Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Mar 3, Dt 11-13

Today's readings are Dt 11-13.

God has formed a covenant with His people. In Dt 11:1-7 we hear that its mark is love and obedience to His statutes. In support of both conditions of the covenant, Israel is reminded of their past where the consequences of disobedience were harsh. 

In Dt 11:8-11, we see the blessing of God is abundant for those who love Him and are obedient to His commandments. They are to keep this in mind as they move into the Promised Land. Many people today understand the love part of the covenant but have chosen to ignore the obedience part of it thinking somehow that God no longer requires the obedience of His people in order to enjoy His fullest blessing, embracing the "two greatest commandments" (Mt 22:36-40) and ignoring 1Jn 2:3-4. Some say, as a way of denying the call to obedience, 1 Jn 1-2 is written to unbelievers, a claim that is refuted in 1 Jn 2:12-14.

Canaan was filled with shrines to a multitude of gods.
Dt 12 tells us there should be one sanctuary for God's people devoted to the one true God. This sanctuary would be determined by God (Dt 12:11) and would become a central location for them to worship and bring their offerings. At first in the wilderness, this site would be the Tabernacle. When they get to the Promised Land, it will become the Temple.  The principle being taught here is that there is only one place for acceptable worship, one way to gain access to God. God shows that unique way in how the tabernacle is used for sacrifices and offerings, then in the temple in the same way. Both the tabernacle and temple point toward the one eternal way God’s people will worship Him, in and through Jesus Christ.  

In Dt 12:8-19, we hear that God not only chooses the place of worship but the manner and content as well. God makes provision for Israel to worship regardless of where they are and makes it clear that there is no excuse to neglect worship. Worship is all about God and not about the personal preferences of His people. It is to be a sweet aroma to Him, not an "experience" for us.  

Dt 12:29-13:18 cautions against false teaching, idol worship and drifting away from God. This admonishment to eschew false teaching will be a recurring theme throughout the Bible. God warns against it because it leads His people astray and causes them to focus on anything but the commandment to “Love the Lord your God,” which appears four times in the three chapters (Dt 11:1,13,22; 13:3). Anyone or anything that comes between God and His people is to be ruthlessly eradicated from among His children. Anyone who leads them astray or worships another god is to be executed. Once again, we see God’s attitude toward sin. It is an affront to His holiness, in direct opposition to His purity and perfection. It is a cancer that is to be eliminated at all costs.

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