Since the beginning of December, I started reading through Deuteronomy. (which essentially means “These are the words…”) A few years back, I heard Beth Moore say this is “THE COMMENTARY of ALL COMMENTARIES.” If you are “church cultured” you know what this means. If not, this isn’t really something I want to focus on… so lets proceed. Also, don’t skip the scripture reference. (I wouldn’t know anything about that 🙂 )
“Hear, Israel: You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky. 2 The people are strong and tall-Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: “Who can stand up against the Anakites?” 3 But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you. 4 After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, “The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. 5 It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.6 Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people. ” Deuteronomy 9:1-6 NIV
So, in much paraphrasing so I can keep it in context and brief
1.) Israel is God’s chosen people
2.) They are entering a land where people worship other gods
3.) He is a devouring fire and will destroy and subdue before His people
4.) Annihilate….yep. synonyms.. carry off, decimate, eliminate, eradicate, wipe out
5.) The Lord didn’t drive out those folks because of how great His people was, it was on the account of wickedness and to accomplish His promise He has made to His people years and years before
Okay, so deep breath. When we focus on feel good messages about God and being His, (which is NOT WRONG) but then leave out the above passage, we miss the Character of who He is. Oh yeah, also, we have Jesus. (He’s always been there but that’s another discussion) BUT THIS TEXT IS SUPER IMPORTANT. And it brings attention to…
False worship of gods.
We read through the Old Testament and there is so many examples of false worship. A few examples…include but are not limited to (keep in mind, I am paraphrasing)
1.) graven images (see Psalms 78:58/Psalms 97:7/Deuteronomy 4:16)
2.) golden calf (see Exodus 32)
3.) incorporating God and the culture they were saturated in (2 Kings 17:33) (cough..cough…USA…cough…cough) <- MAYBE THIS IS ANOTHER BLOG. HA!
This year, my “New Year’s Resolution” is to seek to know the One TRUE God. Not that I haven’t the last 7 years. BUT, the awareness of reading the God of the Bible and the god of who we think He is, is a lot like 2 Kings. A lot of our own concepts and grids can alter who He is. We function a lot on our feelings don’t we? Just look at the culture and access. It is NATURAL that, that happens. BUT WE HAVE TO pursue the “renewal of our minds” (Romans 12:2) It takes pursuit and discipline. But we can’t do either of those if we don’t love the One who we pursue.
In the Old Testament we read and think “Are they crazy? Did they just not see God part the Red Sea?” (the Israelites wandering/complaining just after He took them out of slavery and into freedom. see Exodus 14:15-31-the next few chapters..which turns into many of the books) But I can list a number of “carved idols” in my life that He needs me to see and break me. And the list goes on without me knowing them. (yet, anyway)
Christians: The Bible is GOD speaking to us. Let’s stop using it as a moral compass. The world doesn’t understand because they don’t know who He is. Let’s stop using our good behavior (alone) to draw people to Jesus (our righteousness didn’t give us anything. We only have Jesus) And check our hearts to see WHERE (Because I guarantee there IS) we have golden calves and graven images. And, if we properly worship Him and Him alone, wouldn’t others see and be drawn?
May God be our portion. (Psalm 73:26)
Grace and Peace