The “Vicious” Cycle of Judges

Today’s Passage – Judges 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 10 – 13;  Proverbs 20Psalms 96 – 100

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 34

Read the “0320 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – God Sent Them A Deliverer,” and “Hold the Line.

“And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.” (Judges 2:18-19)

The Book of Judges covers the period of time from the death of Joshua to the beginning of the monarchy when King Saul was anointed. (Approximately from 1380 BC to 1050 BC) Joshua had driven out most of the inhabitants of the land, but there were still enemies within the borders of Israel that needed to be removed. Throughout judges, we see the victories and, unfortunately, the defeats of God’s people as they contend with these Canaanites and others.

During this period, Israel was ruled by judges. These judges were not necessarily sovereign rulers over the entire nation, but were mostly regional military and civil rulers and some of the dates of their leadership overlapped other judges.

The Book of Judges was probably written by Samuel, as is suggested by the Jewish Talmud. It had to be written after the coronation of King Saul as the Book claims four times that “there was no king in Israel.” (Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25) Judges would have to have been written after there was a king, but records history from before there was a king. It also had to be written before 990 BC, when David drove out the Jebusites from Jerusalem:

“And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day.” (Judges 1:21)

There were fifteen judges in all: thirteen mentioned in Judges, and then Eli and Samuel who are revealed in 1 Samuel. There is one female judge, named Deborah.

Throughout the Book of Judges we see a repeated cycle:

  1. Israel in a right relationship with God receiving God’s blessing of provision and protection.
  2. Israel moves away from God and begins to worship idols and fall into sin.
  3. God drops the hedge of protection that was placed around them, and Israel’s enemies begin to conquer them.
  4. Israel cries out to the Lord.
  5. The Lord raises up a judge.
  6. Israel is delivered.

We see the same thing happening in Christian’s lives today. Oftentimes people are saved out of very difficult circumstances. For a time, people are afterwards very contrite and zealous in their faithfulness to the Lord. However, often after experiencing the wonderful blessing of God, people will forget all about the God who blessed them. What a shame! Why can’t we learn to appreciate the Lord and remain devoted to Him as much during prosperity as we were during adversity.

America and the rest of the world are certainly experiencing adversity today. Let’s pray that this trial will cause us to cry out to the Lord as the Israelites did in days of old. But then let’s also pray that after deliverance comes, that we remain faithful.


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God Is a Promise Keeper

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Today’s Passage – Joshua 19 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Philemon – Hebrews 4Proverbs 18Psalms 86 – 90

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 19

Read the “0318 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.” – (Joshua 21:45)

In the Book of Joshua, in chapters 19 – 21, we see the continuation of the division of the land among the 12 tribes of Israel. Chapter 20 specifically deals with the six cities of refuge; and chapter 21 reveals the 48 cities that were to be given to the the Levites. These cities were to be given from within the borders of all of the other tribes so that the priests and ministers of the Lord would be nearby all of the people of Israel. The Levites were not really given a possession of land, but they were provided cities to live in, and suburbs for their cattle to graze in. This is probably where we got the idea of the church parsonage; and it is probably also why the United States Government does not tax these dwellings. God made sure that His ministers were well taken care of.

The verses that really captured my attention, however, from this morning’s reading was in chapter 21, verses 43 – 45. Here it says that God held up His end of the bargain. He did everything that He said He would do. He promised them a land, and He delivered. He promised them victory over the inhabitants of that land, and He gave it. He promised them provision all along the way, and they were provided for. In fact, the only time that things did not work out as they were supposed to was when the people did not listen to God’s instruction, and acted outside of His will.

We can trust in the promises of God. There are many promises for us in the New Testament. Some of them are unconditional, like our eternal security once we’ve placed our faith in Christ. However, many of them are conditional upon our obedience and faith. God says that if we will follow Him, He will do certain things for us. For instance He says that He will provide for us, and protect us, and give our lives purpose. These are only a few general samples of what God promises His children today. And God will keep up His end of the bargain. He will do what He says He will do. The question, however, is, will you follow Him? Will you trust Him, and do what you’re supposed to do. If things don’t turn out as He promised, it’s not because God slipped up. It is because we haven’t done what we are supposed to do. Why not find and believe God’s promises for you today; and why not do what He says that you have to do on your end in order for Him to bless you and your family.

