Forget Not

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, help me to remember Your faithfulness, to recount Your goodness.

 

Read: DEUTERONOMY 4:1-40

[1] Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the LORD, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. [2] Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you. [3] You saw with your own eyes what the LORD did at Baal Peor. The LORD your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor, [4] but all of you who held fast to the LORD your God are still alive today. [5] See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. [6] Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” [7] What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? [8] And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? [9] Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. [10] Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” [11] You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. [12] Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. [13] He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets. [14] And the LORD directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. [15] You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, [16] so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, [17] or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, [18] or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. [19]And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars-all the heavenly array-do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. [20] But as for you, the LORD took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are. [21] The LORD was angry with me because of you, and he solemnly swore that I would not cross the Jordan and enter the good land the LORD your God is giving you as your inheritance. [22] I will die in this land; I will not cross the Jordan; but you are about to cross over and take possession of that good land. [23] Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden. [24] For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. [25] After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time-if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God and arousing his anger, [26] I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed.[27] The LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the LORD will drive you. [28] There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell. [29] But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. [30] When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. [31] For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath. [32] Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? [33]Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? [34] Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? [35] You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other. [36] From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, and you heard his words from out of the fire. [37] Because he loved your ancestors and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence and his great strength, [38] to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you into their land to give it to you for your inheritance, as it is today. [39]Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. [40] Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time. 

 

Reflect: HOW IS THE COMMAND MADE WITH APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE?

The people of Israel are given two wonderful gifts: the Promised Land (1) and the Law (2). Both are intended to help them and their children live “well” and “long” in the land (40).God’s vision for his people and kingdom expanded from “Jerusalem,” to “Judea,” to “the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The “Promised Land” no longer has defined borders, but it is wherever people’s hearts are open to God’s kingly rule (see Luke 17:20,21). Like the people of Israel, we have been chosen (34); and so our obligation to live faithfully, wherever in the world we find ourselves, still remains. We are still to live God’s way (5) so that people see our behavior and praise God (6; see Matt. 5:16). And, as for the people of Israel, that means not forgetting the God who gave us everything we have (9,10). The Law was a constant reminder to Israel of who had blessed them with the wonderful land. God spoke, and now the people must obey (12,13). They were to encourage one another, and remind each other of what God had done and said (32).

 

APPLY

Write out some of the ways that God has been faithful to you and those you love.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Faithful God, thank You that You always have our very best interests at heart.

 

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Faith Vs. Fear

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, You are the light of my heart and of my life. You are my righteousness and my life.

 

Read: DEUTERONOMY 1:19-40

[19] Then, as the LORD our God commanded us, we set out from Horeb and went toward the hill country of the Amorites through all that vast and dreadful wilderness that you have seen, and so we reached Kadesh Barnea. [20]Then I said to you, “You have reached the hill country of the Amorites, which the LORD our God is giving us. [21] See, the LORD your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” [22] Then all of you came to me and said, “Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to.”[23] The idea seemed good to me; so I selected twelve of you, one man from each tribe. [24] They left and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshkol and explored it. [25] Taking with them some of the fruit of the land, they brought it down to us and reported, “It is a good land that the LORD our God is giving us.” [26] But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. [27] You grumbled in your tents and said, “The LORD hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. [28] Where can we go? Our brothers have made our hearts melt in fear. They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.'” [29] Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. [30] The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, [31] and in the wilderness. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” [32] In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, [33] who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go. [34] When the LORD heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: [35] “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, [36] except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.” [37] Because of you the LORD became angry with me also and said, “You shall not enter it, either. [38] But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it. [39] And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad-they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it. [40] But as for you, turn around and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.”

 

Reflect: WHAT WAS THE CONSEQUENCE OF THE PEOPLE'S RESPONSE?

She stood at the prison gate; her term served, she was about to be set free, to be in control of her life again. But she had been in prison for years… She was afraid of the world outside those walls that had kept her locked up, but safe, for so long.Moses announces, “Now is the time for you to take possession of the land! Don’t be afraid!” (21). But the people “rebelled” (26) and “grumbled” (27), refusing to believe that God–who had brought them this far–would finish what he had started. Their hearts melted in fear (28) instead of being filled with faith. Spot the similarities? The Israelites have seen armies defeated, the miraculous provision of food, and pillars of fire and cloud… and yet still they don’t believe. So Moses tries to reassure the Israelites with three pictures of God: as a strong soldier (30), as a loving Father (31) and as a faithful guide (33). Fear paralyzes and fixes us to the spot. Being faithful means stepping out in obedience, following God’s command, and trusting him to fight for us, carry us, and lead us forward.

 

APPLY

If God is calling you to something, pray for courage, then get up and go in obedience and faith, trusting that God goes with you.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, help me to always remember that You go with me wherever You call me.

 

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Follow Together

OPENING PRAYER

Loving God, thank You that You always remain true to who You are. We can rest in confidence in You.

