Be Part of the Solution (Deuteronomy 20-23)

Sunday, September 18 

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By Jill McClain

Deuteronomy continues with more instructions about how God’s people should live.  In chapter 20 regulations are given about how the Israelites were to prepare for and go to war.  Deuteronomy 20:3-4 says, “…Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies.  Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them.  For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”  How encouraging for us today, to know that the same God that delivered the Israelites from their enemies in battle will also be with us as we fight evil.  What battles are you facing?  Are you trying to stand up for what is right?  Are you fighting for righteousness at a worldly school campus?  Or are you struggling to lead someone to Christ?  Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will fight with you.  Be brave and courageous for you are fighting on the side that will ultimately be victorious!

Chapters 21-23 give additional guidelines about how society should function in a variety of different situations.   Deuteronomy 22:1-4 clearly instructs us to be concerned with and get involved in the problems of those around us.  It is so easy in our day and age, to look the other way and not get involved in the lives of those around us.  However, these verses repeatedly tell us to help others and not ignore our brother’s problems. “If you see your brother’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to him.” (Deuteronomy 22:1) The following verses go on to state that if the owner of the livestock lives too far away, or you do not know who the owner is, you are to take care of the animals until the owner can be reunited with the animals.  Then two more times the people are instructed to not ignore such problems, but to be part of the solution for those facing such troubles.  Your neighbor may not be losing any livestock today; but what other hardships are you aware of?  Fight the urge to live only for yourself, and look instead for others that could benefit from your assistance.  Is there someone you can help today?

 

Do Not Turn Away from GOD (Deuteronomy 16 – 18)

Saturday, September 17
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By Joseph Partain
I hope you are enjoying reading Deuteronomy. There are many great chapters left, especially ch.30 where a choice will be set before you. In today’s chapters God recalls to the people different feasts to observe and of course the Passover. God is telling his people to get together and celebrate what he had done in the past and what he will do for them in the future. It is sad that God has to remind us to worship him, we don’t have to remind him to bring out the sun in the morning or the moon and stars at night or any number of blessings he is faithful to provide every day. If only we were as faithful to God as he has been to us.
The next chapters deal with making sure we are following God’s word and as ch 17 v 11 states do not turn to the right or to the left. In this instance I’m afraid our country has left the road entirely. What God considered as bad is turned to good and this can not be. We need to make sure that regardless of our feelings we need to hold firm to what God says about any situation. He tells Joshua in later chapters to be strong and courageous and that God will be with him. Are we strong and courageous enough to stand with God and his word. There are blessings if we do as we have read.
God tells us in v 4 of Ch 18 to give the firstfruits to him. Thank you for giving your time and attention to reading God’s word. Keep up with spending time daily with God. In Gal 6 the word tells us not to grow weary in doing good for we will reap a harvest. Keep growing.

Meeting with God (Deuteronomy 12-15)

September 16
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By Joseph Partain
Have you had to buy another highlighter? And we’re only 11 chapters into Deuteronomy. There are so many passages that speak directly into our lives and need to be read and put into action. Today is no different. It seems as though “meeting with God on the Sabbath” has become indifferent to a lot of people. If it fits into my schedule, if I’m not on vacation, if my kids don’t have a sporting event, etc. God lets us know in Ch 12 that meeting together with God and others is very important. v7 speaks to our meeting in the presence of God, eating and praising him for all that he has blessed us with. Sounds like a potluck and that’s about as good as it gets. The importance of the family coming to worship God together is a teaching moment that is stressed throughout this chapter and this book. Make sure that all the idols and other forms of worship are completely destroyed. Do we have a joy in meeting with God or is it something we endure? We need to have an attitude like David when he said, “I was glad when they said unto me let us go into your house O Lord.”
The next three chapters go over the importance of worshiping the One true God, not being led astray by any false teachings. God says not to spare the one who would lead one of his people away from God. It also covers the animals that were to be eaten and the importance of tithing to God. The tithing that is mentioned in this text is to make sure that everyone has enough and God says that if we are faithful, he will bless all the works of our hands. We can’t out give God and this is not a prosperity teaching. Whenever we give, the benefits may not always be money and that shouldn’t be our motive. I know that for me I’ve always received more of a blessing from helping someone than the time or money spent. Ch 15 is a great chapter for anyone who owes someone else. God says that every seven years the loans are to be forgiven and the servants to be set free if they wanted freedom. A great foreshadowing of the payment God made with Jesus to set us free from sin. How joyful these debtors must have been to have the slate clean and a new beginning. If  you feel burdened in any way there is only one who can take that burden and the best thing is it is a free gift to us. A gift is free to the person receiving it, but it still had to be bought by someone. We are so thankful God and his Son were willing to pay that price to cancel our debt.

