Deuteronomy 33&34, Joshua 1&2
Moses is dead and Joshua becomes Israel’s leader. He must have been a little concerned about his new responsibilities because three times God tells him to “be strong and courageous.” Then in Joshua 1:18 the Israelites tell him the same thing.
Be strong. Be careful to obey the law. Don’t turn from the right or the left. Meditate on Scripture. God reminded Joshua that real strength comes from God.
Be courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged. God will be with you wherever you go. Deuteronomy 33:27 says, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
I am enjoying watching a couple of my nephews be dads. Often I look at their sons and see their daddies at that age. We like to vacation together and we always like going somewhere where there is water. And if you have ever been around little ones in water you’ll probably have experienced what I’m going to describe.
I have seen my nephews in the shallow end of the pool with their arms stretched, coaxing their young sons to jump in. I’ve seen those babies stand on the edge and look down at their dads from their safe place on solid ground. I’ve seen those children’s faces as they seem to consider the danger as they hear their fathers tell them it’s going to be ok. I’ve seen the fear in their young eyes even as they decide to take the leap.
But my nephews are confident they can catch their sons. They know what their sons don’t know. They know that they are strong enough to catch their children. And once my great-nephews experience the thrill of jumping into Daddy’s arms they want to do it again and again.
God is asking me to be strong and courageous. He wants me to know that underneath are the everlasting arms. I need only trust Him. If God is asking me to take that leap, He is able to catch me, too.
Dear Father, thank you for your everlasting arms that are stretched toward me today. Help me to know what you want me to do, where you want me to go. And may I have the courage, and the trust, to take the leap.
Psalms 90, Deuteronomy 31:30-32:52
Moses calls God the Rock. The Rock whose works are perfect (32:4), the Rock his Savior (32:15), the Rock is the Lord according to verse 30 and is greater than any other rock on whom people build their lives “as even our enemies concede”. (32:31)
Jesus told the parable of the wise and foolish men. The foolish man built his house on the sand (which is millions of tiny rocks by the way). But when a storm came the house collapsed. The wise man’s house, built on the Rock, could endure the worst storms because it’s foundation was strong.
We are all building our lives one day, once choice at a time. Some people try to build their’s on the love of a husband, wife, or children. Some on a career. Some on intellect or education. Some on having fun or even having a healthy body. Some may even try to build their lives on several different things. But remember… sand is still sand whether it’s one grain or millions.
There is only one wise choice… and that is to build our lives on the Rock, to have that right relationship with God, to be in His Word, to pray, to live according to His rules.
Storms will come. Life can be pretty difficult. Bad things happen. Am I building my life on the Rock?
Anything or anyone else will eventually fail.
Dear God, Moses recognized that You are the Rock. May we do the same. And may we make the choices today needed to build our lives on the sure foundation. May we walk with You today.
So if God knew the Jews would take the Promised Land, enjoy God’s blessings, then get comfortable and turn to other gods… why bother? I could ask the same thing about us. Because, isn’t it true that the more we are blessed, the better our life is going, the easier it is to pull away from God without even realizing it? Oh, when hardships come we are quick to pray. But we, like the nation of Israel, can neglect our relationship with God when one sin enters our hearts, then another and another.
So why doesn’t God just call it quits? Israel’s choices… and mine… serve to show the world who God is. And God is busy working in the hearts of unbelievers to come to Him. God doesn’t call it quits because people are still being saved.
Deuteronomy 30:19&20 spoke to me this morning. God has set before us life and death, blessings and curses. He asks us to choose life. He wants us to love Him and obey Him so He can bless us.
When Joshua was appointed leader of Israel God said this to him, “Be strong and courageous for… I myself will be with you.”
God, thank you for your promise to go with us and bless us. Forgive us when we get too comfortable and take you for granted. May we choose to obey you today. May we choose life.
Deuteronomy 27, 28
I’ve been a Christian for decades. But I haven’t always had a close relationship with God. There have been times, years really, that although I professed to be a Christian I held on to sin or neglected my walk by not reading the Bible, praying, or going to church. On the outside I might have looked like a good girl, inside God was fighting for a position in my heart.
Moses told the Israelites if they obeyed God they would be so blessed. But if they disobeyed they would experience the list of horrible consequences. Deuteronomy 28:55&56 says:
Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life.
That was my experience when I began to walk away from the Lord. And the farther I got from Him, the more it was true.
I am burdened for all of us today. God doesn’t want us to live like that. If we are feeling anxious, despair, dread or longing maybe it’s God saying, “Come back to me”.
Father, thank you that you are the giver of good things, that you long for us to walk with you and enjoy our journey. Thank you for those uncomfortable feelings that can remind us to put you first in our lives. And may you find us willing to do that today.
Sometimes when I read the Bible certain things jump out at me. Other times not so much. This morning was one of those “not so much” times. I would love to know if God pointed out something to you as you read today.
In these chapters of Deuteronomy Moses continues to talk to Israel about the Promised Land, about how God wants them to treat each other, about where they have been.
I am reminded that this is Moses’ last address to the people before he dies. He tells them how important it is that they not sin, that they treat each other fairly, that they do the work that needs to be done. The nation of Israel was to look and act differently from every other nation on earth. And God would bless them.
As I meditate on God’s Word today God is saying the same thing to me. He wants me to stand out from the crowd as well.
Dear God, You are asking me to be the person in my neighborhood with a reputation for being honest, kind, moral, caring and trustworthy. May I stand out from the crowd as someone who loves You, obeys You and is blessed by You. And may they recognize my Savior as they observe me today.
For me the theme of this portion of Scripture seems to be… purge the evil from among you. That phrase is repeated several times.
Once again I am thankful that God does not ask us to kill sinners this side of the cross. But I am reminded that He wants me to have the same attitude about sin as He does. Purge. Get rid of it. Don’t tolerate it in any form in my life.
As I take a good look at my life, do I see evidence of sin which I’ve held on to or ignored? God is reminding me today that He is not ignoring it. He’s not just asking me to be a good person. He’s demanding that I be holy.
This Scripture also reminds me that “cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree.” Jesus did that for me. He hung on that cross stripped of everything but His love for me. And today I can stand before Him, cleansed by the blood of His sacrifice.
Father, reveal sin in my life so that I can purge the evil from within me. As you bring to mind those things that dishonor you, may I repent, turn away from sin and allow you to cleanse me. Thank you again today for the cross… that tree that cursed You and blessed me.
God established the Passover as a reminder to the Jews what God had done for them when he miraculously rescued them from captivity. They sacrificed the Passover in the evening, when the sun went down, on the anniversary of their departure from Egypt. God wanted them to do this every year on the anniversary so no generation of Jews would ever forget what God had done for them.
Observing the Passover was the last thing Jesus did with his disciples before he went to the cross. I wonder what it was like to sit down to the Passover feast with the One who established it, the One who had led them out of Egypt in the first place?
But Jesus changed it up a little that night with his disciples. As he served them the bread and the cup he proclaimed that they were his body and blood given for them. And he asked them to remember Him every time they ate and drank in this manner.
Easter is just around the corner. It’s the Christian’s version of Passover… when we remember our own miraculous rescue from captivity. It’s the time of year when we stop and recall what Jesus did when he died on the cross, the sacrifice for our sin.
It’s my favorite holiday of the year. No other religion can say this about their gods:
Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, would die for me?