Monday, 31 October 2005

If you are afraid

"But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host:”

- Judges 7v10

God is aware of our human emotions and truly cares about them. Here He has told Gideon to go down and spy out the enemy camp. Before he leaves though God tells him, “If you are afraid, take Phurah your servant with you.”

Gideon was wrong to be afraid. God is not the source of fear and fear always shows a basic lack of faith. Yet God in Him infinite compassion and wisdom did not chasten Gideon for his fear. He lovingly told him to take his servant with him to accomplish the task. The job still had to be done, but Gideon did not have to do it alone.

Rarely does God ask His servants to “go it alone.” Prise God for unity in service. And Praise God that He is aware of our fears and is sensitive to our needs.

Sunday, 30 October 2005

The people are too many

“And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.” - Judges 7v2

Gideon was finally convinced that God was with him so prepared for the battle. He had 32,000 men but was still outnumbered by the Midianite army.

Then, a strange thing happened. God appeared and told him that he had too many men to fight this battle. If they won they way it would the men would think that they did it on their own. He told Gideon to send anyone home who was afraid. Twenty-two thousand men left! Gideon now had only 10,000 soldiers. God wasn’t done yet. He told Gideon that he still had too many men for God to be glorified. God winnowed the numbers down to only 300. Now the numbers were right. Now there could be no doubt that God gave the victory.

Many times we feel that we are greatly outnumbered and that because of that defeat must be around the corner. However, God always wants to show Himself mighty. He can save by many or by few. It is not by power, nor by strength or by might that the battles are to be one, it is by God’s Spirit. God uses the base, foolish, weak things of the world to confound the noble, wise, and strong.

Why is this? What are God’s people always the “underdogs” in the eyes of the world? God works this way that no flesh might glory in His presence. The victory is to be us. Let us therefore rejoice in our weakness, for in our weakness He makes us strong.

Saturday, 29 October 2005


“Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah-shalom: [the Lord is peace] unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.” - Judges 6v24

Gideon was much troubled about the task to which God had called him. He could not believe that God was actually going to use him to deliver the nation of Israel from the Midianites. After all, they were a mighty nation and Israel was living in caves and hollows throughout the land. Yet, God had a job for him to do.

The Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon again and said, “Peace be unto you, do not be afraid, you will not die.”

God knows man’s natural inclination to fear the unknown and to be afraid of new and difficult tasks. He is not insensitive to that inclination. Over and over in His word He gives precious words of comfort to His servants. One of the phrases He uses most is “Peace be unto you.”

Many believe that the Angel of the Lord is a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. If so this term certainly suits. Several times Jesus said to His disciples, “Peace be unto you” when their hearts were troubled. I am grateful that God is the God of all peace. He offers the peace that passes all understanding. He offers a peace that the world cannot offer. He is the God of all peace, not of some man-made peace that fails over and over again. His peace, and His perfect peace along can keep my heart and mind stayed on Him every single day no matter what my circumstances because He is peace!

Praise the Lord that He is Jehovah-Shalom, who will give me the peace that will keep my heart and mind through Christ Jesus!

Friday, 28 October 2005

Have not I sent you?

“And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?” - Judges 6v14

Isreal was once again suffering because of their disobedience. Suddenly God appeared to a young Benjamite named Gideon and told him that he was going to be the one to deliver Israel from the hands of the Midianites. Gideon of course was surprised that God could use him. He wasn’t a powerful leader, he wasn’t a military genius, and he wasn’t even from one of the important tribes. How could God use him?

God answers him very simply – “You go in what power you have…have not I sent you?”

What comforting words when we are called to some seemingly impossible task. I don’t think any of us really feel qualified to do a work for God, especially when the work seems difficult. We feel like Moses when God called him, or Gideon here when God told him that he would be the one to deliver the nation.

However, at times like that there is something we are forgetting, we have not been sent out by some human commission – Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel … a lo I am with you always.” Like Gideon, God Himself has sent us out. All that He requires is that we be faithful to Him and work in His sending power.

