Spiritual Rants: April 7 “Be Strong And Courageous” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Deuteronomy 31:1-32:27 Luke 12:8-34 Psalm 78:32-55 Proverbs 12:21-23

Old Testament:  Deuteronomy 31:1-32:27

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Deut. 30:1-30 Be Strong And Courageous

Moses delivers his last sermon to the Israelites.  After all, he is 120 years old!  He knows he won’t be crossing over to the Promised Land with the people and is preparing them for the new leadership of Joshua.  Six times he reminds Joshua “be strong and courageous” and not to be “afraid” (vv. 6, 7, 23; Josh. 1:6-7, 9).  Joshua was the head of the military.  Why would someone like that be afraid and need encouragement?  He was succeeding one of the greatest leaders in the history of the world.  He might have been a bit nervous.  But God would be with him and not “fail” him.

The law was to be read every seven years by the priests.  God appeared at the tent of meeting in a cloud to commission Joshua.  Bad news:  the people were going to rebel and have bad stuff happen to them as a result.

Moses wrote a song to remind the people not to rebel.  He told Joshua again to be strong and courageous.  Joshua must’ve wondered what he was getting into about this point after the prediction and the song.

This is quite the inspiring sermon.  Moses tells them they have been rebellious and he can only imagine what they’ll be like when he is gone.  Then he said, “OK, now let’s sing . . .”  What a pastor!

Note for those who don’t get sarcasm:  The above is sarcasm.  I actually mean that pastors should be more like Moses and tell it like it is.  We live in the midst of a secularized, rebellious church that doesn’t read their Bibles.  We are a lot like old Israel.  Bummer.

Deut. 32:1-27  Sing . . .  Sing A Song . . .

Moses wrote a song to be a reminder to the Israelites to keep the law after he was gone.  Will it go to #1 on the Billboard charts?  Probably not.

The purpose of the song was to describe God’s character and faithfulness.  It also predicted the scattering of the nation due to their disobedience.

Notice the purpose of the song was to teach.  Songs should be used to teach in churches today.  Hymns were used to worship and to teach.  Today we sing things like “ooo . . .oo . . .ooo.”  I’m not kidding.  I was in a church and those words were up on the wall.  No wonder the world thinks we’re dumb.

New Testament:  Luke 12:8-34

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Luke 12:8-2  Testifying to Christ

Jesus warns people that if they don’t want to admit they know him before other people, He won’t admit He knows them in Heaven.  

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is here again in Luke.  Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the denial of the work of the Holy Spirit in witnessing to Christ while He was on earth.  Thus, technically, that sin cannot be committed today.  However, by way of analogy, if anyone denies the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing them to Christ today (John 16:8) and rejects Christ, they will similarly be doomed.

Jesus told the disciples not worry when they are brought into court for preaching about Him.  He told them that the Holy Spirit will let them know how to answer and testify about Him.

Luke 12:13-34   Stuff

A man wanted Jesus to arbitrate a family dispute over inheritance.  Jesus refused and told the man to beware of covetousness.  Jesus said, “life does [not] consist of [a man’s] possessions” (v. 15).  He illustrated with a parable who expanded his warehouses but after he finished he died.  Ooopser.  Jesus said we should make God a priority over accumulating things.  Jesus said we should seek first His kingdom and the Father would make sure that we get everything we need.  He said God was doing a pretty good job providing for the birds and the flowers so He’d probably also take pretty good care of us.  The kingdom was the most important thing and God was going to give us that.

Ut, oh.  Jesus said we should sell everything and give it to charity, getting credit in Heaven.  He said what we set our heart on is most important to us and it should be God.

Psalm 78:32-55    An Historical Wisdom Psalm by Asaph

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Psalm 78:32-55   Don’t Know Much About History? Part 2

We continue with the history of the Jews, written as an encouragement to the people of Asaph’s time to be faithful to the Lord and not sin.

