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Deuteronomy 4:1-49

Moses was a Sheppard, it must have been hard for him to watch but not be permitted to accompany his flock as they finally cross over into the Promise Land. Imagine the responsibility of managing such a huge number of people, a people that are so prone to wander off in different directions. Got me to thinking about the way God sometimes uses Sheppard’s as leaders. The theme of Deuteronomy is love and obedience, the same agenda the good Sheppard has for his flock. The good Sheppard wants to take us out of the bondage of our own territory and lead us into the green pastures of the Promise Land.

The good Sheppard is willing to lay his life down for his sheep; he leads the sheep with love but at times the Sheppard must be harsh on the sheep when they wander. The Sheppard does not enjoy being harsh, he is only harsh because he knows the great danger facing the sheep that wander, realizing those that stray could permanently be separated from the flock forever.

Moses as a good Sheppard pleads with his flock to hearken to the word of the Lord by giving them reason after reason to obey God so that it will go well with them. Deuteronomy expresses the magnitude of God, His love for us and His awesome power as a God of consuming fire and a God of love.

In the words of my Pastor, “Yes, He's a consuming fire and those enemies of God shall be destroyed by that consuming fire. Consuming is just a qualifying word and that is a word that qualifies really the enemies of God; that which the fire will do to enemies of God. But that same fire transmits us into permanency because from us it consumes the dross and the impurities of our life. It's the refining fire of God burning within our hearts, consuming dross transmitting into permanency”.

I think Moses got it; despite his blaming the Israelites for not being able to enter the promised land, he seems to understand (and conveys that understanding to them) that they absolutely MUST obey God. The thing about Moses and Aaron striking the rock displayed frustration but also arrogance. The rock had done nothing to them, so why hit the rock? Hit the disobedient complainers about water...at least that would have been more appropriate. So, the lesson I think he recognized was that if they wanted God's blessing(s) (and who doesn't), they better learn better than he and Aaron, to OBEY God.

I also liked the reference to fruit in Luke. So many times we wrestle with judging. We are first reminded to remove our own "timber" from our eye before getting that speck of dust out of our brothers, but the "flip" side of that is that we need to recognize when someone is intentionally not being genuine, as in: Is there any fruit on that vine? Is it all just a bunch of brambles in those bushes.

I am particularly moved when I read about God's care of widows and orphans, as I know and love a young woman with three children whose husband was electrocuted while operating machinery on the job. It is a comfort to her knowing that God is her protector. When someone undertakes to leave a husband or start a family without a husband for a protector, it is a whole different scenario from one who loves and obeys her spouse and he is taken away instantly; yes, I know it is God's plans for their lives. She knows it too, and loves God. That kind of individual really encourages others to step up to the plate.

So many good lessons in Luke with building houses on sand as opposed to a firm rock foundation. That's what we are doing reading the One-year-Bible, isn't it? As I read the Easy to read, next to the NIV, and the King James Bible, I feel the rock hard foundation being cemented in my heart (or at least I hope it is).

Praises in the psalms, and a reminder in proverbs about reliance on the riches. My gym teacher told me back in 8th grade that "good enough is never good enough," and that lesson kind of extends to riches, doesn't it? I mean, no matter how much money a rich man/woman has, it's never enough, is it?

Chris

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