Daily Word

Deuteronomy 34

Read Deuteronomy 34 – And we end with a mystery! Moses wrote the first five books of the bible, with Deuteronomy being the last of the five… but here in Chapter 34, he dies, so who wrote it? I can share what I learned with a quick internet search, the most favored among scholars is that Joshua wrote it, but it is also possible that it was in fact – Moses, by divine revelation of his own demise! Or it could have been Eleazer the priest, Ezra the scribe, or Samuel the prophet. Jewish tradition names Joshua, and in the grand scheme of things we trust that it is God-breathed no matter the author, and, as my grandma used to say, “heaven knows”. And that’s where we will get the answer, if it even matters then.

Our chapter is just 12 verses long (how appropriate that it would be 12). At 120 years of age, Moses climbed Mount Nebo and the LORD showed him the Promised Land, and then he died.

Consider the magnitude of :6 “The LORD buried him in a valley near Beth-peor in Moab, but to this day no one knows the exact place.” We humans are so prone to idol worship, even Moses’ grave could have become one, but the LORD kept it secret. Scripture adds that Moses’ eyesight was clear and he was as strong as ever when he died. :7

“Now Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him, doing just as the LORD had commanded Moses.” :9 Isn’t that interesting, that the spirit of wisdom was passed on by the laying on of hands?

Moses had a relationship with the LORD like no other person on earth. The LORD knew him face to face. What a remarkable life!

Beloved, well done. Many Christians shy away from this chapter, but not you! Jesus is LORD, and he is the same yesterday, today and forever. (see Hebrews 13:8). May you be blessed for digging deeper, and knowing him more fully. We covered a lot of commandments for the Israelites in our chapter; you may be wondering what now? Tomorrow we will return to the New Testament with the book of James. James is a wonderful book that teaches us how to live out our faith.

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 33

Read Deuteronomy 33 – A life of legacy. Moses blesses each tribe of Israel with purpose and words to lead them. He focuses on God’s love for them. “Yes. He loved his people, all his holy ones were in his hand; so they followed in your footsteps, receiving direction from you. ” :3

The words are just beautiful. Moses is not feeble, even in his old age. It makes me think of my legacy. Will I speak words that strengthen and encourage my children, and most importantly, assure them of Jesus’ love for them?

Moses’ words to Joseph moved me when he said, “Blessed by the LORD be his land, with the choicest gifts of heaven above…. with the finest produce of the ancient mountains and the abundance of everlasting hills…” (13,15) I found those words so grounding as they were faced with their patriarch’s demise, yet the ancient mountains always have and always will provide.

And he closes so perfectly, with focus back to the LORD, “Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you shall tread on their heights. ” :29

Beloved, this is one of the greatest things a person can know. In the New Testament we get, “If God is for us, who can stand against us? ” Romans 8:31

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 32

Read Deuteronomy 32 – Rock-a-bye-Baby… I was comforted by that song as a child even though it’s a bit dark.   Moses’ song is like that.   It starts off powerful, with full attention to the LORD and moves through rejection, anger, punishment and second chances.  

Read verses :1-4 aloud.  That is the LORD.   This song is comforting and serious. We serve a mighty, just and perfect God.

Sin enters the picture. (:5-6)  And God is gracious to remind Israel of the things he has done to rescue them in the past. (:7-14)

They turn against the LORD, and worship foreign gods.   The people grow lazy with complacency… something we all should guard against. (:15-18)

The LORD responds by turning his back on Israel, which leads to punishment. (:19-27)  And Beloved,  the LORD’s punishment is harsh and awful… may the threat of punishment be all that’s needed to steer you back to his narrow path. 

The song goes another 16 verses,  speaking of the great lengths the Lord will go to. Believer, believe! 

After the song,  the LORD tells Moses to climb a mountain from which he can see the Promised Land.   He wasn’t fit to enter it, but the LORD did let him see it before he died.   In the New Testament,  Moses shows up with Elijah for Jesus’ transfiguration. (Matthew 17)  Both of these things assure us that God is full of justice and mercy.  