Blessings or Curses (Deuteronomy 8-11)

September 15
Blessing, Curse Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Blue Sky and Clouds.

By Joseph Partain

Are you enjoying this book as much as I do? There is so much truth and a true picture of the loving God we serve. There is also the realization that we need to conform our lives to his words and commands for our benefit.

Chapter 8 stresses the importance of being humble and remembering that God disciplines us because he loves us.  Verse 6 gives us a glimpse of the promised land – God laid out a land that they can enjoy and work on and be prosperous. God wants us to have good things but to always remember who is the giver of every good thing. This chapter reminds me of Prov.30 v. 7-9 where Agur asks for neither poverty nor wealth but only his daily bread. He does not want to become rich and in turn have a proud heart. The humility that comes from God allows us to praise the one who has given us everything and especially his Son.

Chapter 9 has God preparing themselves to again enjoy the spoils of his victory against a powerful foe. He tells the Israelites he is giving the land to fulfill his covenant with Abraham and not for any good thing they had done. Moses then warns them not to reject God but to turn to him. It seems like the only time the Israelites and we turn to God is in a time of distress but how good would it be to just praise him instead of having a rebellious heart?

Chapter 10 gives us a glimpse into God’s character. Verse 14 states that even though he owns everything in heaven and earth, he set his affection on you. How blessed are we to have a God that loves like this. How could we change if we take our eyes off ourselves and love those around us like this. This chapter also states that God loves the ones who are in need, the widow, the orphan and tells us to love them also. Look around and it won’t be too hard to find someone that you can share the love of God with.

What a choice God gives us in ch.11 v 26 . A choice between blessings or curses. Who in their right mind would even have to think twice about that choice but every day since Adam and Eve, man has chosen curses. Gal 6:7-10 says God will not be mocked, a man reaps what he sows. If we sow to ourselves we reap corruption, but the good news is if we sow to God we reap eternal life. The choice is before us today curses if we disobey but blessings if we choose to obey God’s word. Now start today making a choice to allow God’s blessings in our speech, relationships, and activities.

Shema: Listen & Obey (Deuteronomy 5-7)

Wednesday, September 14
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By Joseph Partain

These chapters you read are some of the most important chapters to me personally. If only each of us could live our lives by ch. 5 and 6 there would be nothing to be said but “well done good and faithful servant. The ten commandments are recalled in ch. 5. Verse 1 says “I declare them in your hearing today, to learn them, and then follow them”. This reminds us of James when he states not to be merely hearers of the word and be deceived but DO them. The ten commandments are timeless and Jesus lived a life displaying these very commands. How are we at making God the first in our lives, making the Sabbath a day just for the Lord, not coveting something someone else has, or honoring our father and mother. All of these are not for God’s benefit but for ours that we may benefit and those around us also.

Chapter 6 is a must for memorizing. v4-9 is known as the Shema and is recited by some Jews daily. If you have children or have any influence on children you will notice them watching you and then mimicking your actions. This can be a good thing if you are doing what these verses command. There is no time of the day that is not a teaching moment for your children in God’s word. Noah preached for years and his family was the only ones that entered the boat; some may see that as a failure but his words and actions saved his family. I love v. 20 that says “when your son ask”, anyone who has been around kids know they will ask you who, what, where, when, and especially why. This is a time to tell them what God has done for you personally and all of us that believe have a testimony to share.