Thank you for the reminder Lord, that you have sent me out to do your work!

Thursday, 27 October 2005

I am the Lord … but you have not obeyed my voice

“And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice.” - Judges 6v10

The troubles as a result not getting rid of the enemies were growing. Their simple disobedience and short-sightedness had resulted in a series of oppressors. Now they were living in caves and hungry, having been run off by the Midianites. They cried out to God in their affliction and He had an answer for them. “I took care of you, led you out of Egypt, gave you this land and told you not to worship these false gods. But you did not obey me.”

Their disobedience brought them into trouble. They brought the trouble on themselves. God gave them all they needed, but they decided it was best to go on their own way. Sadly, they suffered the consequences of their decision.

What happens when we choose to disobey God and go on our own way? Can we really expect God to bless us? God will never forsake us once we are His, but if we choose the path of disobedience we choose to take a chance of robbing ourselves of His blessing.

Wednesday, 26 October 2005

The cowardice of Barak

“And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honor; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.” Judges 4v8-9

Deborah was serving as judge of Israel. She is a rare example of a woman in a leadership role. She directed Barak to general the armies as they went to Kadesh. If he is typical of the male leaders of the time it is easy to see why Deborah was leading the nation. His reply to instructions – “If you go with me I will go.”

What a state that nation was in. They were so weak and fearful that even the leader of the military would not go fight unless a woman went with him! Deborah’s reply? I will go with you, but you will have no honour, for it will be known that the Lord delivered Sisera into the hands of a woman.

There are many great lessons for us in the Old Testament. The things written there are written for our learning and instruction. We may be critical of Barak for his cowardice, but how do we do when called on to serve the Lord? Do we cower in fear as Barak did? Or do we boldly go to the task set before us?

May we avoid the cowardice of Barak as we depend on the Lord for strength to serve Him.

Tuesday, 25 October 2005

The children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites

“And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves. Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years.” - Judges 3v5-8

It was not enough that Israel did not get rid of all their enemies. He we find that they “dwelt among them,” intermarried wit them, and adopted their gods. They did evil in the sight of God and forgot all about God.

There is a danger in compromise. If we do not get rid of the besetting sins in our lives we will soon grow comfortable with them. When we do that we can find ourselves serving sin instead of serving God. We set a poor example for our children and bring them to the point where they may turn from God. The sad thing is that if it goes unchecked we will soon see a generation of our own children who forget all about the Lord.
We must deal with the sins of our lives. Every one of them must be conquered and dealt with, repented of, and forsaken, or else we face a true turning away from God.

Monday, 24 October 2005

Thorns in your side

“Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.” - Judges 2v3

Israel had experienced great success. They had committed themselves to serve God completely. They had promised to forsake all their idols. Everything seemed like it was wonderful.

However, there was a problem. God gave a whole list of enemies who had not been subdued. God told them that since they were not going to deal with those enemies He would not deal with them either. He would allow them to be thorns in the side of the nation. They would be a constant bother and a consistent aggravation.

As we read through the book of Judges we see the reality of this prophecy come true. Time after time the enemies who they should have dealt with cause them problems.

We have n excellent lesson and an illustration here for us. When we are saved we are too “lay aside the weight and the sin that so easily besets us.” Too often we are not willing to deal with our favourite pet sins. Every one of those sins that we do not deal with is going to continue to be a thorn in our sides as long as it carries on. God will not forsake us, but he will not defeat that enemy for us. He will give us the strength, but we must lay the side aside.

Sunday, 23 October 2005

We will serve the Lord

“…as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24v15b

Here is Joshua’s response to the choices he mentioned earlier in the verse, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua made it clear and simple. No questions asked, no real debate, no depending on circumstances, just a plain and simple “we will serve the Lord.” We know from other places that this is a serious decision. The Bible says that we cannot serve two masters; we cannot follow God and the world. When Joshua said that he and his family would serve God he was forsaking all other masters in order to do so.

