Category: Deuteronomy-BibleTrekToday

Trek through Deuteronomy

Honor God and your father!

Scripture reading for March 29: 2nd Samuel 15-18

“Honor your father and your mother,  as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Deuteronomy 5:16

“This is what the Lord says; ‘out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you.  Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.  You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel'”.( 2nd Samuel 12:11-12)

God’s Word never returns void and the one who chooses to go against it does so to their peril.  King David disobeyed God’s command against adultery and although he was forgiven, he reaped what he had sown in his own household.  Absalom, a son of King David, chose to rebel against his own father and try to take the throne of Israel.  His story has a boastful beginning and a sad ending.

Absalom was a master politician.  He made all kinds of promises to win the hearts of the people.  His heart was plotting a take-over of his own father’s throne and he did it by flattery and empty promises.  (2nd Samuel 15:4-6) He secretly set himself up as king and secretly won over David’s trusted counselor, Ahithophel, who joined in the conspiracy.  He was a man full of pride and self-promotion who would do anything to gain power. Sounds like some of our politicians today!

Ahithophel advised Absalom to take his father’s concubines and sleep with them in front of all Israel.  This appealed to this rebel son and he willingly broke God’s commands and dishonored himself and his father, not to mention God!  In doing so, he fulfilled Nathan’s word to King David as his own father was confronted with his own sin of adultery!  (2nd Samuel 16:20-22) Absalom’s brief rebellion ended with his tragic death. 

Are you honoring God by obeying His commandments in the area of proper sexual conduct? Are you honoring your own father and mother and their example and instruction? Today is a day of mercy.

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The ‘Kinsman-redeemer’

Scripture reading for March 14: Ruth 1-4

“Who are you?” he asked.  “I am your servant Ruth,” she said.  “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.” (Ruth 3:9)

The story of Ruth is set in the time of Judges between 40-100 years before the time of David (1000 BC).  This simple story unfolds as a famine forces an Israelite family to leave Israel for Moab.  Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, move to Moab.   While there, Naomi’s husband dies. Both sons marry Moabite girls and then they die as well.  Naomi is left bitter and ready to return to her land and people. Naomi tells her Moabite daughters-in-law to go on back to their own people.  She is too old to have more sons for them to marry.  Orpah goes back, but  Ruth committed to follow Naomi and Naomi’s God until death!  What conviction and faith are exhibited by this descendant of Lot!

Ruth, a poor widow with only Naomi, an older widow, returns to Israel.  The law in Israel left the corners of the fields and the grain that was dropped for the orphan and widow. (Deuteronomy 24:19)  She would trust God for her provision.  God’s divine providence placed Ruth in the field of Boaz, a close relative of Naomi’s.  Boaz was also a descendant of Rahab, the harlot that hid the spies!  God’s favor guides these widows to find a place in God’s family again!

Boaz heard about Ruth’s humble service and showered her with favor and generosity. (Ruth 2:11-12) Naomi gave her instructions on how to approach Boaz and appeal to him for marriage covering as their “kinsman redeemer!” Boaz responded to Ruth’s humble appeal, purchased the field, and took her as his wife!  Both Boaz and Ruth are mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ as grandparents of King David! (Matthew 1:5-6)

Jesus Christ is our “kinsman-redeemer”.  He is a “close relative” who has bought us back from slavery to a family of God.  Ruth is a type of Gentile bride for Jesus Christ.  Through this beautiful story, we get a glimpse into the heart of God!  Have you humbly appealed to Jesus to spread His covering over you?

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Hire a preacher?

Scripture Reading for March 13: Judges 17-21

Religion is man’s attempt to do something that makes him feel good about himself and his own relationship with God.  There is nothing we can do to improve our relationship with God because we are sinners.  God is holy and has set up a very narrow way of man coming to Him.  In the time of the judges, the nation of Israel had slipped away from the Word of God and each person was doing what was right in his own eyes.  (Judges 17:6; 21:25)  The nation had forgotten God and gotten lost in a self-directed religion of idolatry.

Micah, from the tribe of Ephraim had stolen money from his own mother.  He heard a curse pronounced by his mother and confessed his crime.  The mother forgave him and then took some of the silver he returned and made an idol for her son!  Micah built a shrine, made an ephod, and installed one of his sons as a priest.  (Judges 17:1-6) This violated everything that God had established for His people in Israel.  Only the Levites could be priests and there were to be no idols.  God’s people were to go to the place God set to worship, not to any place they chose!  (Deuteronomy 12:1-9)

A Levite stopped in and Micah hired him to be his “father and priest”. (Judges 17:10)  Everything seemed good until some spies from the tribe of Dan stopped by Micah’s house.  They inquired of the Lord through Micah’s Levite and  he gave them what they wanted to hear.  They returned and made this Levite a better deal.  Why not be a priest for a whole tribe, rather than a household?  The Levite accepted happily because the price was right!  This almost sounds like a soap opera!

