Old Testament Reading: Deuteronomy 19 & 20
Psalms Reading: Psalm 86
New Testament Reading: Galatians 2
People have been messing up by accident (or on purpose) for our entire existence… in Deuteronomy, we see a few different ways that God helped set up processes for when people are people and mess up.
In Deuteronomy 19 God has already established laws to follow, but He knows people will still mess up unintentionally, and so He takes the time to establish ways of showing justice and grace in those random, accidental sins. Killing people will always equal sin, yet God creates a safe haven to run to for those who commit this sin unintentionally (v. 4). Put yourself in that world and think of the magnitude of this gracious retreat to a neighboring city instead of facing death… in a culture where the governing law is “life for life” (v.21), having the opportunity to flee to a nearby city shows just how loving our God truly is. No murder (or sin) is exempt, but God makes a way out of the death penalty that someone should be subject to… sound familiar?
In Deuteronomy 20 we get a GREAT “refrigerator” verse: “…for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. (v.4)”. God knew the Israelites weren’t strong enough to defeat their enemies on their own, He knew He had to go with them and fight FOR them. God uses the priests to weed out those who are not confident in His power, because He knows that a smaller, faithful army is stronger than a larger, cowardly one. And He knows that there are plenty of cowards and uncommitted people in His people! God knew that His people were easily influenced, which is why He tells them to utterly destroy their enemies, so that there is zero chance His people can be pulled away from Him in that way (v.17-18). God also knew that His people would get rid of good things when they shouldn’t, which is why He clearly states to leave the trees that can feed His people (v.19). He covered everything the Israelites needed, just because He is a Good God, who loves His people. Again… sound familiar?
-Sarah Blanchard Johnson
Where do you feel in your life God has covered you like He covered the Israelites?
These chapters give us several examples of God revealing His character. How many words can you come up with using just these passages that describe God? I came up with 6…
Lord, we praise you because you are a Good God. Thank you for the way you have always covered your people even when we mess up. God, thank you for the gift of your son and the safe haven he is for our sins. I pray that today we all feel your grace covering us, and that we show everyone around us that same grace – ultimately, being a light for you and for your glory. Amen.