27.5 Moses 27, Day 5

Personal Choice / Personal Accountability

One of our questions today regarded the choices we have made and what words we could use to tell others about choice.  As I thought about this I was confronted by the denial of accountability I see in those around me such as neighbors, people I work with and others that I know.  Everything seems to be someone else’s fault.  There is always someone else to blame: politicians, educators, big business, religion, even God.

There is anger, fear and resentment, but mostly it comes from a spirit filled with discontent.  As Deut 28:65 says, “an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!”

We like to hide behind the “no one is perfect” line as justification for a life of rebellion.  But in Deut 30:11 God says through Moses, “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.”  He goes on to say it isn’t hidden in heaven or some foreign land. “No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

We are given freedom of choice, obedience or disobedience.  We choose the path.  But the path we choose has consequences.  A journey of disobedience brings hardship and curses.  These are not threats, they are reality of what an eternal life on the path that veers away from God looks like.  A journey of obedience brings blessings.  That does not mean there will not be trials and hardships, in fact, God promises His people there will be those things.  The difference is that, while neither path is without difficulty, the path of righteousness is one traveled along side God who promises to lift us up and carry us along when things get too tough.

Think about this in the “then and there” of it being delivered by Moses to the Israelites.  God has committed to take them as His and given Himself to be theirs.  He has formed an everlasting relationship with them.  But, even as He recommits to that relationship, He knows they will cheat on Him.  He knows they will disobey and worship other gods.  He knows they will commit atrocious and deplorable acts meant to cause Him pain.  He knows they will become so distant and callous to the gift that He is giving them, a gift of peace in the promised land, that they will completely lose this book of the bible and it will remain lost in a pile of debris in the back of the temple for years until it is uncovered during a remodeling project.  And, yet, not only does He commit to the relationship with them but He promises that after they do these hurtful things, He will still take them back and even cut those things out of their heart as if they never had occurred.

The choice, the path that leads to life and prosperity or the path that leads to death and destruction, was theirs as it yours and mine.  But make no mistake, we choose our own path and live with the consequences of that choice.

If you are on the wrong path, if you are traveling alone or living a relationship with God that treats Him as a spare wheel to be pulled out in times of trouble instead of a steering wheel to keep you out of trouble, you are not stuck.  God always provides and on-ramp to bring you back onto the road of salvation.  He is one prayer away from sending in the rescue crew of Son and Spirit to save you from the mess you have made.

I choose to make my own choice.  I choose obedience to God.  I choose life.  What do you choose?

My Answers

10.
a.
return to the Lord and obey Him with all your heart and soul

b.
circumcise their hearts

c.
While God wants and expects me to be obedient, He will forgive my disobedience, even to the extent of “cutting it out of my heart” so that it is no more and welcome me back and reconfirm His relationship with me

11.
a.
life and prosperity, death and destruction

b.
I choose life.  I choose a sacred relationship with God to belong to Him and to put all my trust in Him

12.
Because He loved them.  Because He knew the sin they would commit and, in love, wanted to warn them to change their ways.
The law was a guardian to protect the people (protective custody) as those belonging to God until the day that Christ came and paid the ransom for their souls

27.4 Moses 27, Day 4

A Holy Covenant Relationship

All of our study this week in Deuteronomy, starting in Deuteronomy 26:17 and continuing through Deuteronomy 29, reminds me of a wedding ceremony.  You can hear it in the language of the scriptures:

17 You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in obedience to him, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws—that you will listen to him. 18 And the Lord has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised

Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, “Be silent, Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the Lord your God.

10 All of you are standing today in the presence of the Lord your God—your leaders and chief men, your elders and officials, and all the other men of Israel, 11 together with your children and your wives, and the foreigners living in your camps who chop your wood and carry your water. 12 You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God, a covenant the Lord is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, 13 to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

I believe this analogy is fitting.  God wants an intimate relationship with you and with me.  He actually wants a vow larger than a wedding vow.  A wedding vow lasts for a lifetime.  God’s desired relationship lasts for eternity.  God’s commitment in His covenant is you will be His and He will be yours.

As we grow in our relationship with God we see and understand more of Him.  More time in the Word also builds a closer relationship with God and opens our eyes to His nature and attributes.  As God reveals Himself to us, that revelation is something that can never be taken away.  God wants to continue to reveal the secret things, the things we cannot understand without first understanding who God is.  Each of those “things revealed” is a gift, an everlasting gift.  Our mind may not be able to fully understand all of who God is, but that doesn’t mean it is something that is held as a secret from us, it is just something we cannot yet understand.  If someone were to ask me a question about Quantum Physics, I wouldn’t know enough to begin the conversation.  Yet, someone who has spent their life in study of it may grow in their appreciation of how much there is yet that we don’t know or understand.  God is bigger and deeper than quantum physics, yet, like an amazingly patient teacher, each day He is willing to teach us more about Himself.

