29.2 Moses 29, Day 2

Praising on the right side of the Income Statement

It wasn’t difficult to think of people I would consider to be a “man or woman of God”.  But, it took a few minutes of reflection to identify what they had in common.

I mean, they have lots in common.  The love the Lord.  They study the bible.  The are extremely generous with time and talent.  But they were also unique different.  Men and women, family, friends, younger and older.

I finally realized the unique attitude each of them have is their attitude toward time with God.  Many people either talk about or do spend time with God.  Often there can be more talking about it than doing it in some circles.  But, in accounting lingo, “spending” is on the expense side of the Income Statement, and that is not how they view time with God.

It isn’t that some how their time is multiplied or changed.  They have the same number of hours in their days that everyone else has.  They have the same pressures, the same challenges and the same very lengthy to-do’s.  Often, their to-do’s can be even longer than most because of the commitments to charity, teaching and those in need.  An hour with God is one less hour in day.  They don’t somehow get that hour back.

The difference is that because they first and foremost have a relationship with the Lord, the time with Him is time with a friend.  Because their friend is the all powerful, everlasting, Creator, He is a friend that cares for them and provides beyond their needs.  Time in the relationship keeps them connected with the one in charge and the more time with Him deepens the relationship, understanding, love, grace and power.

It is like we have seen in the Life of Moses.  When major challenges came along, Moses got down on his knees.  When Moses had complaints, he went to God.  He walked with Him and he talked with Him, he worshiped Him and obeyed Him.  He led and taught and judged and gave, not of his own strength, but of His Lord God’s.

I also thought it was interesting that Moses’ first words in these verses about God is also the first step to be on the path with God.  He starts by saying “God came”.  God always shows up.  God is ever present.  Wherever people gather in His name, God is there.  But do we?  Do we show up?  Do you intentionally put time each day with God?  Do you have a plan for study and time with the Lord this summer?  Do you think of your time with Him as a time of obligation or a time of deep interaction and relationship?  Is your devotional time something you look forward to checking off of your list or something you simply look forward to?

My Answers:

3.
Of currently living people that I have a personal relationship with: My wife, son and daughters and future daughter in law.  Fellow children’s leaders.  Friends: KH, DF, KR.  These people are absolute prayer warriors.  I desire to be considered in this lot as well!  Of others, biblical characters, apostles, pastors, missionaries, some authors

4.
a.
came, dawned, shone forth, with holy ones, love, worthy of praise, instructor, giver of the law, king

b.
You love the people, King of the upright, you are the dawn, your shine forth over all the holy places

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28.4 Moses 28, Day 4

Hi Fidelity

As Moses closes out the message from God to the Israelites before they enter the promised land, in these last chapters of Deuteronomy, everything centers around God’s renewed covenant with them.  “You will be my people and I will be your God.”  It is a bonded relationship, a commitment, a promise, a covenant.

But God is not blind to the future practices of his partner in this relationship.  He knows, even as He makes the vow, that His people will cheat on Him.  They will lie, they will turn to other gods, they will make sacrifices to those other gods and they will abandon the Lord.  He knows all of this and still chooses them and still promises to stay true to the relationship.

Think about that.  Would you enter into a covenant relationship with a spouse or business partner that you knew would do these things to you?  That is how great God’s love is!

And, he warns them that this fall will not come in the hard times.  They won’t turn to other gods or sin when they are conquering the land, when God is in front of them fighting the battles, or when they face death, difficulty, hunger or other challenges.  They will be most tempted and yield to that temptation in the times of abundance.  When they are no longer wandering in the desert but living off the bounty of the land that God promised them and that God provided to them and that God nourished and cared for for them – then they will cheat on Him.

They will decide they know better.  God said, to clear out the native people.  He divided up the land and none of it was an inheritance to the wicked enemies who currently occupied it, but the Israelites felt they knew better.  They had plenty, plus they could be in charge of making treaties and inter-marrying.  It’s not like they needed to rely on God, things were going well.

