Category Archives: Deuteronomy

Above All Else: For God’s Glory

WE ARE CREATED TO GLORIFY GOD, ever and ever to praise Him, the Alpha and Omega, the Almighty.  This is His just due, not because He is an egotist, but because it is the natural order that the one who made everything and has power over everything should be acknowledged accordingly.

Throughout history, God shaped a people who would reflect His holiness and bring Him glory.  They would be His treasure and delight.  Look at the verses below that chronicle this plan from God’s very heart:

  • Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.  Ex 19:5
  • But as for you, the LORD took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are. Deut 4:12
  • For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. Deut 7:6
  • Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth– every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory.   Isa 43:6-7
  • They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God. Ez 37:23
  • Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word   Eph 5:26
  • who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good  Titus 2:14
  • But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  I Peter 2:9
  • In him we were also chosen, … in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. Eph 1:11-12;

But too often we treat God as impotent and uncaring.  We don’t think He will answer our prayers.  We don’t live bold lives.  Instead, we are swamped with discouragement.  We compromise.  We lose our dreams.

God’s name is to be exalted, not profaned or belittled.  He is to be honored as HOLY, POWERFUL AND FAITHFUL.  Through the ages, He has upheld His name, and we should do the same.

  • I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out Ez 20:14;
  • for the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another. Is 48:11;
  • But for the sake of my name, I brought them out of Egypt. I did it to keep my name from being profaned in the eyes of the nations among whom they lived Ez 20:9
  • I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel. Ex 39:7
  • Tell Aaron and his sons to treat with respect the sacred offerings the Israelites consecrate to me, so they will not profane my holy name. I am the LORD. Lev 22:2
  • But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.’
  • And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  Heb 11:6

I am posting a picture from a church wedding I recently attended.  Look how everyone is celebrating!  Our hearts were bursting with joy and praise for God.  He worked powerfully to save and to bless abundantly, to give hope.

1529840_651025674952839_752902502142490133_o

On Friday night I went to a Bible talk and we talked about the parable of the unmerciful servant. (Luke 18)  I thought one reason the servant didn’t forgive his fellow servant was that he took for granted the amazing mercy he had been shown when his own debt had been forgiven.

Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.  At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.  Matt 18:25-27

We have been given so much.   We should be filled with joy, live lives of celebration, constantly giving glory to God and Christ.  We have a wonderful merciful savior.  He is faithful to us, His treasured possession.  We must honor HIS HOLINESS AND HIS NAME by living powerful, effective lives that DELIGHT in Him.  Amen.

 

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Filed under Abundance/Greatness of God, Deuteronomy, Faith, Favorite, Glory Above All, Having the Right Heart, Holiness, More of Christ

It Doesn’t Revolve Around Man

holy is your name

It’s all about God.  I keep forgetting that.  In my egocentricity, I keep thinking it’s about me, it’s about us, it’s about man.

And God has done amazing things on behalf of man.

But still, the world doesn’t revolve around man, it’s about God.

What did Jesus tell us should be the first thing to pray?  About us and our needs?  No, “Our Father in heaven, HOLY IS YOUR NAME.”

What is the greatest commandment?  To love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind.

What does God say about himself and his purpose?   “But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Ex 9:16

God’s name must be proclaimed.  He must be glorified as the almighty and only supreme being.  Here are some other verses about this:

  • I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes. Ex 36:23
  • If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name–the LORD your God—Deut 28:58
  • As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm  I Kings 8:41-42  (Solomon praying at the dedication of the temple.)
  • I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. Is 42:8
  • I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay on them. Eze 39:21
  • For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Hab 2:1

One thing I am growing in recently is an appreciation of the need to glorify God.  I think we have a deep need to worship a transcendent God, and this can only happen when we appreciate the awesome and majestic holiness of God.

It’s all about God, and we are happiest when we acknowledge this.  Worship expresses the utter truth.

Yesterday I got with Marge, our women’s leader, and we started talking about the different women in our ministry.  As we talked, I started to get more and more anxious.  There are so many needs, and not enough of me to go around and meet those needs!  Finally I got out my guitar and sang some psalms to God.  I had to get the focus off of myself.

Sometimes I think I want it to be about me, but if it were really about me, I would explode.  I can’t be God.  It needs to be about HIM and only HIM.

This morning as I was praying, I remembered a song that reflects this insight:

This day is not my day
These possessions are not mine.
Time and physical existence
Are the Lord’s domain —  a matrix of God
In Him we live and move and have our being.
So what conceit to live apart from Him.
The way to be in harmony with God,
with everything around us
Is just to praise, just to praise.
Every particle of my being
Wants to resonate with praise.
It is right, it is right
What I was created to do.

