April 5

Deuteronomy 28:1-68

Out of the sixty-eight verses in Deuteronomy 28, fourteen reveal the blessings of obedience and fifty-four reveal the curses of disobedience. As a protective Father would, God warns His children extensively.

The blessings would abound: in the city and in the country, they’d be blessed in the fruit of their bodies, their fields, and even of their flocks. Obedience to God’s Word would lead to blessing whenever they traveled and whenever they fought in war, God would grant victory!

God even promised to bless Israel in all to which they set their hands! (Deuteronomy 28:8)

God’s blessings upon obedience is expressed beautifully in:

Deuteronomy 28:9 (NKJV) “The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways.”

Others nations would be afraid of Israel, for they would see God’s hand upon them. Israel would be the head and not the tail, they would lend, with no need to borrow.

Just think of the blessings upon a life of obedience to God’s Word. For us in the New Covenant, the blessings are not necessarily physical and temporal, they’re primarily spiritual and eternal. In the New Covenant God allows heartache, hard times, and thorns in our flesh to keep us on track and usable in His hands.

But then there’s the vivid and sober reality of the flip-side:

Deuteronomy 28:15 (NKJV) “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.”

Wow! The tragic results of disobedience to God’s Word, especially for those to whom so much had been given. It breaks our heart to realize that Israel did go on to disobey God to such an extent that they experienced every almost single one of these curses, they even ate their own children, when they were besieged by the Babylonians; when the soldiers invaded the land they ravished the women and took their brightest children away captive to foreign lands. Israel was scattered throughout the face of the earth in 586 B.C., returned to the land seventy years later, but was scattered again in A.D. 70. It wasn’t until 1948 that Israel regained the land.

The only curse Israel did not experience, by the grace of God, is that they were not destroyed.

We should thank God for His Word, we should love it, cultivate a heart to learn it for the ultimate purpose of living it. When we read we need know that God is not a kill-joy, as a matter of fact, the Scriptures give us the secret to success and joy!

May we learn from the harsh lives and lessons Israel endured.

Deuteronomy 28:47–48 (NKJV) “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the LORD will send against you…”

Luke 11:14-36

You would figure that the spiritual leaders in Jesus’ day would be infinitely grateful and in awe of the way He demonstrated absolute power in casting out demons, but they weren’t. They accused Him of casting out demons by the power of the devil (see article on Beelzebub). How foolish they were. Even we realize that if Satan is fighting himself, he’s doomed. Any kingdom (or home for that matter) divided against itself, will eventually fall. Too bad they didn’t simply see that God showed up! He was casting out demons with His finger!

Luke 11:20 (NKJV) “But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

Jesus spends some time elaborating on the fact that the Kingdom of God had come upon them – Jesus simply overpowered the enemy who has tragically taken many people captive. The only way to be completely protected from demonic possession is to be possessed by God. It’s not good enough to clean up our lives, we need to fill our lives with the Lord, and when we place our faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit takes up residence within us. 

The Roman Catholic church has highly venerated Mary, the mother of Jesus, but when a woman in the crowd tried to do the same in the presence Christ, He completely rejected that theology, proclaiming an equal blessing for all by simply hearing and obeying the Word of God. Listen to Jesus’ words:

Luke 11:28 (NKJV) “But He said, ‘More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’”

Every generation is evil, but it’s crazy to contemplate the generation that rejected God when He came in the flesh,  to teach us, show us, to love us, and then eventually save us by dying on a Roman cross. An evil generation is looking for signs, when we’ve already been given the Sign of all signs, it’s Jesus, His life and resurrection from the dead (that’s the sign of Jonah; Matthew 12:39-40).

If our eyes are “good” God’s light will enter our lives. We’ll have our eyes on Him, His Word, and the beautiful things He does for us in our lives. As the light comes in that light should beam forth, shine bright and strong, that others may see the goodness of God – that they’d be saved and He’d be glorified (Matthew 5:16).

Psalm 77:1-20

Asaph, the writer of this Psalm, describes himself, or perhaps it’s a song of someone else, going through an extremely difficult time.

He was so troubled he couldn’t sleep, he couldn’t speak, he was wondering if God had given up on his people.  I was sad to read:

Psalm 77:2–3a (NKJV) “In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted. 3 I remembered God, and was troubled…”

I remembered God, and was troubled?

Everything he was experiencing and feeling seemed bad. But the beautiful thing about this Psalm is Asaph forced himself to remember the works of the LORD. He forced Himself to meditate on, and even talk of God’s great deeds. He began to look back on God’s gracious dealings with the Jews – it would help him personally; even remembering how God Himself had led Israel – it wasn’t Moses or Aaron – they were just vessels in the hands of God.

Whoever you are and whatever you’re going through, I pray, like Asaph you would walk by faith and not by feelings. Keep soaking in the Word and seeking God’s face. He will encourage you, and He will lead you, for He loves you.

Proverbs 12:18

Evil people speak sharp and hateful lies – they pierce and poison hearts, they tear others down through their verbal abuse and deceptions.

The tongue of the wise speaks the truth in love and promote the overall health and welfare of others. 

God help us to be careful to choose our words and use our tongues wisely.

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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