It is far too easy to make our decisions circumstantial. If things go well, or if I will not be rejected, or if it won’t cost too much we will serve the Lord. Joshua took none of this into account. He simply said, “We will serve the Lord.”

How do you stand today? Can you say with an open and sincere heart that you will serve the Lord come what may?

Saturday, 22 October 2005

Choose who you will serve

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell:” Joshua 24v15a

Many years have passed since Joshua had led the people into the Promised Land and he is preparing to die. Before he does so he gave the people some last minutes challenges and instructions.

Here is tells to make a choice. They can choose to follow the Lord, or they can choose to follow the pagan gods that their ancestors worshipped in the foreign lands. There is no middle ground, they cannot do both – it is one or the other. It was time to make a choice.

We face the same choice. Who are we going to serve today? Are we going to serve the Lord, or are we going to serve the fleshly gods who will call out for attention today? Are we going to serve God or the gods of lust, pride, selfishness, and covetousness? We can’t do both. We can’t have it both ways. Who are you going to choose to serve today?

Friday, 21 October 2005

God forbid that we rebel

“God forbid that we should rebel against the LORD, and turn this day from following the LORD, to build an altar for burnt offerings, for meat offerings, or for sacrifices, beside the altar of the LORD our God that is before his tabernacle.” - Joshua 22v29

The people were spelling their commitment to the Lord when they made this statement of dedication. They seemed to be totally committed when they said, “God forbid that we rebel against the Lord, turn aside from following Him, build another altar!”

We know of course that they did not hold to this commitment for very long. Once that were established they quickly began to turn aside after the false gods of Canaan, they were not as committed as they first appeared. They did rebel, turn aside, and worship at other altars.

How do we stack up compared to them? As Christians the very thought of rebelling against the Lord should be totally abhorrent to us. We should never dream of turning aside or worshipping at “other altars.” But do we? Is there anything in our lives where we rebel against Him? Is there any hint of turning off the path of following Him? Are their “other altars” in our lives that draw our attention away for following Him?

Other altars are not always made of stone and wood. They can be intangibles such as popularity, materialism, or sensual lust. God forbid that we rebel against the Lord in being distracted by things like this and worship as these “altars.”

Thursday, 20 October 2005

There failed not aught of any good thing the Lord had spoken

“There failed not aught of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.” - Joshua 21v45

The task was accomplished! The land had been conquered and divided. Israel was in possession of all that God had promised them. God had not failed in one single thing that He had promised.

However, there were some unconquered areas of the land. How can these two things be reconciled? How can God said He gave them all He promised and there still be unconquered regions?

The answer is simple. The people failed, God did not. God fulfilled His promise, He accomplished all that He said He would do. Where there was failure it was on the part of the people for not doing what God had told them to do. God did all He said, but they did not have faith or the willingness to see the thing through on their part.

The same is true for us. We are God’s children. He has promised us great things. We can have a spirit-filled walk. We can walk in victory. We can faithfully serve Him. We need have no besetting sin. What keeps us from all of this? Not God, for in our lives He has not failed us. The problem is us. As Israel left parts of the land unconquered so we often leave areas of our lives unconquered. And, like Israel, these areas are going to cause us problems.

When there is no victory in our lives it is not God’s fault. It is ours alone.

Wednesday, 19 October 2005

They asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord

“And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.” - Joshua 9v14

After the battle of Ai word got around about the other conquests by the Israelites. There were already stories about the great victories on the other side of the Jordan, and now Jericho and Ai were added to the list of victory stories.

The Gibeonites devised a master plan to save themselves. They put on old clothes and shoes, packed old food and wine, and approached Joshua as though they had been travelling a long distance. When they came they asked to food and supplies.

