Trek through Deuteronomy
Pigs food and the ‘Far country’
Scripture reading for March 31st: Joshua 5-8, Psalm 14, Luke 15
Luke 15:11-16 “And He said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey to a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into the field to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.”
Sin is a universal problem. There are none righteous for all have sinned like the prodigal son in Luke’s Gospel and the nation of Israel in Joshua’s day. Sin, although fun for a season, always takes us to the ‘far country’ of famine, lack, want and slavery. The prodigal son was so hungry that he wanted ‘pig food!’ Israel’s sin brought defeat by their enemies. God sees it all and knows what has gone on! Like the father of the prodigal, He is watching and desiring our return to Him. He often allows the famines and pig food to bring His children to repentance and restoration. If you are eating ‘slop’ today, why not return to Father with humility and faith.
Joshua 7:11-12 “Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies.”
Prayer: Father God, I too have gone astray and gone to the far country. There I came to my senses and returned to You and confessed my sin. Your mercy and restoration won my heart! I gave my heart and life to You as an act of worship and received the Gift of the Holy Spirit. Send me to those in the ‘far country’ who need Good News of a God Who freely gives forgiveness and restoration!
Psalm 14:2-3 “The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”
Jesus must be the priority!
Scripture reading for March 30th: Joshua 1-4, Psalm 143, Luke 14
Luke 14:25-27, 33 “Now great crowds accompanied Him, and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” . . . “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
Jesus laid down strict guidelines for those who wanted to follow Him and become a disciple. He was elaborating on the “narrow door” He had spoken of earlier. He told the crowd that they must ‘hate’ family members in comparison to loving Him in order to be His disciples. He told them that they must be willing to take up their cross and follow Him, even to death. They were to renounce their past life and follow Him with singular focus. In today’s reading in Joshua, we have the story of Rahab who welcomed the spies in Jericho. She was told to gather her family into her house and tie a scarlet cord. This would bring protection to all in the house. The ‘scarlet cord’ represented the marking of the blood in the Exodus account. Jesus’ blood and sacrifice on the cross was the “narrow door” for salvation for all!
Joshua 2:18, 21 “Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie the scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household.” . . .”And she said, “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.”
Prayer: Father, thank You for Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I believe in Him and abandon all human effort and schemes of salvation. I agree with Rahab of old and Mary, mother of Jesus, “According to your Words, so be it.” Lead me today by Your Spirit on the level ground of faith and teach me to do Your will.
Psalm 143:10“Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God! Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground!”
“Strive to enter the narrow door!”
Scripture reading for March 29th: Deuteronomy 32-34, Psalm 13, Luke 13
Luke 13:23-27 “And someone said to Him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord open to us,’ then He will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from Me, all you workers of evil!’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, . . .”
Jesus was ministering to His own people, the Jews. He warned them that they all must repent or perish. (Luke 13:5) He told them a parable about a barren fig tree. (Luke 13:6-9) The fig tree represented national Israel in Scripture. Jesus spoke plainly to them and healed sick people but their response was to get upset because He healed on the Sabbath. So then, in response to a question on how many would be saved, Jesus admonished the people to enter by the ‘narrow door!’ He would later emphasize that He was the “Door” to the sheepfold and the only way to enter the Kingdom. He also warned that the window of opportunity would not last forever. There would be many surprises and great loss at the judgment.
Deuteronomy 32:46-47 “. . .he (Moses) said to them, “Take to heart all the Words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the Words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by the Word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for caring for Your people by speaking straight to them. Thank You for Your grace through Jesus Christ that takes away fear of being shut out of Your kingdom. Help me to enter through the ‘narrow Door’ of faith in Jesus and lead others to that eternal rest of salvation and inheritance.
Psalm 13:5-6 “But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”
“Fear not, little flock!”
Scripture reading for March 28th: Deuteronomy 27-31, Luke 12
Luke 12:27-31 “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek His kingdom and these things will be added as well.”
Each day believers have choices to make concerning how they spend the gift of time, talent, and energy. As fallen creatures, before salvation, we were driven by appetites, fear, and opinions of others. Worry and fear marked each day in most of mankind because of concern about food, water, clothes and shelter consumed most of life. Jesus spoke to His followers of a different way to spend our time and energy. He promised if we would put our effort into seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness, God would take care of our basic physical needs. Jesus then used examples of the birds and the lilies to emphasis our Father’s amazing care and provision. We as His children are of much more value and it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us our needs and even a full inheritance in His eternal kingdom! Praise our Lord!
Luke 12:32-34 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.” For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Prayer: Father God, forgive me for not always trusting You. Thank You for Your faithful provision for me and my families needs! Give me grace to know how to use the material things You have blessed me with to further Your kingdom and help lost people find righteousness and eternal life through the Gospel. I desire Your blessing and a full inheritance in Your Kingdom!
Deuteronomy 30:15-16 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord by loving the Lord your God, by walking in His ways, and by keeping His commandments and His statutes and His rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.”
Asking, seeking, knocking
Scripture reading for March 25th: Deuteronomy 23-26, Luke 11
Luke 11:9-12 “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?””
God’s Word declares that He is a Good Father and that He gives good gifts to His children. Jesus gave His disciples the privilege of asking, seeking and knocking and promised results from God, His Father. He declared that as an earthly father looks out for the welfare of his children, God, the Father, would give them the best Gift, the Holy Spirit. The asking, seeking and knocking was an act of faith and centering on God and honoring Him. God views His children as His treasured possession and has promised to bless them with fame, honor, and holiness in His family forever and ever! Amen!
