Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 1/Chapter 1

Lent has begun. During this Lenten season, I have chosen to spend 34 days with the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy has 34 chapters, so I plan on reading/studying/reflecting on a chapter a day and posting it here. There are 40 days to Lent, so I have some grace in there if I miss a day. Always good to have grace. :-) First, Deuteronomy isn’t a book I would normally turn to but in light of how much the New Testament, and especially Jesus (it's how He fights against Satan during His temptation in the wilderness), use this book, I have decided to dive into it.

Chapter 1 observations
- Setting for the book is the desert.
- Verses 6-10 is the instructions of Moses for the Israelites to go and “take possession” of the Promised Land. The rest of the book will be preparing them for such a task.
- Verse 10 is a reminder of what God said He would do to Abraham (Genesis 15:5).
- A reminder is give again to the Israelites that they are like a son to God (Deut 1:31).
- Chapter 1 re-hashes Israel’s story (rescued from Egypt and led to Promised Land).
- The older Israelites generation has upset God because of their disobedience (v. 35). What did He want from them? An example is given in vv. 34-36. Caleb was a man who “wholeheartedly” followed the Lord.

Already I see how important obedience is to God and blessings that come from obeying. God wanted the Israelites to trust and obey while they were conquering the Promised Land. I have a hunch that these things (obedience & blessing) will be main themes throughout this book. I also sense how intimately the Lord God was involved in their lives and in their story. He has really joined with them in their journey and become their Father. Not that God wasn’t already the eternal Father, He just wasn’t their Father. He chose to be their Father. It looks like he could have chosen to be the Father of any Nation during this time period, but He chose Israel to be His firstborn.

He reminds them of the big things He did for them (Blessing them, rescued from Egypt, help in defeating enemies, disciplining them). How could they not listen to Him and not trust Him after all the amazing things He did for them? I don’t understand that. Was it laziness on their part, an unwilling heart, a stubborn heart, fear, rejection of God, or just plain human nature that kept them from going all the way in their obedience? What keeps us from following “wholeheartedly” today? There seems to be no middle ground in following Jesus. We cant’ just say a prayer and sit down. We must say a prayer and walk with Him. With God, it’s an all the way or nothing thing. A question emerges from this. Where’s the grace? Is there already grace there, but I’m just not aware of it?


A member from class said...

Actually, I just finished reading chapter 6 of Deuteronomy. It was my thinking of how those people were slaves under pharoah. HOw they were mistreated. The miracles they withnessed during t
he process of being released from his rule. How they were provided for with food and water; How they witnessed His presence to Moses within the smoke and fire on the mountain.

How in the world could they possibly turn their backs on this most awesome God? And yet, we are guilty of turning our backs on him today. I do pray for an undieing(spelling?) faith and trust in Him. What a pivilege to serve and love HIM.

Tim Sheets said...

Amen to that! You are right in pointing out that we do the same thing the Israelites did, despite the amazing things happening all around us.