Mon, June 27, 2016
Deuteronomy 3:2 – The Lord said to me, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you with his whole army and his land.”
Israel’s conquest of Canaan was not arbitrary divine genocide. Study the scriptures carefully, you will learn that God gave the Canaanites 400 years to turn toward Him and repent of their sins (Gen. 15:16). These were not innocent farmers but child sacrificing, temple-prostituting people who were committed to outrageous evil for hundreds of years (Deut. 20:18). Consider a modern-day context—Hitler’s regime; we went into war to end it. God was incredibly merciful to wait that long for repentance—until their cup of iniquity was completely full. We serve a loving God whose intention was to bless all peoples of the world (including the Canaanites) through Abraham’s covenant (Gen. 12:3b). But after years of rampant depravity within their culture (research it for yourself), the outcry came before God (as at Sodom, a Canaanite city, Gen. 18:20-21) calling for His justice. We serve a loving God, yes, but also a just God.
Tue, June 28, 2016
A Land to Inherit
Deuteronomy 3:28 – But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.
Joshua’s confidence for his future task included: a divine commission, the encouragement of God’s performance in the past, and the strength that comes from God’s assurance for the future. The continued possession of the land hinged upon the people holding fast to the Lord and maintaining the obedience that brought them into the land (4:3-14) and upholding the unchanging integrity of the Word of God (4:1-2). God has given each of us a “land” to inherit: our workplaces, neighborhoods, cities, and circles of influence. We are to claim them for God, point people to Jesus, and represent Him well. Be a faithful witness for Christ in whatever area God has planted you.
Wed, June 29, 2016
Don’t Give Up
Deuteronomy 4:29 – But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul.
God gave this promise to His people in full awareness that once they had inherited the Promised Land they would forget Him (and ultimately be carried away into captivity). But God would always hear their heartfelt cries for help. Do you know someone who has turned away and given up on God? Befriend them. Be patient with them. Pray for them. God watches and listens for their earnest prayers. He never gives up on them and neither should we.
Thu, June 30, 2016
Front and Center
Deuteronomy 4:9a – Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things that your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live…
Time has a way of blurring memories. We get caught up in the distractions of daily living and forget. We can become less intentional about our faith, and we begin to drift. That’s why spiritual disciplines (i.e. practices) are so essential to help us keep Jesus in the center of it all. We must never forget Israel’s wilderness journey because it holds such profound lessons for us. We have our own life journeys to complete. We move from places of need (even poverty) into places of prosperity, and we must remember God. He is the One who blesses us, but our “Canaan Land” holds as many challenges as blessings. Will we forget God and become self-absorbed? Where are you right now: trekking through a wilderness experience or settled into a peaceful land? Keep the Lord “front and center.” Glorify God and edify people with all you are and have.
Fri, July 01, 2016
Deuteronomy 4:9b – …Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
God cares about our children and our grandchildren. They need to know your legacy of faith. They need to hear your stories of God’s provision and how God came through for you in your times of need. They need to learn how to worship the Lord with all their hearts (model it). They need to be proud of their family history and take delight in how God has watched over you through every season of challenge. When you have your family devotions, be sure to include a family story that illustrates the power of God or the love of Jesus or the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Give them concrete illustrations of how faith intersects with life. You will be tucking into their hearts not only the Word of God, which the Holy Spirit will access in order to sustain them in the days ahead, but also memorable stories that exemplify ways God works today. Teach the children God’s Word, and you will help guard their hearts from evil.
Sat, July 02, 2016
Deuteronomy 5:29– Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!
Hear the heart of God in this statement. He loves us deeply and wants the best for us. He has gone to incredible lengths to establish His covenant of peace with us through Jesus Christ, His Son. He wants our hearts, not just our religious rituals. He wants a relationship. Is your heart predisposed toward Him? Are you walking in obedience to His Word? He longs to bless you and your children.