Deuteronomy 32 – A Live Demonstration.

Some things just stick with you. They are indelibly inked on your mind and heart. It might be an event, a realization, a statement, a phrase or an image. Whatever it is, it’s stamped into you, and becomes timelessly highlighted in the midst of all the “normal” of life. This happened to me while reading Deuteronomy chapter 32. It was a phrase that grabbed me when I first read through the chapter, and it continues to echo in my head.

God, in explaining to Moses why he could not enter into the Promise Land, uses this phrase… “You failed to demonstrate my holiness to the people.”

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Deuteronomy 31 – God Knows You Better Than You Do.

“I know you better than you know yourself.” My teens would bristle every time I said this to them. Yet, with a few exceptions, it was usually true. I had observed them from the first minute of their life. I knew their temperament, their personality, their facial expressions, their tone of voice, their likes and dislikes…I knew them. Even during their teen years, when they were changing so rapidly and intensely, the basic thumb print of who they were continued to shine through.

But even though I knew so much about them…even though I knew both their strengths and weaknesses…even though I knew when they made mistakes, or lied, or rebelled…

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Deuteronomy 30 – The Choice Is Yours

Choice. It’s both wonderful and scary. Choice is always there and always available. From the dawn of creation until this very moment, choice has been the canvas on which life is painted. Choice is both the common denominator and the wild card of life.

It’s amazing that God would entrust us with the privilege, power, possibility, and unpredictability of choice. The fact that the God of order would allow us to choose speaks volumes about both His extensive power and love.

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Deuteronomy 29 – Trusting “Because I Said So.”

When children become pre-teens and teens, they think more abstractly and become more self-focused. When this happens, they want to know “why” before they carry out instructions. If they’re not told “why,” or if it makes no sense to them, they often resist the request or directive.

At times, parents need to take more time to explain the reasoning behind their directives. But, because of their age and experience, parents know and foresee things their children are unable to. So there are times when a child needs to trust their parent’s wisdom, intentions, and love…even though the child doesn’t have the information they desire.

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Deuteronomy 28 – Why Follow the Rules?

Remember when life was simple? “If you eat your vegetables, then you can have desert.” “Raise your hand to be recognized.” “Treat others well and they will treat you well.” The simplicity of that time could be boiled down to this axiom…Follow the rules and get the rewards.

For many people, Deuteronomy chapter 28 seems to awaken that axiom. This chapter seems to give us something tangible, do-able and controllable. It appears to make life simple again.

But life was never really that simple. It just seemed that simple.

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Deuteronomy 27 – The Creation of a Nation

How do you create a nation? What makes it a nation? What are the key elements of a nation?

Deuteronomy chapter 27, tells us about the forming of the nation of Israel. (Deuteronomy 27:9b) Like other nations, they separated from the rule they were under and fought to defend their freedom.

But it takes more than just separation and defense to make a nation. A new nation must not only abandon old rules, but it must also adopt new rules. To fail to do this is to create anarchy.

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Deuteronomy 26 – Things That Go Together

There are things that naturally go together. Think of bacon and eggs, peanut butter and jelly, Abbott and Costello, and Batman and Robin. When it comes to these pairings, one would seem incomplete without the other.

Deuteronomy chapter 26, reminds us of another inseparable pair: commitment and generosity. These are inseparable, because when you’re committed to something, you generously give yourself and your resources to it. And without generosity, your commitment is called into question.

The same is true when it comes to relationships. Your commitment to someone can be seen in how freely you give yourself and your resources to them. The greater your commitment, the greater your generosity, and the greater your generosity the greater the evidence of your commitment.

Nowhere is this inseparable pairing seen more (or at least it should be) than in marriage. Marriage calls for the ultimate in human commitment and giving. The more freely you give to your spouse, the more committed you are to them. And the more committed you are to your spouse, the more freely you give to them. Many a shaky marriage could be ignited and strengthened by pouring efforts into commitment and generosity. (In fact, Deuteronomy 26:16-19 sound a lot like a marriage ceremony.)

Deuteronomy chapter 26 reminds us that the same is true when it comes to our relationship with God. Our commitment to Him will be seen in our generosity to Him, and to others. (Matt. 25:40) (Matt. 22:36-39) And our generosity to God and others shows our commitment to Him and to others. Just like marriage, our relationship with God is to be characterized by a commitment to generously give ourselves and our resources to Him and others. May God help us to make these two concepts inseparable in our lives.

Deuteronomy 23-25 – A Simple Life

When I was growing up, my conscience and my sense of ethics was a direct result of my mother’s influence. My mother was raised by very moral and religious parents who regularly attended a small country Methodist church. Since my dad was not a believer, or even a religious man, it was my mom who taught me about right and wrong, about being fair and respectful of others, and about being kind and merciful to others.

Deuteronomy chapters 23-25, reminds me of her. The over-all theme of these chapters is the same ethics she impressed upon me…fairness, kindness, respect, and generosity.

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Deuteronomy 22 – Lines

We seldom stop and consider the importance  of something as simple as a line.

Lines give us definition and clarity. A property line defines exactly what belongs to us and what belongs to our neighbor, thus clarifying disputes. Lines can also direct, like the lines on the highways and streets which direct the flow of traffic. Lines promote order. Imagine the chaos at banks, supermarkets, and sporting events if there were no lines? And lines provide separation, as with lines of defense, lines on a coloring book, and poverty lines.

You can even hear the importance of lines in certain phrases we use. Phrases like: “That lines up with what I believe.” “I’m drawing a line in the sand.” “He crossed over the line.”

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Deuteronomy 21 – Rules and Regulations

We have rules and regulations to protect the innocent, punish the guilty, preserve the peace, and promote the general welfare. There’s just one problem…they don’t work!

Deuteronomy chapter 21 gives rules and regulations about a variety of things. When you read it, you can’t help but wonder why they needed all these specific rules and regulations.

The same is true today. There are more rules and regulations in our world than we can probably count, and we keep making more. Why? Because they don’t work! We keep finding new ways to break them, or new offenses that need new rules and regulations.

It’s not that rules and regulations are wrong, or that we should do away with them. (Even God saw the need for at least ten commandments.) It’s just that the problem(s) addressed by these rules and regulations will never be solved by regulating what we do with our hands. More than regulating our hands, we need to renovate our hearts. More than behavioral change, we need personal change…for what we do comes out of who we are. (Matt. 15:19)

There is a deep and pervasive limp in our very nature that leads us to be rule breakers. And we can’t fix this on our own. The law can’t cut it, because we can’t follow it. Yet, rather than being burdened by this, we belly up to the bar of self-sufficiency and order another round of rules.

We don’t need a new law; we need a new heart. We need to let God change the law of our heart. (Hebrews 10:16) Then we will have the power and desire to follow the laws and regulations we have…not out of obligation or fear of punishment, but out of love. (Rom. 7:6,7,14)

Are you paying more attention to the rules and regulations, or to the renovation of your heart?