Dealing with this kind of request is always difficult. Here the leaders of Israel make a serious error. They made a decision without first asking counsel of the Lord. They acted on their own without asking God what to do. This was to have long lasting affects and the Gibeonites were to be a thorn in their sides for years to come.
What is our lesson for today? Simple enough - seek God’s face before we act. Go to Him in prayer and seek His leadership and counsel before we act. We can spare ourselves great difficulties if we will “ask counsel at the mouth of the Lord

Tuesday, 18 October 2005

The faithfulness of Joshua

“There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.” - Joshua 8v35

The second time they tried to conquer Ai Israel succeeded. This time they obeyed God, got rid of the sin in the camp and let God work. There was no sin in the way of God doing His work so the people met with success.

After the battle Joshua gave the people the instructions that Moses had given him. We read, “…there was not a word that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read to the people...” Joshua faithfully recounted all that he had been taught as he gave it passed it on.

There is a lesson for those of us who have been saved for a while and are in a position to pass on the others what God has taught us through others. One of the reasons true Bible spirituality fades away is that we forget the principle of 2 Timothy 2v2 – “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

Let us emulate the pattern set by Joshua and Moses, and may we teach those who come after us to do the same.

Monday, 17 October 2005

I saw…coveted…took…hid

“When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.” - Joshua 7v21

The source of Israel’s sin and resulting defeat at Ai had been discovered. A man of Judah, Achan had been found out and was confronted by Joshua. Achan made a full disclosure of how the sin had happened and there were four steps to his sin.

I saw the garment, silver, and gold

I coveted them

I took them

I hid them

God has graciously given us here a pattern to watch out for. Not only were these steps to Achan’s sin. But they are steps to all of our sins as well. We see something, we desire it, we take it, and we then try to hide our sin.

Sometimes we can help what we see, but there are times when we cannot. However, the next step is where we too often “blow it.” After we see something, we covet it. This is where the sin really starts. But even then it is not too late to deal with the sin and ask God’s forgiveness. The next step is where we really fail, we take what we want, then the natural next step is to hide our sin.

We cannot keep your sin hidden forever. “Be sure your sin will find you out,” God says. Lets keep our eyes open for the warnings signs on the road to sin and seek God’s help in avoiding the dangerous steps.

Sunday, 16 October 2005

Get up…Israel has sinned

“And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.”

- Joshua 7v10-11

Israel was all crossed over the Jordan. As they followed God’s instructions He gave them a great victory at Jericho. Jericho was a massive, well-fortified city, yet it literally fell to pieces before Israel. The next city in the battle plan was Ai. A much smaller city, it should have fallen easily. However, there is no indication that they sought God’s will; they just went out to battle and were stunned with a crushing defeat.

Joshua was distraught! How could we lose a battle like this? He went to God and asked God how He could let this happen. God was quick to response, but it was surely not the response Joshua wanted. God said, “Get up from there Joshua. You lost because Israel as sinned.”

Joshua was blaming God. God, on the other hand, put the blame squarely where it belonged, on Israel and her sin. A modern day preacher might put God’s answer this way; “Quit your pity party Joshua. Israel has sinned, lets deal with it and get on.”

How often do we blame God for the way things are going when the fault is really ours? How often does God to us, “Get over the pity party, deal with your sin and get on with it?”

Saturday, 15 October 2005

Step into the water

“And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon a heap.” - Joshua 3v13

There is an old gospel song called “Step Into the Water.” Although it is not packed with spiritual truths and theological depth I am reminded of it whenever I read this passage. In the song the concept is stepping into the water of God’s love. Here the idea is taking a step of faith to achieve something for God.

Between the people and Canaan, the Promised Land, was the Jordan River. Swollen to a width of almost a mile at flood stage this surely looked like an impossible task. There was no Moses to lift his staff, no bridge to cross, no ferry to shuttle them back and forth, and no place shallow enough to ford.

God’s instructions were simple enough, as soon as the soles of the priests’ feet touch the water it will part and the people would be permitted to cross on dry land. All they had was the promise of God. This must have looked like sheer lunacy – to cross the river just walk into it? Talk about walking by faith and not by sight!

I wonder how it felt to be the priests at the front of the ark? As they approached the water they surely had mixed emotions. What are we going to do if this doesn’t work? How are we going to explain it? If it doesn’t work, Joshua is going to be in big trouble.

