Bible reading for May 28.
"'The LORD your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.' Yet in spite of this word you did not believe the LORD your God..." (Deuteronomy 1:30-32)
RECAP. This book is the second ("deutero-") giving of the law ("-nomos"). Moses will explain the Law again to the people, being a new generation (1:1-5). What could have been a two-week trip has taken forty years (v 2). God provided for them leaders (vv 9-15) and judges (vv 16-17). The judges especially were charged to be righteous, impartial, thorough, and careful: "for the judgment is God's" (see post on Psalm 82 below). Moses gives a recap of Israel's travels, with specific commendations to Caleb and Joshua. He notes that God had carried them "as a man carries his son" (v 31)
UNBELIEF. What delayed entry into the land was their unbelief (v 32). It seems that disobedience and rebellion are not random acts of our heart but are rooted in what we believe, or do not believe, about God. Unbelief always precedes disobedience. When we deny (or do not know) the truths God has revealed about himself -- or the goodness of his will, the certainty of his promises, and the trustworthiness of his character -- then we will surely go astray in our attitudes and actions. So it was with Israel, and so it is with all humanity. The reversal of this condition is taking God at his word and trusting his character, power, and goodness: "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Rom 1:17).
"I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it." (Psalm 81:10)
LISTEN UP (81). Asaph tells us God relieved his people of the heavy burden of slavery (81:6) and he answered their prayers (v 7). But what about Meribah, which was a place of difficulty and testing (v 7; cf Ex 17:7)? Sometimes it's hard for us to hold together God's goodness and his discipline. Hebrews 12 helps with the answer: God is our Father who not only gives and provides, but who also trains and disciplines. He does this not as a disinterested coach but as a loving Father. He "disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness" (Heb 12:6). He deals with us not merely in terms of our present good but also our future glory. So, God is not stingy at all. We should not be unbelieving and stubborn just because we have to go through difficult trials. We need to listen to God's promises: "Open your mouth wide and I will fill it" (v 10), and "he would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you" (v 16). We should trust God's wisdom and timing in all of this, but we should never stop seeking and trusting him (Matt 7:7-11).
THE GODS WHO DIE (82). The judges of Israel were sometimes called "gods" ('elohim, or "God") because they were to stand for the Lord in the exercise of justice in the land (Deut 1:17, see above). They had the power of life and death in their judgments. But when they became unfair and uncaring, God would judge them. If the justices walk in darkness (moral ignorance) then the very foundations of society -- any society -- are shaken (v 5). Pray that our nation's courts will exercise true justice. Pray that Christ's churches would exercise a just leadership, a care for the vulnerable, and proper discipline over all. (On Jesus' use of this psalm see the March 20 post on John 10.)
Image credit: photo above by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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