Luke 11:13 “”If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!””
Father God, thank You for daily and continual access to speak with You. Thank You for the promise of receiving, finding, and opening. Thank You for the best Gift, the Holy Spirit to live in me and be with me every minute of my journey on earth. Thank You that the Holy Spirit is forming holiness in my soul through taking Your Word and applying it to my life.
Deuteronomy 26:18-19 “And the Lord has declared today that you are a people for His treasured possession, as He has promised you, and you are to keep all His commandments, and that He will set you in praise and in fame and in honor high above all nations that He has made, and that you shall be a people holy to the Lord your God, as He promised.”
Eternal life by works?
Scripture reading for March 24th: Deuteronomy 19-22, Psalm 6, Luke 10
Luke 10:25-29 “And behold, a lawyer stood up to put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?””
Because of sin, all mankind is languishing in despair and doesn’t know how to inherit eternal life. The lawyer that was testing Jesus with the question about this, answered Jesus’ question back with a good answer from the Law. He advocated loving God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength and our neighbor as ourself. The story revealed God’s mercy towards us and what He desires of us. Eternal life is a gift of God’s mercy. He alone has defeated all our enemies and goes before us. He alone can heal our rebellious hearts and pour in His love.
Deuteronomy 20:2-4 “And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies; let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is He Who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.'”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for being our “Neighbor” in sending Jesus Christ. Thank You for giving us the gift of eternal life by faith through Your grace and for healing our rebellious hearts. Deliver me from ever thinking I can earn eternal life. Help me today to be a neighbor to those around me and to love as You loved me and gave Yourself for me!
Psalm 6:1-2 “O Lord, rebuke me not in Your anger, nor discipline me in Your wrath. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled. But You, O Lord–how long?”
“Where is your faith?”
Scripture reading for March 22nd: Deuteronomy 10-14, Psalm 5, Luke 8
Luke 8: 22-25 “One day He got into a boat with His disciples, and He said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this that He commands even winds and water, and they obey Him?””
Life as a believer in Jesus Christ is centered on faith. Even in the time of Moses, God called His people to walk in faith in His Word and to love Him by obeying His Word. As they loved God, He would lead them and fight their battles and protect them from harm. They would possess the land of promise by faith and every place they walked would be theirs. As these disciples of Jesus experienced a storm on the Sea of Galilee, their faith wavered as Jesus calmly slept. They woke Him up in fear for their lives. Jesus faithfully protected them and then asked them a penetrating question: “Where is your faith?” This question should cause us all to examine our trust and belief in God’s Word.
Deuteronomy 11:22-24 “For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving the Lord your God, walking in all His ways, and holding fast to Him, then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. Every place the sole of your foot treads shall be yours.”
Prayer: Father God, my faith is anchored in Your holy and unchanging Word. Forgive me for times when I have been overcome by fear from the events around me. Help me to increase my faith by reading Your Word and applying it to my life daily. Thank You for Your amazing promises of favor and protection that cause me to rejoice in You!
Psalm 5:11-12 “But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may exult in You. For You bless the righteous, O Lord; You cover him with favor as with a shield.”
The Lord’s compassion
Scripture reading for March 21st: Deuteronomy 6-9, Luke 7
Luke 7:12-16 “As He drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then He came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited His people!”
The reason behind the provisions of the abundant life flowing to us is the Lord’s compassion and mercy. In the story of the raising of the dead son of the widow, we see Jesus’ having compassion on this widow who had lost her only son and the source of her care. Jesus was moved to confront death and brought comfort to the woman by raising the dead son to life with a Word! This miracle caused people to fear God and declare God visiting them. When Jesus forgave the sinful woman who was anointing His feet with her tears, Jesus’ compassion again was evident towards all sinners. Jesus here indicated that this woman’s faith in His compassion and ability to forgive sins had brought salvation and an abundant grace!
Luke 7:48-50 “And He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with Him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, Who even forgives sins?” And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you.””
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your great compassion! Your love towards sinners and the suffering moves me to seek more of Your compassion in me. I offer myself to You to allow Your compassion that will bring people to honor You and believe Your Word and experience salvation through faith by grace.
Deuteronomy 9:6 “Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people.”
Great reward in loving enemies!
Scripture reading for March 18th: Deuteronomy 4-5, Luke 6
Luke 6: 32-36 “”If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.””
Jesus had some hard questions for His followers. It is easy to love those who love you and to do good to those who will repay the kindness. We can lend to those we know will repay. But Jesus challenged us to love those who were our enemies and sought to do us harm. He commanded us to do good to those who would misuse us and to lend to those who could never repay. This was a reflection of the Father’s heart of mercy. He loves to show mercy because it is His kindness that leads us to repentance. Those who obey the Father’s leading will reap a great reward! It may be that these enemies will become brothers and sisters living with us for eternity!
Luke 6:46 “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?”
Prayer: Father God, I am always amazed at Your heart of mercy for people. I am learning slowly to obey in these difficult areas of loving my enemies and doing good to those who would hurt me. Patiently help me to reflect Your heart and character towards lost and hurting people and I would love to see them all in heaven enjoying eternal life! What a great reward!
Deuteronomy 5:32-33 “You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.”