Every time I’m reminded that Moses never actually got to go into the Promised Land, I’m a little sad. He led, he wandered, he had one-on-one conversations with God.
Moses spoke to the Israelites, saying: “But because of you the Lord was angry with me and would not listen to me. ‘That is enough,’ the Lord said. ‘Do not speak to me anymore about this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah and look west and north and south and east. Look at the land with your own eyes, since you are not going to cross this Jordan.’” (from yesterday’s scripture passage, Deuteronomy 3:26-27, NIV)
Day 72 reading, Deuteronomy, chapters 5-7
God spoke: “You shall have no other gods before Me or besides Me.” (5:7, Amplified)
I’ve been thinking and writing so much on His Lordship lately, yet I can’t seem to get beyond it. Every time I pick up my Bible or listen to a song on the radio, there is it: His Lordship. Oftentimes, I think God uses even our modern media to remind us of the things we need to put in the forefront of our thoughts. His Lordship. What in this world could possibly be more critical to our lives than Him?
He is the substance in our lives. He is the cake. This worldly stuff–our comfortable homes, our cars that get us from Point A to Point B, our families and circle of dear friends, our jobs, our toys, our phones, our gadgets and do-dad’s–are all the icing on the cake (and maybe even some sprinkles). God gives us these things. Without Him there is nothing.
He also insures that we hear, see, and feel the things we most need to be hearing, seeing, and feeling at any given time in our lives.
“You shall not make for yourself [to worship] a graven image or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above or that is in the earth beneath or that is in the water under the earth.” (5:8, Amplified)
My cell phone is quite possibly my favorite material possession, and sometimes my phone (with all of the cool apps and a whole variety of uses in my daily life) gets in the way of more important things (like prayer time, family, and sleep, to name a few). I allow my phone to get in the way of things that are really more important, at times.
My vehicle, another of my favorite material things. All shiny and sparkling, clean, and still with that “new car smell” even after a year of living life with my family. I have to admit, it makes me a little proud…Pride: another relationship killer when it comes to God.
“You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, and showing mercy and steadfast love to thousands and to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep my commandments.” (5:9-10, Amplified)
How often do we find ourselves, at least figuratively, bowing down to the things of this world more so than we bow down, literally, to our Lord, Creator, Savior, King? We most certainly do serve our smart phones. As a culture, we have become a people who cannot keep from checking our phones constantly. It holds our email, our contacts, our social networking, our calendars, our stock tickers, our cameras, and even our Bibles. We serve this device as we give it special covers and protective screens, we take out insurance on it, and put it in a special pocket in our purse; we serve it as we take care of it sometimes better than we do the people around us and we certainly serve it when we pay more attention to our smart phones than we are doing for the people right there in the same room, same house, same family.
“Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, or your manservant or your maidservant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the stranger or sojourner who is within your gates, that your manservant and your maidservant may rest as well as you.” (5:13-14, Amplified)
I have really worked to drive this point home in my own household. As I’ve written before, the “day of rest” has been anything but for so long in so many of our lives, but God gives us and we deserve one day out of the week to do no work. Also, as I have studied this on our journey together, and really taken it all in, it’s not only that we are to rest, but we are to allow others to rest, as well. My family has taken a step in this direction, in that our after church Sunday lunches have lessened. I can’t honestly say they have stopped completely, but that’s one of those hard habits to break. We have become much more conscious about making our Sundays more sacred, not just the time we spend in worship on Sunday mornings, but all day. We do not work, and we do what we can to not cause others to have to work, as well (ie: waitresses, cooks, salespeople, etc.).
“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you in the land which the Lord your God gives you.” (5:16, Amplified)
I know my own mother (Hi, Mom!) loves to read this one. But, honestly, since we began this chronological study I have caught myself putting this rule into effect much better. My parents and I work together…every day…all day…and we love it, but truth be told, sometimes work gets in the way of family ties. Sometimes it’s easier to view each other more in terms of co-workers, and as co-workers the lines of honor tend to get muddled a bit.
“And the Lord heard your words when you spoke to me and the Lord said to me, I have heard the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They have said well all that they have spoken.” (5:28, Amplified)
He hears us! What an awesome reminder!!! No matter how great or small we think a thing is in our lives, God hears us. Does this point strike you right in the heart and make your throat knot up a little? It does me! It’s exciting. It’s endearing. And even a little frightening (so He heard me when I thought that about such-and-such?).
“Oh, that they had such a [mind and] heart in them always [reverently] to fear Me and keep all My commandments, that it might go well with them and with their children forever!” (5:29, Amplified)
You know sometimes when your children are acting up and you are just about ready to snatch them bald-headed, and then out of nowhere your mom or dad or some other older adult says something like, “That’s the same thing you used to do when you were her age.” That always rubs me wrong, because it’s so true. BUT, our children can also pick up and inherit good habits from us, that it might go well with them and with their children forever! Let them see you worship. Let them see you pray. Let them see you overcome the tendencies that threaten to drive a wedge between you and our Lord. Let them know there is an enemy out there and he never sleeps, but neither does the Lord. Glory to God!
“Therefore you people shall be watchful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land which you shall possess.” (5:32-33, Amplified)
I am really enjoying this re-cap from the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. It’s like every verse strikes a nerve and is critical to our walk with God. It’s a beautiful day to live in the Word!
“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord [the only Lord]. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might. And these words which I am commanding you this day shall be [first] in your [own] minds and hearts; [then] you shall whet and sharpen them so as to make them penetrate, and teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.” (6:4-7, Amplified)
I love this. He is our constant guide. This Word acts as our guidebook. Our Bibles are our maps, our answers, our guidebook on our journey to Him. And when we keep Him close at all times and keep His Words fresh on our hearts and minds, we draw nearer and nearer to Him.
“Know, recognize, and understand therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, Who keeps covenant and steadfast love and mercy with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.” (7:9, Amplified)
Today, you and I are living in grace based on the faithfulness of the generations that came before us. And to a thousand generations, our own offspring will continue to reap the blessings of our faithfulness, as well. If saving our own lives isn’t enough, think of a thousand generations of lives that can reflect our love for the Lord.
Make it a great day,
Day 73 reading: Deuteronomy, chapters 8-10