What are you afraid of?
In Deuteronomy 1:19-46 we are reminded of Israel's history. After being led across a vast desert, the nation came to the promise land. Even after seeing God's great works, they would not enter! They saw the people of the land. They saw the fortified cities. They were afraid because they did not trust the power of God! They were afraid because they did not trust the goodness of God. Their lack of faith led to rebellion.
What do you fear? What does this fear say about your faith in God's goodness and power? How does lack of faith in God's greatness and goodness lead to disobedience in your own life?
Learn from Israel! Take time this week to reflect on God's works in your life - how he has provided for and protected you beginning with salvation. Study the Word of God and consider how fear may be preventing you from obeying him. Then repent of a lack of faith, trust the Lord, and take a step of obedience! Where is the Lord calling you to trust him this week?
Deuteronomy 1:9-18 recounts Moses appointing judges. He calls for wise, understanding, and experienced leaders who would judge with righteousness and without any partiality knowing that their justice represented God's. In this way the nation of Israel would display God's character to the world.
The church is not under the covenant of Moses, but we learn about God's character in this passage. God is a god of justice and so those who love him must love justice! This applies within the church first. As the people who are a preview of God's kingdom, the church must be a place free from the divisions and prejudices present in society. Honestly examine yourself and repent if you are guilty of partiality!
Secondly, individual Christians should celebrate and promote justice because we love the Lord who is just - not because we think any society will be perfected apart from the Lord's return. An excellent place to put this into practice is the National Association of Evangelicals' Take Action page. On this page you can sign letters urging our civil leaders to act justly. See the page HERE.
Finally, Moses reminded the people that he was a mere man and could not carry the nation. Every leader apart from Jesus is the same! Jesus is our hope. Only he deserves our unwavering loyalty. He is faithful and can be trusted to preserve his people until the end. Until then, we live with courage knowing that HE is the one who upholds his people.
What does an Old Testament book like Deuteronomy have to do with modern Christians? Simply this: We worship the same, unchanging God who entered into covenant relationship with Israel!
In Deuteronomy 1:1-8 we read the introduction to this book which calls Israel to loyal love expressed in obedience. Moses, the mediator of the covenant, speaks God's words and explains them to a new generation. In doing so, the very format of the book, which imitates ancient treaties, declares that God is the King of Israel. He is the one who disciplines and who provides. He is the one who saves and makes a people for himself. With the reminder of the 40 years of wandering in place of an 11 day journey, Israel is exhorted to give loyal obedience to their king.
As people who have confessed Jesus as Lord, we have entered into covenant relationship with the same God. This God remains the great king who meets all our needs and who continues to discipline his people for their good. Our challenge is the same as Israel's:
As we begin 2022, what are your hopes for the new year? How will you live a significant life? As you look back at 2021, how do you rank the year? Did you use it well? Did it count for the Lord?
We all hope our lives count! How can we assure that they do? We learned from the High Priest of Israel that the most significant man in Israel had a repetitive job! What mattered was not his creativity, charisma, or looks but that he was faithful.
We learned from Hebrews 3 that Jesus, the most significant person ever to live, was faithful in all things. Luke 12:35-48 reminds us that Jesus wants us to be faithful as well. In every stage of life. In every circumstance. We are to be faithful to all that he commands in the Bible while we entrust the outcomes to Him. Do you want to live a significant life for the Lord? Then seek to be a faithful servant. How might you grow in faithful living in the year to come?