We must be aware that we can easily slip away from a true relationship with the Lord.  Micah and his mother were descendants of Ephraim, one of the sons of Joseph.  They had a rich heritage of faith and knew of the miraculous working of God.  But religion became just ritual and form, fashioned to please men. Money was used to buy and manipulate behavior and religious favor.

How is money being used to manipulate and buy favor in our culture today? How can we maintain a true relationship with God and the church? How do you identify a true man or woman of God?

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A Strong finish!

Scripture reading for February 29: Deuteronomy 31-34

I have often told the Lord that I would like to leave this world like Moses, strong and vigorous to the last!  I am a person who likes action and wants to be busy doing what God has for me.  When my time comes to leave earth, I want to take one last look, and be gone!   I want to have a successor who will carry on the work.  I want to fight one last battle, give one last prophetic word, bless my church and family, and check out!  That’s how Moses, the man of God ends his time on earth!

In Deuteronomy 31, we have the transfer of power and anointing from Moses to Joshua.  Joshua had been faithful as a helper to Moses.  He went up on the mountain with Moses, and he was in charge of the Tent of Meeting.  He was one of the twelve spies and had a “good report” as a man of faith in God’s Word.  Joshua was picked by the Lord to succeed Moses. (Deuteronomy 31:14) 

Deuteronomy 32 is a song Moses composed at God’s direction. In this song God revealed to Moses that the people would rebel and suffer God’s punishment.  The song commends the greatness of God, as the Rock of Israel.  (Deuteronomy 32:3-4) It spells out again the curses that will come from their disobedience to the covenant. (Deuteronomy 32:20-26)  The song promises compassion and healing on those who return to the Lord and those who remain faithful. (Deuteronomy 32:36-43) 

Deuteronomy 33 records the prophetic blessings on Israel and the tribes by Moses right before he left them.  These blessing tell of God’s love for His people. (Deuteronomy 33:3-5)  He ruled over them with love and wanted their blessing and provision.  The blessings in this chapter are filled with imagery from the recent wanderings.  The blessing I regularly claim: “Most blessed of sons is Asher:  let him bathe his feet in oil.  The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days.” (Deuteronomy 33:24-25)  May that be true of you and me!

Moses ended his journey by climbing Mt. Nebo in Moab and seeing the promised land.  God buried him!  (Deuteronomy 34:1-7)  He was strong and vigorous and full of life to the last and he ever lives in God’s presence!  In Scripture, he was last seen here on earth talking to Jesus Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration!  (Matthew 17:1-3)

How do you want to depart this earth when your time is up? Have you asked God for your heart’s desire? May you and I finish strong!

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Easiest choice ever offered?

Scripture Reading for February 28: Deuteronomy 27-30

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord Your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.  For the Lord is your life, and He will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

This verse has always baffled me.  God so clearly spelled out His desire for His people’s blessing and life.  He had redeemed them and shown them His love by the signs and wonders and continuous provisions.  Their clothes and shoes had not worn out.  They ate the manna each day for forty years and had meat too.  They drank the water from the rock. (Deuteronomy 29:2-6)  Their enemies had been defeated and God had cared for them. (Deuteronomy 29:7-8)  Moses asked them to make a choice.  Do they want “life and blessing”?  Or would they prefer “death and curses”?  He even gave them the answer: “Choose life!”

But we often think that God’s way is too narrow and too restrictive.  It’s too difficult to try! Moses told the people it wasn’t too hard for them (Deuteronomy 30:11-14) and the Apostle Paul quoted him in Romans:10:6-12.  It is by faith in Jesus Christ that we can be saved from the curses of the Law and the penalty of death.  It is our confession of faith in Jesus Christ’s work for us on the cross that saves us. 

“But what does it say? “The word is near you: it is in your mouth and in your heart”, that is the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth that “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  For it is with your heart you believe and are justified, and with your mouth you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:8-10

Have you made excuses for not making the choice of ‘life and blessing’ in Jesus? What is hindering you today from applying your faith to make a choice for life? Jesus is the only ‘Way’ and ‘Life!’ (John 14:6)

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Sin tolerated is deadly!

