Bible reading for June 26.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)
TIME FOR COURAGE. Moses will soon die; Joshua will take leadership of the nation (vv 1-8). As they enter the land the Israelites are outnumbered and outclassed militarily. The call for strength and courage (vv 6, 7, 23) echoes throughout Scripture for all of God's people (Josh 1:6-9; 1 Chron 22:13; 28:20; 2 Chron 32:7; Acts 23:11; Phil 1:20; Rev 21:7-8). "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might" (Eph 6:10). It takes strength from the Lord to do his will and to stand fast against the lies of Satan and the hostility of the world. Mark Twain once wrote, "Courage is the mastery of fear, not the absence of fear." So it is. And we find courage and strength to overcome fear by God's promises and presence.
A COPY OF THE LAW. Closely related to courage and strength is hearing and heeding God's word (vv 9-13). Whether this particular copy that Moses wrote was simply Deuteronomy, or all of the Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy, authored by Moses), the principle is the same: As God's people we need to regularly hear (or read) his written revelation so that we may know what we are to believe, what we are to do, and how to find the strength to do what we are called to do. Once again they are told of what their future failure will look like (vv 16-30). But in the previous chapter they were given the promise of a work of God that would take place in their hearts one day (30:6), which is fulfilled in the new covenant (Jer 31:31-34).
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105)
IN PRAISE OF GOD'S WORD. We are continuing in this psalm which extols God's word (cf Psalm 1:1-3). Many synonyms are used for God's verbal revelation: his words, ways, statutes, precepts, law, rules, testimonies, and commandments. As we read through this psalm we are asking, "How is his word described? What does his word do for us? What should be our attitude and response to his word?"
TAKEAWAY. In both of today's readings we see the necessity of hearing and recalling what God has spoken. Christians down through history have often practiced daily Bible reading and reflection, variously called "quiet times" or "Bible devotions" or the "morning watch". From time to time I meet Christians who feel that this is too legalistic or rigid or childish for them to practice. "I don't need to read the Bible everyday," they say. Yet, neglect of reading the Scriptures surely indicates a low view of the value and necessity of God's word. Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matt 4:4). Another question is, how long does it take you to forget something important from God's word? How long does it take before you are tempted in some way? How long does it take before you will be tested in some way? How long before you are faced with a moral dilemma? How long before you make a bad decision? How long before you face fear or doubt or anger in some form? For me, those things are regular occurrences, and so daily intake of God's word is something I really need.
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.
The NET Bible is a free, online resource, and a ministry of bible.org.