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

March 22, 2014

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 1:9-18

The Hardships of Leadership…

I think it’s ironic here, that Moses is encouraging Israel to trust in the Land of Promise, and all the while recounting the hardships it took to get them where they are.  Encouragement for the future sometimes entails considering the mistakes of the past.  During this remembrance, Moses tells of when he appointed leaders.

It was his father-in-law, Jethro, who suggested it, if you remember back to Exodus 18.  Moses had a lot of people to lead and they were difficult to lead many times, but God used Jethro in his life to help him lead wisely and strongly.  I think we can glean some insights into leadership as we look at these verses:

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

1.  Increased leadership inevitably comes with increased problems (v 9-12)

“Moses continued, “At that time I told you, ‘You are too great a burden for me to carry all by myself. The Lord your God has increased your population, making you as numerous as the stars! And may the Lord, the God of your ancestors, multiply you a thousand times more and bless you as he promised! But you are such a heavy load to carry! How can I deal with all your problems and bickering?”

God’s people were growing and this was a good thing.  It was the fulfillment of His promise to fill the earth with His people.  But even though this was a blessing, it came with more problems.  For us, all the people we lead have expectations, wants, and problems.  Put more people together and it’s not hard to figure out what you’ll get…more expectations, wants, and problems.

2.  Increased leadership inevitably requires increased delegation (v 13-15)

“Choose some well-respected men from each tribe who are known for their wisdom and understanding, and I will appoint them as your leaders.’  “Then you responded, ‘Your plan is a good one.’ So I took the wise and respected men you had selected from your tribes and appointed them to serve as judges and officials over you. Some were responsible for a thousand people, some for a hundred, some for fifty, and some for ten.”

Moses couldn’t lead all of the people by himself.  It was simply too much to bear.  He had to release it.  If he would have hoarded the leadership out of his own micromanagement or his own pride his leadership would have been hindered, and ultimately God’s plan would have been hindered, at least under his leadership it would have been.  He had to delegate and become a leader of leaders.  And for us, as our leadership increases we need to learn to delegate to people of wisdom and understanding.  We can’t do it on our own, we need to learn to delegate, and ultimately extend our leadership.

3.  Increased delegation inevitably requires increased time of training (v 16-18)

“At that time I instructed the judges, ‘You must hear the cases of your fellow Israelites and the foreigners living among you. Be perfectly fair in your decisions and impartial in your judgments. Hear the cases of those who are poor as well as those who are rich. Don’t be afraid of anyone’s anger, for the decision you make is God’s decision. Bring me any cases that are too difficult for you, and I will handle them.’  “At that time I gave you instructions about everything you were to do.

Moses had to instruct those He delegated to on how to deal with the Lord’s people.  He was the leader and his delegates were to fulfill the Lord’s plan, so he was responsible for instructing them, training them, and guiding them.  He empowered his leaders.  I love how he says not to be afraid of anyone’s anger if people don’t like a decision.  He empowered his leaders and they were to lead under the authority of God, so when people were upset the leaders had to trust that it was God who appointed them.  As leaders, we need to empower those we delegate to, as well as instruct them for the task.

All three of these aspects in our leadership will affect the future of many people.  We can learn from Moses as we seek to lead God’s people.  How do you need to adjust in your leadership?

Posted by:Sam Cirrincione

March 21, 2014

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 1:1-8

In honor of the new Jumpstart book we will be starting today, we will now be taking a 5 minute break to listen to this ultra cheesy 90’s Christian parody band that Todd Thomas and I had the privilege to see live at a youth group church camp as they take the Def Leopard classic “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and COMPLETELY REDEEM THEMSELVES (dumb & dumber reference anyone?) by changing the lyrics into “Learn Some Deuteronomy”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXIQ3M92BPI

Background and Purpose of Deuteronomy

Now that we got that out of our system, here’s a little background on Deuteronomy, the book we’ll be covering for the next two months. The book of Deuteronomy was written by Moses and derives from the greek for “second law” which is not an accurate title for the book since there is not a second law written by Moses in the book but instead the preaching of the original law given to Moses for Israel at Mount Sinai. This is the last book written by Moses and it makes up Moses’ last sermons before Israel is to enter the Promised Land with a strong emphasis on obeying the law, the faithfulness of God despite Israel’s sins and the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham.

Taking Action in God’s Promises in Deuteronomy 1:1-8

God begins the book off showing the journey that Moses and Israel was on to get to the Promised Land through the armies they defeated and the time it took to defeat those kings. After much travel and conquests, God placed them in the land of Moab and Moses told the people in vs. 8 See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them.’

This land was what God promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their children and as we all know God will always fulfill His promises but they need to be reminded to (1. See the promise. (2. Go and take possession of it. Sometimes we view God’s promises as something we don’t exactly have to work for because we know that our God is a God who doesn’t lie and will make good on His word. The trouble is that many times it requires action from us as well. For example, God in all of His sovereignty will conform every Christian to become more like Him because He promised it but it also requires action steps from us in spending time with Him in word, prayer, church community and discipleships. He has promised to spread the Gospel to all nations in the great commission but He tells us to take action and “GO” to advance that message. As the Israelites were reminded to take possession of God’s promise, may you be reminded to take possession of the promises God has made to you by taking action in your life with those promises.

Posted by:Erik Koliser