Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Railroad tracks near our place in Bannalec

Friday, March 11, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Mar 12, Dt 5-7

Today's readings are Deut 5-7. Tomorrow's are Deut 8-10. 

Moses repeats the Ten Commandments in Deut 5. Some are complex and some easily understood even if not so easily observed. God leaves no room for misinterpretation. He is holy and His people are called to be a holy people. The commandments serve two purposes, First, they are a description of His perfection and holiness. Second, they will show His people that they are in need of a savior. The commandments are not calling His people to perfect behavior. They are there to reveal that His people are human and unable to live perfect lives on their own. This truth is not apparent at the time the commandments are given. It will develop as time goes on but full clarity will not arise until the writings of Paul in the New Testament (Rom 3-5).

When Israel was still at Horeb (Sinai), the commandments were given to show that God's people, unique among nations, are to be set apart. This setting apart will become the hallmark of how they are to take possession of Canaan. 

In Deut 6, we see that the commandments are enduring statutes, to be handed down from generation to generation. They are to be followed diligently and are not subject to changing times and cultures. God is unchanging, His holiness is unchanging, so are His guidelines for holiness. His people are not to put this to the test. The commandments also serve as a constant reminder of His power to deliver His people and His grace in doing so. 

All this begins to come together in Deut 7. As Israel moves into the Promised Land, all vestiges of the pagan world are to be ruthlessly obliterated. There is to be no interaction, no intercourse with the people of the land. Any contact with them runs the risk of God's people becoming like them and less like God. God's people are set apart and called to a higher standard than the world. 

A few spiritual truths are made evident. Those who are called and set apart, if they are obedient to the word, will be blessed. Those who are not obedient will fall on rough times but it doesn't affect their calling. If the circumstances begin to look overwhelming, they are to remember how far God has brought them and how true He is to His promises.

All of these instructions and guidelines have meaning and purpose for us today. Sin is to be ruthlessly obliterated from our lives but it can only happen by God's power, not ours. Allowing the world to permeate and influence our lives can lead us down the wrong path and should be avoided. When we strive to obey God's word, we will be blessed. If we rebel against it, times will get tough. Dwelling on God's word and His promises will get us through intimidating times.  

One day, all this will be made perfect and all the promises of God will come to fruition. Meanwhile, like the Jews, we have His word, His promises and His commandments to live by. As we strive to abide by and in them, we come to the growing realization that we are unable to keep them on our own and need help, an advocate, a mediator, a savior. Once we are saved, though, we continue to struggle, just as Israel will continue to struggle once they enter the Promised Land. As we see God unfailingly demonstrating His grace even though the Jews continue to struggle, we will know that He does the same for us. 



All of this points to a time when all striving will cease. We're not there yet, just as God's work among them was not yet complete simply because His people entered Canaan. Even though we have a better and more complete understanding of God's plan of redemption, we live in a shadow of what is to come. Just as Canaan was the promise of a beautiful and bountiful new home, we have His promise of an eternal home that is free from sin and corruption. His Son has gone there to prepare a place for us. That is a promise to all believers. God is true and faithful to His promises!

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