Monday, March 2, 2015

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional - "Do" teronomy or "Do Not" eronomy

I love the book of Deuteronomy. It is one of the five books of the law that Moses wrote. Where it is positioned in the Bible, it sums up Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. It is a shortened version of the "do's" and "don'ts" of the three other books. I noticed how often the words do and do not appear. As a parent of teenagers who are learning to drive, it reminds me of the rules that have been set for the road. I often tell them that the rules aren't just for them, but the other drivers too. Sometimes other drivers break the rules and the consequence is a collision which are sometimes a fatal. The rules have been given to not only protect you, but to protect other drivers as well. I always tell them to be alert for others.  I think that is what God is telling the Israelites in the book of Deuteronomy.

Towards the end of the book, Moses concludes with the blessings if you fully obey the law that has been given and it is so encouraging. It is found in Deuteronomy 28:1-14. It reads, "If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: 3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. 4 The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. 5 Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. 6 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. 7 The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. 8 The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. 9 The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways. 10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you. 11 The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you.12 The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. 13 The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. 14 Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them. "It doesn't get more encouraging than that. If anything, this passage should ignite the enthusiasm to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.

On the flip side, Moses then writes the consequences of what will happen. It only took 14 verses to explain blessing, but it takes 53 verses to explain the curse to come if any of the law is broken. Here is a sample of verses 15-19. "However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: 16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.17 Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed. 18 The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. 19 You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out."

I want to encourage you to read the rest of chapter 28. It will open your eyes to as to why some of us Believers just can't seem to move into the blessings that God has promised. Little compromises here and there begin to sneak in. When we compromise we "curse our promise". God is pretty clear on His expectations of us on the obedience issue. 

Deuteronomy 22:9 says, "Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crop you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled. " How many followers of Jesus tithe and then spend the rest of their money on things that are unpleasing to the Lord. Galatians 5:19-21 tells us not to be given to sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. As New Testament children of God, it is about inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven rather than the Promised Land. I am as guilty as anyone on compromise. Those times when I told God that I couldn't tithe because my car payment was due or because I just bought a new outfit and if I tithed it would put my checking account in the red. Or allowing certain music and movies to feed my spirit.

The good news is that under the new Covenant, I can ask for forgiveness and my compromise will no longer bring curses into my life. But there is a consequence to my action and sometimes I have to live out the consequence before the promise can take effect.
I challenge you today to take an inventory of your life. Jesus died to break the curse of this world so we might walk in blessing. Ephesians 1 is the new Covenant version of Deuteronomy 28. It is all about spiritual blessings. It says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory." (Ephesians 1:3-14) Walk in obedience and you will be blessed.