Blessed

That very day the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession. And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, because you broke faith with me in the midst of of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadech, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel.

Deuteronomy 32:48-52 (ESV)

Because of unbelief, because Moses failed to believe the truth of God’s word, he was unable to enter the Promised Land. Though he was the one who led Israel from the grip of slavery in Egypt, God did not allow him to see the fulfillment of promise because of unbelief.

And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face

Deuteronomy 34:10 (ESV)

For all Moses did, for all he heard, even though he saw the face of God, his unbelief held him back.

Fast forward.

And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.

Luke 1:45 (ESV)

Mary, unlike Moses, took God at His word. Though she felt herself to be unqualified, she was willing. That’s all it took. Willingness and belief. Because of it, a girl became blessed and a saviour was born.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 33-34, Luke 1:24-56

Worry

Do you every worry about anything? Of course not! Christians never worry about a thing, do they? We go through life believing everything is perfect because it is!

If that’s you, I need to talk to you. I worry. I worry a lot. Not a day goes by that I don’t worry about something. And, on days like today, it takes a couple of verses from the Old Testament to give me a bit of a spiritual kick in the pants.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV)

There aren’t many days I wake up feeling strong and courageous or even in dread of the day to come. And I forget that God is with me. Always. No matter what.

And in  case Israel missed it the first time, God said it again two verses later:

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV)

A while back, we read in Numbers about the spies that were sent into the promised land. Two came out ready to go back in and take it, while the other ten decided it wasn’t for them. What they failed to see was how God had already gone before them to prepare the way. Was it going to be easy? No. Would they have to work for it? Yes.Was God on their side? Of course?

Fear and dismay come when we fail to see God for who He is and what He’s already done to prepare the way for us. The way becomes more difficult when we choose to walk a different path. God isn’t on the path we make for ourselves. He’s with us and for us on the way He’s made for us.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 31-32, Luke 1:1-23

Choose Life

Decisions can be difficult on the best of days. What do I wear today? What should I have for breakfast? Which route do I take to work? What job should I tackle first? Where to go for lunch? Pack it in early or work late? Pick up dinner or make something at home?

The list can go on and on. And those are just the basic choices we make from day to day.

Look, today I offer you life and success, death and destruction.

Deuteronomy 30:15 (NCV)

Life isn’t the only thing offering us choices. Every day, God gives us the choice to choose life or death, success or destruction. Seems like an easy choice, but it isn’t always so simple. Life’s other choices can muddle an easy answer and suddenly we’re not sure which road leads to success and which to destruction.

But the word is very near to you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

Deuteronomy 30:14 (ESV)

Where is God’s Word? Is it in your heart and your mouth or is it covered in dust on a bookshelf? If we keep God’s Word near to us. If we keep His Word in us and flowing out of us, the life and death, success or destruction decision becomes easier.

Today I ask heaven and earth to be witnesses. I am offering you life or death, blessings or curses. Now, choose life! Then you and your children may life. To choose life is to love the Lord your God, obey him, and stay close to him. He is your life, and he will let you life many years in the land…

Deuteronomy 30:19-20a (NCV)

Choose life! God not only gives us the choice, but He gives us the right answer. We’ve got a cheat sheet right here. Love God. Obey God. Stay close to God. If we do these things, the choice of life over death, success over destruction has already been made.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 29-30, Mark 16

Dwell

When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there.

Deuteronomy 26:1-3 (ESV)

What has the Lord your God given to you? Before you say, “nothing”, take a moment to think.

If you’re reading this, you’re alive. Not only are you alive, but you are educated. You are in a place where there is technology. Where there is technology, there is usually some semblance of prosperity. That’s just a start. Do you have a job? Do you have a family? Food on the table? Health? Wealth?

If God is the Great Provider, we can safely assume that all we have is from Him. He’s given you a lot. What have you given back to Him?

Have you taken what you have – not just what you have, but the first of what you have – and offered it back to God? Do you even give Him credit for what you have?

God gave a lot of instructions to the Israelites as they prepared to enter into the Promised Land. A lot of it was for their own good for day-to-day life. But some of it, was so that they were reminded of who they were and where they came from.

God urged Israel to make an offering of the first fruits of the land (the land they not only prospered from, but actually had to work – it didn’t all come for free) and, in giving the offering, would make God’s name dwell in the land. Not only did the nation Israel occupy the Promised Land, but God’s name did, too.

When you stamp your name on something, it belongs to you. It let’s everyone know who it belongs to. Have you stamped your name on all you have? Or have you stamped God’s name so that everyone will know who it really belongs to?

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 26-27, Mark 15:1-26

Fruit Trees

Have you ever taken over something? Anything, really. When you’re not the one to start something, there are usually things (or everything) that you want to change. You want to do it your way! Who cares how the last person did it? The job is now yours!

If you surround and attack a city for a long time, trying to capture it, do not destroy its trees with an axe. You can eat the fruit from the trees, but do not cut them down. These trees are not the enemy, so don’t make war against them. But you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build devices to attack the city walls, until the city is captured.

Deuteronomy 20:19-20 (NCV)

What do war and trees have to do with a takeover? Nothing and everything.

When you take over and want to change everything right away, stop. Take the time to go over the way things have been done. Learn why they’ve been done that way. Whether it’s a new job, an area in ministry, a church or a small task, the person who came before you most likely had a reason for doing things a certain way.

When we plow ahead with our own ideas, we run the risk of losing things of importance. Like God warning Israel not to cut down the trees that could sustain them, take the time to find out what sustains the process. Try to abstain from grabbing your axe first thing and clumsily clearing the way for your own way. In an effort to get things just so, you may destroy the very thing that could have helped you the most.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 20-22, Mark 14:26-50

Burn it all

You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place. You shall not worship the Lord you God in that way.

Deuteronomy 12:2-4 (ESV)

I’ve never had idols that I worshipped. Not this sense. Not that I’ve carved for the specific purpose of worship. But I’ve had things in my life that I put before God. I’m sure that, at some point, we’ve all had those things.

But what do we do with them when we turn away from them? Do we put it in a dark corner in case we might want to bring it out again to look at later? Do we put it on display and say that it no longer has a hold over us? Or do we tear it down and burn it so that nothing remains?

When we turn to God from the things that hold us back, we should utterly destroy the old thing. Like Elisha slaughtering his oxen and burning his plow. He made sure that there was nothing to go back to.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 11-13, Mark 13:1-13

Heritage

If you are walking with God, take a moment now to think of those who have walked before you. Maybe previous pastors. A mother or a father. Grandparents. Great-grandparents.

Is your present walk with God your own doing or is it in part because of the prayers of those who came before (or even the prayers of those around you now)?

All through Deuteronomy, Moses recounts the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt. Time and time again, they forgot who they were and rebelled against the Lord. Again and again, Moses would plead with God to preserve Israel and God listened.

Then I lay prostrate before the Lord as before, forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all the sin that you had committed, in doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure that the Lord bore against you, so that he was ready to destroy you. But the Lord listened to me that time also.

Deuteronomy 9:18-19 (ESV)

How many prayers have been prayed on your behalf that you don’t even know about. Are you where you are because of what you’ve done? Or is because of what God has done on behalf of the prayers of others?

Don’t take for granted the righteous generations that may have come before you. We will never know how much their prayers have protected us like the prayers of Moses protected Israel.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 8-10, Mark 12:28-44