By the way, the picture of the rainbow at the top is a reminder of one of God’s promises. He promised back in Genesis that He would no longer destroy the whole earth with a flood. There has been flooding at many times and in many places, but the water never again engulfed the entire earth. He told us that He set His bow in the clouds to remind us of that.


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I Want That Mountain

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Today’s Passage – Joshua 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here  to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Timothy 1 – 4; Proverbs 16; Psalms 76 – 80)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0316 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.” – (Joshua 14:12)

One of my favorite men in the Bible is Caleb. He had an unshakable and an unwavering faith in the Lord. He wholly followed the Lord his God, and there was no obstacle that was too large, and no enemy that was too powerful, to keep Caleb from fulfilling God’s will for his life. You will remember that when the spies were sent in to check out the land of Canaan there were only two of them that came back with a positive report; only two that knew that God was much bigger than and giant Canaanite. One of those two men was Caleb. Ten of those spies came back and said, “It can’t be done; it’s too hard; we’re not ready yet. Not Caleb. He and Joshua were ready for a fight:

“And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” – (Numbers 14:6-9)

In our passage today, it is now forty-five years after the spies came back, and Caleb is an old man; yet, he still has a lot of fight left in him. He is not thinking about retirement. He is still looking to conquer more giants for the Lord. We need more Calebs in the church today! Men and women who trust the Lord wholly to do “greater works than these”. We need people who are willing to fight for what is right; people who still see areas that need to be conquered for the Lord.

What does God want you to conquer for Him? What giant obstacle is in your path that God is waiting for you to trust Him to remove in His power? What neighborhood, or city remains unreached with the gospel? What are you afraid of. I know it’s not going to be easy. I know that there are giants trying to stop you, but your God is greater than any Giant. Trust Him and take the mountain!

 


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Face Your Fears

Face Your Fears

Today’s Passage – Joshua 10 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Timothy 1 – 6Proverbs 15Psalms 71 – 75)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Deuteronomy 32:4

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Day the Sun Stood Still

Read the “0315 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities. There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained. So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.” – (Joshua 11:21-23)

Remember the Anakims?

“And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” – (Numbers 13:32-33)

You might want to read Numbers chapter 13 in order to completely understand the point of this devotion. In a nutshell, Numbers 13 deals with Moses sending the 12 men into the land of Israel to spy out the land. They saw that the land surely was a good land, a land that flowed with milk and honey; but they also saw that the people of the land, especially the Anakims, were huge and pretty fierce looking people: they were giants. Instead of the spies returning with a good report of the wonderful opportunities that awaited them in their furture home, they returned with an evil report describing only the obstacles that stood in their way. To the people of Israel, the giants of the land were bigger than the God they served. As a result, God was highly displeased with their lack of faith and sentenced them to wander the wilderness for forty more years, until all of the naysayers had died off.

Here in our text in Joshua, we see the nation of Israel, forty plus years later, conquering those same giants that their fathers were afraid to face. Had that previous generation simply looked past the obstacles, they would have seen that their God was well able to bring them victoriously into that wonderful land of opportunity; but they let their fears control their destiny.

Don’t let your fear rob you of the opportunities that God is placing in front of you. Dr. Paul Fedena once preached a message at our church on the subject of fear. He taught that fear often paralyzes us from moving forward in the will of God. Fear is a natural human emotion, but we must not let it stop us from doing the things that God has called us to do. God will not ask us to do something that He will not enable us to do, in His strength. Too many Christians are wandering still in the wilderness of their fears, missing out on the wonderful blessings that await them in the promised land of a Spirit-filled life. Face your fears, not in your own strength, but in the power and might of the Lord.


