Friday, February 12, 2016

"REMEMBER the LORD, your God!"

Day #44

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.  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 to those who believe in Jesus, "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).

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, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants more than 4,000 years ago!  Moses said 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 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!  

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).  

Throughout these words that Moses spoke to them he calls them to remember that God 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 DEAD people, God chooses some and gives us life!!  He makes us righteous in Christ by faith, a righteousness not our own, but credited to us through faith.  Apart from God’s grace, there is NO life.  Israel was chosen as a nation, given God's Word and set apart, and yet, God was displeased with most of 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, then you are HIS.  

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 Jesus, 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; I thank You 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.  You are MY God, and I love You, LORD!  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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