Deuteronomy 9:1-10:22 ~ Luke 8:4-21 ~ Psalm 69:19-36 ~ Proverbs 12:2-3
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Old Testament - Okay, I'm really appreciating the New Living Translation little commentary headers before sections of our readings - as I discussed in yesterday's post, these are not from the original manuscripts so should not be considered Biblical text. Nonetheless, I personally do find them useful. And I really do like the first header in Deuteronomy chapter 9 today in the NLT - "Victory by God's Grace." You'll note that you won't actually find the word "grace" in any of the verses that follow. However, I think we do get a good overview of how grace works in this section, and verse 6 gives an example of grace: "I will say it again: The LORD your God is not giving you this good land because you are righteous, for you are not--you are a stubborn people." This verse made me chuckle a bit when I read it. Because it is true. The Israelites were a stubborn people, as we've seen in our readings. And yet, God was still showing grace by giving them the Promised Land. This verse primarily made me chuckle because I think that we, today, are still oftentimes a stubborn people. Not a lot has changed in 3,000+ years. We humans are still a stubborn people. And God is still a God of grace. Then and now. God shows us humans his grace. Thank goodness!
Later in Deuteronomy chapter 9 we read about the golden calf, and we get a great reminder of how Moses truly was a mediator between God and the Israelites - in some ways foreshadowing the mediator role that Jesus is now between God and all humankind. Verses 18 & 19 demonstrate Moses' mediator role well - "Then for forty days and nights I lay prostrate before the LORD, neither eating bread nor drinking water. I did this because you had sinned by doing what the LORD hated, thus making him very angry. How I feared for you, for the LORD was ready to destroy you. But again he listened to me." And check out this amazing image below of Moses laying prostrate before God on behalf the Israelites... can you imagine doing this for 40 days and nights for someone? Particularly for someone who just sinned greatly against God? Moses is amazing...
Wow. Deuteronomy chapter 10 verses 12 through 22 are about as inspiring of a speech as any from Moses. What a great exhortation for the Israelites to love and be obedient to God! There are surely some words of wisdom for us in these verses today as well. Below are a couple of great images from these verses and here are verses 12 & 13, which I love: "And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? "
New Testament - Today in Luke chapter 8 we read the story of the farmer scattering seed. This parable is an opportunity for us to examine the condition of our hearts. Are our hearts rocky, thorny, or are they fertile soil? The condition of our hearts will dictate how receptive we are to Jesus, the Word of God made flesh. Jesus is the farmer still scattering the see of his Word among humankind today. Is your heart receptive to the Word of God? Per verse 15, will you "hear God's message, cling to it, and steadily produce a huge harvest"?
As you are receiving God's Word in your heart, check out verse 18 in today's readings - "So be sure to pay attention to what you hear. To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But to those who are not listening, even what they think they have will be taken away from them." This is a powerful truth. When we are open to God's Word and really study it we will be given more and more insight over time. It should be a lifelong journey of learning from God's Word. I know there are many of you going through the One Year Bible for more than the 1st time - one of you has even gone through the One Year Bible 16 years in a row! And my hunch is that if we were to ask the person going through the OYB for the 16th year if she was still learning and gaining new insights from God through his Word, the answer would be a resounding yes! I do worry to a degree when someone goes through the Bible in its entirety once, and then puts it on the shelf. I think that is risky. I know that we're not all called to read the Bible in its entirety in One Year every year, but I do think it is extremely wise for us to be engaged in the Bible in some way each and every day. Otherwise, perhaps, as the end of the verse above says, "to those who are not listening, even what they think they have will be taken away from them." Let us pray that our love of learning from God's Word each and every day will not be taken away from us. Each day, in some way, let us be like this young person buried in their Bible at Bible Camp... :)
Bible.org's commentary on Luke chapter 8's reading today, titled "Parable of the Soils" is at this link.
