March 27

Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20

As we read this section of Scripture, it’s overwhelmingly obvious that God is deep concerned with the purity and welfare of His people. Israel is on the brink of the Promised-Land. Moses is delivering his swan-song, it’s the final month of his illustrious life and his message is filled with much warning, promise, and injections of courage.

God knows our tendency to be soft on sin, so God warns His people to utterly destroy anything that would turn their hearts from Him.

God chose and set His love on Israel so that the rest of the world might be reached through them. As a matter of fact, here I am, a Gentile – blessed by my Jewish Scriptures, and saved by my Jewish Messiah. We might read this section and think that God favors the Jews, but we need to know the whole story – the future salvation of anyone in the world, and the past sin of the Canaanites, that had reached the heavens and was now ripe for the just judgment of God (Genesis 15:16;  Leviticus 18:25; Deuteronomy 9:4-5; 12:31).

Israel’s covenant was very different than ours in that God’s general promise was to bless Israel in every way, the fruit of their womb, the fruit of their land, the increase of cattle, a lack of disease – IF – they obeyed the LORD and kept His laws (Deuteronomy 7:12-16). Under the New Covenant God promises to provide our every need, but the blessings are superior, the blessings are primarily in the spiritual realm. (Romans 8:17; Philippians 1:29)

The conquering of Canaan would require faith, so Moses reminds them NOT to be afraid – for good reason:

Deuteronomy 7:18 (NKJV) “…you shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt.”

Deuteronomy 7:21 (NKJV) “You shall not be terrified of them; for the LORD your God, the great and awesome God, is among you.”

Just as we see in our own lives, the victory in some realms takes place “little by little,” (Deuteronomy 7:22) but God does deliver us from our enemies. We’re reminded repeatedly to rid ourselves completely of any idols and to make sure that we do not bring an abomination into our homes (Deuteronomy 7:26; Joshua 24:15).

Moses had that pastor’s heart – calling the people to simply obey God’s Word; while keeping in mind all that God has done in our lives. For some who are reading these words, perhaps the journey has just begun as a Christian, for other’s it’s been many, many years…do you ever sit back to consider all that God has done?

We like to eat, (I love to eat) but one of the things the children of Israel learned in the wilderness is the passage Jesus quoted in Matthew 4:4, when the devil tempted Him to turn the stones to bread: 

Deuteronomy 8:3b (NKJV) ”…man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.”

The Bible is better than bread. God’s will is more important than my appetites.

All in all, this section is saturated with many warnings to beware, to have faith, to stay on track, to not forget God in the midst of His blessings.

I smile when I read Deuteronomy 8:10 because every once in a while my wife quotes this verse when she’s extra hungry and eats before she prays. Her reasoning is, this verse commands us to pray and thank God AFTER we eat and are full.

Life was hard for Israel and life can be hard for us; may we remember, God’s intention is to do us good, “…in the end.” (which includes eternity – Deuteronomy 8:16).

Every once in a while I’ll run into someone who tells me that it was their own hard work by which they were able to amass whatever success they’ve achieved. I take them to this verse:

Deuteronomy 8:18 (NKJV) “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth…”

God gives us all every fiber of power we have, the breath, the heartbeat, the wisdom we use to earn wealth. May we learn today, from God’s word to Israel then, to enter into the Promised-Land and stay on track all the days of our lives.

Lue 7:36-8:3

Jesus loves everyone.

When the Pharisee invited Him to eat, Jesus said yes to the invitation, I’m sure He would have loved to bless the Pharisee and fellowship with Him. But the Pharisee wasn’t sincere. There are people who do the right thing the wrong way, or half-way, they don’t completely open their hearts to the Lord. The Pharisee didn’t even offer Jesus the common courtesies of the day such as the washing of feet, or a kiss to welcome Him. It was probably “awkward.”

But then it got even more “awkward.” A woman who somewhere along the line had heard Jesus teach, who received and believed His Words, maybe even healing, deliverance – was inwardly compelled to show her gratitude – she was led by the Spirit to wash Jesus’ feet. So, she boldly crosses human boundaries, enters the house of the Pharisee and washes Jesus feet. But she doesn’t just wash His feet with mere water, she mingles the water with her tears and and fragrant oil. She even uses her hair, which is a symbol of a woman’s glory (1 Corinthians 11:15). This is a stunning display of worship.

The woman was probably a former prostitute, and Jesus washed away all her sin, she knew it, she felt it, and it’s for that reason she loved the Lord. But the Pharisee had it all backwards.

When we truly have an experience with God we’re gripped by our own sinfulness, we realize that we’re no better than anyone else, I realize that I’M a sinner in need of a Savior. It took some time but even the great Rabbi, Saul of Tarsus eventually came to that place and grew in that truth, to the point that towards the end of his life he saw himself for who he really was, the chief of all sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).

Lesson? Let’s not lessen our sin – the more we realize how much He’s forgiven us, the more we will love Him! It’s as simple as that.

As Jesus continues to minister, Luke mentions the lovely ladies that support Him in every way. Thank God for the sisters! What a fascinating combination – a formerly demon-possessed Mary Magdalene serving side-by-side with Joanna the wife of a high-ranking government official! I see it in today’s church as well, people who used to be on different “sides” or against each other, now serving side-by-side.

Psalm 69:1-18

This time David was REALLY struggling. This Psalm is a prayer for deliverance. 

Over the years we’ve all seen people, or at least heard of others who are being attacked by the enemy and begin to sink into the mire (Job 30:19; Jeremiah 38:6). That might even be you today.

David was hated without a cause, David was being persecuted because of his faith (Psalm 69:7, 9) it’s important to remember that sometimes we suffer,  not because we’ve done something wrong, but because we’ve done something right. If you’re a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, that’s all it takes for the enemy to oppose you. Maybe the enemy sees the potential you have and he therefore attacks viciously.

If that’s you, I pray you’d know, God loves you and He hears your cries. It may require some time of suffering, but please, do not lose heart. I’d encourage you to make this Psalm your own. Even though we sometimes feel like we’re in this neck-deep and about to be swallowed up, God will lift you up and out of the mire. He did it for Job, Jeremiah, and David. God made him king. He will do the same for you – He’ll lift you up and set you right where you belong.

Pray these prayers…from the heart:

Psalm 69:13–14 (NKJV) “But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD, in the acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of Your mercy, hear me in the truth of Your salvation. 14 Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink; let me be delivered from those who hate me, and out of the deep waters.”

Psalm 69:17–18 (NKJV) “And do not hide Your face from Your servant, for I am in trouble; hear me speedily. 18 Draw near to my soul, and redeem it; deliver me because of my enemies.”

Proverbs 12:1

A common theme in the Proverbs is how the wise love instruction, even when that instruction is correction; pointing out something I’ve done or am doing wrong. The word correction is found eleven times in the Proverbs, some examples include:

Proverbs 3:11 (NKJV) “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction.”

Proverbs 10:17 (NKJV) “He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, but he who refuses correction goes astray.”

It’s so bad when we hate to be corrected that Solomon, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit calls that person “stupid.” (ouch) That’s a word we’re not allowed to use in our house, but the Bible clearly says that if we refuse correction we’re “that word.”

Help me Lord.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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