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Moldy Bread, Broken Bottles, and Old Shoes

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Today’s Passage – Joshua 8 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Timothy 1 – 3; Proverbs 14; Psalms 66 – 70)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read the “0314 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.” – (Joshua 9:14)

In Joshua chapter nine, we see the children of Israel after their second successful battle in the land of Canaan. They had just destroyed the cities of Jericho and Ai, and they were on their way to conquer all of the other cities of Canaan that were in their path. The inhabitants of the land realized that this new nation coming in could not be beaten in battle, so they resorted to trickery in order to save themselves. The Gibeonites that inhabited four cities nearby that would have soon been destroyed came to the Joshua and the princes of Israel and pretended to be from a very far country, presumably outside of the land of Canaan. They even brought props with them in order to convince the Israelites that what they were saying was true. They brought with them mouldy bread, old and worn out shoes, and broken wine bottles; all designed to convince the Israelites that had travelled from far away. They were very deceptive, yet very convincing. They desired that Israel would make a covenant of peace with them, and Israel does. Without consulting the Lord, Israel takes the victuals that these people offer them, and promise them that they will not be destroyed.

The part about this story that I have the toughest time with is that even though the people of Israel were deceived, God still expected them to honor their covenant with these Gibeonites. It would seem to me that because the Gibeonites had not been truthful about where they came from, God would not expect His people to live up to their end of the bargain. I have struggled with this passage of Scripture for years, but I think I have it figured out now. You see, the people did not consult with God before they entered into this covenant. Had they talked to God about it, He would have told them not to believe the Gibeonites. As a result, Israel makes a tragic mistake, and God is going to make them live with their choice.

By the way, this is the second time that the Joshua Administration had acted without consulting God first. Remember when they went into the city of Ai the first time? They were defeated. Why? Because Achan stole the accursed thing back in the battle of Jericho. Again, it almost looked as if God was punishing the whole nation unfairly for the act of one man, which nobody else in Israel even knew about. But God knew, and God would have told Joshua, too, had Joshua only prayed before going into the battle with Ai. It seems that God’s people have this bad habit of praying after tragedy strikes, rather than doing a little preventive praying. Have you prayed today? Satan might right now be preparing a trap for you. You’d better be careful. What decisions are you about to make without a consultation with God, or perhaps at least a look into God’s principles found in His Word? What actions are you about to take? You had better take them to God first. You just may be on the verge of making a tragic mistake. God knows, and He can help you prevent it, but He wants you to come to Him first.

 


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Sin in the Camp

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Today’s Passage – Joshua 5 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Thessalonians 1 – 3; Proverbs 13; Psalms 61 – 65)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1

Read the “0313 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.” – (Joshua 7:2-5)

In our passage today, we read of the great victory of the Lord’s people in the Battle of Jericho. The large, fortress city of Jericho fell completely without one casualty in the army of Israel. It was perhaps the greatest military victory in history. Unfortunately, soon after the conquest of Jericho, the people of God suffered an horrible, embarrassing defeat against the much smaller city of Ai. Israel fled from the army of Ai, and mourned the loss of thirty-six men. Why would God give Israel such a tremendous victory at Jericho, and then remove his blessing from them so that they would lose so easily against a much smaller foe? I believe there are three reasons: three accursed things found within the camp of Israel that caused God to allow Israel to be punished before their enemy.

1  Disobedience – There was sin in the camp.

“But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.” – (Joshua 7:1)

Achan took a garment from Jericho, which seems like a small thing; yet, God was very upset about it. He had given clear instructions that nothing from Jericho was to be taken, save the silver and gold, which was to be brought into Israel’s treasury. Not only did Achan take the garment, but he also stole some silver and gold for himself. The sin of one man can greatly affect the blessing of God on an entire congregation. You might think that God was unfair to judge the whole nation for the sin of one man, but you may change your mind when you consider the next two reasons.

Overconfidence – The people of Israel underestimated the power of the enemy, and overestimated their own strength. They thought Ai was too small to worry about. They were wrong. Christians often do the same thing today. We underestimated our enemies: the flesh, the world, and the devil; and we overestimate our own strength. Jesus said, “without me ye can do nothing”. (John 15:5)

3  Independence – When you review the account of the victory of Jericho, you will see that “the Captain of the host of the Lord” had given Joshua complete detailed instructions as to what Israel should do. However, when you look at the battle of Ai, you will see that not once does God speak to Joshua about going into Ai; nor does Joshua pray to God about going in. Now, we know that Ai was one of the many cities that God wanted the children of Israel to conquer, but they should have consulted the Lord first as to when and how they should do it. They didn’t, and as a result, Israel was on their own in this battle, without God. They didn’t think they needed God for this little city. Boy were they mistaken. I’m willing to bet that if Joshua would have just asked God about Ai before going in, God would have told Joshua about Achan’s sin. One little prayer would have prevented the demoralizing defeat as well as the death of thirty-six men. How often have you and I done things without consulting the Lord first?