Yet God kept His word. As soon as their feet touched the water the river parted and dry ground appeared. God rewarded their step of faith just as He had said He would.

Are you facing a “step into the water” situation today? Learn the lesson of the priests. Walk by faith, not by sight, and step out into the water!

Friday, 14 October 2005

You’ve never been this way before

“Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.” - Joshua 3v4

We all have many times in our lives when we face the unknown. Going off to college, marriage, moving house, job changes, new ministries and many other times we are in situation similar to Israel on the Jordan River.

God did not want Israel to rush pell-mell across the Jordan to conquer the land. He wanted them to follow His leadership. He wanted the ark ready to go, but the people we stay about a kilometre back to watch how God would lead. The reason for this observance? “You have not passed this way before.” They did not know what was going to happen or what kind of situations were going to face. God told them to step back and watch to see how to follow.

God also told them to sanctify themselves before the task. A “setting apart” was required before the task was begun. This was going to be a long arduous task which could only be accomplished as they set themselves apart and followed Him.

The next time you face a situation when you have “not passed this way before” remember to sit back and see how the Lord will lead as you sanctify yourself to Him.

Thursday, 13 October 2005

The Scarlet Cord

“Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee.” - Joshua 2v18

Rahab is an interesting Bible character. A prostitute in Jericho, she is an amazing picture of God’s all sufficient grace. We know that she was saved by faith according to Hebrews 11 and that he faith was manifested and verified by here works from James. We also know that she was a part of the Messianic line.

What set this woman apart? She had heard of the mighty God of Israel. What she had heard about His power led to believe that He was the true God, so she acted on her faith and helped the two Israelite spies. In return they promised that she and her family would be spared. To signify which was hers she agreed to hang a scarlet cord out the window. When the scarlet cord was seen, she would be delivered.

Scarlet is an interesting choice of colours. It of course reminds us of the blood that was spread on the doorposts for the first Passover. The scarlet as well reminds us that it is only the blood of Christ that ensures our deliverance in the day of judgement. Praise God for this reminder of the perfect Scarlet Cord of Redemption.

Wednesday, 12 October 2005

True success

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” - Joshua 1v8

There are all kinds of measures of success. Some think success comes with a fat chequebook. Some think that success comes from being popular. Success is measured by the people we know, the cars we drive, the houses we own and the size of our ministries.

God’s view of success is very different. God says that there is a way to sure success.

Don’t let God word depart from your mouth

Meditate on God’s word day and night

Do all that is written therein

God is the definer of success. He says that is we do these we will prosper and have good success. However He uses His measuring rod of success. God’s measure of success may very well be nothing like our view of success.

What kind of success would you rather have? God’s or mans?

Tuesday, 11 October 2005

I will never leave you or forsake you

“There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” - Joshua 1v5

Moses was dead. He had gone to Mt Nebo at God’s instruction and God had buried him there.

His successor, Joshua was about to take control of the people in preparation for entering into the Promised Land. God repeats a promise He had made to Abraham, “I will be with you, I will not fail you or forsake you.”

What blessed assurance is to be found in this few words – “I will not lave you or forsake you.” Joshua was facing a mighty challenge, that of conquering the land of Canaan. The enemy was strong and the battles would be intense. There were still giants in the land. Yet, Joshua could go in confidence that God would go with him and would never fail him!

Even more wonderful is the fact that God makes the same promise to us!” In Hebrews 13v5 we are told to be content, and not to be covetous, because God has promised, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” We all face our own battles and challenges. As we live for Him we will encounter many enemies, but we can rest assured that God is with us, and that He will never, never, in any way, ever, ever leave us!

Monday, 10 October 2005

Set your hearts

“And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.” - Deuteronomy 32v46

“Set you hearts,” God said in relation to receiving His words and instructions. We can note here that simple compliance to the rules is not enough.

The context for these words is right after a lengthy song by Moses warning the people of a future falling away and the results of such a falling away. In order to avoid such a falling away Moses gives a clear instruction, “Set your hearts.”