When we face challenges in life, we turn back to God.  When terrorist attacks occur, the churches fill up.  But when things go well, when God provides, we turn away from Him.

However, God is faithful.  His faith is not in us – that would be foolish.  His faith is in Himself and the nature and character of who He is and the relationship He has committed to with His people.  His end of that relationship is unwavering.  It may take us reaching the point where we must rely on Him because we have nothing else, but even then, especially then, God is faithful.  We cannot earn that faithfulness.  We do not deserve that faithfulness.

I found it interesting that one of the words that is a synonym to faithfulness is fidelity. Infidelity in a relationship is to cheat on the relationship.  Someone who is called an infidel is literally to call them “without faith.”  But, most interesting to me was that high fidelity is an audio term used to describe something that is a very close copy of the original.  It was used with improved recording techniques and the move to digital mastering.  But God is not a copy of the original – God is the original.  Simply stated you cannot reach a higher level of fidelity than the Creator, the true Master.

 

My Answers:

8.
a.
When things would go well, they would become self reliant and abandon God and reject Him, They would worship foreign gods, sacrifice to them , desert God.  I have become lax in my obedience and time with God when things go well.  I take Him for granted and fail to praise Him and honor Him, relying on myself.  I explore other things, rather than staying true.

b.
Idolotry.  They failed to be obedient and remove the people and gods of the nations they were to defeat.
They lacked sense and discernment

c.
There is a “their” and an “our”.  1. Moses is part of the our and he is Hebrew.  2. God has promised that the Israelites will be My people and I will be your God, so the “their” must be someone else.  All others that tempt Israel are enemies to her.

9.
When it best demonstrates His glory.  When their strength and rebellion is exhausted.

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

27.3 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.

26.3 Moses 26, day 3

At the Gateway of the Next Thing

We’ve all been at the place where the Israelites find themselves in the book of Deuteronomy.  They are no longer wandering the desert, but they also have net yet moved into the next stage of their life.  They are in the “in between”, knowing they are at the gateway of what God has in store for them next, but not yet being called to move into that next mission.

If any of us reflect on our life, we’ve spent time in this place.  In some ways it is one of the most difficult places to live.  Its not the time of trial and survival, but it isn’t the time of feast and bounty.  Its not the desert, but it also is not the promised land.  Maybe you are there right now.

I think we can learn a lot from Deuteronomy 4-11 to help us navigate this time of life as people of God.

Stay in the word of God.  Don’t add to it or subtract from it.  Don’t embellish the stories but also don’t forget the lessons.

Keep your eyes open, but don’t allow them to deceive you into making something you see into an idol for worship.  Not the sun or moon or stars, not people, things, animals.

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

Learn and study the word of God.  Not only the letter of the law but even more so the intent.  Know and obey the 10 commandments and also the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”  Teach them to your children, talk about God in everything you do.  Put the word of God in your thoughts and in the work of your hands, on your place of dwelling and your journey from gate to gate.

As you think forward to whatever God has planned for you next be resolute, fortified and committed that you will not compromise or settle whatever you may face.  Whatever God has planned for your future, He has planned all the way, without compromise.

Look forward to and claim the blessings of God’s covenant to the obedient, “He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and olive oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor will any of your livestock be without young.  The Lord will keep you free from every disease.”

Commit yourself to not forget to praise and worship.  When God calls you to move forward and you receive the blessings, don’t forget who brought you to the dance.  You are not going there because of your skills or your righteousness, you are going because of God.

Remember your weaknesses.  The temptations you have faced in the past are temptations you will face in the future.  Learn from your past mistakes so that you won’t repeat them.

Love the Lord your God.  There is one God.  He loves you.  Love Him.

Be obedient.  Observe the commands.  Learn them and know them.  Faithfully obey the commands.  Carefully obey the commands.

Know that wherever God is going to lead you, He is going there before you and preparing the way.  Wherever it is you will be going in obedience, God is there now.

