August 16, 2019

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 31:14-22

“Let’s go down to the river, to see what’s going on. Let’s go down to the river, to remember what God has done.” 

There are two types of people who will read the lines above. One group will just read it—they didn’t help with VBS. The second group can’t help but hum or sing it—because of VBS! It’s a catchy song that worms its way into your brain. It is unforgettable. Sure, you may forget it for a season, but whenever you hear that synth intro, or even the word “river,” you start humming all over again. 

In today’s passage, Moses is composing a song at the Lord’s instruction. It will be unforgettable, and as such, it will bring judgment when Israel forgets its Composer. God says, “Teach it to the sons of Israel; put it on their lips, so that this song may be a witness for Me against the sons of Israel” (19). The song may be forgotten for a season, but the people will be reminded. As Israel turns their faces away from the Lord in the Promised Land, they will remember that they have forgotten the Lord—at that point they can repent or continue going astray. 

God tells Moses his time is running out. Joshua will follow Moses in leadership. This song will be a legacy of sorts. When they forget everything else, they will not forget the song. There are three things worth mentioning about this event. First, for Moses to leave behind a song about a relationship with the Lord (which is what we presume it’s about), he must be an example in his faith. Only a person of integrity could compose such a song. 

If you left behind a song, what would it say? If it had nice things, biblical things, would they be true of your life right now? If you said that a relationship with the Lord is the most important thing in life, does your life evidence that?

Secondly, notice that Moses had Joshua. Many leaders never consider a transition of leadership. Moses had clearly invested in Joshua. Who are you investing in?

Lastly, this passage illustrates the need for reminders in our lives. I once heard of a study done on spiritually mature teenagers. They had several things in common including several deep adult relationships. One surprising thing was that they listen to Christian radio or Christian music. Now, don’t get me wrong, not all Christian music is created equal. In fact, I don’t really love Christian radio—it’s incredibly cheesy. There are moments though, driving along, when I hear a lyric that makes me think. It calls to mind some scripture or biblical truth. The radio can serve as a reminder. It shouldn’t be the only reminder in your life, but it’s a good one. 

So, what reminders have you established in your life so that you don’t forget to prioritize your relationship with the Lord? What patterns have you set so that you can faithfully gather with other believers? 

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

August 15, 2019

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 31:1-13

Why do we meet together? Why, when our friends, coworkers, and neighbors are all sleeping in on Sunday mornings, do we gather? Even people who proclaim to believe in God or religion sometimes neglect to meet together. So why do we do it?

The passage we read today gives us some insight on Moses’ last days with the Israelites shortly before he dies and before the 12 tribes of Israel cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Moses encourages the whole multitude, as well as Joshua specifically by saying “Be strong and courageous… It is the LORD who goes before you… [and] he will not leave or forsake you.” In short, trust the God who has brought you thus far.
Verse 12 gives us good reason for why we as the church should meet often. “Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear [the word of God] and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law” (emphasis mine).
Why should we gather? To hear the word of God! To learn to have a right fear and respect of God! And to meditate on and obey the word of God! This is not just to benefit us personally, either. This passage says to bring the men, women, children, and sojourners (i.e. wanderers, strangers, aliens) to hear the word of God. Ours is not a faith of selfishness, but one to be shared and spread.
A pastor once said, “If you come to church once a month, don’t be surprised when your kids only come once a year when they’ve left your home.” We are to gather regularly that those who hear the word of the LORD may put it to good use!
How are you using the teaching and preaching of God’s word to impact those around you?

By: Tyler Monroe — Worship Ministries Intern

August 14, 2019

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 30:11-20

This is one of my favorite sections of scripture in Deuteronomy. After some tough and seemingly dry passages concerning the law, this is the end of Moses’ sermon, where he is seeking a commitment from the Israelites to trust in God’s grace and obey His commands. It may even sound familiar, because the apostle Paul uses verse 12 in Romans 10:6-9:

But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

However, the apostle Paul goes even further and relates Christ (in parentheses in the Romans passage) to Deuteronomy 30:12. We know that word that is close to them and saves them is the coming Messiah for Moses and the fulfilled Messiah, Jesus, with Paul. We also know the rest of the passage in Deuteronomy is true for us just as much as the Israelites—obeying God and following Jesus is truly a matter of life and death.  What a great reminder that Jesus is all throughout Scripture and how God speaks to us today just as much as he did with the Israelites. 

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor

August 13, 2019

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 30:1-10

Today’s passage is very applicable to us today. It’s talking about a message and theme that is pertinent all throughout the Bible: repentance and restoration.

“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.” (v. 1-3, ESV)

10 when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (v. 10, ESV)

Repenting of sin leads to forgiveness, which leads to restoration. We know that in Christ, it is God’s grace that leads to true and ultimate blessing. But it is a reality that when we are obedient to God’s revealed will in the Bible, we are living out God’s design for our life, and when we live out God’s design, things will be better than if we are doing it our own way for our own glory.

In what ways are you living for yourself instead of living for God?

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Apprentice