Spiritual Rants: March 25 “Laying Down the Law” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Deuteronomy 4:1-49 Luke 6:39-7:10 Psalm 68:1-18 Proverbs 11:2

Old Testament: Deuteronomy 4:1-49

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Deut. 4:1-49  Laying Down the Law

The old generation was gone.  The new generation was about to enter the Promised Land.  Moses wanted the new generation to know that they were expected to follow the Law the same as the old generation.  The law does not save a person.  The same requirement has been expected through all the ages: faith.  In the current time, faith is exhibited by accepting Christ as His dying in our place.  In Moses’ time, faith was exhibited by keeping the law.  It was a “tutor” to bring us to Christ (Gal. 3:24).  We can’t keep the law so it forces us to look for another answer.  The answer is Christ who died in our place (Gal. 3:10, 13).

Yahweh is a jealous God (Deut. 4:24b),  all loving and compassionate (Deut. 4:31) but all holy to the point of being a “consuming fire”  (Deut. 4:34b).

Moses reminds the Israelites of the plague at Baal-peor when many died and a couple of Peor people were  not spared but speared.

The Israelites are told three times to “take heed” (Deut. 4:9, 15, 23).  He reminded them that Yahweh gave them the Ten Commandments  (Deut. 4:14).

Since God could not be seen, no idol could be made in His image.  They were forbidden to worship idols  (Deut. 4:15-23).

If the Israelites do not obey the Law, Yahweh will “scatter” “among the peoples”  (Deut. 4:27).  They were, of course, later scattered.  However, they would be able to find Yahweh again if they searched with “all [their] heart and all [their] soul”  (Deut. 4:29).

“In the latter days”  (Deut. 4:30), “when [they] are in distress and all these things have come upon [them]” is most likely a reference to the seven year Tribulation.  It is also known as the Day of Jacob’s Trouble  (Jer. 30:7) which occurs after the Church is airlifted from the world in the end times.  During that time, Yahweh will not abandon them, He will fulfill all His promises to them  (Deut. 4:31) .  This is a rebuke to all who hold that the Church and Israel are the same entity.  There are promises that have been made to Israel which have not yet been fulfilled due to their rejection of Christ at the first coming.  However, God will keep His word and will fulfill all prophecies and promises He made to Abraham and his descendants.

Moses reminds the people that God has done something unique with them.  He spoke from out of a fire, took them as a nation out of another nation performing signs and wonders along the way and scared the mucous out of Egypt  (Deut. 4:32-34).  It was so that they would know that Yahweh was God and the only One, too.

God loved them and so disciplined them (cf. Heb. 12:5-11).  God was faithful to their “fathers,” that is, Abraham and his descendants (Deut. 4:37).  If they were to keep the commandments, God would make sure things would go well for them (Deut. 4:38, 40) in the Land He was clearing for them.

Moses reminds them of the Cities of Refuge for those who might kill someone inadvertently (Deut. 4:41-42).

Moses finishes by again reminding the Israelites of the importance of the Law and the dimensions of the New Land.

New Testament: Luke 6:39-7:10

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Luke 6:39-45  The Pits

Jesus told a parable about a blind person leading  someone who is visually impaired.  He said they would both fall into a pit together.  He said students don’t know more than their teachers and you shouldn’t try to get a speck of sawdust out of someone else’s eye if you have a tree trunk hanging out of your own eye.

He said only good trees produce good fruit and that you can’t get good fruit from a bad tree, even figs or grapes.  A good man says things that edify but a bad man brings people down.

Luke 6:46-49  Rock Bottom

Some people were calling Jesus Lord but not meaning it.  He said if they meant it, they would show it.  They’d be like a man who builds his house on a rock like He was standing on.  When bad storms and torrents of rain came, the house would stand.  But someone who didn’t act on His words would be like someone who built a structure over a landfill and when storms come it’d topple right over.

That’s how Jesus finished His sermon on the plain on the mount.

Luke 7:1-10   Calling In A Healing

After Jesus finished preaching, He headed out for Capernaum.  A centurion had a highly regarded slave who was dying. The centurion had helped financially with the building of a synagogue and  used his connections to have a few Jewish elders go to persuade Jesus to heal the slave.  The centurion had second thoughts and sent some friends to tell Jesus not to bother.  The centurion understood authority since he was over a hundred soldiers.  He told Jesus He could just heal his slave from a distance.

Jesus was wowed.  He said He hadn’t even seen any Jews with the faith of this Gentile.  When the messengers got back to the centurion, the slave had already been healed!  Thus, Luke, true to his purpose, tells a story of Jesus’ compassion for Gentiles and an intriguing medical case.

