Deuteronomy 15 – Share What You’ve Been Given

You can see it in a small child protectively clutching a toy. You can hear it in their voice when they punctuate the word “mine!” Since the Garden of Eden, our natural tendency has been to keep, rather than give.

But God’s people are to be characterized as givers. We are to demonstrate the character of the One who has so graciously given everything to set us free and continues to generously give everything we need for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3) He reached down when we were in need, leaving us an example to follow.

In Deuteronomy chapter 15, God institutes the year of Jubilee or the year of release. It’s God’s way of reminding His people who they are and where they’ve come from. Deuteronomy 15:4 teaches us that as God’s children, our hearts and resources should go out to the poor and the debtor. Just as God freed us and blessed us, we too are to free and bless others. And as we generously share what God has given us, God will bless us even more.

This applies spiritually as well as materially. We are to give the forgiveness we’ve been given. We are to give the love we’ve been given. And we are to give the mercy we’ve been given. As God’s children, we are to give release and relief, both spiritually and materially.

Have you experienced release and relief from God? If so, how do you need to share that? Whom do you need to forgive? How do you need to bless someone? Find a way to start today!

Deuteronomy 14 – Pay Attention to the Little Things

A few years ago there was a book published entitled, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” While I agree we shouldn’t get overly anxious or bogged down in small, inconsequential things, that doesn’t mean we should ignore the little things.

Little things are important, because big things are made up of a series of little things. If the little things are not properly cared for, the big things are liable to falter. Just ask anyone who has ignored little things like putting oil in their car, air in their tires, or gas in their tanks.

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Deuteronomy 13 – Anything Other Than Devoted Exclusivity

Funny thing about marriage…it needs devoted exclusivity to survive. Marriage can survive all types of problems and upheavals, but it cannot survive if a spouse continues to share his or hear devotion with someone else.

Funny thing about a relationship with God…it needs devoted exclusivity to survive. A relationship with God can survive all types of problems and upheavals, but it cannot survive if a person continues to share their devotion with anyone or anything else.

This is what Deuteronomy chapter 13 is telling us. God must come first! He alone can be God in our life. He alone deserves our highest devotion; (even over our spouse and our children.) He will not share the throne of our life with anything or anyone else. And any attempt to get Him to do so will cause us to forfeit the closeness, intimacy, and trust we had with Him.

We allow so many things to fragment our devotion to God. But allowing anything else to hold the place that only God should hold in our life is an act of betrayal and infidelity on our part, and will create a serious breach in our relationship with God. Anything other than devoted exclusivity to God hurts our relationship with God.

May we examine our life and ask, “Are there any other gods in my life?”

Deuteronomy 12 – Be Specific

Have you ever noticed that when it comes to details, there are people who are more specific in nature and people who are more general in nature.

Specific people meticulously read the instructions before starting. General people just jump in, occasionally glancing over the instructions…if they look at them at all.

Specific people will sit at a red light for five minutes waiting for the light to change…even when no one else is at the intersection. General people will stop at the red light, but if no one else is there, and they’re already been waiting longer than they think they should, they will drive on.

Specific people see a rule as something to be followed. General people see a rule as something to be considered.

When it comes to worship, are you more general or specific?

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Deuteronomy 11 – The Freedom to Choose

“Life would be so much better if I could just get people to do what I want them to do.” Much of our stress and frustration is due to wishing, expecting and trying to get people to do what we want them to do.

Deuteronomy chapter 11 reminds us that God is the only one in existence who has the power to make people to do what He wants them to do…and He doesn’t do it! He lets people choose (Deuteronomy 11:26) God spells out our options and the consequences for those options. He also urges and encourages us toward the better choice. But He won’t make that choice for us.

If God can save us difficulty and problems by making us do what we’re suppose to do, why doesn’t He?

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Deuteronomy 10 – The importance of Being Persistent and Consistent.

When I was younger, I used to think that success was dependent upon talent, or skill, or wealth, or connectedness. I thought those who were successful merely had the right stuff and/or were in the right place at the right time.