Even though we are no longer under the law as laid out here, there is a principle of heart compliance rather than outward compliance. All through the word of God we see the stress on obedience from the heart. Following in the flesh is always going to end in failure. However, if we could ever learn the lesson of “setting our hearts” all the rest would fall into place.

Even today these are marvellous words of advice. Don’t just use the rules as a standard to follow, but instead, set our hearts to obey the Lord. If we do that , then the actual following will come easily.

Sunday, 9 October 2005

Five parts of following the Lord

“Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.” - Deuteronomy 31v12-13

As Moses began the final preparations for handing the nation over to Jacob and sending the people across into Canaan He gave some simple instructions on how to stay on track on following God. He knew that once in the land there would be things that would distract them from following Him.

Here He gives five basic instructions:

  1. Gather the people together – fellowship
  2. Teach them to hear
  3. Teach them to fear the Lord
  4. Teach them to obey the Lord
  5. Teach them to do the word of the Lord

The principles that God gave Moses for Israel are just as valid for us today. All of these are important, but the most important is surely the last one. It is easy to teach all of the basic instructions; the challenge comes in carrying that instruction on the next generation. Let us be sure that the things we teach we teach our children to teach.

Saturday, 8 October 2005


“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” - Deuteronomy 30v19-20

From the very start God has given man choices. Eve had a choice, obey God or obey the serpent. Adam had a choice, obey God or listen to his wife. Cain had a choice, give an offering by faith, or based on his works. And so it goes, choice after choice.

The time for crossing into Canaan was close. God lays it all out before them. “You have a choose,” He says, “I lay before you life and death, blessing and cursing.” Then He leaves the choice up to them.

Of course choices always have consequences. God says that choosing His way is the sure way to blessing. When we choose His way we choose to love Him, obey Him, and cleave to Him. The reason? Because when we choose Him He becomes our very life! Our life is no longer ours when we make Him our life.

When we face choices as Christians the proper choice should be clear enough. Christ is our life, let every choice we make honour His as such.

Friday, 7 October 2005

The word is very near you

“But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.” - Deuteronomy 30v14

When the Lord give us teachings in His word, He knocks down any excuses to not doing it. God says, “My word is not far away, it is very near, it is in your mouth and in your heart.”

Then God gives instruction on what to do about this word that is so near. What did God say to the people of Israel that they should do with word? The same thing He tells us in the book of James; “Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only.

We too often take for granted the wonderful gift of God’s word to us. It is there, we have it close to hand, and yet how seldom we heed it and how even more seldom we do it.

God’s word is indeed very near to us. Most of us read, and are taught it. Let is not only be very near to us, but let us do it!

Thursday, 6 October 2005

The secret things of the Lord

“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” - Deuteronomy 29v29

Do you ever wonder why things happen in our Christian lives the way they do? Sometimes all the things we think should happen don’t, and, the things that we think should not happen do.

God is not going to show us all that He is doing. Isaiah informs us that His ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts, so we can never hope to understand it all. This is where we are challenged to trust Him by faith.

Here in Deuteronomy God informs His people that there are things that are going to be hidden from them. These secret things belong to the Lord. In their case, it was the gospel that would be revealed later. Moses says here that since there are secret things, the best thing we can do is to just trust Him and obey the words of the Law.

There is an obvious principle here for us. God still has secret things that He is not going to choose to reveal to us. All we see is a very limited scope of life. We all have spiritual tunnel vision so we see things only from our perspective.

However, like Israel, there are some things that God has revealed to us in His word. Our best action is to simply trust and obey His word. Its not easy to live the secret things up to Him, but that is what He asks of us.

Let us live today by the things He has revealed and trust Him to handle the secret things.

Wednesday, 5 October 2005


“And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:” - Deuteronomy 29v19

In line wit yesterday’s devotional we come to today’s thought dealing with this terrible self-deception. So many are walking around with an attitude of “I am at peace with the world, yet I do whatever I want, so I must be blessed.”

