Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Book of Deuteronomy

Genesis Project Connect Week 5: Deuteronomy
Pastor Matt Roberts

Forty years has passed. No homes, no roots, no heritage, nothing is permanent for the people of Israel. Days just seem to fly by one after another. They lack purpose,lack meaning, lack life! They are a people who were once so full of promise, so full of life and purpose. But they have forgotten years in the arid, dusty wilderness have robbed memory of the good times. They once knew the voice of God, once stood in His presence, once received His calling and His promise. They were a people on a mission who lost their way.

It must have seemed amazing how quickly those forty years passed by. One moment they were standing at the base of Mount Sinai on their way to a new land, a new beginning. The presence of God was so real in those early moments. They had come face to face with a living God and he spoke words of promise and purpose into a ragtag group of people and called them a nation. Yet now, forty years later they were walking in circles in a barren wilderness without any of the things promised to them. How did this happen? How did things go so wrong?

Quite simply, they forgot. The word Deuteronomy means, "the second telling of the law". We get the sense in Leviticus that God is warning His people "listen to what I say, this is VERY important!" maybe if we would have been there we would have heard "don't make me say this twice!". I am sure at the time Israel wondered how they could ever forget. God had been so good, so real, so relevant right where they were. God had invaded the nation of former slaves and I am sure they believed they would never be the same again. But soon reality set in. The wilderness was REAL. Real heat, real hunger, real thirst, real blisters on their feet and when they got to the river there were real giants and real armies on the other side. They became frustrated and tired and in doing so they took their eyes off of God. They set Him and His Word aside and placed their focus on their present sufferings instead of their God future.

Now forty years have passed and God is again calling a new generation to a promised land. For the second time the Law of God is laid out before the people. God asks them to be faithful, to remember this time all that He speaks to His people. It was a choice of blessings or curses, a literal choice of life and death. How would this new generation respond? Would they hold onto the things spoken in the presence of God, or allow circumstances to rob Gods words from them once again? The choice was now theirs and Gods hopes and direction was clear "choose life!".

As much as I would love to question the people of Israel in their forgetfulness, to ask how they could have walked out of Egypt unscathed and through the Red Sea on dry land, how they could have witnessed a mountain come alive by the presence of God and see a cloud of glory over their camp every day and still forget the things God spoke into them? I cannot question because I understand, cannot judge because I am no different.
How many times have we experienced the hand of God moving us? How many times
has His word permeated the silence of our lives. How many times was our response temporary? We, just like Israel are so good at letting life creep in and steal Gods Word from our lives. We get busy, situations change and without even realizing it, we slowly walk away from the clear direction of God. Most of the time we don't do it on purpose. We just drift away as the mountain top experiences become distant memories. Our passions wain, our resolve is tested and through all of our resolutions made in Gods
presence, the wilderness shows up and sucks us back into the same old ways of a monotonous life.

What if we made this time count? What if we chose life and blessing and ran with it? Ran with a resolve to never look back, never slow down, never to forget. It is a staggering thought for me to wonder where I would be today if I had refused to be sidetracked, if I had stuck to my promises, if I had ran with every word spoken to my heart in His presence. But just like Israel there is nothing we can do about what's behind us, no recreating time wasted. We can allow God to speak into the depths of our hearts
once again and resolve that this time it is going to be different through the power of a patient and graceful God.

SUGGESTED READING 2/6/12 - 2/11/12
Monday 2/6 - Deuteronomy 1-4
Tuesday 2/7 - Deuteronomy 5-11
Wednesday 2/8 - Deuteronomy 12-19
Thursday 2/9 - Deuteronomy 20-26
Friday 2/10 - Deuteronomy 27-30
Saturday 2/11 - Deuteronomy 31-34

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