water you drink.
Christians should be people of honour, not taking advantage of people. There is nothing wrong with looking for bargains and getting the best price possible, but if the seller feels cheated at the end of it, something is wrong. Christians are blessed and should be generous, within their means, to others. It is amazing the enormous amounts of money some people spend on alcohol, cigarettes, entertainment, etc. but Christians have a hard time even tithing.
Sept. 27/11 - Deut. 2:4-5
Give the people these orders: ‘You are about to pass through the territory of your brothers the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. They will be afraid of you, but be very careful. Do not provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land, not even enough to put your foot on. I have given Esau the hill country of Seir as his own.
God owns all the land. We are only temporary managers. He can give it to whomever He wants to. God raises up leaders and nations and He takes them down. When a nation rebels against God, God may in mercy wait a long time before He passes judgment, put eventually He will pass judgment. In North America we can pride ourselves on being free but as that freedom is used to abuse the grace of God we store up judgment. The day may come when God takes "our" land and gives it to someone else. Rebellion never prospers in the long run.
Sept. 24/11 - Deut. 2:1-3
Then we turned back and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea, as the LORD had directed me. For a long time we made our way around the hill country of Seir. Then the LORD said to me, “You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.
Even through Israel had disobeyed God commanded, acted in rebellion and whined and complained, God did not forsake them. They had consequences they had to live with, but God was there to walk with them through it. Even when we blow it badly, God does not dump us and abandon us. He is faithful. He will still lead and guide us even through we may have to walk through some unnecessary dark days. Thank God for His faithfulness.
Sept. 23/11 - Deut. 1:45-46
You came back and wept before the LORD, but he paid no attention to your weeping and turned a deaf ear to you. And so you stayed in Kadesh many days—all the time you spent there.
Does God always listen to our prayers? No. God listens to genuine repentance. He does not listen to people who are whining because they don't like the consequences of their actions. There is a vast difference between being sorry for sin and being sorry for being caught or being sorry for the results of sin.
Sept. 22/11 - Deut. 1:43-44
So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD, and went presumptuously up into the hill. And the Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came out against you, and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir, even unto Hormah.
Moses warned them not to go on their own strength. The enemies we face are far too great for us on our own. God fights through us, or we fail. It is that simple. We cannot afford to act in presumption. We must have the command of God. It is not our will that matters, but God's will.
Sept. 21/11 - Deut. 1:41-42
Then you replied, “We have sinned against the LORD. We will go up and fight, as the LORD our God commanded us.” So every one of you put on his weapons, thinking it easy to go up into the hill country. But the LORD said to me, “Tell them, ‘Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.’”
There is a window of opportunity. Opportunity is not always available. We have to be willing to respond when God calls. If they had gone when God told them to go, that would have been obedience and God would have fought for them. But going after God withdrew the opportunity was an act of rebellion and self will. They did not like the consequences of their actions and were unwilling to accept that it was too late to avoid them. Judgment had been passed. It was not going to be changed. Let us learn to walk in line with the Spirit of God.
Sept. 20/11 - Deut. 1:39-40
And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad—they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it. But as for you, turn around and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.
God's plan marches on. The children of Israel had be delivered from slavery, but slavery was still in their hearts. They had not learned to think and take responsibility like free men. It would take a new generation before that could happen. They had rejected the plan of God for their lives and so were destined to spend the rest of their lives wandering the desert in futility. If we want our lives to have purpose and meaning we need to follow God with a whole heart.
Sept. 17/11 - Deut. 1:38
But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it.
Moses lost the opportunity of leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land but that did not change God's plan. They would still inherit the Promised Land, but it would be under Joshua. Through our sin and folly we can lose out on what God wants for us, but nobody can force God to change His plans…or even hinder them.
Moses was not to be bitter because of his lost opportunity, but to encourage and train his successor. When all we can see is ourselves we become bitter and resentful of anyone who could be a "competitor." When we are servants of the Most High God and see the big picture of the Kingdom of God, we do all we can to help others succeed whether there is any personal benefit or not.
