Moses’ Call to Obedience

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The Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy serves as a transitional piece of literature. On one hand, Deuteronomy is Moses’ farewell to the Israelites while on the other hand, Deuteronomy sees the Israelites’ final preparation to enter the Promise Land.

Moses, because of a disobedient act (Numbers 20:8), was unable to lead the Israelites into the Promise Land. Moses was preparing to die and addressed the Israelites three times in Deuteronomy- 1:1-4:43, 4:44-28:68, and 29:1-30:20. I’ll be discussing elements from the first farewell address, specifically, Deuteronomy chapter four. While yes, the Israelites are the intended audience, and by extension, the Jewish people, I believe there are principles in this passage which also apply to modern day Christians.

Moses reminds them of their uniqueness as God’s people

“See I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear all about these decrees and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to Him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?” (Deuteronomy 4:5-8, NIV).

Christianity is also unique among the world’s faiths. In other religions, the focus is solely on trying to do good deeds and hoping that your good deeds will outweigh the bad deeds. Maybe the other religions find themselves tripped up with rituals and man’s traditions. In essence, you have to work for your god’s approval. However, in Christianity, God provided a way for us to come to Him, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We must acknowledge our sins and accept Christ and we enter into a relationship with God; it’s really that simple. Just as Israel’s obedience to God’s laws made them unique among the nations, so too should our devotion to Christ make Christians stand out from the world around us.

We must always remember and share God’s teachings

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (Deuteronomy 4:9, NIV).

We must keep ourselves from idols

During biblical times, an idol was something worshipped as a god. These idols, of course were manmade and were shaped as people, animals, gods, etc. Idolatry is forbidden in both the Old and New Testaments. The reason idolatry is forbidden is we are not worshipping the One True God. We are worshipping an idol of a bird as opposed to the Creator of said bird. Idol worship still occurs today, although in different forms as biblical times. Have you ever though about the things you put before your relationship with God? Money, your electronic devices, the pursuit of fame, sports, material possessions are all examples of objects we can turn into an idol. We must be careful to put God first in our lives.

“Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that He made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the Lord your God has forbidden. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” (Deuteronomy 4:23-24, NIV).

God is open to receive us when we stray

Throughout the Old Testament, Israel and later Judah, would stray from God and worship the gods of other nations. God would bring judgment on His people, they would repent, God would forgive, and the cycle would start over in time. Israel was the embodiment of the Prodigal Son parable as Jesus spoke of in Luke 15. There have been times in my twenty plus years of being a Christian that I have wondered from God’s ways. However, our God is a forgiving God who has welcomed me and countless others into the fold. God warned the Israelites of the consequences for their continued disobedience, but He also said He would be there when they came to their senses.

“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey Him. For the Lord your God is a merciful God; He will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which He confirmed to them by oath.” (Deuteronomy 4:29-31, NIV).

Obedience to God is acknowledging Him and His Word

If we stay in right relationship with God and obey His teachings, we will experience more joy and less frustration in this life. Putting things together is always easier when we read the instructions.

“Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. Keep His decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time.” (Deuteronomy 4:39-40, NIV).

As we go about our days, even in the midst of turbulent times, let us remember the Word and commands of the Lord. God’s truth is still truth, even if the world tries to define its own truth. Be blessed.

Seeking God in the Psalms

For generations of believers, the Psalms have been a great source of comfort and refuge in times of need. No doubt the most famous of the Psalms is Psalm 23, which is recited at funerals. I believe the Psalms can teach us about life and often parallel our lives, as King David and the other writers wrote about the joy of salvation, the agony of despair, our struggles with sin and trusting God in the midst of personal and national crisis. The Psalms have also inspired countless hymns and worship songs, where we can draw ourselves closer to the heart of God. The Psalms can also serve as an example of how to seek after God. The Bible is full of examples of how people sought after God- whether it be mountain top experiences, prayer, fasting, or simply that the Lord appeared at the exact moment of someone’s need. However, the Psalms can give us some basic principles about seeking God.

In order to seek God, we must turn away from wickedness

“How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?” (Psalm 4:2, NIV).

“In his pride the wicked man does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” (Psalm 10:4, NIV).

“Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.” (Psalm 34:14-15, KJV).

When we seek God, He will not reject us

“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy Name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” (Psalm 9:9-10, KJV).

“Fear the Lord, you His holy people, for those who fear Him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:9-10, KJV).

*In this context, the word fear means to “honor,” or “reverence.”

We must seek God wholeheartedly and above all else

“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:4-5, KJV).

“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is…My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.” (Psalm 63:1, 8, KJV).

“Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart.” (Psalm 119:2, KJV).

The more we seek God, the more we will be blessed spiritually

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or, who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (Psalm 24:3-5, KJV).

“The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek Him; your heart shall live forever.” (Psalm 22:26, KJV).

“I will praise the Name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs. The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart that shall live that seek God.” (Psalm 69:30-32, KJV).

We must seek God joyfully

“Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified.” (Psalm 40:16, KJV).

“O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His Name: make known His deeds among the people. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him: talk ye of all His wonderous works. Glory ye in His holy Name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. Seek the Lord, and His strength: seek His face evermore. Remember His marvelous works that He hath done; His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth.” (Psalm 105:1-5, KJV).

As we live out our lives for Christ, let us continue to seek God. We must remember to seek God and rejoice at what He has done for us. For no matter the obstacle we face, we can trust that God will be in our midst when we call upon Him. We must remember that seeking God is a continuous action and not a sole instance. As we seek God, let us remember the words of the Psalms and of the Lord Jesus, who said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33, KJV).

The Lord also said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find: knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8, KJV).

Grace and peace to all of you.