Thursday, February 24, 2011

Deuteronomy 27-29

On a day like wouldn't you like to be camped on the bank of a river with the promised land?  I am buoyed by the knowledge that spring is close.  Hope you are safe and warm.  Last night was a rough one for me.  I had a reaction to a new medication that caused chills and fever and (most troubling) a very rapid heartbeat.  Sleep was in short supply, but I feel much better today although a little sleep deprived.

Today's reading is the conclusion of Moses oration to Israel before they crossover and he heads into the mountains.  Tomorrow's reading includes one of my very favorite passages "chose life".

Moses reminds Israel that God has chosen them from all the peoples of the world to be his own; to be, not just "hearers of the word, but doers."  Isn't that still them problem for many of God's chosen, that we hear, read, know what God calls us to but we fail to do what is commanded of us as his Children of Blessing.  God calls us to be more than people of the book, but to be people who are obedient to God's word.

This section about blessings and curses is difficult for us to fully comprehend, it appears to me that God planned to reveal himself to the world through Israel; whether they succeeded or failed.  The blessing that he had in store for them were so dramatic that all the world would know that only God could have made it so and, indeed, at the height of Israel's power during David & Solomon's rule; much of the world bowed to Israel even though, geographically, Israel was never a very big country, but God did bless them indeed during their seasons of obedience.  The curses came with the blesses.  The flip side of the two-edged sword if you were going to enter into an Old Testament covenant with God and those promises came true as well.

Israel disregarded God's command about keeping Sabbath, having no Idols, caring for the Alien, orphan and widow and eventually they were carried off into exile....twice!!  And then in about 68 A.D., the Romans destroyed the temple, laid siege to Jerusalem, tore it brick by brick and if you can believe the historical account of Josephus, a historian of that era, cannibalism was practiced during the siege by the Jews who were starving to death waiting for Rome to smash them.  Ugly stuff!!

But we are Christians, we are bound by a different covenant....a New Testament promise that doesn't depend upon our faithfulness because it is grounded in the faithfulness of Jesus Christ who bore the punishment for our failures.  We are not blessed because of our obedience, but we are blessed because of Christ's obedience.  Now that is something to give thanks for.......can I hear a hallelujah?

Finally, as Moses begins to wind down in this great oration he reminds them again about all that God has done for them in delivering them from slavery in Egypt and preserving them in the wilderness.  But he tells them it is not the signs and wonders in the wilderness that will make them victorious in this new land, but it is the supernatural change that has been done in their hearts as they have given their allegiance to God and trusted in him for all of their needs that will help them stay the course.  Sometimes we think that if God would do a great miracle that all the world could see, then they would come to faith.  But that has not been the case in the last 5 or 6 thousand years.  Signs and wonders won't save us or bring us to faith.....God working in our hearts is the thing that will bring salvation and the peace that passes all understanding.

Thanks for reading along with me.  You are a great encouragement.

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