The days of the Ephraimite tribe being the supreme family came to an abrupt end (vv. 32-34).  As is normal with most people, when things get really tough, then they turn to God (vv. 34-35).  When we get to the end of the rope, that is when we cry out to the Lord.  Then we trust Him to be our Rock (v. 35).  Of course, we should trust Him as a Rock every day!

It doesn’t do any good to lie to God (v. 36).  He knows if we are being deceitful.  Honesty is the best policy.  That may not be original with me.

Not being faithful to God is a form of lying to Him (v. 37).  It is expected of a saved person to be a disciple.  A disciple is expected to be faithful.  “Unfaithful disciple” is an oxymoron or it may just be moronic.  If a disciple is unfaithful, that person will lose blessings from the Lord.

Fortunately, though we may be unfaithful, God is faithful (v. 38, cf. 2 Tim. 2:13, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself”).  God remembers we are faulty human beings and cuts us a lot of slack (v. 39, cf. Ps. 103:10).

God was not pleased with the generation of Jews that wandered in the desert (vv. 40-42).  He did all kinds of wondrous things yet they still didn’t trust Him (vv. 43-53).  These included turning water to blood, infestation of flies, frogs, grasshoppers, and locusts (vv. 44-47).  He dropped hailstones and frost on their crops (vv. 46-47).  He sent lightning and hail to kill their cattle (v. 47-48).  He used angels of death to devastate their families (vv. 49-51, 53).  But in all this, God guarded the Israelites (vv. 52-53).

The Sovereign God protected His people and guided them to the land He had for them (v. 54).  He drove out all of Israel’s enemies and provided a space for each tribe (v. 55).

Asaph wanted all the Jews to trust Yahweh for their provision of land, food, and any other needs.  Do you think the Israelites were dummies when they forgot all that God had done for them?  Do you trust God for all your needs (cf. Phil. 4:19)?

The writer, George Santayana, said that, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  That pretty much sums up the theme of Psalm 78.  Hopefully, we remember the Word of God and don’t let Him down by forgetting all He has done for us!

Proverbs 12:21-23   Blathering Or Blessing?

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More on speech today.

Those who are honest please the Lord but don’t tell everyone everything they know (vv. 22b-23a).  Jesus told us not to “throw pearls before swine” (cf. Matt. 7:6).  He also said believers should be “shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves” (cf. Matt. 10:18).  My wife always tells me when I preach that I don’t have to tell them everything I know but I think she may just mean that I shouldn’t preach too long.  Have you noticed older people tend to be quiet?  They’ve learned they don’t have to stress themselves trying to help people who don’t want to be helped.

God hates people who lie.  He also doesn’t like people who blather (vv. 22a, 24b).  (Whoopee Goldberg is in trouble!)

If you don’t lie, you don’t have to lie to cover your lies.  You stand to live a longer life and get into less trouble (v. 21a).  Scoundrels invite distress by irritating everyone around them (v. 21b).  The righteous trust the Lord and disseminate blessings.  The unrighteous bring grief into others’ lives.

Which category do you fall into?

 

Choose Life: Scripture:   Deuteronomy 31:8   NASB    “Look Out Ahead!”

“The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”   Deuteronomy 31:8

Here’s the problem.  We don’t follow the Lord.  We don’t have the Lord go ahead of us.  We are not led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18).

Check out Sensitivity To The Holy Spirit.  As Isaiah said, “each of has gone his own way” (Isa. 53: 6).  The book of Judges says the problems during the time that time in Israel’s history was due because  “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 17:6).

Instead in Proverbs we are told, “in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths” (Prov. 3:6).

Make sure the Lord’s in front of you . . .   then, proceed!

If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:   

Are you more inclined to make up your own mind and then do whatever you want?  That is dangerous!  Read your Bible every day, pray, and learn what the Bible says about everything, especially about how to find His will (cf. Three Lights of Guidance).  Then your life will be truly an adventure.  Life is about having a relationship with Jesus Christ.  How?  Through His Word.  So make sure you set aside time every day to learn about Him (cf. Amos 3:3).

The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:  Sing, Sing A Song

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