Sunday, October 26, 2014

"REMEMBER the LORD, your God!"

Day #303:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - October 27th

Scripture Reading:  Deuteronomy 7 - 9 ...

There is no God like our God ... in fact, there are NO OTHER GODS!!  There is ONE Creator who has revealed Himself in His Word and through His Son Jesus Christ and by the power of His Spirit ... Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Israel, the God who saves those who believe through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  There is no other!!!  AND, we who believe are His CHOSEN people!  As God chose Israel to be His people from Abraham on, so God has chosen some from every people, tribe, nation and tongue to be His chosen people today.  Peter writes, "You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (I Peter 2:9).  As we read in Deuteronomy about God's deliverance of the people of Israel and His charge to them to REMEMBER, so WE need to remember the Lord, OUR God, as we live in the world today as His witnesses.

In Deuteronomy Moses is reminding the people of Israel who God is, who they are and what God had done for them.  Reminders are important!  He begins in Chapter 7 by looking to the future and giving them instructions for possessing the land and removing the nations who lived there.  Isn't it interesting that today people are accusing Israel of "taking" the land the Palestinians had before, when the truth is, GOD gave the land to Abraham and his descendants more than 4,000 years ago!  Moses said that it was God who would drive the people out of the land so HIS people could possess it (7:1-2).  God told them to destroy the people totally, to make no treaties with them, and not to allow their children to marry them, "for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods" (7:4).

This would be a continual temptation for Israel throughout the history of the Old Testament.  They would all too often give into the temptation because they did NOT remember the Lord, THEIR God!  We who are God's people today need to listen to what God said to them:  "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" (7:6).  There is in the church at large today a hesitancy to declare that we who believe are God's chosen people.  Instead, a false gospel is being promoted that says God loves everybody the same and that even those who don't know or confess Jesus may be accepted by God for their sincerity.  People are being told that by being "religious" you are somehow good enough to be received by God (any "god").

But God makes it clear through Moses that GOD chose Israel, they didn't choose Him!  "It was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath He swore to your forefathers that He brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery (out of the darkness)" (7:8).  And there's more:  "It is not because of YOUR righteousness or YOUR integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land" (9:5).  Why was that so important?  Because "righteousness" is the central theme of the entire Bible!  Every human being is sinful - UNrighteous before a holy God.  The destruction of the nations that lived in the land of Canaan, the land God was giving to Israel, were wicked ... ALL of them.

God said, "You must destroy all the peoples the LORD your God gives over to you.  Do not look on them with pity and do not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you" (7:16).  God tells the Israelites why He is doing this:  "It is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is going to drive them out before you" (9:4).  And then He tells Israel that it is not because of THEIR righteousness that He has chosen them, because "you are a stiff-necked people" (9:6).  Truth time:  ALL people are wicked, sinful, unrighteous and rebellious.  Apart from the grace of God in choosing some, we would ALL be lost!  Why do people IN THE CHURCH choose to identify themselves with those who are lost rather than with those who are saved by God's amazing grace?

When people say, "There's some "good" in everyone," would God agree?  They are wicked ... and the truth hurts.  God even became angry at Israel when they worshiped the golden calf and would have destroyed them, but Moses interceded for them (9:13-29), displaying himself as a type of Christ.  Moses says, "I feared the anger and wrath of the LORD, for He was angry enough with you to destroy you" (9:19).  Moses said to God, "O Sovereign LORD, do not destroy Your people, Your own inheritance" (9:26).  God had destroyed the world in the flood and mankind had not changed.  They still deserved God's perfect wrath and judgment.  But God chose some ... God chose Israel!

Remember God's words:  "YOU are a people holy to the LORD your God" (7:6).  THEY weren't holy, but they were "holy to God."  "Holy" in this instance means, "set apart" or "sanctified." It was GOD who chose them and set them apart to be His holy people.  It is God who chooses you and me to be His chosen people today.  Jesus said, "You did not choose me, but I chose you" (John 15:16).  Paul writes that God chose us before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).  Do you understand what it means to be "chosen"?  Do you comprehend the privilege of being a child of God?  If you don't ... perhaps you aren't.  Many of those who were in Israel were not really the children of God because they didn't KNOW God ... they didn't remember the LORD their God!

Throughout these words that Moses spoke to them he calls them to remember God, to remember what He had done for them, to remember that He was with them, that He was THEIR God!  God told them that no one would be able to stand up against them because HE would be with them.  Moses told them that God had humbled them in order to know what was in their heart (8:2).  He did this to teach them that "man does not live on bread alone but on very word that comes from the mouth of the LORD" (8:3).  Moses was talking about SPIRITUAL life!  The most important thing for any human being is spiritual life.  What so many refuse to believe is what Paul describes in Ephesians 2:1:  "As for you, you were DEAD in your transgressions and sins ..."

From a human race made up of all DEAD people, God chooses some and gives them life!!  He makes us righteous in Christ by faith, a righteousness not our own, but credited to us by faith.  Apart from God, there is NO life.  Israel was chosen as a nation, given God's Word, which alone is able to produce life in those who are spiritually dead, and set apart, and yet, God was displeased with them and Moses explained, "If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow others gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed" (8:19).  REMEMBER the LORD, your God!  If God is not your Savior, your Redeemer, your Deliverer, then you don't know God!!  The only way to know God is to hear His Word, to be born again by His Spirit, to believe in Jesus Christ.  And if you have, or if you do, then you are HIS.  Those who claim to know God and who go on living their lives for themselves are not fooling God.

God is the same God today as He was when Moses spoke these words to Israel.  We live in what the Bible calls "the day of salvation" (II Corinthians 6:2).  Listen to this warning from the writer of Hebrews:  "We must pay more careful attention therefore to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.  For if the message spoken by angels (the Law) was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall WE escape if we ignore such a great salvation?" (Hebrews 2:1-2).  "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our 'God is a consuming fire'" (Hebrews 12:28-29).

A chosen people ... a people belonging to God ... that's who we who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are.  By God's grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, we are the people of GOD!  Brothers and sisters in Christ, remember the LORD your God!!  Praise Him, thank Him, love Him, serve Him ... now and forever!!!

"O LORD, our God ... O LORD, MY God, I put my hope in You alone, for You are God and there is no other!  I praise You for saving me and making me Your child; for feeding my soul with Your Word and drawing me to Yourself.  Continue Your work in me, O LORD, that I may be holy, as You are holy, and never turn away from You, my God.  You are MY God, and I love You, LORD!  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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