It’s all about God, and this needs to be more of my mindset.  I’m looking forward to reading more verses that help me to grow in this.  And may I leave a trail of God’s glory behind me as I go.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. I Cor 10:31

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Filed under Abundance/Greatness of God, Deuteronomy, Ezekiel, Having the Right Heart, Holiness

Confidence that Speaks Boldly

And we are God’s house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. (Heb 3:6)

I just finished reading Deuteronomy and the final words from God that Moses gave to the Israelites.  Now I am looking at Hebrews 3, which compares Christ to Moses.  Just as Moses was a leader over God’s house, His people, Jesus is now the leader over God’s people today.  And Christ is greater than Moses, because Jesus isn’t just the leader, he helped create the house, he drew people to Him and transformed their souls.

The whole chapter of Hebrews 3 addresses the situation of how the Israelites lost faith when they came to Canaan because the city and people were so intimidating.  God called it a sinful and unbelieving heart.  So this part of Hebrews was written to remind us not to be like the Israelites.

First, as in the verse above, we are to hold firmly, “katecho.”  One of the definitions of katecho is to keep a ship going in a direction.  I cannot let the wind and waves, the storms of life, get me off track. I must hold tenaciously to my goals for Christ.

storm-ravaged-ship

Second, we are to remain confident.  The word that is translated “confidence” here carries the connotation of boldness and courage.  It is used to describe how people would proclaim things openly and publicly.  It is also used to describe Peter when he started his ministry, “When they saw the courage (boldness) of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus”  (Acts 4:13) and then later when they prayed for boldness, “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.”  (Acts 4:29)

So the confidence I need to have is not a quiet assurance.  I am tempted to say I am a Christian and I can keep it on the lowdown if I so choose.  But this word implies being so sure about Christ that I will speak out without fear, that I must speak out.  The whole world, all of life, is about Him.  When He is with me, I can do it.  If I have niggling doubts, if I give into shrinking back because a situation is challenging, I begin to lose faith.  No matter what the situation, I must maintain the course of speaking out boldly that  God will prevail.  “And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us.” (Numbers 14:9)

Third, we are to boast, glory, in our hope in Christ.  Although I am going through trials today, I need to rejoice that His grace will be sufficient to get me through, that he is with me always, that he wants to graciously give me all things, that there will be a way out.  He is my HOPE, the best thing that I have in the midst of my trials!

So I need to see to it that I do not have a sinful and unbelieving heartI cannot allow myself to give into the fears.  Not only is this unfaithful, it is sinful, evil.  I am not saying that, God did.  It is evil to get discouraged. It is sinful to lose heart because of what is going on with me, or the people around me.

So as it is fresh in my mind the huge scope of God’s plan that was revealed in Deuteronomy, I think of how Israel was God’s portion, His treasured possession, a people holy to himself.  God allowed the Israelites to go to Egypt and suffer as slaves, but through that they became a great nation, and God’s greatness was shown in bringing them out of Egypt.  God planned to open the heavens and pour his blessings on them, if only they would be true to Him.  And part of being true to Him was believing that He was with them, so they could go into battle and prevail.

As I was advising someone yesterday, we cannot put our eyes on man and his shortcomings to find faith.  We fix our eyes on Jesus.  Let me fix my eyes on Jesus today, and put my hand to the rudder and not let my trials or fears blow me off course.  Let me speak and act with boldness.  Christ is with me.  I CAN do it.  The situation will work out.  Each place is the place I am meant to be so I must confidently open my mouth, confidently step out.

“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life.”  Joshua 1:5

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Has Anything So Great Ever Happened?

Selections from Deuteronomy:

Ask from one end of the heavens to the other.  Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of?  …Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation?”  4:32-34

“We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand…to give us the land he promised on oath to our forefathers.”  (6:21-23)  Your forefathers who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky. (10:22)  My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous.  (26:5)

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God.  The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the people on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.”  (7:7)

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”  (7:9)

Every place where you set your foot will be yours.”  (11:24)  “Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God.”  (7:21)  Do not be fainthearted or afraid…For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you the victory.”  20:3-4

“And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” 10:12-13

The Lord will grant you that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated…The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to…The Lord will establish you as his holy people…The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity…The Lord will open the heavens to send rain on your land…The Lord will make you the head, not the tail.”  28

You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’  But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant…”  (8:18  )”Such a person thinks…’I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way.’  This will bring disaster on the watered land.  The Lord will never be willing to forgive him; his wrath and zeal will burn against that man.” (29)

Take some of the firstfruits of all you produce….and put them in a basket…Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before Him.  And you…shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household.”  (26)

But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.”  (29:4)  The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul and live.” (30:6)

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  For the Lord is your life…”  30:19-20

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