Scripture reading for February 27: Deuteronomy 21-26

One of the most difficult things to do is to change.  We are by nature procrastinators and easily get comfortable with sin and evil in our lives and culture.  We blame others for our bad habits and use the victim mentality to justify our own rebellion.  We easily judge others who are “worse than us” and can see their need to change.  Looking in the mirror and admitting that I need to change is another story.  Through Moses’ sermon to the younger generation, we can gain insight about the radical methods God prescribed under the Old Testament Law to remove sin and guilt from our lives and community. Moses repeated many times: “purge evil from among you”.

“If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, then his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious.  He will not obey us.  He is a profligate and a drunkard.”  Then all the men of the town shall stone him to death.  You must purge evil from among you. All Israel will hear it and be afraid.”  (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

According to this passage, one form of evil is dishonoring and rebelling against your God-given authority. This was a breaking of God’s law in Moses’ day, the only true source of knowing good and evil for the nation of Israel.   A son who refused to listen and be corrected by his parents exhibited rebellion.  Evil cannot be negotiated with or excused.  Discipline was to be used to remove it or drive it out of one’s home or life.  If excused, evil will affect community and nation.  It is more than a personal matter. 

Now, don’t jump to the conclusion that we should stone our children today.  This law was for God’s family under the old covenant.  It is teaching us principles of parenting and community involvement in setting standards for evil and its removal.  If we tolerate evil, it always spreads.  A lack of swift justice or discipline allows evil to grow.  A swift punishment instills a holy fear of God’s Word and reinforces the seriousness of evil as a source of death.  Notice the elders were involved here.  Those with wisdom and maturity helped the family deal with the rebellious child.  Their goal was removing evil from the midst of the community and promoting order and peace.  They cared about all the children and the future.

The general lesson for us is our need for a clear definition of good and evil in community and support for parents disciplining their children (Ephesians 6:1-4). Do you think that our culture understands disrespect of parents or authority to be sin or evil? What results when a culture tolerates evil or excuses it? Pray today for our parents and those in authority.

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Choosing a king!

Scripture Reading for February 26: Deuteronomy 17-20

 In Deuteronomy 17, Moses gave instructions to the Israelites about what would transpire after they entered the promised land.  He stated that they would want a king like the other nations around them.  (Deuteronomy 17:14) God’s foreknowledge enabled Moses to prepare God’s people for the future.

The first rule of choosing a king, is to appoint one chosen by the Lord Himself!  He must come from his own brothers so he can understand the people and the problems they face.  A foreigner would not have a proper understanding. (Deuteronomy 17:15)  Jesus Christ was God’s chosen ruler to be King over His people!  He is actually King over the universe!  He is one of us, being born of a woman.  He was tempted in all ways like us, yet without sin.  He came from the Father, and knew and willingly did the Father’s will!

God, through Moses told the people that moral character was critical in their king.  The king was not to gather large numbers of horses or send people to Egypt to get them. This king was not to take a large number of wives, because the wives would lead his heart astray.  Some of these wives might lead the king into idolatry and cause his downfall.  He must not gather large amounts of silver and gold. (Deuteronomy 17: 16-17) These things often lead to idolatry and pride. 

The last instructions for the king was that he was to write for himself a copy of the law taken from priests.  The purpose was that the king would know the law and Word of God and keep and uphold it in his kingdom.  It was to help him with pride and thinking that he was better than his brothers.  It would help him revere God and honor Him alone.(Deuteronomy 17:18-20)  The fruit of obeying these instructions was a long reign and peace!

As you consider these ancient instructions, are their any human rulers who are applying these instructions? How did Jesus Christ apply and fulfil these instructions? Have you made Him your King?

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Generosity is rewarded!

Scripture reading for February 24: Deuteronomy 12-16

In many cultures, the poor and needy are viewed as under the judgment of the gods.  These people are despised and live in the worst conditions on the fringes of society.  Children born in the families are destined to live in poverty, sickness, and usually have an early death. India has millions living in the caste system and viewed as nearly untouchable by their peers. The Hindu religion and the teaching of reincarnation and this caste system keeps the bondage in place.

The God of the Bible, creator of heaven and earth, is compassionate and merciful.  When He formed the nation of Israel and delivered them from slavery, He instructed them in the care of those society had looked down upon.  The orphans and widows were singled out for care by the Lord.   (Deuteronomy 14:28-29)  God promised to bless the Israelites for caring for them.  The alien was also to be cared for, because the Israelites were also aliens and strangers in Egypt and could identify with what it was like to on the outside of the economic and political power system.