 

Read: DEUTERONOMY 1:1-18

[1] These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the wilderness east of the Jordan-that is, in the Arabah-opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab. [2] (It takes eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount Seir road.) [3] In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses proclaimed to the Israelites all that the LORD had commanded him concerning them. [4] This was after he had defeated Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, and at Edrei had defeated Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth.[5] East of the Jordan in the territory of Moab, Moses began to expound this law, saying: [6] The LORD our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. [7] Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. [8] See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the LORD swore he would give to your fathers-to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob-and to their descendants after them.” [9] At that time I said to you, “You are too heavy a burden for me to carry alone. [10] The LORD your God has increased your numbers so that today you are as numerous as the stars in the sky. [11] May the LORD, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised! [12] But how can I bear your problems and your burdens and your disputes all by myself? [13] Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.” [14] You answered me, “What you propose to do is good.” [15] So I took the leading men of your tribes, wise and respected men, and appointed them to have authority over you-as commanders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens and as tribal officials. [16] And I charged your judges at that time, “Hear the disputes between your people and judge fairly, whether the case is between two Israelites or between an Israelite and a foreigner residing among you. [17] Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of anyone, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it.” [18] And at that time I told you everything you were to do. 

 

Reflect: WHAT LESSON DO YOU DRAW FROM THESE EVENTS?

As the country-less nation of Israel finally arrives at the Jordan, after wandering in the desert for 40 years, Moses calls them together. He wants to remind them where they have come from and what they are to do once they have crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land (3).The first thing Moses does is remind them of that promise (8), but then instead of launching straight into the Law, he explains why he had to delegate his authority to other wise men (9-17). Why indeed? Leading God’s people is hard work. Ask any church leader–ask your church leader–and they will tell you it is basically impossible to get completely right. What every church leader needs is the sort of humility Moses showed–and for the people they are leading to realize how hard it is, and so support them with prayer and words of encouragement. Moses was faced with a situation that was too much and too difficult for him to handle on his own. Instead of being full of pride, he showed his humility by asking others to help share his burden with him.

 

APPLY

If you are a church leader, think of an area where you need help and ask for it. If you are not, offer help to a leader.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, You are the shelter I can run to in every storm. You are the one with whom I can share every joy. Thank You.

 

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A Doxology

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, be center in my life, in my heart, in my words and in my actions Lord. My entire being worships You.

 

Read: 1 PETER 5:8-14

[8] Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.[9] Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. [10] And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. [11] To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. [12] With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. [13] She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. [14] Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

 

Reflect: HOW IS THE DEVIL PICTURED? WHY?

Today’s reading continues Saturday’s reading. Peter writes to the leaders advocating servant leadership (1), then to the young men emphasizing submission (5a). Finally he urges all of us (5) to put on humility and throw our anxieties onto God, and to be self-controlled and alert (8). These are the disciplines of the Christ-like life, especially as we are living in a hostile world (9b), with an enemy who wants to swallow us up (8).But it’s only for a little while, Peter reminds them (10). Remember what the future holds–there are glories in store, as the earliest part of the letter explained (1:3,4). An inheritance awaits believers. So Peter ends his letter with a “doxology” of praise to God (11). William Barclay pointed out that the motto of the great Benedictine Order of monks was four letters–IOGD–which stand for the Latin words in omnibus glorificetur Deus (“in order that in all things God may be glorified”). He writes: “A new grace and glory would enter the Church, if all church people ceased doing things for themselves and did them for God” (The New Daily Study Bible: The Letters of James and Peter, 2003, pp. 296-297).

 

APPLY

How might your daily living be a doxology of praise to God? Decide to live this out.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, remind me that I need only to rest in You, to move when You say move and to allow You to live in me.

 

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The Lord's Decree

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, You are the great prize of my life. I give all to have only You.

 

Read: PSALM 2:1-12

[1] Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? [2] The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, [3] “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” [4] The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. [5] He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, [6] “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” [7] I will proclaim the LORD’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. [8] Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. [9] You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” [10] Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. [11] Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. [12] Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. 

 

Reflect: WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THIS KING?

The thing about mountains is, they don’t move. Geologists will be quick to tell us that they do in fact grow or shrink by fractions of millimeters every year. But to most of us, mountains are symbols of enormous strength, permanence and beauty; they provide and give some of the most wonderful views it is possible to see on this earth.It is on a mountain that God has installed his King (6). And he has decreed that this king will rule the nations across the world (8)–but, more than that, his king will be to them like an iron bar is to pottery (9). There simply is no contest. Too often we side with the world in this fight. We compromise our faith in order to fit in. We treat God’s way of life as if it were shackling us (3), instead of releasing us to live as we were made to. Yes, the world opposes God and his people (1,2), and it always will. But God will win in the end. Why join with the losing side when you can take refuge in the Son (12)?

 

APPLY

Look at your life and ask yourself: How do I oppose God by my action or inaction? Turn from this.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Creator, You create out of nothing. Come and make something beautiful out of me.

 

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