Chapter 7 states to completely destroy your enemy. Our enemy is sin and sometimes we get rid of the big things that people can see but we leave some small sins that we think are not a big deal. God tells the Israelites to not show mercy on their enemies but completely destroy them. Be sure to allow God to deal with us to get rid of anything that separates us from him. The last part of ch 7 is God telling them the benefits of keeping his commands. v12 states “God will keep his covenant of love with us”. This was shone to us: when we were still sinners, God sent his son.

Let these words you read today touch you and draw you close to a God who loves like no other. May God bless your reading, learning, and doing all that you read today.

Blessed 2 Bless (Deuteronomy 3-4)

Tuesday, September 13
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By Joseph Partain

Deuteronomy 3 begins again with God giving the Israelites the victory over their foe, Og the king of Bashan. After the victory Moses begins to divide the land between the tribes. The women and children were allowed to stay and settle the towns while the “able bodied men” went on into battle with their brothers. God was giving the victory but I think he was helping the tribes to fellowship with each other and enjoy God’s blessings together. God states in Hebrews that we will all enjoy his victory and blessing together in the kingdom. Moses was allowed to view the promised land but was told by God that he would not be able to enter the land but that he was to encourage Joshua for when he led the people. How many of our parents have told us, “That is enough!” like God tells Moses in v.26. God is loving and caring but he will not leave sin unpunished and this is a hard lesson that Moses is taught. Sometimes we visualize God as “the man upstairs” or the “big daddy in the sky” but he is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY which when said three times in Hebrew means unsurpassed holiness. If we remember this is who God is some of the seemingly small sins need to be taken seriously.

Deuteronomy 4 reminds us how jealous God is for us. He wants our wholehearted devotion as Caleb was described in Ch. 1. Again he reminds them to let their lives be directed by God’s laws and to impress them on their children, a theme that runs all the way through Deuteronomy. The importance of recounting God’s goodness and what he has done for each one of us should be our theme throughout life. If we share what God is doing in our lives it is hard to complain or grumble, instead a joy should shine through to others. V40 says the benefits will be a life lived well for you and your children in the Promised Land. What more could we ask for than to live eternal life with loved ones in the Kingdom of God. What a reminder that God gives us that he is blessing us to be a blessing to others. Are you up for the challenge?

REMEMBER What HE Has DONE (Deuteronomy 1-2)

Monday, September 12
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By Joseph Partain

Deuteronomy is one of my favorite books in the Bible. It contains commands of God that are as timeless as the earth and challenges us with making decisions to serve God and enjoy life and prosperity. The word Deuteronomy means repetition of the law and so the chapters will serve as a reminder of some of the books you’ve read to this point. This book is quoted often by Jesus and other notable figures in the Bible.

Chapter 1 starts with Moses remembering what God has done for the Israelites. This is a common theme of God – remember what he has done and use those encounters as teaching tools for the next generation and motivation that God is always with you. Along with God’s blessings, Moses recounts the rebellion of the Israelites as well as being honest about his own rebellion and what that cost him (not being able to enter the promised land).  Joshua and Caleb knew that God was in the lead and others including Moses tried to lead and wound up wandering.

Chapter 2 recounts God’s leading his people even after their rebellion. He was very detailed about how long they would camp at any one spot, who they should engage and who to leave alone. Most of these people the Israelites encountered were relatives that God had made promises to earlier. God’s word will be performed as is said in Jeremiah 1:12 and God reminds them that after their wandering, they too will enjoy the land of promise. Verses 31 and 32 are great and speak to God starting to win battles for his people before they are aware and then delivering them if they obey. Deuteronomy is big on obedience and we would be wise to study God’s words and do what it says.

