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 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?”

Numbers 6 – Do You Vow?

Numbers chapter 6 talks about a Nazarite vow. This is a vow in which a person separates themselves to God by separating themselves from certain things like: drinking wine or strong drink, having their hair cut, and being near a dead body…even if it’s a family member.

A Nazarite vow?! Who would do that, and what’s that got to do with me?

Not only is the ritual of a Nazarite vow foreign to us, the concept of a Nazarite vow is antithetical to the culture in which we live.

The idea of devotion through denial is not appealing to us. We are much more familiar with devotion through indulgence. Even in the Christian life, it’s so easy to assume that being devoted to Christ is about getting all of His goodness and resources we can get.

We have lost the idea that being devoted to Christ also involves denying ourselves…whether that denial is related to the pleasures of life we think we need, or the rights of life we think we deserve.

Even as I type this, my flesh cries out in opposition to denying myself pleasures or rights. But maybe that resistance itself highlights the importance of self-denial.

You can only be devoted to one thing at a time. (Matthew 6:24) At times, devotion to Christ requires denial of self, just as Jesus’ devotion to His Father required His own denial of self. (Matt. 4:1-11) (Phil. 2:6-8)

Perhaps we all need our own little Nazarite vow once in a while. Where is it you need to practice self-denial to better follow Christ?