When we think of Ai, we often think of “the accursed thing”, but as we have learned, there were really three of them. There was more than just one sin in the camp. Along with the sin of taking the garment and the gold there was also the sin of trusting in their own fleshly abilities, and the sin of not praying to God. Let’s not you and I make these same mistakes in our lives.


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I Will Be With Thee

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Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 29 – 31 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Philippians 1 – 4; Proverbs 10; Psalms 46 – 50)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “0310 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. … And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee.” – (Deuteronomy 31:7-8, 23)

Perhaps no greater source of encouragement can be found for the Christian today than the words contained in these verses. In our passage today we see Moses in his final days upon the earth. He has fulfilled God’s will for his life by leading the people of Israel out of bondage, and has brought them to the border of the Land of Promise. He is passing the baton over to Joshua, who had faithfully served Moses for the forty years of Moses ministry. Joshua has an extremely difficult task in front of him. He is following behind one of the greatest leaders in the history of mankind, and he has been places in charge of a people that have demonstrated on numerous occasions that they can be very rebellious. In fact, on the very day that Joshua is appointed his new position God tells him that the people are going to rebel. How would you like to be given the job of leading people who you already know are going to eventually stop following. If I were Joshua I would not only be fearful of the task ahead, but perhaps even a little discouraged. However, twice in this passage Joshua is reminded that it’s going to be OK, because God will be with him.

What a blessing it is to know that as we serve God today in the center of His will, that He promises to go with us as well.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” – (Hebrews 13:5)

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – (Matthew 28:20)

Sometimes it can be very difficult living for the Lord in the world that we live in. It is not easy being a good, godly parent; a witness on the job; a servant in the church; a light to the community: all of which God calls us to be. But God is with us. He goes before us, and then helps us as we strive to be His ambassador in this dark world. Sometimes, we may feel like we are all alone, but we are never alone, because God is always with us.

Did you recognize His presence in your life today? Did you talk to Him yet this morning? He desires to have intimate fellowship with you, and to use you to fulfil His purpose in your world. What a wonderful and awesome priveledge it is to know and serve the King of the Universe! Lift your head up high. You’ve got connections. You know the right Person. You are personally acquainted with God, and you represent Him to those who don’t know Him.


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What Do They See?

What Do They See?

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 27 – 28 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Ephesians 4 – 6Proverbs 9Psalm 46 – 50

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read another post from this passage – “Choose Wisely

Read the “0309 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.” – (Deuteronomy 28:10)

I was captivated by the verse above. Notice that it says that people will see that the Israelites were called by the name of the Lord. It does not say that the people will hear mere words. The people were not to just talk about their relationship with God, they were to live it; and live it so powerfully that the surrounding nations would fear them.

It is rare today that the world looks into the life of a Christian and sees the hand of God working so evidently and powerfully in them that they are actually feared. For the most part Christians today are mocked and made fun of, but not feared. Why are we the laughingstock of the world today? There are many reasons, but I believe the main one is that our lives do not demonstrate the power and abundance of the life of faith. We dabble in God, but we don’t let Him get all of us, and unless He has all of us He cannot demonstrate His power in our lives.

Christians should be walking billboards illustrating the power and blessing of an omnipotent God. People should be able to take one look at us and tell that there is something radically different about us; something almost intimidating. The story is told of the great preacher, Charles Finney, who visited a factory one day in New York, and after merely making eye contact with a woman in the factory, she began to weep uncontrollably. That is pretty powerful. Our lives should declare loudly and boldly that we are the children of an awesome and all powerful God. People may not agree with us, but if our lives are fully surrendered to the Lord, they should respect us. Do the people around you fear you because of the presence of God in your life, or do they mock you? Sobering thought.


