Saturday, April 8, 2017

April 8: Deuteronomy 32:28 – 32:52; Psalm 78:56-64; Proverbs 12:24; Luke 12:35-59



Overview

            Deuteronomy: Moses continues to teach Israel the song God gave him.
            Israel doesn’t understand all this. If they did, they would understand that it is only by God’s power that they could put their enemies to flight. They would understand that their enemy’s gods were rooted in the evils of Sodom and Gomorah.
            The Lord explains that vengeance on enemies is his; but he will have compassion on his children when he sees them without power. He will reprimand them asking them where their gods are. He reminds them that there is no other god besides the Lord. He has the power of life and death and he will take vengeance. All nature and gods will bow to the Lord who will take vengeance for the blood of his children and those who hate him.
            Moses and Joshua recited all the words of the song to Israel. He warns them to heed all the words he taught them that day and teach their children. They are not empty words because by them they will live.
            That day, the Lord told Moses he must go up on Mount Nebo, view the land, and die because he broke faith with the Lord over the water of Meribah-kadesh.
            Psalm: Asaph continues to indict Israel. They rebelled and didn’t keep the Law. They provoked God to anger with their idol worship. In anger, God let the tabernacle at Shiloh fall into enemy hands along with the people and even the priests.
            Proverbs: If we are diligent, we will rule but lazy people will end up as slaves.
            Luke: Jesus continues teaching. He says it doesn’t matter when he comes back, we must be ready and waiting for him. We will be rewarded if we are ready. We must be as alert as a person watching for a thief.
            Peter asks if this parable is for the disciples or everyone. Jesus replies with another parable stating much the same. He clarifies the rewards for those who are waiting by putting them over his possessions. However if a servant is not doing what the Lord wants when he knows what the Lord wants, he will be punished severely. However, if a servant doesn’t know what his master wants, his punishment will be less. When we have much, more is required of us.
            Jesus says he has come to cast a fire on the earth. It will cause divisions even among families.
            Jesus calls the crowd hypocrites because they can read the signs for predicting the weather but can’t see the signs of the present age.
            He also tells them that they need to judge themselves correctly. If someone has something against him, he should know it and settle before being taken to court. If he doesn’t, he will not get out of jail until he has paid all he owes.

What Stood Out

            Deuteronomy: “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand” (Deut 32:39).
            Psalm: “He gave his people over to the sword and vented his wrath on his heritage” (Ps 78:62).
            Proverbs: “The slothful will be put to forced labor” (Prov 12:24).
            Luke: “Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions” (Luke 12:44).

Insight

            Deuteronomy: The nations that surrounded Israel and occupied the land before them sacrificed to other gods. In this song, God says that these sacrifices were made to demons (Deut 32:17). He also makes it abundantly clear that there are no other gods besides him. This concept is repeated multiple times in the Old Testament. In the U.S. we don’t really think too much about this. Our society doesn’t have many idols lining the streets in the same way as are found in India, Nepal, and other countries. But we do have many among us who worship other gods. They are gods like Buddha and many others from India and other countries. We have an Indian temple not far away with a huge idol in it. We also have pagans and others who worship nature. We have cults that have made up their own version of Jesus. The truth stated here is that they are actually worshiping demons. This isn’t just idle (pun intended) worship, it is serious. But most people don’t really understand. They are like Israel when they went astray. They don’t understand that there will be a time when God brings vengeance upon those demons and that will include all who worship them. They don’t understand that these demons are powerless before our God.
            Psalm: After reading God’s song about Israel and what he would do to them if they went after other gods, this portion of Asaph’s song is not surprising. Asaph is recounting a time during the Judges when the tabernacle at Shiloh was taken captive. This isn’t recorded in the Bible unless it is when the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant (1 Sam 4:1-11).
            This goes to show that God’s promises for both blessing and cursing come true. We should be warned by this just as much as Israel was warned. Looking back, it is easy to see how foolish they were. Looking forward, we often don’t see what a downward spiral is occurring in our own country, church, or even our own lives. We must walk with the Lord and seek him every day or we will also see our lives deteriorate as well.
            Proverbs: Keeping on the same track as the other readings, when we are diligent in following the Lord, we will rule. We will be overcomers who will rule with the Lord in eternity (Rev 3:21). However, the one who is lazy, the ones who don’t seek the Lord will be slaves. They will be slaves to their own passions in this life and will suffer in eternity as well.
            Luke: What does it take to be ready when Jesus comes back again? Jesus answers the question clearly in these parables. The first parable tells us the attitude we must have when Jesus appears. We must be anticipating his return and looking forward to it. Even though we may have to physically sleep, we can’t be spiritually sleeping thinking that Jesus won’t return at any moment.
            The second parable clarifies what happens to people when they have the right and wrong attitudes. The servant with a correct attitude is doing what Jesus wants. He is taking care of the things that have been entrusted to him. Looking back at what we’ve seen even in Deuteronomy, it is clear that we must be loving God first and people as ourselves. That means proper worship of God along with taking care of people in need, being kind, compassionate, and spreading the Gospel. Their reward is being in charge of all the master’s possessions. This is another reference to ruling with Christ in eternity.
            The person with a bad attitude naturally begins to do all sorts of things that are displeasing to the Lord. The parable isn’t saying that everyone will be as blatantly abusive as the one described. However, from a spiritual standpoint, when we neglect to share the Gospel, when we don’t teach our children the way of the Lord, it is spiritual abuse. They may not be physically harmed but their eternity might be. When we don’t take care of the fatherless, widows, and sojourners, as described in Deuteronomy, it is not doing what the Lord wants. Punishment comes upon those.
            Anyone who has truly become a Christian will be rewarded in degrees. We will be rewarded based on how much we’ve been given. This ties in with the parable of talents. In these parables, it relates to how much knowledge we’ve been given. I’m assuming that because we have ample access to Bibles and studies, more will be required of us.

Application

            I should be active in my witnessing for the Lord as well as taking care of others both spiritually and physically. My eternal role is dependent on how I am obedient while I’m waiting for Jesus’ return. If I do little I’ll be rewarded little.

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