Sept. 16/11 - Deut. 1:37
Because of you the LORD became angry with me also and said, “You shall not enter it, either.
Moses is doing a little bit of blame-shifting. God had told him to speak to the rock in order to get water out of it, but he had hit it [like he had done the first time]. God had honour him and the water gushed out. I can understand why Moses did it. He was totally frustrated with the whining and complaining of the children of Israel [what parent can't identify?]. And his anger at them had blinded him to God's instruction and he had disobeyed God. It seems like such a small thing - hitting the rock instead of speaking to it - especially when on a previous occasion God had told him to hit the rock. But, 1. no act of disobedience is ever small, 2. the higher a person is in leadership, the greater their responsibility and consequences for failure, and 3. the rock symbolized Christ. He was to be struck once [at the cross] and never again.
Sept. 15/11 - Deut. 1:36
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.”
Out of about 3 million people who originally left Egypt only two [Caleb and Joshua] made it to the Promised Land. Not a very good percentage. As Jesus would say latter, narrow is the way. Everyone wants to enjoy the blessings of the Promised Land, but few are willing to travel the road to get there, and of those, even fewer, are willing to exercise the faith and obedience necessary to go in and take the Promise Land. What does it take to enter the Promised Land? Wholeheartedly following God. We are too often distracted along the way. We must keep our eyes on Jesus and move steadily in His footsteps. The reward is there, but the price is high.
Sept. 13/11 - Deut. 1:35
“Not a man of this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your forefathers,
As we study in covenants [http://www.free-bible-study-lessons.com/covenants.html], all God's promises are conditional on two things: faith and obedience. The Israelites who had come out of Egypt had neither - even through they had seen many mighty miracles on the way to Canaan's border. God called them an "evil generation." Faith and obedience are not options we can choose if it is convenient. We go with God or we go against Him.
Sept. 9/11 - Deut. 1:34
When the LORD heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore:
God is not controlled by His emotions as we often are; however, He has emotions. Israel's constant complaining and doubt moved Him to anger. God has a line in the stand. He has a point where He says enough is enough. He had promised the Land to Israel, He had promised to go in a fight with them in order to give them the victory. But they whined and complained. God withdrew His promise. Let us take warning. Faith pleases God, fear and doubt anger Him. Which side of God do we want to see?
Sept. 8/11 - Deut. 1:32-33
In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, 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.
Sometimes we think that if people will see a great miracle of God, they will believe in Jesus. God may use a miracle in the process of salvation, but a miracle by itself will never open the eyes of anyone to God. What is required is a changed heart. Until that happens they will remain in unbelief no matter what God does.
Even as Christians, we can see the miracles of God in the past and yet not make the application to trust God in the present and in the future. We have no excuse. We know from experience that God is good and takes care of us. We need to learn to trust Him for the future. That means, of course, that we have to go beyond what we can do ourselves. After all, if we can handle it, there is no need to trust in God. We have to step beyond ourselves. Reaching for the goals God has for us will always take us beyond ourselves.
Sept. 3/11 - Deut. 1:30-31
The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. 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.”
God never places us somewhere He has not prepared us to be. He cared for the Israelites in the wilderness. They had seen His might power on their behalf. They knew how He had looked after them. They should have been able to take the next step of growth where they would work with God instead of God doing all the work. However, they did not want to mature. They wanted to remain children forever. How many Christians have the same attitude? They do not what to grow in Christian maturity. They want to remain children forever, but no father is satisfied with lazy children who will not learn to take responsibility.
Sept. 2/11 - Deut. 1:29
Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them.
Sometimes the enemies that come against us - whether they be people, health, circumstances - are giants. They look overwhelming. We know that they are beyond our ability to handle. Our first response is often fear. We don't know what to do. The fear comes because we are comparing the problem against our ability instead of against God ability. We need to take a deep breath and put things into the perspective of God's power and ability.
Sept. 1/11 - Deut. 1:28
Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.
