Don’t worry….be happy…and treasure God alone

12 04 2011

DAY NINETY-EIGHT : Deuteronomy 9 v. 1 – 10 v. 22; Luke 12 v. 1 – 34; Psalm 42 v. 6b – 11

The Israelites are reminded that possession of the land will be down to God’s grace and favour alone, so they have no room to boast, or be proud, except in Him. Though they deserved punishment for disobedience and rebellion, God is faithful and merciful.

Not Because of Israel’s Righteousness – God says He is doing two things in bringing the Israelites into the Promised Land, to defeat the Anakites (strong and tall peoples): He is fulfilling His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; He is also wiping out the Anakites as punishment for their wickedness. There are two sides to every coin.
He tells Israel not to think it’s because they are righteous – rather, He describes them as a stiff-necked people – but because of the above two things, that the land will be theirs.

So, the Israelites’ success in possessing the land will be more to do with God’s punishment of the nations they are dispossessing, than ‘any goodness of their own’.
The Golden Calf – If they were ever to begin to get proud or self-righteous, God reminds them of the incident with the golden calf, when the Israelites angered God so much (as well as their daily acts of rebellion). Moses reminds them how he smashed the stone tablets containing the commandments, in his anger and upset at how quickly (he’d only been away forty days and nights) the people had become corrupt.
God was angry enough to destroy Israel completely.
Moses fasted and prayed for a further forty days and nights; he pleads with God not to destroy this rebellious people.
“Overlook the stubbornness of this people, their wickedness and their sin..they are Your people, Your inheritance that You brought out by Your great power and Your outstretched arm.”

New Tablets – To replace the original tablets of stone, hand-written by God, Moses is instructed to chisel two more and bring them to God, along with a newly crafted wooden chest (to keep them in). So, the ark of the covenant was created.
They are reminded that their travels took them to Moserah, where Aaron died, then on to Jotbathah, and God set aside the Levites to attend to duties at the tabernacle as priests.
The priestly role was to (i) carry the ark of the covenant, (ii) stand before the Lord, (iii) minister in His name.
Moses reminds the people that his intercession on their behalf helped save them from God’s wrath, and He sends them on to possess the land.

Mmm, I really like this entry in my study bible on these verses :
‘God’s mercy in response to Moses’ plea is seen in three ways:
(1) the covenant is reinstituted, as symbolized by the giving of the second set of stone tablets
(2) the covenant was placed in the ark upon which the blood of atonement could be sprinkled (my imagination was caught by the thought of only being able to ‘reach’ the depths of God’s commands through the blood of the lamb)
(3) the Levites were appointed as intermediaries between the people and God.

Fear the Lord – God’s requirements from His chosen people ?
(i) Fear the Lord your God
(ii) Walk in all His ways
(iii) Love Him
(iv) Serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
(v) Observe the Lord’s commands and decrees.
(compare with Micah 6 v. 8 and Matthew 22 v. 37)

A wonderful passage of scripture (v. 14 – 22) then praises God, who is Lord of all heaven and earth, who has loved and has chosen this people; He is God of gods and Lord of lords, the Great God, ‘mighty and awesome’.
His heart is for the fatherless and the widow, the alien/foreigner (He reminds them repeatedly how the Israelites know the experience of being foreigners).
“Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.”
(Circumcision here is more than an outward sign, but an inner reality of heart, mind, will, submitted completely to God)

treasure chest, or coffin ?
containing heavenly treasures (incl. commandments written on hearts), or earthly treasures ?


Warnings and Encouragements – Jesus addresses a crowd of thousands who have gathered. He warns the disciples of the yeast-like effect of hypocrisy (the yeast of the Pharisees), where people become wholly contaminated with ungodliness, self-righteousness, double-standards. You can’t hide anything from God – all will be revealed. Don’t try to hide what’s really going on.
Fear God more than mere humans, for our eternal destiny is in His hands.
However, we are worth much more to Him than mere sparrows.
Those who ‘acknowledge’ the Son of Man will be acknowledged by Him before the angels of God (those who disown Him, will be disowned).
Speaking against the Son of Man can be forgiven, unlike ‘blasphemy against the Holy Spirit’ (knowing the truth (salvation) but denying it)
Don’t worry about what to say, if you are ever hauled up before the authorities, the Holy Spirit will speak through you…

The Parable of the Rich Fool – always fascinates me that the man brings a problem to Jesus – the problem of his relationship with his brother, and an issue about the inheritance – but Jesus turns it back on the man : He is less inclined to get involved in disputes between people, but rather look individually at the state of souls. Here the man is captured by greed and motivated by possessions.
The story of the Rich Fool illustrates the folly of being captivated by success and possession, building bigger an bigger barns, when life is so fragile, and when your ‘life could be demanded from you’ tonight; then who would benefit from all that ?
Don’t store up things for self, but be rich towards God.

Do Not Worry – Jesus says there are more important things to ‘worry about’ than mere food, health or clothing (possessions). By looking at God’s provision for birds (you are more valuable than they) or lilies (you are more ‘splendid’ than they), we learn that God, the Father, knows our every need. Rather we are to attend to the things of the kingdom, and everything else will follow.
“Seek first His Kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”
“Do not fear, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom”
(though few in number, seemingly insignificant, God’s people are hugely rich, with all the resources of heaven/ the kingdom).
We are to be downwardly mobile, selling possessions to ease poverty elsewhere.
“Where your treasure is, there your heart is also” – what a true word….

Lord, help me to treasure the things of Your Kingdom above all else.

“my soul is downcast within me….deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls;
by day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life….
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God.”




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