Saturday, August 23, 2014

Deuteronomy 1

Today's reading in our daily plan is Deuteronomy 1. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Today we start the book of Deuteronomy in our weekend readings. This book immediately follows the book of Numbers. Deuteronomy predominantly records the words of Moses, at the end of his life, as he speaks to the Israelites before they enter the Promised Land. Moses reminds the Israelites of who God is, what He has done for them, and of the laws and expectations He has for them.
  • The Israelites had been wandering through the desert for forty years to get to the land God had promised them, but the journey should have lasted only eleven days (see verses 1-3).
  • Interestingly, Moses begins his summary of Israel's journey at Mount Horeb (see verses 6-7) (also called Mount Sinai), not in Egypt (though it had technically begun in Egypt). Why? Probably because for Moses, their journey really began when they made their covenant to be God's people and live God's way, which happened at Mount Horeb (see Exodus, chapters 19 and 20).
  • Moses tells some of early history of the Israelites journey -- how he appointed leaders (verses 9-18), how they sent out spies to investigate the land God had promised to give them (verses 19-25), and how the people refused to submit their lives to God and to trust Him (verses 26-46).

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • The reason it took the Israelites so long to enter the promised land was the condition of their hearts. God didn't want to just get them there; He wanted them to be the right kind of people when they arrived. They needed to really learn who He was, that He was worthy of their obedience, and how to treat each other.
  • In the same way that the Israelites journey really began when they made their covenant to be God's people, we could say that our lives really begin when we give them to God. 
  • The Israelites rebelled against God's leadership, preferring to trust in themselves and set their own course. They suffered greatly because of it. Caleb (see verse 36) trusted God and was rewarded for it. The choice we all face in life is: Will I seek for God's will to be done, or for my will to be done? Will I trust in Him, or in myself?

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • The Israelites went through forty difficult years because they stubbornly refused to learn their lessons and live the way they should. God's goal is to get you to the promised land of Heaven, but he wants you to be the right kind of person when you arrive. So think about your life. What difficulties have you been going through, perhaps for a long time. What is it about God and living an obedient life do you need to learn and apply, but have perhaps been ignoring? What does God still need to do in you so you'll be the right kind of person when you get to Heaven? (And, by the way, that "right kind of person" wants to be with, trust, and obey God all the time, because that's what Heaven will be like.)
  • In what area of your life are you currently not trusting and obeying God? Where are you seeking your will instead of His? Ask God to help you to make the change you need to make.