And what about this song? Does knowing the evidence from the past and the consequence of rejecting God change things for you?   There is so much at stake and here is God’s Word,  available to all, teaching, admonishing and encouraging us to know Jesus and live fully!

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 31

Read Deuteronomy 31 – Moses passes the torch.
Moses is 120 years old. He has led Israel from slavery in Egypt, through 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, right up to the promised land they were about to enter. The LORD himself would cross over the Jordan ahead of them. He would destroy the nations living there and give them possession of their land. Joshua would lead them. It was time to be strong and courageous! (:1-8)
Moses then wrote the book of instructions and gave it to the priests. It was to be carried with the Ark of the LORD’S Covenant. It was to be read every 7 years to all of the people of Israel. He also put it to song (which is recorded in our next chapter). (:19)
Beloved, think about it, every nation I can think of has a national anthem song. It is a song that defines the nation. The LORD gave Moses a song that would stay in the hearts of the people long after Moses was gone.
The LORD had Moses call Joshua to the Tabernacle and he met them there. The LORD said to Moses, “You are about to die and join your ancestors. After you are gone, these people will begin to worship foreign gods, the gods of the land where they are going. They will abandon me and break my covenant that I have made with them….” It starts in vs. :14 and goes on explaining that Israel will abandon the LORD, and that this law would serve as a witness for the LORD against the people. Remember, the LORD knows the beginning to the end. He does not say this might happen. He says it will happen, and indeed, it does.
We have a National Anthem song in the USA. It seems we should be singing it more often and teaching it to our children. Many in our country have lost their way, much like the LORD said Israel would. “God bless America, land that I love, stand beside her, and guide her through the night with the light from above….” Remember, the LORD did not say knowing these things would save them, much like the law does not save us, but it serves as witness to show us our need for a Savior. And praise the LORD, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 30

Read Deuteronomy 30 – Repentance and Forgiveness
God sees all of time at once. He is outside of time. When he sees a newborn baby, he also sees her going to prom, having her own babies, aging, walking with a cane, and dying. It is a big idea for us, and I want you to hold onto that as you think about our chapter.
God knows Israel will stray and he is already offering restoration. Verse one speaks of a future exile… isn’t that incredible? They are just entering the Promised Land and God leaves this word for the future generations who mess up. God says if they repent and obey, he will restore them. (:2)
Do you know this has already happened? God’s Word is incredible! It happened when they were brought back from Babylonian captivity – It’s recorded in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Old Testament. And in our time it happened when Israel was restored as a nation in 1948! “The LORD your God will return you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will possess that land again. Then he will make you even more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors!”
In 2019, I traveled to Israel. I saw this first hand. But there’s more to come. God says he will change their hearts so that they love him with all their heart and soul so they may live. (:6) Remember, God is outside of time. Beloved, we live in such an exciting time to see these things become reality. Keep watching!
God says his instructions are not too hard for them. He put them right in their hearts so they can obey. (:11-15) This is the choice between life and death, and the LORD longs for them to choose life. (:19) And this all goes back to the promise God made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the LORD God Almighty keeps his promises! (:20)

