april 9, 2021

Deuteronomy 33:1-29

These are the final words of Moses before he enters into glory. If you read carefully, you’ll notice that these are actually prayers for the twelve tribes of Israel. Moses was a faithful intercessor on behalf of the people he served and he’s a great example for us. Do we pray for the people?

Warren Wiersbe, “Before viewing the land, Moses viewed the future and told the tribes what lay ahead. When Jacob gave his blessing before he died, he revealed some of the sins of his sons (Genesis 49), but Moses did not do that. Instead, he focused primarily on the relationship of the tribes with the Lord and how each one would have a distinctive character, blessing, and ministry.”

In Deuteronomy 33:2 we read that the LORD “came with ten thousands of saints,” and most likely this is in reference to the innumerable angels behind the scenes (Daniel 7:10; Acts 7:53).

It would require volumes to comment on everything in detail, but certain things stood out to me this time around.

I love the way God’s word is described as a “fiery law” (Deuteronomy 33:3; Luke 24:32).

And after all these years and all that had transpired in his lifetime, Moses knew, something to be true:

Deuteronomy 33:3 (NKJV) “Yes, He loves the people; all His saints are in Your hand; they sit down at Your feet; everyone receives Your words.”

The people are also made saints by the power of God’s love – yes, He loves us and calls us to be blessed as we sit at His feet to receive and become students of His Word (Luke 10:38-42).

Jeshurun was another name for Israel which means, “Upright One.” It’s only found in Deuteronomy 32:15; 33:5, 26; and Isaiah 44:2.

Moses goes on to pray for, and bless the twelve tribes individually. 

Moses alludes to the incident where the tribe of Levi chose God over their own family (Deuteronomy 33:9; Exodus 32:27-30). We are to love God more than anyone else.

We also have the responsibility of the priest and even pastors spelled out in:

Deuteronomy 33:10 (NKJV) “They shall teach Jacob Your judgments, and Israel Your law. They shall put incense before You, and a whole burnt sacrifice on Your altar.”

Teaching the Word, praying for the people (incense), and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ (the ultimate sacrifice). God help us to be faithful as “priests!” (1 Peter 2:9)

Moses closes his words in such a wonderful way – ALL in reference to the holiness and glory of God (Deuteronomy 33:26-29).

Deuteronomy 33:26-27 (NKJV) “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides the heavens to help you, and in His excellency on the clouds. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, and will say, ‘Destroy!’”

Did you catch that? There is no one like our God – who comes to us faster than the speed of light, right on time, to help us, to protect us, to carry us and to defeat every form of opposition. Even in the hard times we are more than conquerors, in Christ (Romans 8:37).

Happy are you Israel. (Deuteronomy 33:29)

Happy are you (Manny) (please put your name there) because the LORD is our God, our Helper in life, He really is the Savior of our souls!

Are you happy? Some prefer the word joyful…are you joyful? Is there a smile in your soul? Moses’ final words are prayers of blessing upon God’s people. As believers we are God’s people! This is probably where the Psalmist was inspired.

Psalms 144:15 (NKJV) “Happy are the people who are in such a state; happy are the people whose God is the LORD!”

Luke 13:1-21

I remember when the Twin Towers were hit by terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It was a horrible tragedy where close to 3,000 people died and 6,000 were injured. Immediately there were certain Christians who began identifying these New Yorkers as the worst sinners of all, saying that this was the reason for the tragedy. I tend to stay clear from such conclusions, from playing God in the tragedies and calamities of life – and part of the reason is because I’m aware of this passage, and I know how much of a sinner I am! In Luke 13:1-5 Jesus condemns these type of conclusions when it comes to calamities. Let’s not be quick to judge others, but rather let’s be swift in judging ourselves (in reference to personal repentance – 1 Corinthians 11:31).

The fig tree was symbolic of Israel. They’d been given ample time, but still no fruit. Justice tells us “the tree” should be cut down, or at least judged, but Jesus said, let’s give it some more time. What’s true for Israel is true for all of us. God is looking for fruit (see Galatians 5:22-23) if we’re not bearing fruit, God is gracious to give us more time, but let’s not take that lightly, for if we don’t bear good fruit, eventually the day of discipline will arrive and hit hard. Such was the case for Israel in A.D. 70 when 1.1 million Jews died.

It’s hard to consider the calloused heart of the ruler of the Synagogue.

In Cambodia I’ve seen women bent over to such extremes, I just couldn’t handle it. If only I had the power to heal like Jesus. This so-called ruler of the Synagogue should have rejoiced in the healing, but this religious man had elevated tradition over truth, he cared more about the petty rules and regulations than he did about the people. Jesus exhibited His power over the enemy and disgust for man-made religion, by healing the woman. She was made upright (Jeshurun).

The parables of the Mustard Seed and Leaven both point to that part of the Kingdom of God (the invisible Spiritual realm) where the church grows in exponential fashion. The shrub grows to a tree, so the bad birds of the air (the enemy) rests in its branches. Leaven (a typology of sin, false doctrine, and hypocrisy) permeates the people. This may have been a reference to the state of Judaism in Jesus’ days, or a warning to the church, or both.

Beware and be aware.

Psalm 78:65-72

Psalm 78 has been a tough Psalm chronicling the history of Israel. Although God had chosen them, loved them, blessed and graciously cared for them, they turned their backs on Him, over, and over, and over again. Israel therefore experienced the heavy hand of God’s discipline.

As this Psalm concludes, however, it ends on a good note.

God had used nations like Assyria and Babylon (and many others throughout the years) to discipline His people, but He wouldn’t fail to deal with Israel’s enemies as well.

It’s as if God woke up, beat back His enemies, and continued the work in His people through the southern Kingdom of Judah (hence the Jews).  God would take care of His them as He’d always done.

The Temple would be built up (the sanctuary).

Servant leaders would be raised up…just as He chose David. I love the way David is described as transitioning from following after sheep, to leading God’s people (Psalm 78:71). When we’re faithful in the little things, God will entrust more into our hands (Luke 16:10; 19:17).

And then when David led, we read:

Psalms 78:72 (NKJV) “So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.”

Lessons for us as servants and leaders – take note of these two things:

The integrity of our heart – being real and right with God to the core.

Skillfulness of our hands – cultivate those gifts and talents, work hard at getting better in what you do for the Lord, play skillfully (Psalm 33:3), serve skillfully, let’s do our best…and commit the rest.

Proverbs 12:25

This is a huge verse in the day and age that we live in. There’s so much anxiety, so much depression.

Anxiety is  when we worry, we’re nervous, uneasy…usually about an imminent event ahead of us, something with an uncertain outcome. But anxiety doesn’t need a special event to take over…it can permeate our lives for no reason at all.

This passage offers two forms of advice.

1. Offer up a “good” prayer to God (from the heart).

2. Listen up to a “good” word from a friend, be open to Godly care and counsel.

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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