Thursday, September 22
By Jill McClain
Moses lived an incredible life, but at 120 years of age he realizes that he is about to die. He names Joshua as the next leader of the Israelites. Then Moses teaches the people a song. The song reminds the people of their history with God. It tells of the people’s repeated failures to follow and trust God, despite his repeated faithfulness and protection. The song tells again of the punishment that awaits people that do not follow the commands of their Heavenly Father, but it also tells of God’s grace when his people repent and return to him.
In Deuteronomy 32:48-52, Moses is told to climb Mount Nebo where he will be able to see the Promised Land that God is giving to his chosen people. However, God reminds Moses that he is not going to enter Canaan because of a sin that he committed earlier. God loved Moses throughout his entire life, even in the midst of his sins. God never left Moses side, but there were still consequences for his sin. The same is true for us. God has offered us grace and forgiveness when we fail and sometimes when we make poor choices we are able to avoid all possible negative effects. However, other times, like Moses, we may have to face the negative consequences of our errors, but God still loves us and will always be with us through it all.
In chapter 33 Moses blesses each of the tribes of Israel. Then in chapter 34 Moses climbs Mount Nebo and after seeing the Promised Land he dies. “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt – to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12)
Wednesday, September 21
By Jill McClain
“This day I call the heavens and the 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
We have been given a simple choice. Do we choose blessings and life or curses and death? There are no other alternatives. It seems like the choice should be an easy one, set up with a clear best answer. And yet so often we lose our way, and make the wrong choice. We may suggest that obedience is just too hard or that we cannot know how to obey because we do not understand what is expected of us. However, that is certainly not the case. God’s laws are clearly given to us in the Bible. “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach…No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.” (Deuteronomy 30:11 & 14) God does not force us to act in accordance with his commands, because he wants us to freely choose to love and obey him. He wants us to have a relationship with him that will in turn lead to a desire to please him. In verse 16 we are commanded to not only obey, but also to love our Heavenly Father. “For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws.” (Deuteronomy 30:6) We offer our obedience to God, as an act of love.
The choice is yours to make. Will you choose blessings and life or curses and death? It is a choice that everyone must make for themselves. Furthermore, it is the most important choice you will ever make, with life or death consequences. The good news is, if you have made the wrong choice in the past, God is abounding in mercy. It is not too late, to start over and make the correct choice. What about you? Have you chose blessings and life or curses and death?
Tuesday, September 20
By Jill McClain
Moses had previously told the people all of God’s directions and commands. He gave them very detailed instructions about what type of behavior God expects. Next Moses lays out the consequences for either following or disobeying God’s rules. God has created all humans with a free will. We are free to walk in his ways or to defy his directions. However, there are definite consequences for the choices we make. Chapter 28 first lists a series of blessings that the people will receive if they observe God’s decrees. There are blessings for individuals and the entire nation. Crops, livestock and children will all flourish, enemies will be defeated, and the people will be granted “abundant prosperity” (verse 11). Conversely, there is also a list of curses that the people will face if they are disobedient. Diseases, plagues, famine, and the loss of their land are just some of the curses listed. Ultimately, God’s people are always free to choose if they will follow in his ways, but there will be consequences for their actions.
Forty years earlier God and his people had made a covenant. God promised to bless the Israelites, and they in turn, vowed to love and obey God. In Chapter 29, Moses once again urges the people to honor their commitment. The chapter concludes with verse 29, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” There are some secrets that God has not revealed to us. However, he has shared with us all that we need to know to have eternal life. It is up to us to diligently study the Bible and apply all we have learned to our own lives.
Monday, September 19
By Jill McClain
Moses gives more instructions to the Israelites about what they should and should not do to please God in Deuteronomy 24-25. He gives some clear directives about what should be done under some specific situations. Then in chapter 26 the people are instructed to give a special tithe to the Lord when they enter into the Promised Land.
Following many chapters of instructions and laws, the people are explicitly reminded that they must follow all of these laws.
“The LORD your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. You have declared this day that the LORD is your God and that you will walk in his ways, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws, and that you will obey him. And the LORD has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he promised.” (Deuteronomy 2:16-19)
When God had initially led his people out of Egypt he had set up a special covenant with them. There were vows taken by both God and his people that must be kept by both sides. The LORD promised that if he was their God and they walked in his ways, then they would be his special people. Now in this passage the next generation of God’s chosen people were again repeating the promises of their covenant relationship before they entered the Promised Land. Humans are extremely forgetful. By nature we often forget about the important commitments that we make to others, even important commitments to those we care deeply about. On occasion, married couples will choose to renew their marriage vows. The renewal of vows by a married couple do not make them “more married”, but it can serve as an important reminder of their commitment to each other. In Deuteronomy 26 God’s chosen people are remembering the special commitment they have to God. God is a promise keeper. He will always be true to the promises he has made. Are you keeping your commitments to God? Are you following his decrees and walking in his ways?