Psalm 68:1-18   A Song Of Yahweh’s Kingship by David

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Psalm 68:1-18    March Of The Monarch

This psalm could have been written to celebrate David’s triumph over the Jebusites in order to occupy Jerusalem (cf.2 Sam. 5:6-8).  It also could have been written to celebrate the ark’s entrance into Jerusalem (cf. 2 Sam. 6).  Either was a good occasion to celebrate God’s Kingship and rule over the earth.

Verse 1 recalls Numbers 10:33–35, which was the marching cry of the Israelites.  It meant the Israelites were on the march so look out and move out of the way!  Verse 2 colors that illustration a bit.  Smoke will clear and wax will melt in the presence of the Lord’s judgment.  Those who trust God can rejoice as a result and sing praises to Elohim God (vv. 3-4).  These two verses use both the generic name for God, Elohim, as well as the more personal, Yah, as in Yahweh.  God is the God of the non-Jewish Gentiles but also in a close personal relationship with the Jewish people.

God provides protection to widows and orphans (v. 5-6, cf. James 1:27).  But no one should cross Him.  He will punish those who rebel against his rules and leave them out to dry (v. 6c).

The earth quakes when God moves (v. 8).  The giving of the law to Moses is proof of that (v. 8a, c, cf. Exod. 19:18, just preceding the giving of the Ten Commandments).

God gives rain in an arid wilderness to quench the thirst of His own (vv. 9-10).  He provides for those who are desiccated in body or spirit.

I have always said women are more spiritual than men.  They are the ones in verse 11 who proclaim God’s greatness.  They are the benefactors of Yahweh’s largess of victory spoils (v. 12).  They will be spoiled with silver and gold like gilded doves (v. 13, which recalls the Song of Deborah cf. Judg. 5:15-18).  Yahweh scattered the kings as if they were flakes of snow in a storm (v. 14).

God’s dwelling on Mount Zion makes Zion seem as large as the great mountain range of Bashan nearby (v. 15).  Jesus will return by touching down on the nearby Mount of Olives (cf. Zech. 14:4).

God will arrive, as it were, with chariots of angels.  His presence is as if Sinai had been brought to Jerusalem (v. 17).

When a king is enthroned, he gives as well as receives gifts (v. 18).  Kings normally return from battle with a train of captives paraded behind them.  Yahweh leads the vanquished into town.  Jesus conquered the devil and led him behind Him as if in a parade (cf. 2 Cor. 2:14: Col. 2:15).  Paul uses this verse to support God’s giving of spiritual gifts to the church.

To be continued . . .

Proverbs 11:28    It’s Not Easy Being Green

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A green leaf is a vibrant, healthy leaf.  Or a poet.  (John Greenleaf Whittier?  OK, I knew it was a stretch.)

I don’t understand why people would want to do things that will cost them for eternity.  Do they really think they can rob, steal, commit adultery, be abusive and get away with it? Do they really think that this life is all there is?  I have trouble relating to that.  Yet, Solomon warns that people who only live to be rich here will have a bad downfall (v. 28a).  Those who do God’s will for their lives, will be vibrant and full of life, now and forever (v. 28b).  It may be the tough path but it is the life-giving path (cf. Matt. 7:13-14).

Choose Life: Scripture:  Deuteronomy 4:24  NASB    “Be Afraid”

“‘For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God'”   Deuteronomy 4:24

Back when I pastored in the country, I sat in on the adult Sunday School class.  The topic of the fear of God was being discussed.  The teacher asked me if I feared God.  I said that I did.  One of the elderly ladies, who should have known better, adamantly stated that she didn’t fear God.  She most definitely was not afraid of God.  So I clarified.  I said that I wasn’t afraid of God.  But I tried to show the deference and respect that He was due as Almighty God.  I’m not sure she ever understood me.

Most of the problem with the world today and the problem with the world ever is that most people don’t fear God.  Our verse today states that God is a consuming fire (also see Heb. 12:29).  He appeared that way to Moses (cf. Exod. 24:17).  People are generally afraid of consuming fires.

I was recently speaking with a young, college-educated woman who told me she couldn’t wait to get to Hell because they would have the best parties there.

We should be afraid.  We should be very afraid.

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

Fun Application:  If you are committing any sin repeatedly without regard for God, you probably are not fearing God as you should.  Is there any area you need to clean up?  Just a few verses down from our verse today, we are told, “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul” (Deut. 4:29).  Seek God.  Shun your sin.

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:  Hitting Rock Bottom

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