It is easy to get discouraged by the opinions of others. Cowards don't like to be alone. The more people that can get to agree with them, the better they feel. We have to be very careful who we listen to. Are our friends people of faith or fear? They will influence our decisions and our life. We need to focus our eyes on the Word of God and build strong friendships with like-minded people.
Aug 31/11 - Deut. 1:27
And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.
Because they ran into trouble in possessing what God had promised, they began to doubt and attack the character of God. Talk about the dog biting the hand that feeds it! They began to prescribe wrong motives to God. Like spoilt children, they turned on the One Who provided for them as soon as they did not get their own way. How often do we do the same thing? How quick are we to doubt the character of God and and slander His motives just because we think He is dealing with us unfairly. How it must hurt the Father heart of God. We need to learn to be faithful and true even when the going gets tough and we don't understand.
Aug 26/11 - Deut. 1:26
But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God.
Unwillingness to take hold of the promises of God was considered rebellion. God had given them the land. They were to go and fight and take it, but they refused. When we refuse to take hold of something God has shown us that He wants us to have or do, we also are in rebellion. We are putting our desires or fears above the command of God. How much rebellion is there in us that we do not even realize is there?
Aug 25/11 - Deut. 1:24-25
They left and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshkol and explored it. Taking with them some of the fruit of the land, they brought it down to us and reported, “It is a good land that the LORD our God is giving us.”
The spies went out into the Promised Land. They were diligent. They explored it. Yes, it was everything God had said it was. God is truthful. What He gives is always the best. God has given us many promises as well. We can be confident that they are good and with bring about the best in our lives. Some people have an unhealthy fear of God that arises from doubt. We can trust God totally. There is nothing to be fearful of.
Aug 23/11 - Deut. 1:22-23
Then all of you came to me and said, “Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to." The idea seemed good to me; so I selected twelve of you, one man from each tribe.
Was this really a good idea? In the natural is simply good planning to find out all you can so that you can prepare to meet it with the best intelligence possible. No one likes to go into a situation "blind." However, when we follow God planning in not our job so much as obedience. Many times God many lead us into impossible place where, if we knew in advance what it was, we would probably refuse to go. Of course, once we are there we are forced to rely on God and see His miracle power. It is His grace that many times we see the end result but not the entire process to get there! We would, like the Israelites, become too discouraged to go forward. This is not to say that we should not plan and prepare, but we must be careful never to allow fear to overwhelm faith.
Aug 18/11 - Deut. 1:20-21
Then I said to you, “You have reached the hill country of the Amorites, which the LORD our God is giving us. See, the LORD your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Possession of the Promised Land was a duel effort. God gave the land. It was a gift, yet it was not handed to them on a silver platter. They had to go in and fight for every square inch of it. The same is true of the promises of God to us. They are ours by right, God has given them to us. He guarantees us victory, but we will never get them if we are lazy or give up. We have to face the opposition bravely and keep pressing on in faith until we see the promised victory. A victorious Christian life is not won by wimps.
Aug 17/11 - Deut. 1:19
Then, as the LORD our God commanded us, we set out from Horeb and went toward the hill country of the Amorites through all that vast and dreadful wilderness that you have seen, and so we reached Kadesh Barnea.
The trip to the Promised Land was not a pleasure trip. It was rough terrain. It was uncomfortable, at times they even lacked water. Nevertheless, God had called them to travel through the desert and He provided and protected them on the journey. God may call us to go through some tough times, but He will be there with us all the way. Of course, Israel spent a lot more time in the wilderness than they had to. Let us not make the same mistake!
Aug 13/11 - Deut. 1:18
And at that time I told you everything you were to do.
Although the people had a say in who would lead them and govern then, God was not running a democracy. Moses gave the words of God to the people, who were then to obey them. It is humanist pride which thinks we are smart enough to make up laws. It is part of our sinful attempt to be as God. Only God can make law. Our job is to learn it, apply it, and obey it. Then we will have happy, fulling, prosperous lives. When we try to make our own laws we end up with disasters - criminal, economic, educational, etc., like we have today. Are we smart enough now to reject humanistic law and return to Biblical Law or will we continue down the path to self-destruction?
