Some things never change!

As I read through the book of Deuteronomy, I am struck by the way some things stay the same. Even though the words here were written by Moses, thousands of years ago, and delivered to the Jewish people as they prepared to enter the Promised Land, they are as fresh today as they were while the ink was still wet. Take a look at these things:

In chapter five, Moses recounts the commands given by God to his people. Today, people joke about them, calling them the “big ten.” We know them as the ten commandments. And though they are nearly four thousand years old, they set a standard that has not changed. As I read through them, I am still pricked by their relevance. In the New LIving, one paragraph reads this way, “Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God. The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.” That one gets me. I have often slipped into the cultural explanation, “Oh my God!” It is a misuse of His powerful name. And I had to repent. To agree with God and turn back from my way!

In chapter six, we read the famous lines, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love the LORD your God wiht all your heart , all your soul and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are gettin up again.” This phrase is repeated in the New Testament. It is the committment that we must hold toward the covenant. God initiated a relationship with the Jews. He did so with us, through Jesus. Are you committed to keeping the relationship?

In chapter seven we read, “The LORD did not choose you and lavish his love on you because you were larger or greater than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! It was simply because the LORD loves you…” The same words are true today. God did not choose me because of my talent, or skills, or charm. He chose me because He wanted to. For no other reason have I become the daughter of the God of the universe. He wanted me. That’s it. That’s all. A very humbling, but truthful position. In that truth, I draw GREAT strength.

Here is another truth. ‘Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God, who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and constantly loves those who love him and obey his commands.” We are the blessed recipients of a NEW covenant. No longer do we have to sacrifice animals every day for our unending sin. But the new covenant was sealed in Jesus’ blood. It was enough. And that new covenant is so sturdy that we can DEPEND on it to the thousanth generation. God CONSTANTLY loves those who love him and obey him. CONSTANTLY. I like that word.

And One Last Truth. This quote comes as a warning to the Jews. God tells them that success is a dangerous place. In chapter eight, we read, “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey his commands, regulations and laws. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along wiht everything else, that is the time to be careful. Do not become proud at that time and forget the LORD your God who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness…

Success is no less a temptation today. When our stomach is full, when things are going well, when the books are being published, then we are tempted to depend on ourselves. Worse, we can even begin to believe that our own strength brought us to this place. And that is a VERY dangerous temptation. For our God, the God of Jesus and the New Testament, is the same God of Deuteronomy and the Old Testament. He will NOT share his glory with us.

Be careful, lest in comfort, we become proud.

It’s a good word — even today.


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