 

My Answers:

7.
13. confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you

8.
Idolatry

9.
a.
God’s judgments and His paths

b.
The law, the covenants, God’s love and mercy

c.
God’s warnings to His people out of His love for them.  God’s patience.  God’s willingness to listen to prayer, that God is approachable.  The correct posture for obedience: up/worship, around/love, down/fear of God.

27.3 Moses 27, Day 3

I do it myself

When our kids were younger we would often here them say, “I do it myself”.  They didn’t want help.  They didn’t want direction.  They wanted to exercise their independence.

God doesn’t restrain or restrict our independence.  He made us and He made that as part of our nature.  He wants us to make choices.  But, like a loving parent, He wants us to make the right choices.

God lines up the events of our life.  Some to encourage us, some to challenge us and make us stronger.  This is in the same way that a parent or teacher or coach would line up controlled events for us to practice and learn and grow.  God is in control.

And, He wants to bless us along the path of life.  He wants us to be blessed.  He wants us to be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.  Blessed when we come in and blessed when we go out.  Blessed in our work and in our leisure.  Blessed in our families and against our enemies.

I think of it like a special protective coating that God has for us every single day, like sunscreen or the de-icing solution on airplanes.  God wants to wash a blessing over us every single day that permeates our physical self, our thoughts, our words and our actions.

But how often do we side step the blessing or shove it out of our way like a child wanting to “do it myself”?  How often do we reject not only the blessing but reject God pushing him to be behind us instead of the one who goes before us?  How can you stop right now (seriously, right now) and ask God to pour His blessing over you to change the rest of the way you live out this day?

 

My Answers:

5.
To be blessed, to be blessed when you come in and go out, to enjoy God’s provision of food/shelter/defeat of enemies, To be established as His holy people, to walk in obedience to Him, abundant prosperity, opening the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty

6.
a.
32.  Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation, and you will wear out your eyes watching for them day after day, powerless to lift a hand.

b.
They disobeyed by not driving out the enemy in the promised land, disobedience led to famine during the time of Elisha, and ate their own children

c.
To have increased obedience.  To enter obedience joyfully.

27.2 Moses 27, Day 2

Life Anchoring Experiences

I ran across a posting this past week that referenced a 2010 Cornell University study published by Thomas Gilovich and Travis J. Carter.  The study showed that over the long term experiences are more important and provide more lasting satisfaction than material things.  The study compared things such as buying a TV or a flashy car as opposed to investing the money in a vacation or training lessons.  It showed that the initial thrill of the possession faded rapidly, but the value of the experience started strong and continued growing over time.  It attributed part of this impact to the fact that our experiences are unique to us and personal whereas we tend to compare possessions to others.

I thought this was very fitting in the instructions and the relationship that God wanted to have with the people of Israel as they entered the promised land.  He is leading them into a physical place, through physical battles and difficulties, with physical rewards of food and shelter.  But, He wants their first thing in the new land to be an unique and memorable experience of obedience.  He calls on them to truly experience this event.  They would gather the stones, form the plaster, allow it to dry, write all the words of the law, build the altar, offer the burnt offering and shout the blessings and curses from the mountaintops.  Nothing like this had been done before or since.

This was in stark contrast to the gods of the people currently in the land whom they were to defeat and remove.  These people saw their gods as something to possess.  They formed them out of wood and clay and they carried them around with them.  They were gods of things, the god of the river, the god of the insects, the god of fertility.

Our God is a God of relationships.  He invites His people, then and now, to experience Him.  He doesn’t give us the law and commands as a rod to punish us with.  He gives them to us as loving directions so we know the right path that leads to a fully and deeper relationship with Him instead of getting lost in detours and wrong paths.

How are you experiencing God?  Are you investing your time and money in possessions that don’t last and don’t satisfy, or are you investing in experiences that change and redirect your life?  How are you creating experiences to share with others: such as family meals, spending time with missionaries, praying together, working in your church?  What intentional experiences do you want to plan for yourself and your loved ones in the next 90 days?  The experiences may just last forever!

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
large stones coated in plaster and write on them all the words of this law, also build there an altar with fieldstones

b.
To demonstrate their obedience, to create a lasting remind – to put the law first and foremost in their mind and to associate the Word with the burn offerings

4.
a.
Blessings from Mount Gerizim, Curses from Mount Ebal – shouted out by the tribes, 6 on each side

b.
Surgery reset the priorities of my life