Saturday, March 25, 2017

March 25: Deuteronomy 4; Psalm 68:1-18; Proverbs 11:28; Luke 6:39-7:10



Overview

            Deuteronomy: Moses speaks of the statutes and laws that God has given. Israel is not to add to or take from the commandments. God destroyed those at Baal-peor who didn’t obey. If Israel keeps them the commandments, they will appear wise and understanding to the other nations. No other nations have a god that is close like the Lord upon whom they can call.
            They are to tell their children and grandchildren about standing before God and hearing the commandments as he spoke from the fire on the mountain. Since they saw no form, they are not to make any images of God as a person or animal to worship. They are not to worship celestial objects either.
            God brought them out of Egypt as his inheritance but Moses will not go into the good land they will inherit because God was angry with Moses because of the people. So they are to make sure they don’t forget the covenant with God.
            Moses predicts that future generations will worship other gods and make the Lord angry. They will be scattered from the land with only a few left in the land. In the other nations, they will serve the other gods until they turn back and seek the Lord. The Lord is merciful, he will not destroy them but remember his covenant with them.
            Moses points out that no other god spoke to a people out of a fire or took a people from within another nation by signs and wonders.             There is no other God besides him. He loved their fathers and loves them; so, he will drive out the nations. Therefore, they should know that the Lord is the only God and keep his statutes. This will prolong their days in the land.
            Moses set apart three cities east of the Jordon as cities of refuge. In the next chapter, Moses will start explaining the Law again.
            Psalm: The Lord’s enemies scatter and perish like smoke before him. The righteous are jubilant and rejoice before the Lord. We sing his praises. He takes care of orphans, widows, the lonely, and prisoners but not the rebellious. When the Lord led Israel in the wilderness, the earth quaked and rain refreshed the land as he provided for the needy. The Lord scattered the kings and the people reaped the plunder acquiring silver and golden articles.
            The mountains of Bashan are envious of the mountain where God lives. He came from Sinai with thousands of chariots to dwell in his sanctuary. When he ascended, he led captive and received gifts from men, even from the rebellious.
            Proverbs: Trusting in riches is useless because it always fails. True riches are in righteousness.
            Luke: A blind person following a blind person is in trouble. Disciples should become like their teachers. Clean up your own life before trying to help others. You can always tell what kind of a person is by watching what he does.
            If you call Jesus, Lord, you must do what he says. If you do, you will be firm in trials like a house with a foundation in a storm. If not, then you prove he really isn’t your Lord and your life will be a wreck like a house without a foundation in a storm.
            A centurion had a favored servant who was dying. He asked the Jewish elders in Capernaum to ask Jesus to heal the servant. The Jews told Jesus he was worthy of help because he loved Israel and built their synagogue. Jesus went with them but the centurion sent friends to tell Jesus he wasn’t worthy to have Jesus come in his house. However, since he knew about authority, he asked Jesus simply to say the word and the servant would be healed. Jesus marveled at his faith and told the crowd that he hadn’t found such faith in Israel. The servant was healed.

What Stood Out

            Deuteronomy: “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you” (Deut 4:2).
            Psalm: “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation” (Ps 68:5).
            Proverbs: “Whoever trusts in his riches will fall” (Prov 11:28).
            Luke: “Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46).

Insight

            Deuteronomy: Several times, the Lord commands us to make sure we don’t add to or take away from his word. This one in is context of the Ten Commandments and the laws given to Israel. The next is in Proverbs 30:6 where he says we are not to add to his words or he will rebuke us for being liars. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for putting their traditions ahead of God’s commandments (Matt 15:3). Paul explained that even human covenants are not altered once in place (Gal 3:15). The last is in context of the book of Revelation where John warns anyone who adds to the revelations that they will have the plagues of the book added to them. If they remove any of the revelations, God will remove his share in the tree of life and the holy city (Rev 22:18).
            This is serious. It is serious for our welfare and the welfare of our children (Deut 4:40). When we are obedient to the Lord and seek to follow his commands, then we will receive his blessings. It doesn’t mean we will never have trials or problems in our lives because we live in a sinful world. It does mean that we will be able to navigate life in his will and be at peace with him. It is also serious because messing with his word brings his wrath upon us. It isn’t good when the Lord has to rebuke us because we are liars. It is serious because those who take away from his word are usually not in his kingdom and won’t have eternal life. It is serious because not adding to or subtracting from his word means we should obey it. If we don’t, then we only prove we aren’t his children.
            Psalm: One of God’s attributes is that of a protector. He takes care of orphans, widows, lonely people, and prisoners. Because he cares, we should be doing the same thing. Because he cares for the down-and-out, pure religion (Greek, religious worship[1]) is caring for them too (James 1:27).
            God’s majesty and sovereignty is also praised in this Psalm. When we look at these, our response should also be praise to his name. He is so highly exalted that David personifies the mountains of Basham, making them jealous that the Lord has selected Zion for his dwelling place. He says the Lord will dwell there forever. It should make us think of the New Jerusalem and yearn for the future when we will be there with him forever.
            Proverbs: I always like to think that my investments are secure and that I don’t need to be concerned because of that. However, when I really think about it, I realize those investments can be blown away in an instant. My true security is in trusting in the Lord. My investments in the kingdom of God are a sure thing. I’ll never lose them.
            Luke: I think it is very true that you cannot call Jesus, Lord and disobey. The minute we tell him we aren’t going to do what he wants, he is no longer our Lord. The parable of the houses is a great example of what happens to us when we don’t obey Jesus. Our lives are like those houses. The obedient person has a solid foundation so that the storms of life, temptations of the flesh, or anything else are not going to shipwreck our faith. When we have been living disobedient lives, the disastrous consequences are evident.
            Israel was an example for us. As long as they were obedient to the commandments, their country thrived. When they disobeyed, their enemies overpowered the country. When we look to the world and its pleasures to satisfy our desires instead of to Jesus and his word, we end up just like them, just like the house without a foundation.
            The more troubling aspect denying Jesus as Lord is when it is a lifestyle of disobedience. The parable about the trees that bears bad fruit tells us that a person with a lifestyle of disobedience has an evil heart. These are dire warning that we can use to examine ourselves to see if we really are saved or not.

Application

            I don’t want to be one who adds or subtracts from God’s word. Rather, I want to be one who carefully examines it and makes sure that I’m obedient.


[1] S. Grimm and S. Wilke, New Testament Lexicon, Joseph Henry Thayer, ed., (Seattle: Biblesoft 2006), s.v. “NT:2356.”

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