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 29

Read Deuteronomy 29 – Like a vow renewal ceremony, the LORD renews the covenant with Israel.
When the Israelite slaves escaped Egypt 40 years prior, the LORD made a covenant with them at Mount Sinai (sometimes called Horeb). But that generation passed away for their unbelief and did not enter the Promised Land. This is the generation of faith, the children and grandchildren of those who fled Egypt.
This generation lived in a state of miracles. They saw the miracles the LORD did to bring about their escape from Egypt. While in the desert for 40 years they had plenty to eat, their clothing and even their sandals did not wear out. (:5-6) They were slaves who became great conquerors in war because the LORD made it so. (:7-8) Yes, they lived in a constant state of miracles, but they didn’t get it. “But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.” :4 That makes me want to pay close attention to the everyday miracles in my life.
Now, the LORD is fulfilling his promise to Abrahah, Isaac and Jacob by establishing every man, woman, child and foreigner who serves them as his people, that he may be their God. (:13)
The LORD warns them to consider the detestable things they have seen in the nations they have passed and not turn away from the LORD by turning to these idols and gods of those nations. He warns them not to even dabble, “Make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison. When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, ‘I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way,’ they will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry.” :18b-19
This reminds me of the old bumper stickers that read, “Not perfect, just forgiven”. While that is true for the believer, it also has a ring of arrogance like the one the LORD is warning about.
As we live out our lives on earth, may we embrace verse :29, accepting that there are secret things that belong to the LORD, while our responsibility is to honor all he has revealed to us. And Beloved, keep a grateful eye out for those everyday miracles.

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 26

Read Deuteronomy 26 – Presenting tithes and offerings to the LORD.  “When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you as a special possession and you have conquered it and settled there, put some of the first produce from each crop you harvest into a basket and bring it to the designated place of worship – the place the LORD your God chooses for his name to be honored.” :1

Take a look at the partnership the LORD is inviting the Israelites into with just this verse (and the parallels we have as Christians).  1) God gave them the land as a special possession, a gift (For the Christian this is Jesus – John 3:16).  2) They were to enter it (It’s a bit like Salvation, which is offered to ALL, but only those who clearly ask – receive).  3) They had to conquer it (again, like walking with Jesus, if one does not turn from their old life – repent- and embrace the awesome freedom of this new life, then what’s the point?).  4) And settle there (The Christian term is sanctification – the life-long process of walking with Jesus – it’s more than a Sunday only relationship – one should continually strive towards holiness).  5) The LORD told them to put some of the first produce aside… (as we are to set aside our first fruits).  6) God continues with, “from each crop you harvest” (one could consider this financial tithe, as well as time, talents, and resources). 7) And bring it to the place of worship – the place the LORD your God chooses for his name to be honored (God picks the place, for believers that would be the church.  When you give to your church, you are not blessing them, you are thanking God).

Beloved, look at that, we are only one verse in, and you’ve heard more than enough from me.  Enjoy the rest of Chapter 26, and examine the ways you are living up to this call to tithes and offerings.

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 25

Read Deuteronomy 25 – Crime and punishment – It was a big deal and punishment was carried out immediately.  If the crime merited a beating, a limit of 40 lashes was imposed as more than that would humiliate the neighbor. (:3)  In the New Testament, the Jews restricted such beatings to 39 lashes to be seen as merciful.  Paul was the recipient of such beatings 5 times according to 2 Corinthians 11:24.  

There was an interesting law on marriage and a brother’s duty to impregnate his sister-in-law, in the event of his brother’s death. (:5-10) There is a very colorful account of this law in action in Genesis 38, if you are curious about it.

The law for a wife jumping in on her husband’s fight with another man seems harsh, but I am certain there were very few one-armed ladies as a result. (:11-12)  It specifically applied to her grabbing the other man’s private parts and commentators suppose this may have been in protection of reproduction.

Weights and measures must be equal.  This is about integrity before God and he gives a promise and a warning for it.  The promise for the man who trades with honesty is a long life, and the dishonest man is detestable to the LORD.

Beloved, hold on to that idea to be “detestable to the LORD”.  When you sin, be it cheating, lying, drunkenness, anger, using the LORD’s name in vain, or any number of things, know that this is detestable to the LORD.  God’s Word says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 and “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom.  Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.”  Proverbs 9:10  I hope each of us would take this to heart, knowing that our sin is detestable to God and fear Him so much that we would not sin, but if we do, that we are quick to confess and repent (which simply means stop doing it, turn away from it). 

Please, Beloved, do not take your sin lightly.  Love and fear the LORD your God so much that it rules over your conduct.  As my pastor puts it:  Obedience motivated by love brings joy.  Disobedience brings pain.  Choose love.