Simple Obedience (Numbers 34-36)

Sunday, September 11 – Start of Week 8

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By Joseph Partain

Chapter 34 gives us God’s boundaries for the promised land for the Israelites. The land that he promised is more than the Israelites ever occupied. This is so similar to us today, we never fully enjoy all God is willing to do for us always based on unwillingness to follow his commands. In this case the battle was won for the Israelites and in v 16-29 God allows his children to join in the spoils of the victory he provided. God also tells Moses the names of the individuals to assign the land. We see how God knows the individuals names and is involved in this situation in great detail. God still is involved in great detail in our lives today and invites us to enjoy the victory and the inheritance if only we trust him.

Chapter 35 – This chapter opens with the scattering of the Levites throughout Israel as prophesied by Jacob in Genesis 49:7 which states ” I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel”.

God also gives a command to have cities of refuge to ensure that every person has a chance at a fair trial. God then gives his commands on what is murder and  manslaughter and the punishments for each. The only way the man could leave the city of refuge was with the death of the high priest. The death of our high priest, Jesus the Christ has given us freedom.

Chapter 36 deals with the inheritance of Zelophehad’s daughters. I would think they would want to marry outside their clan as to get a better last name but God tells them to only marry inside their tribe. The best part of this command is in v.10 when the daughter did as the Lord commanded them. Some of the most remarkable verses in the Bible are when people don’t argue with God about his commands but simply obey. When we learn that an all knowing and loving God has commands for our benefit, the response should be simple obedience.

(To remember what we have seen in the book of Numbers . . .

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Clearing Out the Garbage (Numbers 31-33)

September 10

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By Talon Paul

As the Israelites are preparing to finally enter the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, God commands them in 33:52 to “drive out all the inhabitants of the land” (not kill them all) and “destroy all their molten images and demolish their high places.” The very first thing that God commands them to do after driving out everybody is to completely destroy their false gods. God wants nothing but Himself as the divine authority of the Israelites’ lives, and He wants only Himself as the divine authority of our lives as well.

YHWH God says in v. 55 and 56 that if they do not do these things, then those people and their false gods will trouble them in the land. As we know from the rest of the story, the Israelites did not listen and they suffered the consequences for not obeying. They later on begin to follow these false gods and God punishes them for their actions.

But just like the Israelites who needed to clear out the ‘garbage’ of the Promised Land before inheriting it, we as Christians need to do the same. We need to take out the ‘false gods’ in our lives, whether that be a bad relationship, an obsession, an addiction, or anything that keeps us from giving complete devotion to our Heavenly Father. If we don’t, those things can come back and trouble us for the rest of our lives, just like they did to the Israelites. We need to be diligent and active in removing the ‘garbage’ from our life so we can give everything that we are to our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus.

Passing the Torch (Numbers 27-30)

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By Talon Paul

Once again, we have come across another section of Numbers with a number of sacrifices, laws, and other things that the ancient Israelites were expected to fulfill.  Unfortunately for us, those laws are not as relevant to us today and can seem boring. To them though, these were essentially important to living in communion with their God. But what lesson can we Christians who are no longer bound by the Old Covenant take from this section?

I believe that 27:15-23 has very great insight for all people of all ages. This passage explains that Moses will not be leading the people into the Promised Land because of his disobedience back in 20:8-12. However, Moses is commanded to install Joshua as his successor as leader of the Israelites. Up to this point, Joshua was likely studying underneath Moses and worked with him.

The point of this lesson is two-fold: Those that are older need to prepare someone younger to take their place eventually, and those that are younger need to learn from those that are older. Unfortunately today, people have a mindset that their generation is the only one that is correct, while the truth is that there is much that can be learned from all generations, both older and younger.

To those that are older: Look for the potential in those that are younger in your church and start training them up to eventually enter ministries that you will be leaving eventually

To those that are younger: Learn from those older than you, be willing to do ministry work in your church, and develop a passion for the Lord.

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