There’s no doubt that these things are helpful, but the older I get, the more I’ve come to believe that success is much more about being persistent and consistent. Persistence and consistency are the two inseparable keys to success…both temporally and spiritually. In his book by the same name, Eugene Peterson called it “a long obedience in the same direction.”

Read moreDeuteronomy 10 – The importance of Being Persistent and Consistent.

Deuteronomy 8 – Don’t Forget!

“Alright! Alright! I heard you the first time!” These are the words I would think to myself when I was a teenager and my parents were telling me something over and over again, so I wouldn’t forget it. (It was probably safer to think these words, then to say them out loud to my parents.)

In Deuteronomy chapter 8, God, through Moses, is doing the same thing any good parent does…repeating His instructions over and over. And like any good parent, It’s not because He thinks we don’t understand. It’s because He’s stressing the importance of what He’s saying, as well as the need to remember it and apply it.

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Deuteronomy 7 – Do You Need to Declutter?

Marie Kondo has given rise to the recent trend in decluttering our living spaces. Marie encourages people to get rid of anything that doesn’t give them joy.

We all have have things we don’t really need and no longer give us joy. We walk around the stuff, trip over the stuff, and eventually become blind to the stuff. Though it adds no value to us, we still hold onto this stuff.

The same thing can happen in our spiritual lives. We can accumulate things that clutter and steal our joy spiritually. They are things that add no spiritual value, but we continue to walk around, trip over, and hold onto them.

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Deuteronomy 6 – God’s Locker Room Instructions

Just before a big game, a coach will gather the players together in the locker room and go over instructions about the attitudes and behaviors they will need to win the game.

You would think that Moses would give the same kind of locker room instructions just before sending the Children of Israel across the Jordon river to fight for the Promised Land. But that’s not the case!

In Deuteronomy chapter 6, instead of telling them what they need to do to win the battle, Moses tells them what they need to do after they have won the battle. He warns them not about the struggle, but about the success.

It’s true. Once we’ve achieved the success we’ve desired, we must be even more on our guard, for complacency is much more threatening than combat. Struggle heightens your senses, while success dulls them. When we’re in need, we acknowledge our dependency on God. When our bellies and our bank accounts are full, we act out of self-sufficiency.

So Moses reminds them that when the battle is over, and they are living in the peace and prosperity they always dreamed of, then it’s even more important that they…

  • Revere God as the One and only sovereign Creator and Sustainer.
  • Respond obediently and promptly to His commands and directions.
  • Recall all He has done for them.

This sounds like a good reminder/warning for us. Compared to the rest of the world, we are very wealthy…even the poorest of us. We live in an abundance that much of the world can’t imagine. We’ve been blessed with this, but not guaranteed it.

So don’t forget to revere the God of your blessings. Don’t forget to respond obediently to His commands and directions. And don’t forget to recall His mighty interventions in your life.

Deuteronomy 5 – Awe and Obedience

Remember when you were a kid and the sight of fireflies, shooting stars, and rainbows would cause you to stop in awe? Remember when your parents seemed so big and powerful that the sound of their voice would quickly snap you into obedience?

As we grow up, we tend to lose our child-like sense of awe, as well as our desire and willingness to obey authority.

We can also lose our sense of awe and obedience when it comes to our relationship with God. We lose our awe of God when we become too familiar with Him or too indifferent to Him. We lose our willingness to obey God when our self-motivated desires dampen our desire for prompt and complete obedience to Him.

In Deuteronomy chapter 5, Moses reminds the children of Israel that the key to their relationship with God, as well as their success in the world, would come from maintaining their awe of Him and their obedience to Him.

Awe and obedience should still be the core of our life and relationship with God. Without them, our life will lack power, passion, and production for God. Perhaps that’s why Jesus put such an emphasis on becoming child-like…as opposed to childish. (Matt. 18:3) (1 Cor. 13:11)

Our lives need to be based in awe over God’s indescribable greatness and obedience to His perfect Word. And one will prompt the other. If we reclaim our awe of God, it will renew our obedience to Him. If we improve our obedience to God, it will increase our awe of Him.

Have you lost your awe over the greatness of God? Do you find yourself treating obedience to God more as an option than a mandate? Pick one to focus on and the other will not be far behind.