Hearing from History
(Deuteronomy 1 - 4)
Moses Sees the Promised Land
Today’s Bible reading opens the book of Deuteronomy, with Moses’ final instructions to the Israelites. Knowing he will soon pass on to join his ancestors, the patriarch reviewed God done to deliver and guide His people and reminded them of the importance of obeying the Lord.
As Moses encapsulated 40 years of Hebrew history into four chapters of Scripture, he included several key statements that have leapt off the pages for millennia.
“The Lord our God said to us at Horeb,
‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain.
Break camp and advance.’”
Like the ancient Israelites, God intends for us to walk with Him on a journey, as He leads. How often do we try to settle into a comfortable place, forestalling battles and challenges we may face? At what price? Into what Promised Land might the Lord hope to lead us?
Perhaps we do not realize just how close that Promised Land may be, if we would only break camp and move along.
“See, the Lord your God has given you the land.
Go up and take possession of it as the Lord,
the God of your fathers, told you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Moses instructed and incited the people of God to go and claim the land, for the Lord had already conquered it in His promise. This truth echoes an earlier statement (see Deuteronomy 1:8). Although the Israelites would face armed conflict and battles of many kinds, the Lord guaranteed the victory. The triumph of God was assured in the spiritual realm.
May we seek the Lord’s wisdom, that we might catch sight of this truth. As we face challenges, struggles and even warfare on many levels, may we be emboldened to know that our great God has already won the war. We need only stand the ground He already possesses.
“And now, Israel, listen carefully
to these decrees and regulations
that I am about to teach you.
Obey them so that you may live,
so you may enter and occupy the land
that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you.”
What is the secret to success, as God leads us into the Promised Land? How may we claim the promises He has given? The secret lies in Deuteronomy 4:1, I believe.
I'm teaching you the rules and regulations
that God commanded me,
so that you may live by them
in the land you are entering to take up ownership.
Keep them. Practice them.
You'll become wise and understanding.
When people hear and see what's going on, they'll say,
‘What a great nation!
So wise, so understanding!
We've never seen anything like it.’”
Obedience to God brings His blessing. When the Lord’s people keep His statutes, we also benefit from many wonderful promises. And what does the world think of us? How might the people of God impact others by simply remaining faithful to the God who is ever faithful to us?
I wonder what would happen, if a single nation on earth were wholly devoted to God. What might the global ripple effects be?
In America, we print these words on our currency: “In God we trust.” What if this were truly the case, in every citizen’s heart? What if we trusted and obeyed the Lord? How might our nation and the entire world be changed?
What struck you today?
Perhaps other key verses and truths have impacted you in today’s reading. How has God spoken to you in His Word today?
Will you pray with me?
You are unchanging.
You are truth
Give us courage
To claim the ground
You have already taken.
Grant us wisdom
The clear instructions You have given.
Teach us to be faithful,
Even as You are faithful.