God said that there should be no poor among His people. (Deuteronomy 15:4)  The reason given was that if they fully obeyed the Lord in keeping all His commands, God would so bless them that they would have an abundance to help others.  They would lend only and not borrow. (Deuteronomy 15:6)  They would also rule and not be in servitude. “. . the borrower becomes the slave of the lender.” (Proverbs: 22:7) 

God said that some would be poor among His people because of disobedience and they would need help.  Those who were fully obeying the Lord were to be generous with the poor.  They were not to be “tight-fisted” or “hard-hearted” towards their poor brothers, but to be “open-handed” and “freely lend”.  (Deuteronomy 15:7-10)  God said it was sinful to be stingy toward the poor brother! (Proverbs 14:31) He was indicating His love for those who are truly needy. God always pays well when we help the poor, for He promises to repay what we will give. (Proverbs 19:7)

Take time today to remember someone who is in need or suffering because of poverty. As the Holy Spirit guides you, be generous and give cheerfully. “A generous man will prosper and he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25)

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The land of milk and honey!

Scripture Reading for February 23: Deuteronomy 8-11

In 1995, my son and I went to Israel and Egypt on a three week study tour of the Holy Land plus the route of the Exodus and Egypt.  In Egypt we visited the Great Pyramid, the Sphinx and several museums.  The land of Egypt was primarily desert and dry rocky mountains until we got to the Nile River where the water and irrigation made some green areas and lush groves of tropical plants.  The land was fairly flat and sandy.  Israel, on the other hand was varied in topography and had many different areas of climate and vegetation.  The Jezreel valley was a rich agricultural region with big farms. The vineyard country was terraced and had trees and vines.  The area around the Sea of Galilee was lush and had banana and pineapples growing.  There were herds of cattle and sheep in the Golan Heights.  Shepherds drove their flocks of goats and sheep and camped in tents in the Negev desert.  It was a varied land full of milk (goats and cattle) and honey (bees pollinating vines and flowers).

God described the land that the Israelites were going to as a land flowing with milk and honey!  It was a land of hills and valleys! God sent the rain of heaven on Israel where in Egypt, by hand and foot, the land had to be irrigated! In Canaan, God cared for the land and His eyes were upon it to bless His people! (Deuteronomy 8:7-12) God wanted to inspire His people to move forward in faith to possess it.

As my son and I walked and rode through that land, God’s presence was evident to us.  It is a special land, although it is not remarkable or extraordinary in itself.  God’s presence and His people made it special!  God’s promises to Israel and His love for His people and our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob stand as a testimony of God’s faithfulness.  Four thousand years after Abraham, his descendants are still in that land and are taking possession of it yet!  They have defeated armies more numerous and stronger, because God is with them and His Word is still true.  (Deuteronomy 11:23,25)  It is a land that God cares for and His eyes are upon it continually!  He desire them all to know their Messiah, Jesus Christ!

Take time today to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and support God’s land and people!  Pray for the salvation of those who are seeking to destroy Israel. A blessing is on those who bless Israel!  (Genesis 12:3)

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Are your children ‘impressed?’

Scripture Reading for February 23: Deuteronomy 5-7

“Hear, O Israel:  The Lord our God, the Lord is One.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your foreheads.  Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9

This passage is known by faithful Jews as the “Shema”, which means “listen”. The Shema is quoted twice daily by devout Jews around the world reminding them of the importance of a relationship with the One true God.  This passage was quoted by Jesus in part when he was asked which was the greatest commandment.  He answered with “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.”  (Matthew 22:37-38)  This ancient word from a sermon of Moses around 1500 years before Christ was foundational in the devotional life of God’s people and has great application for believers today.

Hearing is important!  God wants us to have ears to hear His voice!  Remember that the nation of Israel did not want to hear God’s voice speaking His commandments.  They had asked Moses to hear for them so they would not die.  Moses was repeating what God had told him.  Faith comes by hearing the Word of God! (Romans 10:17)  God sends His people out to speak His Word to bring faith and obedience and the resulting blessing.

There is no other God but God!  He is the creator of heaven and earth.  He is holy and complete in Himself.  He desires the love of His children and loves them infinitely, desiring the best for them.  His love is expressed in his Word and commandments.  When we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we will actively respond to His Word in a life of daily obedience.  (John 15:9-11) If we love Him, we will pass them on to the next generation.   His joy will be in us and our life will be full!

How would you evaluate your hearing of God’s Word? How do you show your love for God and seek to impress it on the next generation? Take time this week to listen to God’s Word and take action towards one of your offspring, if you have them.

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