Readings from Deuteronomy 6:16-25, 9:4-7, 8:1-20
Let’s just read these scriptures and listen to the voice of the Lord our God. In them we will hear about obedience and righteousness. We will hear about the danger of forgetting God. God will warn us and remind us of things that threaten our security in Him. He will also encourage us and instruct us toward closeness with Him and blessings of that nearness.
This is superb. I confess that I LOVE Deuteronomy and the utter genius of its message to God’s people. Jesus quoted this book more than any other Old Testament book.
Now open your Bibles and follow along, or look at the screen if you wish to have the same translation.
Righteousness! Our focus is on the kingdom of God and His righteousness, right? So, since Moses has mentioned our righteousness here, let’s move ahead to chapter 9:4-7 where the righteousness of God’s people comes up again.
In the NT Paul wrote Romans 3:10-20. God who supplies deliverance, also supplies righteousness to those who trust Him and follow in obedient faith: Romans 3:21-24. Lord willing, we will get to Romans later and enjoy the gospel message in the New Testament then. God’s grace to Israel was built on faith, just as ours is. The object of their faith was the Lord, God, Almighty who delivered them from Egyptian slavery, and who led them through the desert, forming them into a nation of faith. God supplied sacrifices for sin that pointed to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Israel would be the people God used to bring the Christ into the world! Balaam even saw hints of that in Numbers 23:21 & 24:17. The Lord their God is with them, the shout of the King is among them. A star will come out of Jacob, a scepter out of Israel. But I digress from Deuteronomy 9. Righteousness: none of us has enough of it to lay claim on God’s blessings. All of us have fallen short of His glory and righteousness and are in desperate need of His grace. Seekers of His kingdom and righteousness strive to trust and obey in faith, even while knowing we fall short, yet we never let go or give up, lest we forget the Lord and lose our faith.
How will Israel maintain her faith? Let’s now read Deuteronomy 8:1-20. (Read)
Two words protect us in our faith: Remember and Do. Don’t forget! Don’t stop doing His will!
Seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness rests here.
Remember God! Reflect on what God has done and is doing. Remember who God is. He is our LORD. God is our KING. He is our deliverer. He is our creator. Remember Him. This is the simplest but most crucial thing we can do. When we believe in God and learn of His will and ways and bow to His authority by obeying His commands, when we trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not upon our own understanding, when we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He leads us. He directs our paths. He blesses us. He sometimes tests us to see what is in our hearts, if we will obey Him or not.
Do God’s will. Obey God’s word. Keep God’s ways. Seek God’s righteousness. Follow God’s direction and instruction.
None of us will be able to say to the Lord on that day: I did it! I am righteous! I have never sinned.
But for those of us who value the kingdom of God and His righteousness, we will have kept the faith, run the race, finished the course, by God’s grace.
For those of us that remember the cross, remember the gift of Jesus Christ, remember the cost of our deliverance from sin and the price God Himself paid to cleanse us from our sin… for those of us that don’t forget and let it go, even though we stumble and falter along the way, God has a great reward.
Is it worth it to let go of pride and selfish ambition and worldly pleasures? Is God really worth living for Him when it means losing friends or not having the popularity or prosperity we see all around us?
Rachel told me about a Christian family in El Salvador whose son became a gang member. His mother begged him not to join. He told her: I can work in the coffee fields for $200 a month or join the gang and have over $2000 a month! He left his faith and joined a gang because following God wasn’t worth it to him.
God will test you to see what is in your heart, whether you will obey Him or not. Remember and Do. God is your Father, your King. Do His will. Obey His word. Don’t forget Him. You will stumble, get back up. God disciplines you as a Father His children.
Bob Stewart gave me a book this week about Ronald Reagan. Let me share one little piece as a closing illustration: (summing up: The Reagans had prisoners of war in their home and many had endured torture from the Vietnamese. They said they resisted as long as they could, but eventually the enemy got what he wanted. They were all ashamed of their failure, but thankful for a welcome home. A visitor with the Reagans asked, “If you knew you were going to have to talk and give in anyway, why didn’t you do that first? Why did you endure torture? The POW’s looked with astonishment and said, “Holding out was the only thing left for us to do; the only thing we could still do for our country.”
They remembered their country and even endured torture to do what they could because they remembered and valued their nation. Their allegiance to their country meant more than their comforts or safety.
What of our allegiance to God and His kingdom? What is God’s kingdom and righteousness worth to you? Is your citizenship in heaven worth enduring hardship here? God sometimes lets us be tested to see what is in our hearts. Remember God, Do His will, Don’t forget.
We have tested God’s grace with our sin. He valued you so much, He sacrificed His Son to save you. He remembers, He does, He won’t forget.
Like Israel, you and I must remember God, do His will and keep the faith.