Aug 12/11 - Deut. 1:17
Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of anyone, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it.”
Law courts are supposed to represent God's justice. They are supposed to be ministers for God in revealing His holiness and justice. As such, they are to treat everyone fairly. Everyone is to have the same access to the court system. It cannot be weighted to the rich or the poor. Our law systems today are increasingly humanistic which means a] true justice is rare and, b] those who are rich can afford better representation. This is a perversion of God's system. It sends false messages about the character of God and His justice.
Aug 10/11 - Deut. 1:16
And I charged your judges at that time, “Hear the disputes between your people and judge fairly, whether the case is between two Israelites or between an Israelite and a foreigner residing among you.
Justice for all is a Biblical mandate. It was a novel idea in the ancient world with its city-states. You were only really protect by law if you were in your city. If you were in a foreign city, the chances of getting justice against a citizen were slim. Even today in nations not influenced by Biblical Law court rulings can easily go against foreigners simply because they are foreigners with no consideration of the merits of the case. As we move, in our modern world, further from the principles of Biblical Law we will see continuing radical injustice until society destroys itself.
Aug 9/11 - Deut. 1:15
So I took the leading men of your tribes, wise and respected men, and appointed them to have authority over you—as commanders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens and as tribal officials.
The people made wise choices based on the qualifications set down - after all, only a fool wants a fool to rule over him [which doesn't say much for our current society]. Moses developed a line of authority so that everyone could get the help they needed quickly. A speedy and fair justice system is necessary for free society. This is only possible under a Biblical justice system.
Aug 5/11 - Deut. 1:13-14
Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.” You answered me, “What you propose to do is good.”
Moses was wise. He did not just pick people he thought would rule well. He allowed the people to select those who would rule over them. Moses set the qualifications and had the final say as God's representative, but it was the people who made the choice. People are more willing to obey those they trust and have chosen for themselves. Notice, the qualifications: all the candidates, would have been God-fearing people, but also they had to proven themselves to be wise and understanding people. Over time they had had to gain the respect of those around them. In a Christian nation all government leaders should have to pass the same test as a minimum requirement for running for office. They should all be dedicated Christians with a proven track record of wisdom, honest, and integrity.
Aug 3/11 - Deut. 1:12
But how can I bear your problems and your burdens and your disputes all by myself?
When ministering to people it is easy to become overwhelmed. There is always so much more to do, more people to touch, and more demands to meet. Good Christian leaders sometimes burn out because they have a heart to help people, but are unwilling - or don't know how - to set limits on what they can accomplish. No one person can ever totally meet the needs of someone else. Only God can be available all the time for everyone. As people we need to respect the needs of our leaders and their families. When they are "off duty" and relaxing or spending time with their families we should not interrupt them unless it is an extreme emergency. We all need the help of others at times…and we all need to know how to reach God for ourselves.
July 30/11 - Deut. 1:11
May the LORD, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised!
Christian heritage can be a powerful force. Having established Christian teaching and influences can be a great help in walking down the Christian road. It makes it easier to avoid some temptations. On the other hand, those who are the first in their natural family or circle of friends to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour should not be discouraged. They, too, have a Christian heritage of all the Godly men and women who have ever lived. They can draw strength and encouragement from them even if there are no immediate members of their family to give support. Reading good Christian biographies is an excellent habit to develop [for all]. And, of course, Jesus is the Ultimate One to whom we all trace our new birth. Any evil influences in our family tree are cut off as we trace our new birth directly to Jesus Christ.
July 29/11 - Deut. 1:10
The LORD your God has increased your numbers so that today you are as numerous as the stars in the sky.
God promised Abraham children like the stars in the sky. Moses confirms that by his time God had fulfilled this promise. In fact, Scripture records that God fulfilled all His promises to Abraham. We study this in detail in the Love Covenant course.
