The Seine River running through Paris

The Seine River running through Paris

Friday, March 18, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Mar 19, Deut 29-29

Today's readings are Deut 28 & 29. Tomorrow's are Deut 30 & 31. 

The last few chapters have dictated the guidelines for holiness and holy living among God's people. We should try to refrain from making them into strict, situationally precise regulations, but see them as godly principals that can be applied to a wide variety of circumstances.  For instance, Deut 24:20 says, "When you beat your olive trees you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless and the widow." This is not a gardening guideline that pertains only to olive trees. It is an admonition not to exhaust your resources on yourself but to use some of them to help the needy. It's a warning against stinginess and a reminder that God's people have been delivered from being slaves and living in circumstances where everything they had, including themselves, belonged to someone else.

In that light, we see that there are great blessings for obedience and great curses for rebellion. The curses are devastating! The blessings are awesome!

What we will see, as we move forward, is that Israel is totally incapable of being obedient to all the laws and statutes stated in these chapters. Indeed, because of their inability to obey, the curses fall upon them, time and again.

We should see this also: in spite of their disobedience, God still sends redemption and exhibits His grace. Ultimately, as faithless as Israel is, God fulfills His promise and sends the Redeemer. That redeemer comes offering salvation to those who stumble and fail at being holy and often completely turn their backs on Him.

Oh, the magnitude of God's grace! Oh, how it applies to me and you! God does not seek our perfection. He only seeks our desire to please Him, even when we fail.

The key verses in all this are found in ch 29, "Deuteronomy 29:18 Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the Lord our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit,19 one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’ This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike.20 The Lord will not be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and the curses written in this book will settle upon him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven."

These verses tell us that our hearts must be right before God in order to receive His grace. We cannot claim protection if we have hearts that are self-centered and self-righteous, claiming privilege and entitlement regardless of what we do or say. God wants a people who "hunger and thirst for righteousness". He will bless those who do! He will sanctify those with a clean and contrite heart, not based on their behavior or actions, but based on His faithfulness. He does not require perfection from us...but He does require that we strive to lead holy, Christ-centered lives. 

We see only a shadow of all this in Deuteronomy. God is laying a foundation for His plan of redemption.

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