A love for God is always demonstrated and proven by obedience to Him. We see that repeatedly in Moses’ final words to the people. We read in:
Deuteronomy 11:1 (NKJV) “Therefore you shall love the LORD your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always.” (see also Deuteronomy 11:13, 22)
Jesus said something similar in;
John 14:15 (NKJV) “If you love Me, keep My commandments.
John 14:21 (NKJV) “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
It always comes back to this love relationship. God first loved us and we should respond by loving Him in return (1 John 4:19). A love for God equates to a heart that longs to obey God. It’s as simple as that. Don’t believe the sentimental seduction that love is a mere feeling, it’s not. Your feelings MAY follow, but love is more than an emotion, it’s a conviction that leads us to obey our Lord.
Moses reminds Israel that they’re accountable, for they’ve seen the miracles of God, some that took place in the wilderness, and some that took place back in Egypt, this should move them to be strong and obedient, to go in and possess the land, and to prolong their stay in that land. This was a good land, not watered by man, but by God Himself, with the rains from heaven. These rains would remain, if they chose to obey.
God’s Word is given to us, not because He wants to bark out orders and boss us around, but because He knows what’s best for us and He wants it to be well with us and our children (Deuteronomy 12:25, 28). We are to hide His Word in our hearts (Deuteronomy 11:18) and faithfully teach it to our family. We are to be careful to obey ALL of God’s commands. (Deuteronomy 11:22).
I’m reminded of that passage in:
Ephesians 5:15 (NLT) “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.”
Not careless, or carefree, but careful…for God cares for us (1 Peter 5:7)
As we stay in step with the Holy Spirit, we can cling to promises like:
Deuteronomy 11:24 (NKJV) “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea, shall be your territory.”
For Israel, it was God’s promise regarding the land. For us as Christians, it’s God’s promise in a different type of “land,” our sphere of influence for the gospel, the abundant life, and all the Lord has for us, is claimed by christians, step-by-step.
When the people entered the Promised-Land under the leadership of Joshua they presented the pronouncement of blessings on obedience, and cursing for disobedience – Deuteronomy 27 contains the details and this was fulfilled in Joshua 8:30-35.
Again we return to the simplicity of it all – if only we would have a heart to obey the Lord, then the blessings from above would lavish our lives. For us as Christians it doesn’t necessarily mean health, wealth, and prosperity, not in the physical realm anyways, the blessings are better than that, deeper than that – it’s all that is good for us – and only God knows what we need most.
As the children of Israel entered Canaan, they were commanded to guard their hearts from worshiping other gods, in their pagan ways; they were to be orthodox in who they worshipped and how they worshipped. They were not to build private altars, for God would establish a place for the Tabernacle in which they could take their sacrifices, and the priests would do things Biblically.
God emphasizes repeatedly, that they were not to drink the blood, for the blood symbolized life, the LIFE that Jesus would lay down on Calvary, and use to wash away the sins of all those who believe in Him (Luke 22:20; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 9:22; Revelation 1:5).
Again, they were called to the other side of the lake. Jesus must be completely exhausted in that He was able to fall asleep and stay asleep during such a severe storm, it offers us insight into the demands of such a ministry; perhaps He had spend the previous night in prayer.
There’s nothing wrong with the disciples asking Jesus for help, it’s just the way they did it. This wasn’t prayer, this was panic; this wasn’t faith, this was full-on fear! How could they possibly drown if Jesus is in their boat? Especially if He had called them to the other side? Jesus rebukes the wind of demonic opposition, and He then rebukes His disciples. “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25) Their response is appropriate – who can this be that even the wind and waves obey Him? Answer? God! (Psalm 65:7; 89:9 107:25-29) All that Jesus did, His words and works, His message and miracles, it all pointed to Who He was (John 5:36; 14:11).
Why was there such commotion, such spiritual opposition on the lake? Because on the other side was a man with a legion of demons inside of him and Jesus was on His way to set him free. Jesus did just that. Here was a man who was possessed by a legion of demons, who the community tried to “lift up,” but when that didn’t work they tried tying him up, neither worked, for the demons overpowered them all, driving the man in the wilderness. He made his home among the tombs, it appeared that the man was as good as dead. But Jesus shows up, casts out the demons and next thing you know, the man is found sitting at Jesus’ feet, clothed and in his right mind. Wow! The power and pure love of Jesus Christ.
Aren’t you puzzled by the way the people asked Jesus to leave (Luke 8:37). You would figure that the whole town would get saved, but apparently the profit from the pigs was more important to them. As a perfect gentleman Jesus obliged…and He still does to this day, He will honor our decision, to live with or without Him. I still can’t understand why anyone would choose to live without Him, but so many still do.
The man wanted to travel with Jesus, but that wasn’t God’s will for his life. Jesus instead commissioned him to go before Him and pave the way in a certain geographical area called Decapolis (Mark 5:20) – to tell his family what great things God had done for him. And that’s what he did, he went to his own house, and beyond, telling what great things Jesus had done for him. What an amazing testimony he had!
David, once again, was in urgent need. He asks God to hurry, please hurry Lord, to help me.
There was a king with an entire army after David, to hurt him, and hunt him down; in this Psalm David prays for God to turn them back.
If you’re a Christian endeavoring to do the will of the Lord, you can be sure that the enemy will do all he can to hurt you, and even hunt you down. Some days we feel it, we sense it, we experience it even more. The remedy is the same – pray – and praise the Lord; the enemy hates both of those activities, because the enemy knows, he’s no match for God.
David prays, not only for himself but for all those out there who were being persecuted:
Psalm 70:4 (NKJV) “Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, ‘Let God be magnified!’”
David prayed for those who seek the Lord – to rejoice; that those who love the Lord would say it, say it out loud, “Let God be magnified!”
A virtuous wife of valor is an obvious blessing to her husband, allowing him to be all that God wants him to be, even if he’s called to be the king with a crown – but the flipside is a wife who is an embarrassment, it just tears him up inside.
Three quick things in light of this passage:
1. Wives – strive for excellence
2. Husbands – water your wives with the love of God, that she may bloom
3. Single people – wait on the Lord for that one He has for you; you’ll find that the one who is excellent, is the one who loves the Lord, and was custom-made, just for you.
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.