 

My Answers:

5.
a.
He is jealous for what is His.  He warns his people what will happen.

b.
heard the voice of God speaking out of fire and lived, took one nation out of another, testings, signs and wonders, war, mighty hand, outstretched arm, great and awesome deeds, , shown things so they might know the LORD

c.
The bible, His spirit, life, family, church, To see the blessing of children.  To have God guide the hand of Doctors.  To find a mission and work for the Lord.  To be given a voice.

6.
a.
Obedience: keeping all his decrees and commands, keeping all his decrees and commands,  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength

b.
Impress them on their children, Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates – Family get togethers focused on God – inviting in missionaries, model prayer

7.
The warning to not forget the Lord when He has brought me into times of “a good land” or when I “have eaten and are satisfied”, but instead – Praise the Lord

8.
fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good

 

26.2 Moses 26, Day 2

Checking the rear-view mirror

Deuteronomy is a collection of benedictions (good words) of Moses.  Basically, his last lecture of the things he wants to ensure the people of God hear and heed.

He starts his sermon with a review of where God’s people had been.  The Hebrew people had been here before.  The last time they were at the doorway to the promised land, they proved themselves to be rebellious and despite the truth spoken by Caleb and Joshua, they refused to enter the land.

This event is the entry point for this current generation.  It was their parents who were the decision makers in the rebellion.  It was their parents who longed for Egypt.

But Moses words are addressed to “you” not to “them.”  This generation is tied to the last.  We inherit the sins of our parents and they shape us.  But we have a choice in how they shape us.  Do we choose to be limited by them.  Do we choose to repeat the same patterns and repeat the same mistakes or do we choose to learn from them and rise above.  But, in either situations, we aren’t to be in denial.  When we shame and blame our parents and ancestors we delude ourselves into thinking we are not impacted by or have liability/baggage from their decisions.  Moses does talk about them, he talks to you.  The message is personal

But, while Moses addresses the “you”, he doesn’t romanticize the past or prompt this generation to have any desire to repeat the sins.  The review is a clear look in the rearview mirror to keep that past behind them as they move forward.

This generation shouldn’t have any desire to repeat the past 40 years, but they should also understand that God has used that time to shape them and prepare them.  Think about how it has shaped and prepared them.  They had spent 38 years on an 11 day journey.  For the past 40 years this generation has watched more than 80 of their parents and grandparents, on average, die every day, day after day.  We learned in the Numbers 26 that over 600,000 men had died over the past 40 years.  Assuming an equal number of men and women that is 1.2 Million people who have died.  1,200,000 divided by 40 years divided by 365 days = 82 deaths per day on average.  This generation has grown up homeless, wandering from place to place with no land to call their own.  They have moved their herds, but they have also lived always under the care of the Lord.  God has provided their daily bread.  God has gone before them and dwelt with them and protected them.  They have seen the impact of sin and rebellion both in day-to-day life and in major events such as plagues and fire and even the earth opening up and swallowing families.  They have also witnessed the blessings of being God’s chosen people.

God has used all of that to prepare them, train them and bring them to this place.  But, through Moses words, he also reminds them that this generation is not immune to the heritage of the generation before.  They are not to lose sight of the rebellion, but they are to keep it behind them.

What sins of prior generations are you trying to deny?  What sins of prior generations do you wish to forget?  Which attitudes of your parents are temptations to you as well?  What hardships have you experienced in your life?  Are you angry and wounded by those hardships and blaming them on others or can you look in the rear-view mirror and see how they have been used to training and teaching you how to walk with God?

 

My Answers:

3.
in the wilderness east of the Jordan 11 days journey from Mt. Horeb (10 commandments) – that took them 38 years to travel

4.
a.
They had rebelled, they had turned away from God, They had been blessed, Because of unbelief they had wandered for 38 years, An entire generation had perished

b.
Instructed the Israelites (I said…) Spoke with the Lord, Commanded the Israelites, saw Gods might, commissioned Joshua, was allowed to see the promised land but not enter it

c.
was faithful, spoke to His people, Was with the people and Moses, Fought battles for them, defeated people for them, blessed the people, watched over their journey