Tuesday, March 28, 2017

March 28: Deuteronomy 9 – 10; Psalm 69:19-36; Proverbs 12:2-3; Luke 8:4-8:21


            Deuteronomy: Moses tells Israel that they will cross the Jordon and defeat the inhabitants because God is going before Israel. He isn’t defeating these nations because Israel is righteous, but because these nations are wicked. Moses reminds Israel just how stubborn and rebellious they are.
            When Moses went up on the Mountain for forty days and night, neither eating or drinking, to receive the Ten Commandments, the people created a golden calf to worship. The Lord wanted to destroy them and Aaron but Moses interceded, laying prostrate before the Lord another forty days and nights.
            Once again, when Israel refused to go into the Promised Land, the Lord wanted to kill them but Moses interceded by laying prostrate before the Lord another forty days and nights.
            Back to the first time, the Lord told Moses to make two new stone tablets because he broke the first two. He also make the ark out of acacia wood then went back up on the mountain where God wrote on the tablets. Moses then put the tablets in the ark.
            An interlude occurs telling about Israel traveling to where Aaron died and Eleazar succeeded him. They continued on and the Lord set apart Levi to carry the ark and minister before the Lord. That is why they don’t have an inheritance in the land.
            Moses resumes his explanation on his second trip up the mountain. He stayed there another forty days and nights. The Lord told him to go and lead the people into the land and possess it. So Israel is to fear, love, obey, and serve the Lord.
            Everything belongs to the Lord, yet he has loved Israel’s fathers and he chose their descendents. They are to circumcise their hearts and stop being stubborn. God is God of gods, Lord of lords, mighty, awesome, and impartial. He provides justice and provision for the fatherless, widows, and foreigners. Israel is to love foreigners too. They have seen everything he has done.
            Psalm: David continues from yesterday’s reading expressing the depth of his depression. His heart is broken over the way he has been treated. He asks God to pour back on his enemies everything he has endured and more. He wants them to be blotted out of life.
            David asks for God’s salvation to protect him. He is going to praise God and that will be more pleasing to God than animal sacrifices. David blesses the poor and needy directing them to God letting them know God hears. He enjoins heaven and earth to praise God. God will save Zion and those who love his name will dwell there.
            Proverbs: The Lord establishes the righteous not the wicked who will be condemned.
            Luke: Jesus taught the great crowds the parable of the sower. A man sowed seeds on different kinds of soil. The seeds produced nothing or much depending on the soil. The disciples asked what it meant and he explained that they have been given the ability to know the secrets of the kingdom of God but others only get parables. The seed is God’s word and depending on whom it falls, the hearers produce fruit or not. The devil takes away the word from hearers represented by the path; it produces nothing and hearers are not saved. The hearers represented by the rocks have no root and fall away under testing. The hearers represented by soil with thorns are the ones that are choked out by the cares, riches, and pleasures of the world. Those who hear represented by the good soil are those who hold the word in honest and good hearts. They bear fruit with patience.
            Jesus then tells the disciples that a lamp is put out for all to see, not hidden. Things that are hidden can’t come into the light. Therefore a hearer should be careful in the way he hears.
            Jesus’ mother and brothers couldn’t reach him because of the crowds. He was told and he said those who hear his words and do it are his mother and brothers.

What Stood Out

            Deuteronomy: “Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are  a stubborn people” (Deut 9:6).
            Psalm: “I will  praise the name of God with a song; I will  magnify him with  thanksgiving” (Ps 69:30).
            Proverbs: “The root of  the righteous will never be moved” (Prov 12:3).
            Luke: “Take care then how you hear” (Luke 8:18).


            Deuteronomy: One of the big complaints people express when trying to make excuses for not surrendering their live to Jesus is that God was cruel in wiping out the people of Canaan. God tells us how evil they are (Lev 20:23; Deut 9:4), and that their continued existence will be a snare for Israel (Deut 7:16). Some of the evils that they did included offering their children as sacrifices to their gods. Indeed, Israel did eventually become snared by these atrocities (Ezek 23:39). While a person may try to judge God and say that he should not have had Israel destroy these people who did the things, it is just a smoke screen to keep from admitting their own sins.
            God reminded Israel that even though they were to destroy these people, they were also stubborn and rebellious. He reminded them that if they kept their act clean by not doing all the terrible things that the inhabitants of Canaan did, they would be prosperous. If they fell into the same sins, they would also see God’s wrath.             God advised them to circumcise their hearts and change their ways, to repent.
            When we look at other people’s sins as an excuse to justify or ignore our own, we should realize that we are no better than they are. God doesn’t save us because of our righteousness. He saved Israel because of his love for them. He saves us for the same reason. We haven’t given him any reason to love us, he just does. If God used our measure of fairness, then he would eliminate all of us. We all have sinned and we deserve the wages of our sins. But God saves us through the death of Jesus. That’s not fair, that is grace.
            Psalm: Quite often, the Psalms recount a time of depression and despair as David has done in this one. Yet, he finishes with praise to God. He expresses his steadfast assurance in God’s goodness to those who are needy and in trouble. He goes so far as to say that praising God and giving him thanks in these deep dark holes of depression is more pleasing to him than sacrifices. It isn’t just for the depressed person, but others who see this praise coming from a person in the pits revives their hearts as well.
            While it is difficult to be around people who are always down and complaining about others, it is refreshing to see someone who is honestly having problems but still is able to praise God. It is a testimony to God’s goodness and work in our lives when we make sure that we tell people why we persevere during trials. Peter told us to be prepared to tell people about the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15). This hope is not just in temporal relief from trials but it is the hope that comes from knowing we will dwell with God in the New Jerusalem because we love his name.
            Proverbs: What is the root of a righteous person that it will never be moved? This can only be that our righteousness is not our own. Moses clearly explained that Israel wasn’t established because they were righteous. We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God so we are not righteous. What comes out of our hearts often betrays a root of sin. So, our righteousness is not our own but God’s own righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). Jesus ‘ obedience makes us righteous (Rom 5:19). Jesus is our root of righteousness when we have him in our hearts.
            Luke: The emphasis in this reading is on hearing and the results of what a person does after hearing the word of God. Whether it is the parable of the sower, the lamp, or the crowd coming to Jesus, he tells the same message. Those who hear and respond to God’s word are the ones that will be in the kingdom. In the book of Revelation, Jesus tells each church, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:29, 3:6, 3:13, 3:22). When Jesus says that we should “Take care then how you hear” (Luke 8:18), there is more to it than just listening to some inspiring words.
            Most of us want to hear only the things that agree with us or make us happy. Seldom do we want to hear reproof or worse, a “bad” report from the doctor. The same goes for our spiritual health. When God tells us we are dead in our sins, we don’t want to hear it. When he tells us that we must repent and follow Jesus only a few respond and obey. Yet this is the message that Jesus preaches over and over. He says we can’t call him Lord and say, “No.” We can’t cherish our sins and walk with him.
            He also says that even what he has said in the parables will be evident to everyone. While it may seem that Jesus’ comment to the disciples indicated a secret way of salvation that only the inner circle could comprehend (a characteristic of cults), Jesus then clarifies when he talks about the lamp. He told the disciples the meaning of the parable. It is then their job to let that light shine in the world. It is our job to tell what we have heard and that is part of bearing fruit. So we explain to other that they must also obey Jesus as we have. That is making disciples.


            I need to be obedient to God’s word. One of the big areas of obedience is telling others about salvation through Jesus Christ and him alone. People may not want to hear it, but that’s our job.

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