March 27, 2014

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 2:26-37

I really like verse 31 from our passage today.  Here it is in four different versions.

The LORD said to me, “See, I have begun to deliver Sihon and his country over to you. Now begin to conquer and possess his land.” (NIV)

 

“Then the LORD said to me, ‘Look, I have begun to hand King Sihon and his land over to you. Begin now to conquer and occupy his land.’ (NLT)

And the LORD said to me, ‘Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land over to you. Begin to take possession, that you may occupy his land.’ (ESV)

“The LORD said to me, ‘See, I have begun to deliver Sihon and his land over to you. Begin to occupy, that you may possess his land.’ (NASB)

Begin to conquer and possess.  Begin now to conquer and occupy.  Begin to take possession.  Begin to occupy.  When I read those phrases I want to go conquer something.  I want to go take a big, bold faith step and watch God act on a big, bold promise.

The Lord had already promised Moses that the land he was to take had already been given to him in verses 27-31.  God told Moses to move in and possess the land.  Moses did what God said to do.  God did what He said He would do, and they took the land.

God has made some big promises to us.  He promises that if we trust in Him, He will give us wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).  He promises eternal life to all who know Him (I John 5:13).  He promises that His grace is sufficient for salvation (Eph. 2:8-9).  He promises that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear (I Cor. 10:13).  He promises that all things work together for the good for His children (Romans 8:28). He promises to supply all that we need (Matthew 6:25-34).  He promises to produce fruit in our lives (John 15:5).  God promises that He has a plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11).  God promises peace of mind (John 16:33).  God promises that the Holy Spirit will direct and empower us (John 16:7-16).  I could go on and on about His promises.

When I see God’s promises, I want to go conquer and take possession of the promises that He has made to me.  Believing God’s promises and acting on them isn’t always easy, but the rewards are always worth the obedience.

I don’t know about you, but I plan on conquering and taking possession of His promises today.

Posted by:Rich Duffield

March 26, 2014

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 2:1-25

Moses’ recounting of Israel’s wilderness-wandering history is where we find ourselves in Jumpstart today. In fact, these past few days, as well as a few to come, put Moses in the storyteller’s seat. If you’re trying to figure out what’s going on and why he’s doing this, here’s a helpful note from the ESV Study Bible: “Moses’ first speech rehearses Israel’s past failure at Kadesh near the beginning of the 40-year wilderness period as well as its passing through Edom, Moab, and Ammon without fighting, its successes over Heshbon and Bashan, and the distribution of those two lands. Chapter 4 is an exhortation that functions as a transition from the history in chs. 1–3 to the rehearsal of the Ten Commandments in ch. 5. The purpose of chs. 1–3 is not simply to retell history but to use history to persuade Israel to trust God so the land will be conquered. Deuteronomy 1:6–3:29 parallels the historical prologue of ancient covenant treaties. Chapter 4 does not readily parallel such treaties.”

Today’s account on the wilderness is pretty detailed, and in the same coin, very simple. Moses explains how God guided them every step of the way. At times, they dealt with his disciplinary hand. At other times, they experienced his incredible blessings. But the reality of the entire situation can’t be understated: they were in the desert… not absent from God’s presence, but still, the desert.

Are you in a spiritual wilderness right now? Do you feel like you’ve wandered in circles, waiting for a better land? Don’t forget that there is an eternal Promised Land for you. But don’t overlook the wilderness season. God has much to teach you while you’re in it. Just ask Moses. Or ask David. He’s got a lot to say about the wilderness and the desert. Check out Psalm 63 sometime.

What did you learn today from this passage? What did you glean from Moses’ leadership? What sticks out to you concerning God’s plan and purpose for the wilderness? What can we learn from the Israelites’ response to God and to Moses?

Posted by:Todd Thomas

March 25, 2014

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 1:26-46

God had done some amazing and miraculous things to save Israel. He had brought about plagues to Egypt in order to free them from slavery. He parted the Red Sea to help them escape. He had provided water from rocks, food from heaven, and a pillar of fire and cloud to guide them. If this doesn’t show power, love, and trustworthiness to provide, I don’t know what would. So how do the Israelites respond? They get to the land God promised to give them and He says, “here you go, take it. I am with you.” And they answer back that they can’t do it. They basically tell God He is not worthy of their trust. They give Him all the excuses as to why it is impossible. They tell the God who has parted a sea, cast down plagues, and provided water from rocks that the task is impossible.

Have you ever done that? I know I have. There are many times we lose trust in God in situations, totally forgetting what He has done and what He has promised to do in our lives. We trust God to save us but, more often than not, we don’t trust Him to sustain us. The Israelites had quickly forgotten what God had done for them and it robbed them of great blessing. None of that generation was allowed to enter the Land. They tried on their own and it failed miserably. Much like us. When we tell God we can do it on our own we almost always fail. And we always miss out on His blessings for us. That whole generation was domed to wander the wilderness for forty years. They had stiff consequences for not trusting God. When we don’t trust God, we too, have to deal with the consequences of our actions.

I don’t know where you are at in your life right now…maybe you are dealing with trials and God is saying, “come to me and find peace.” Maybe there is a decision looming and His word says this or that about it. Maybe you are in a place where God is leading you to do something, or say something, or start something and He has told you what it is and you just have to act on it. Whatever the situation is when we trust and follow Him we are like Caleb, we receive a wonderful blessing and when we don’t we are left to wander in the wilderness, wondering what it would have been like if we had just trusted. Which will you be?

Posted by:Robbie Byrd

March 24, 2014

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 1:19-25

Hey JumpStart fans – welcome to the exciting book of Deuteronomy!  I’m so glad that you continue to be faithful in reading God’s Word each day.  For many of you, this is the most consistent you’ve ever been in your Bible Study.  I know God is blessing and growing you through it.

Today we read about the first encounter the Children of Israel had with the Promised Land – a land given to them by God.  They left Mount Sinai (the place where God gave them the commandments) (v.19) and traveled through the wilderness to Kadesh-Barnea.

 

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When they arrived, they could see it, and all they had to do was go and occupy it.

“You have now reached the hill country of the Amorites that the Lord our God is giving us.  Look! He has placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!” (v.20-21)

Instead of going in by faith – trusting God and believing He would give them the land He had promised, they decided to go and check it out first.  Checking things out isn’t a bad idea – but, in this case, it demonstrated their fear and lack of dependence on God.  Remember what Proverbs 3:5-6 teaches us…

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

This one simple act lead to the beginning of forty years of wandering in the desert instead of living in the land God had given them.

How often do you and I get right to the brink of a miracle – right to the edge of experiencing something so big that it could only be explained by God – then we start back-peddling?  This could be a chance to serve in an area that we feel inadequate in – and instead of trusting God to equip us – we say no.  Or… it could be a witnessing opportunity that God wants to show Himself strong in – but instead we run.  What this looks like for you may be even yet different.

What lesson can we learn?  I think we can sum in up in the words of one of my favorite hymns that many of us grew up singing…

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.

Refrain: Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Trust God and obey what He tells you to do – no exceptions.  Trust and obey – for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus – but to trust and obey!

Posted by:Tim Parsons