Daily Word

Deuteronomy 28

Read Deuteronomy 28 – Blessings and curses

Our chapter begins with blessings if the Israelites will obey the LORD.  It’s beautiful and wonderful how the LORD promises to give, and give, and give. 

Then the LORD announces the curses, if the people should reject his commandments.  

It’s heavy.   He leaves no stone unturned.   I found a dreariness falling over my heart as I pressed on in the reading, and you,  Beloved,  may too.  But keep reading.   This is justice and the LORD is a Righteous Judge. 

This may sound complicated for a person to live up to.  I think verses :47-48 sum up the LORD’s desire for us quite simply, “serve the LORD with joyfulness and gladness of heart.”  Isn’t that an expectation one could delight to fulfill? 

And, as much as it’s important to know the truth about mercy and grace, we should also understand the real penalties at stake for our loved ones and those we meet who reject Christ. 

As you read those blessings,  ask yourself who might delight to rest in the LORD’S favor like this?  Then as you read the curses, ask yourself who would you wish this upon?   (the answer should be not a living soul! ) And what about YOU? May these words inspire you to take an honest look at yourself. Complacency is a dangerous enemy.

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 27

Read Deuteronomy 27 – Nothing fancy, just the facts –
First, the altar was to be nothing fancy. The Israelites were to build an altar to the LORD with large, natural stones. They were not to cut them, but they were to plaster them. Picture it – this humble altar dressed in plaster would not distract with proud craftsmanship as so many churches do. One would not get lost with thoughts of the builder and admiration for the structure. One would focus on the purity of the LORD they were standing before.
Second, they were to write all the commands the LORD had given them on the white stones, just the facts and nothing more. When I need to learn something, I read it, then I write it down. The act of writing solidifies the words in me as it would have for these leaders of Israel. And seeing these commandments written boldly on the white stones would draw generations to come to the seriousness of them.
Next we have instructions for half the tribes to go on one mountain top, Gerizim, and the other half to stand on Mount Ebal. Those on Gerizim were to call out the blessings of the LORD. Those on Mount Ebal were to call out the curses of the LORD. This setting creates a natural amphitheater, and hearing the spoken commands in this manner must have been so profound that those in attendance would never forget. Plus, after each blessing/curse, the people were to call out, “Amen”. Amen means “so be it”; the people were to commit to honor these commandments with their verbal agreement.
Before I close, I would like to offer the reminder that believers today are not under the law as these ancient people were. They were required to keep the law perfectly. We are blessed because of our standing in Jesus Christ. The curse we deserve was laid upon him. There will be consequences for our sin, but the condemnation we deserve was paid in full by Jesus. Hallelujah and amen!

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 11

Read Deuteronomy 11 – Choices… The Lord loves us so much that he designed each of us with freewill.  Freewill is a risk, but what good is love if there is no other option?  Love is only true love when we lay all other temptations aside and choose it.

Because the Israelites had seen the mighty deeds of the LORD with their own eyes, he is giving them the instruction to obey every command.  And he gives a WHY – so that they may have strength to go in and take over the land they were about to enter. (:7-8).  

God could have just zapped the inhabitants of the land in a divine and miraculous way, but he required that the Israelites take part in the take over.  It would be hard.  Hard things are worthwhile and more valuable to the one who worked for it. The land is wonderful, full of hills and valleys so they will not have to dig irrigation ditches as they did in Egypt.  God tells them it is, “a land that the LORD your God cares for.  He watches over it through each season of the year!” :12  But they still had to do their part.  

The LORD cautions them to guard their hearts lest they are deceived and turn away from the LORD and serve and worship other gods. :16  Beloved, that can happen so easily; Satan is a master at subtly whispering temptations that pull one away from Jesus… Maybe things come up on Sunday that keep you from church, maybe you stop reading your bible once or twice… then before you know it you find yourself so far away you aren’t sure how to get back.  Be on guard and protect your time with the LORD, that is how you show him your love. (:22)

Verses :26-32 present an interesting picture.  They are to pronounce the blessing at Mount Gerizim and the curse at Mount Ebal.  We love blessings!  We don’t love curses.  But as much as it’s good to know what you are aiming for, the prize, the blessing; it is also important to know what’s at stake, the downside, the curses.  May the words of verse :26 echo in your heart and mind:  LOOK, TODAY I AM GIVING YOU THE CHOICE BETWEEN A BLESSING AND A CURSE!