July 28/11 - Deut. 1:9
At that time I said to you, “You are too heavy a burden for me to carry alone.
Nobody can do it all and it is a wise man who recognizes his limits. Some Pastors and other Christian workers burn themselves out or alienate their families because they try to minister to everybody's needs. Only God can do that. Even Jesus, when He walked on the earth, did not minister to everyone He came in contact with. We need to know when we have reached our limit.
July 27/11 - Deut. 1:7-8
Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the LORD swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.”
God had promised the land to the Israelites but they still had to go up and take it. It was not going to be handed to them on a silver platter. There were enemies that had to be conquered, there was work that had to be done, there was territory that had to be explored. It was theirs, but they had to take it with faith and works. In the same way, God has promised us a great many things, but we have to rise up and take them. They will not automatically come to us. We have go out with faith and work and apply the promises of God. Anyone who sits down and expects God to do it all will remain in the wilderness.
July 26/11 - Deut. 1:6
The LORD our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain.
God speaks! Sometimes we close our minds to the possibility that God could talk to us personally. Yet speaking was created by God and is one of the signs of intelligence. We should not be surprised if God speaks to us. Of course, we should check it out with Scripture to make sure we are hearing from God.
Sometimes we like to camp in our comfort zone. We don't like to move on. God has a plan for our lives and it involves moving into new things. We will miss the will of God if we are committed to our comfort zone.
July 25/11 - Deut. 1:5
East of the Jordan in the territory of Moab, Moses began to expound this law, saying:
It is easy to get our eyes off of God. It is easy to rely on our own wisdom, but our wisdom leads to disaster. That is why God gave us His law. The law is not bondage, it is a gift of grace from God to let us know how life works. We need to be reminded of it constantly. Moses reviewed and expounded the law before the Israelites went into the promised land. One of the reasons why humanism has gained much ground in the West is that, in most churches, the Law of God is no longer taught.
July 23/11 - Deut. 1:4
This was after he had defeated Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, and at Edrei had defeated Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth.
Before going to face the "giants" of the promised land, God trained His people in warfare by fighting outside the promised land. God never sends us into battle unprepared. Sometimes we move ahead of God and go in unprepared, but that is not God's fault. God always trains us for success if we will go through the training. When we stand with God, in God's timing and with God's training we will succeed.
July 21/11 - Deut. 1:3
In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses proclaimed to the Israelites all that the LORD had commanded him concerning them.
It should not have taken 40 years to reach the promised land. It should not even have taken 2 years. It was not that far away. What made the difference? Disobedience. God will gets us where He wants us in the end, but disobedience will make the journey long and hard. How much sooner could the people have been enjoying the fruits of the promised land? It is the same with us. We wander in disobedience and lack of faith through wildernesses we do not have to tread. We make our own lives difficult and hard because we are unwilling to obey God. Yet, God does not leave us. He still provided for the Israelites in the wilderness. It was really only themselves that they hurt - and, of course, they delayed Joshua and Caleb from entering the promised land.
July 20/11 - Deut. 1:2
(It takes eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount Seir road.)
Sometimes we have the idea that in the days of Moses [or the Old Testament in general] that people just wandered around on goat tracks. Actually there were well-established roads that people and trade caravans travelled on. We have someones allowed evolutionary doctrine to infect our thinking even in unconscious ways. Evolution teaches that man was a cave man first then has progressively developed up to day. The truth is in the opposite direction. While advances are made in knowledge and technology because we are building on what others have learned, man - like the rest of creation - is moving in a downward direction. He started as a perfect, highly intelligent man in the Garden of Eden. But sin has and is bringing decay. The further we move from creation the more genetic and other damage there is in the human race.
July 19/11 - Deut. 1:1
These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the wilderness east of the Jordan—that is, in the Arabah—opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab.
Deuteronomy was written to record the words Moses spoke to the children of Israel before they crossed the Jordan to take the Promised Land. It was a reminder of what God had given them, but also a reminder of what God required of them. Every promise of God is conditional - as we study in The Love Covenants.