As we look around us today it is clear that the vast majority of the world have convinced themselves that everything is going to be okay. They just don’t want to deal with God so they see their houses and lands and assume that everything is okay.

Yet, God’s word still says, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.” And “if any be a hearer word and nor a doer, he deceives his own self.”

Sadly, from what we read in James it is not only non-believers who are self-deceived, it can happen to those of us who believe as well.

There is no peace apart from walking in the light of God’s word.

Tuesday, 4 October 2005

The empty life without God

“In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.” - Deuteronomy 28v67

In the section just before this God gives a whole list of blessings and cursing. Blessings if Israel obeys and cursings if the do not. At the end of this the Lord gives a clear picture of a life that ignores God. It is a life of emptiness and vanity.

God puts it this way here; “When it is morning you will long for the evening and when it is evening you will long for the morning.” What an empty life this portrays! Never content with what is going on, always looking for “something better” tonight or tomorrow. Why this despair? For the fear of your heart at what you will see. These are thoughts which are choose not to see God working in the situation, who have not obeyed the Lord and followed Him, and have chosen their own way. These poor souls are always looking to what is next because their lives are so miserable.

I can’t imagine a life without God. When I look around at all that is going on, I would be it absolute despair without Him.

God is do good to give us purpose and meaning for life. We don’t have to keep looking for what is next because can be redeeming the time in these evil days. Let us use every moment for His glory!

Monday, 3 October 2005

The Lord walks in the midst of your camp

“For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.” - Deuteronomy 23v14

As God gives what seem to be mundane, almost too vivid descriptions of cleanliness He gives the reason why He is so specific about His rules. He is a holy God, who demands cleanliness, for He dwells in the midst of the camp of Israel.

Here we have an excellent illustration of why we are to live clean, holy lives. Just as God dwelt in the midst of the camp of Israel, so His Holy Spirit dwells in us once we get saved. I Corinthians 6v19-20 informs us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost, Who is in us.

Since it was so important to keep the camp of Israel spotless, does that not let us know how important it is for us to keep our lives spotless for Him. Lets be sure that we face each day with the knowledge that there is no unclean thing is us, that we can serve Him.

Sunday, 2 October 2005

Cursed is every man that hangeth on the tree

“And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.”

- Deuteronomy 21v22-23

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”

- Galatians 3v13

“If any man has committed a sin worthy of death, let him be hanged on a tree…Christ became a curse for us…cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree.”

What an amazing incident from Scripture. This passage from the law tells that those who have committed a sin worthy of death were to be hanged on a tree. Crucifixion, the Roman method of execution was unknown at the time. Here was prophesied one of the most dramatic aspects of the death of Christ for us.

Those who were to be hung on a tree were accursed, guilty of a sin worthy of death. Jesus was deserving on neither of these. Yet, He was hung on a tree, cursed and seemingly guilty.

It is almost beyond our comprehension what had to happen for Jesus to find Himself on the cross. Jesus had to take all of our guilt on Himself, becoming accursed for us and bearing our curse on the cross. The One who committed no sin worthy of death hung on the cross for all who do commit sin worthy of death. This is the epitome of love!

Praise God that Jesus took my place on the tree. May I live a life of gratitude to me!

Saturday, 1 October 2005

Principles for leadership

“And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.” - Deuteronomy 17:18-20

God knew that eventually the people would reject His direct rule and demand a king. Here He laid down some principles for leadership from which we all can learn. After giving some instructions on possessions and marriage He gives the most important of instruction, how leaders should apply the word of God. Here are the instructions that we would do well to heed as well.

Keep it with us

Read it all the days of our lives

Learn to fear the Lord

Keep the word of God

Do what He commands us

Don’t be lifted up in pride

Don’t turn aside from the word of God

Our leadership roles may vary; pastor, teacher, mom or dad, SS teacher, older brother or sister, boss, supervisor, or whatever. No matter what leadership role God places us in can’t go wrong if we heed God’s word for kings.