Psalms - I love Psalm 69 verse 33 today - "For the LORD hears the cries of his needy ones; he does not despise his people who are oppressed." God hears the cries of his needy ones. Perhaps the question is then, do we hear the cries of God's needy ones? Do we hear the cries of those starving today? Sick from lack of clean water? Suffering from HIV / AIDS? Spiritually poor? Needing a friend? How is the soil of our hearts if we are not hearing these cries? Should we be hearing these cries? And if we do hear them, what then should we do? Remember Jesus' words in Matthew chapter 25 verses 34-36: "‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’"
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 12 verse 3 is a bit convicting for me personally - "Wickedness never brings stability; only the godly have deep roots." I oftentimes in my life feel a bit unstable. I jump from church to church. Job to job. Interest to interest. The roots don't seem so deep sometimes. I know the roots are deep with Jesus - and that's the one area that really matters - but I do worry about how my roots don't seem so deep in other areas of my life. I appreciate this Proverb. I have something to learn here...
Worship God: So much of today's readings reminded me of the fantastic worship song "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus." Here's a great live version by Michael W. Smith:
Are your eyes on Jesus? Click here to turn them upon Him!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open." Luke 8:17 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you have nothing hidden from Jesus in your life. Pray that you have no unconfessed sins. Pray that you are looking forward to that day when you will see Jesus face to face.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Based on our Proverb above, how about you? How are your roots? Are they deep? Are they stable? Primarily, how are your roots with Jesus today? Are your spiritual roots in Jesus growing each and every day? Do you want your roots to grow? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Mike—I’m going to throw something in the mix, the people who rebelled in the desert did not get in. They may have not been destroyed “immediately” when they sinned and rebelled, but they never got into the Promise Land. Those that were 20 years old and younger when they set up made it, but not their parents. All died off before, including Moses and Aaron, except Joshua and Caleb.
The grace extended to the people who made it in was the grace that the parents’ sins, which affected them—they had to wander for 40 years, did not kill them too. The grace extended was the ownership of the land that was about to be transferred to them without payment, the grace was a true reversal of fortune.
One of the things I noticed this time during the readings that after they sinned and suffered the consequences through plagues, being swallowed up in the earth, dying by snakebites before Moses made the snake to be looked upon, they admitted their sin because they were caught red-handed, however they never repented. That is the danger for me, for us, admitting we have sinned but not following through all the way. Admitting our sin because we have come face to face with the consequences and have been exposed in the media or to the community, but not really sorrowful enough to change or actions, which is really what repentance is. It is not just admitting we were/are wrong.
Sin has its own rewards and the writer of Proverbs recognized that.
His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins. (Proverbs 5:22 KJVR)
Let us strive not only to recognize where we have gone wrong but to produce a change in our lifestyles to go in different directions.
A poem by Portia Nelson (in There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk, 1993):
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters*
By: Portia Nelson
1. I walk, down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
2. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
3. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in; its a habit.
My eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
4. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
5. I walk down another street.
Nelson, Portia, There's a Hole in My Sidewalk
Beyond Words Publishing, Inc., 1993
Hillsboro, Oregon 97124
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | March 27, 2010 at 09:09 PM
"Once Saved always Saved" NOT
To me the Parable of the Seed clearly shows that where the "Seed" takes root and grows represents salvation. The Word says where there was rocky soil they believe for a while and then turn away.
I do not see how this can be interpreted any other way than, one can chose to turn away from their salvation. Through out the Bible God gives His people free choice.
If we can chose to give up our salvation the the statement: "Once Save always saved" is not correct. In fact it is dangerously miss leading.
Posted by: Dick Laughlin | March 28, 2010 at 07:24 AM
Although you could make a interseting statement about chosing to "give up our salvation" from this one verse it is vitally important to look at the whole counsel of the Word of God.
The verse that immediately came into mind when I read your comment was:
Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
If God has chosen me before the foundation of the world, I see it as His choice that I eventually come to Him through Jesus Christ, for which I am eternally thankful.
There are those who might chose to "play" at responding to the Word of God with enthusiasm and never make it a heart decision, of making Jesus Lord of their life. And some of these may "chose to stop playing and easily fall away, therefore appear to be giving up their salvation.
Once the Holy Spirit dwells in me . . . .well I am His and He is mine eternally!!
Just something to think about.
Posted by: Jane | March 28, 2010 at 10:44 AM