Today you should read: Deuteronomy 1:1-8
People often look at me funny when I tell them that the book of Deuteronomy is one of my favorite books in the Old Testament. It’s certainly one of the books that gets a bad reputation as being hard to understand, but it certainly doesn’t deserve to get skipped in your annual Bible reading plan. Deuteronomy is essentially Moses retelling the law (deutero: second). In fact, chapters 5-28 of the book are Moses breaking down and teaching on the Ten Commandments.
Believers today can sometimes feel uneasy when they read through books like Leviticus or Deuteronomy, because so much of what we read applies to us in different ways than it did to the original audience. But does this mean these books of the law have no value to us? Of course not! In Matthew 5:17, we see that Jesus himself says that he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. Paul also shows us what value the law has in Romans 7, where he makes the case that the law is not bad in and of itself, but that it reveals how sinful we truly are. In thinking about how we should think of the law today, a helpful general principle is to see that the moral aspects of the law (think the Ten Commandments) can still give us direction, but Jesus has fulfilled for us the ritualistic aspects of the law (think sacrifices, eating unclean animals, etc.)
So my encouragement to you as you read through the book of Deuteronomy is twofold:
- Take note of the different ways that it talks about loving God and loving neighbor throughout.
- Thank God for sending Jesus who fulfilled all of the law so that we could have a right relationship with God.
By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate
Today you should read: Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Faithful until the end…
Can you imagine seeing it? After all of this time, after generations of promises, after the leading of God’s people through one of the most trying seasons in history, and after a lifelong test of leadership that was mixed with some significant failures, Moses stands and sees the land of promise.
Moses is not allowed to enter this land due to his disobedience to the Lord in one particular instance. Yet Moses has accepted his fate from the Lord. Moses had asked the Lord, in an earlier exchange, to change His mind by allowing him into the land. Yet, God said no. And what is interesting here is that Moses is said to be “as strong as ever.” Moses had life left, he had strength left, he could see, he was able to enter into the land if God had so desired. But God had different plans for him.
We face these situations in our lives. We want something, we want to keep going, we feel we are able to handle it, we ask God, and we see no reason that we should not receive what we asked; yet God has different plans. And in those moments the true question is, will we remain faithful?
Moses didn’t get what he wanted, or what we may think he deserved, yet he stayed faithful until the end. He blessed Joshua to take his place, he spent a long time recapping all that God had done and reiterating God’s commands, and now he is content with his fate.
Will you fight for godly contentment in the midst of your circumstances?
Ultimately, Moses had one great run. Never had a prophet known God face to face like Moses had. And Moses didn’t let a bitter ending ruin a better run. He was faithful until the end.
Posted: Sam Cirrincione
Today you should read: Deuteronomy 33:1-29
As a city boy and somewhat hipster (not the elitist skinny jeans type hipster but in the sense that I get annoyed by anything that becomes mainstream and everyone else just drinks the Kool-Aid type hipster) I didn’t give Duck Dynasty a chance when it first started picking up steam 2 years ago. Students would tell me they’re hilarious and sarcastic, country people would tell me they’re good ol’ boys with great values, Christians would tell me they’re umm… Christian and they all would try to get me to watch the Robertson family on a weekly basis. Even my wife told me I’d really like it if I actually gave it a chance. I’d read brief episode recaps online to know what others were talking about (as a good missionary should) but I wouldn’t give in until one day I was reading up on the bio of Phil Robertson. I found his story intriguing as a former college QB standout and the life he chose in spite of his athletic abilities. This led to my first viewing of Duck Dynasty and I am not ashamed to say that everyone was right because I loved it. I loved it then and I love it still today. I loved it for all of the reasons listed above but more then anything I loved it because it shows a beautiful picture of what we see in today’s reading in Deuteronomy 33.
In today’s devotion we see Moses, a type of patriarch for Israel, blessing his sons before his death and reminding them who God is and what He will do with their families and His people if they God first. He talks about God’s love, justice and protection in this chapter and he knows that he will not be with them as they continue to the Promised Land but that God will be faithful to what he is passing down.
Phil Robertson is regularly called the patriarch of the Robertson family and as unpopular as that term can be in today’s culture, you can see through this picture of their family tree that him and his wife have raised up four sons who love Jesus and then got married to women who love Jesus and then raised up kids in a home where Jesus was at that center. Just staring at that picture and thinking about the legacy this family is leaving gives me the utmost of joy and hope. We’d be stupid to put these people up on a pedestal and just like any other Christian family this is not a promised that every kid will become a Christian and live their life for Jesus. But you can’t argue that God’s blessing for the family is being shown in the Robertsons as you see four sons of Phil who are leaders in their church and grandkids of Phil starting modest clothing lines and giving glory to God in all they do.
Let this be an encouragement to you today that men who sacrificially love and lead the home can start or continue that same family tree that Moses and Phil has exemplified and if you’re a husband/father how are you doing that today?
Posted: Erik Koliser
Today you should read: Deuteronomy 32:1-52
I recently had an opportunity to share the gospel with a lady who was struggling with depression and anxiety. She claimed to be a Christian so when she came in for a counseling appointment the first question that I asked her was, “how would you explain the gospel to someone else?” She could eloquently share the gospel of Jesus Christ, maybe better than most Christians. My second question was “do you believe that?” Unfortunately, for this young lady she came to the conclusion that she does not believe it. As I began to work through the idols of her heart and show her the truth about her current situation (Ephesians 2:1-3) she became broken. She admitted that she feels dead inside. As we talked further about the truth of the gospel and God’s desire to restore her back into a relationship with Him. She understood and liked the thought of it. So what was holding this young lady back? She just couldn’t bear the thought of giving up her idols.
When I studied through today’s passage I was gripped by vs. 1-14. God reminds us of His perfect work and his perfect faithfulness. God took his people out of the desert and chose Jacob (Israel) as His own. God guided them and protected them just as an eagle takes care of its young. I am reminded of how great and powerful of a God we really serve. God is the rock of our salvation that can never be moved and I am thankful that God’s children can trust in His perfect faithfulness.
However, I am broken by vs.15-18 because our hearts are worshipping hearts that because of our sin desires to worship false gods. Idol worship is simply putting something or someone in the place that God should rightfully hold. Why do we trust in things other than God? Why do we seek false idols? The truth is that the worship of an idol is not about the idol itself but about what the idol promises in proximity to our desired reality. For example, if I desire to be comfortable I may worship the idol of success and money because it promises to afford me the ability to reach the comfort level that I desire. Idol worship is truly about building one’s own kingdom to satisfy one’s own foolish pride.
This was the dilemma for the young lady I shared with. She did not want to accept the gospel for one reason only, purpose. She believes that she will find her desired purpose through finding a husband. She is pursuing the fairy tale happy ending that promises the happily ever after. If she laid that all down in exchange for the gospel then God may not give her that ending and the thought of Jesus being enough just doesn’t seem appealing. I do not share this young ladies story to look down upon the lost. My hope is that you would be broken for her and your own heart because we as Christians can find ourselves in the exact scenario as Israel in vs. 15,
“But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked; you grew fat, stout, and sleek; then he forsook God who made him and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.
Question to Ponder:
How strong is your faith today? Is God the Rock of your salvation or have you began to turn to other idols to provide your desired reality?
Posted: Chad Wiles