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February 19, 2019

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
Christian Standard Bible for 2019

Text: Numbers 18-20
Audio: Numbers 18-20

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Deuteronomy 30 (ESV)

“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. And the Lord your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. And the Lord your God will put all these curses on your foes and enemies who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the voice of the Lord and keep all his commandments that I command you today. The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, 10 when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

11 “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

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Next: Deuteronomy 31

Back: Deuteronomy 29

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Returning and Restoring

    The position of God's people should always be repentance. Even at our best, we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Our lives in Christ are not about what we are sacrificing for God (to prove something or earn His favor) or what we are "giving up" first and foremost. It's who we are truly are before Him – rebellious and resistant in our attitudes or grateful and eager to follow because we love Him?

    God does not need anything from us. But in order to receive from Him, we have to be honest before Him in our attitude about Him, others, and ourselves as well as our motive for what (and why) we are doing for Him, others, and ourselves. 

    One of the challenges people face is the tendency to either focus on what they are doing/not doing to be saved or not giving much thought to what they are doing/not doing because it's "all about grace."

    While it's true we are only saved because of God's grace which we received through faith in Jesus Christ, we have to be careful not to presume on that grace by continuing to live according to our own desires and our own rules. At the same time, we should never think our obedience adds to the finished work of the cross. When Jesus said, "It is finished," He finished it. But if we follow Him, then living according to our sinful natures should be finished too.

    We should not continue to sin as we did before we put our trust and faith in Christ. If we do, then perhaps we have not truly put our trust and faith in Him.

    When we read the Old Testament, in particular the verses which speak of obeying God, we need to ensure that our obedience is a reflection (and an expression) of our love for God and not to balance out all the "bad things" we do. Our obedience is not transactional as if we can steal from God's convenience store and at the end of the week leave some money in the tip jar. 

    Our obedience to God must be the fruit of our love for Him, not to make up for not loving Him (and obeying Him). 

    One of the amazing aspects of the Christian life is that we can turn away from the path that leads to destruction by turning to the One who wants to guide us, protect us, provide for us, love us and give us life eternal right now. It's not complicated. Even a child can turn from being disobedient to their parents. When they honor and respect their parents, they will listen to them and follow them. It won't always be perfect but if they have a change of heart towards their parents, it will show in their actions.

    Deuteronomy 30:11 says, "For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off."

    So why does it seem so hard to follow God sometimes? Here are a few reasons:

    1. We don't always want to follow God.
    2. We don't always walk in the Spirit (so we gratify the desires of the sinful nature).
    3. Satan wants to tempt us and draw us away from God (and into sin).
    4. We are not putting on the whole armor of God.
    5. We do not know or understand how to follow God because we do not read and study the Word of God to know what following God and obeying Him means.

    Can you think of something you need to turn from? Is it a bad habit? Is it an addiction? Is it a compulsion? Is it an ungodly attitude? Is it being lazy or distracted?

    Whatever is holding us back, it has no power over us if we are in Christ.

    So let's turn from everything that hinders us and turn to God for the strength, power and victory that He promises to those who diligently seek Him and love Him with all their heart and soul. When we turn to Him, God promises to deliver us, restore us and be our God!

    2 Peter 1:3-11 “[God’s] divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

  2. This chapter reminds me of Luke 15:11-32, the parable of the prodigal son who returned home to his father in humility after wasting all those years chasing after the empty pleasures of the world, ultimately finding himself bankrupt in every way, a man in need of grace. 

    “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ Luke 15:17-19

    His father’s response to his son’s return wasn’t to shut the door, rebuke him, lecture him, or turn him away. Like our Heavenly Father when a sinner repents and turns home, the prodigal’s father responded with compassion. Compassion. And note the compassion wasn’t based on the prodigal’s words or response. The compassion came first. 

    “And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”

    The compassion of the prodigal’s father, I believe, had an even greater impact on the son and tore down all his defenses, along with what little may have been left of his pride.

    “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’” Luke 15:21

    Reconciled with his wayward son at last, see the father’s joyful response!! 

    “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:22-24

    How full of grace our Father in heaven is.

    And I’m reminded now that He calls us to be His ambassadors (we represent Him!) of the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). Do people know us as ambassadors who represent God’s heart and interests, who long for sinners to come home? Or do they see us more like the son in the parable who “stayed home and was obedient,” but was filled with pride and self-righteousness? I pray I never for a moment forget the grace of God toward me! 

     

     

     

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