Sunday, September 18
By Jill McClain
Deuteronomy continues with more instructions about how God’s people should live. In chapter 20 regulations are given about how the Israelites were to prepare for and go to war. Deuteronomy 20:3-4 says, “…Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” How encouraging for us today, to know that the same God that delivered the Israelites from their enemies in battle will also be with us as we fight evil. What battles are you facing? Are you trying to stand up for what is right? Are you fighting for righteousness at a worldly school campus? Or are you struggling to lead someone to Christ? Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will fight with you. Be brave and courageous for you are fighting on the side that will ultimately be victorious!
Chapters 21-23 give additional guidelines about how society should function in a variety of different situations. Deuteronomy 22:1-4 clearly instructs us to be concerned with and get involved in the problems of those around us. It is so easy in our day and age, to look the other way and not get involved in the lives of those around us. However, these verses repeatedly tell us to help others and not ignore our brother’s problems. “If you see your brother’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to him.” (Deuteronomy 22:1) The following verses go on to state that if the owner of the livestock lives too far away, or you do not know who the owner is, you are to take care of the animals until the owner can be reunited with the animals. Then two more times the people are instructed to not ignore such problems, but to be part of the solution for those facing such troubles. Your neighbor may not be losing any livestock today; but what other hardships are you aware of? Fight the urge to live only for yourself, and look instead for others that could benefit from your assistance. Is there someone you can help today?
Saturday, September 17
By Joseph Partain
I hope you are enjoying reading Deuteronomy. There are many great chapters left, especially ch.30 where a choice will be set before you. In today’s chapters God recalls to the people different feasts to observe and of course the Passover. God is telling his people to get together and celebrate what he had done in the past and what he will do for them in the future. It is sad that God has to remind us to worship him, we don’t have to remind him to bring out the sun in the morning or the moon and stars at night or any number of blessings he is faithful to provide every day. If only we were as faithful to God as he has been to us.
The next chapters deal with making sure we are following God’s word and as ch 17 v 11 states do not turn to the right or to the left. In this instance I’m afraid our country has left the road entirely. What God considered as bad is turned to good and this can not be. We need to make sure that regardless of our feelings we need to hold firm to what God says about any situation. He tells Joshua in later chapters to be strong and courageous and that God will be with him. Are we strong and courageous enough to stand with God and his word. There are blessings if we do as we have read.
God tells us in v 4 of Ch 18 to give the firstfruits to him. Thank you for giving your time and attention to reading God’s word. Keep up with spending time daily with God. In Gal 6 the word tells us not to grow weary in doing good for we will reap a harvest. Keep growing.
By Joseph Partain
Have you had to buy another highlighter? And we’re only 11 chapters into Deuteronomy. There are so many passages that speak directly into our lives and need to be read and put into action. Today is no different. It seems as though “meeting with God on the Sabbath” has become indifferent to a lot of people. If it fits into my schedule, if I’m not on vacation, if my kids don’t have a sporting event, etc. God lets us know in Ch 12 that meeting together with God and others is very important. v7 speaks to our meeting in the presence of God, eating and praising him for all that he has blessed us with. Sounds like a potluck and that’s about as good as it gets. The importance of the family coming to worship God together is a teaching moment that is stressed throughout this chapter and this book. Make sure that all the idols and other forms of worship are completely destroyed. Do we have a joy in meeting with God or is it something we endure? We need to have an attitude like David when he said, “I was glad when they said unto me let us go into your house O Lord.”
The next three chapters go over the importance of worshiping the One true God, not being led astray by any false teachings. God says not to spare the one who would lead one of his people away from God. It also covers the animals that were to be eaten and the importance of tithing to God. The tithing that is mentioned in this text is to make sure that everyone has enough and God says that if we are faithful, he will bless all the works of our hands. We can’t out give God and this is not a prosperity teaching. Whenever we give, the benefits may not always be money and that shouldn’t be our motive. I know that for me I’ve always received more of a blessing from helping someone than the time or money spent. Ch 15 is a great chapter for anyone who owes someone else. God says that every seven years the loans are to be forgiven and the servants to be set free if they wanted freedom. A great foreshadowing of the payment God made with Jesus to set us free from sin. How joyful these debtors must have been to have the slate clean and a new beginning. If you feel burdened in any way there is only one who can take that burden and the best thing is it is a free gift to us. A gift is free to the person receiving it, but it still had to be bought by someone. We are so thankful God and his Son were willing to pay that price to cancel our debt.