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And Such Were Some of You

And Such Were Some Of You

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 23 – 26 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Corinthians 9 – 13; Proverbs 8; Psalms 36 – 40)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

Read the “0308 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:” – (Deuteronomy 26:5)

“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” – (Psalm 40:2)

“And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” – (Jude 1:23)

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” – (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

Read again Deuteronomy 26:1 – 11

In this passage the Israelite was commanded to bring a firstfruit offering to the House of God, and then he was to recite a statement to the priests acknowledging that he remembered where he was when God found him. Actually, he was really speaking on behalf of the nation in that he was recognizing that God took Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees and brought him into the Promised Land. He also was acknowledging that all of the blessings that he was enjoying was given to him by God.

There are a lot of ways that we can apply the principle found in this passage. First, I believe that God would want us to keep fresh in our minds what it was like for us when we were not saved. I think as time goes on in our Christian life, we tend to forget about where God delivered us from. We were lost, without direction, without purpose, and without God’s blessings on our lives. God truly did bring us up out of “an horrible pit”, literally plucked from the fire. Don’t let time dim the memory of where you came from.

Secondly, because we remember what it was like before God saved us, we need to express our appreciation to Him for all of the things that He has done for us now that we are His children. Besides just a future home in Heaven, God abundantly provides for our needs here on the earth. He protects us from many of the harmful things that plague those that don’t have a relationship with Christ. He also give us purpose: a reason for living. We have been priveledged with the task of being His ambassadors to this fallen world. All because of salvation. Don’t forget where you came from. Realize that if it wasn’t for the marvelous grace of God, you could still be there.


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Did You “Write” Your Bible Today?

Did You Write Your Bible Today?

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 15 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –  Galatians 1 – 3Proverbs 6Psalm 26 – 30)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0306 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.” – (Deuteronomy 17:18-20)

A few years back, our church began using a one-on-one discipleship program called “Daily in the Word”, which is a tremendous tool for teaching new believers the foundational truths of Christianity. One of the things that I like about this training is that it emphasizes the practice of writing Scripture. I had read the Bible many times and had memorized and studied portions of the Scripture prior to taking this course, but I must confess that I had never made it a practice to write out portions of Scripture; and to be honest, I was skeptical about the benefit that I would receive by it. However, I have been amazed at how writing the Scripture has helped me to see some things that I had never seen before, and has also helped me to retain much more than just reading alone. I have actually filled up whole notebooks with the Books of the Bible that I have now written. Recently, I purchased an expensive leather journal, and I am writing the Book of Psalms in it. I intend to pass this along to one of my children when I am finished.

Our passage this morning tells us in Deuteronomy 17:18 – 20 that the kings of Israel were required to write out a copy of the law for themselves, and they were to keep that copy with them so that they would know what to do. I don’t believe that all of the kings actually did this because many of them certainly did not follow the precepts contained in the law, and as a result were not very successful at ruling the people of God. However, some of the kings, like David, Hezekiah, Josiah, and others did know the Word, and followed it closely as they ruled over the people. During their reigns the kingdom had the blessing of God evidenced by His abundant provision as well as His protection from enemies. God’s Word certainly made a big difference in the nation when it was revered and obeyed.

We need to place a high priority on the Scripture today. I believe we ought to set aside a special time when we read, listen to and write the Word of God. I believe the more Scripture we absorb into our hearts and minds, the more our faith will be increased (Romans 10:17), and the better we will be able to fulfil the will of God for our lives; not to mention the fact that we will enjoy more prosperity and less problems in life simply because we will know what we should do.

Have you ever thought about writing the Bible? If the Lord tarries, I would love to eventually write out a complete copy of the Word of God. I know the time and effort that I put into it will reap a far greater return.

Additional Note – Notice vs. 16 – 17 regarding what the king was not supposed to do:

“But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.” – (Deuteronomy 17:16-17)

The king was not supposed to multiply horses, wives, or wealth for himself. Boy, Israel sure got away from that, didn’t they? How many wives and concubines did Solomon have? 1000! It must be that the kings of Israel and Judah neglected to “write [them] a copy” of the Word of God, and they certainly must not have been reading it, because if they had, they would not have gotten so far away from where God wanted them. The same is true for you and I today as children of the King. We need to stay close to the Bible; flood our lives with it, so that we will know what we are supposed to do.


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