Deuteronomy 13-14 B

There’s a lot of eyebrow-raising content here, and I like what Bethany wrote about it.

You can’t get far in the Bible without reading about God raising up someone who society normally pushes down. There are a lot of dietary restrictions required of the Israelites to remain holy. Chapter 14 goes on and on….don’t eat this, don’t touch that, don’t cook this like that, do this. In most societies at this time, women prepared and cooked all the food. Which means God made women a major part of keeping people holy. 

This also reminded me that normal work I do within my day are acts of worship. Preparing meals should require thought, intention, sacrifice and time.

The Bible is a timeless guide on how to be in a relationship with God. I’m reminded today that he has designated important work into my hands! What my family eats is important. Our bodies are incredible, and designed to be fueled with clean foods. Am I less holy because earlier I passed a fast food bean burrito back to my son for dinner? I hope not. But I am thankful for the nudge these chapters gave me today. Food is important to God and plays a really big part in life. What we eat and how we eat it matters!

If God has given you the resources to eat abundantly, how are you stewarding that gift?

 

-Carly

 

Deuteronomy 11-12 B

“For the land, into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden. But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year.” (11:10-12)

An agricultural thing to note is how Egypt was built in irrigation systems, stemming from the Nile. This source of life is large in part why the Nile was adored as a deity.

By contrast, the Promised Land is not conducive for irrigation. Egypt is flat, Canaan is mountainous. Therefore, it depends on rain. It should come as no surprise, then, that the main gods of Canaan were “rain deities”. Sacrificing to appease them would hypothetically result in rain, subsequently resulting in good crops.

This naturally leads into a very important command:

“Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them.” (11:16)

The LORD makes it abundantly clear HE is the source was of the rain. There will arise very real temptations to follow the locals into their worship practices.

What is the solution to not forget this important command? Put reminders everywhere!

“You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,” (11:18-20‬)

Jews still do this with Mezuzahs. They are little doorpost scrolls containing the Shema (Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One). Sometimes I wish I could be a Messianic Jew, because so many things like this are awesome (I guess who is stopping me from adopting stuff like this?). All the festivals, reminders, rituals for purity and unity, that stuff is still super helpful for a healthy spiritual life.

What could be a good practice for you? How can you remind yourself of The True Source of blessing and good gifts? When you’re in times of “drought”, what keeps you from going to other popular sources?

-Bethany

Deuteronomy 9-10 B

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. And you must always obey the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.” 10:12-13

So simple. Yet so complicated. Right?

How do I fear God, please him and serve him when it comes to my stubborn 4 year old son? My neighbor with no boundaries who endlessly sticks out her hand? The addict in your life? The coworker who bullies you and interferes with your work? The volatile family member?

How do I live in a way that is pleasing to God when we’re buried in stress, credit card debt, shame, addictions, gluttony and selfishness? It seems like such a straight-forward expectation but the specifics get messy. 

I find answers to this later in chapter 10:

“You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone. He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes.

Cling to Jesus, and worship him for who he is. Stick by his side and don’t turn to find other answers. He is worthy of our undivided attention. Remember all he has done to save you. Yes, this life with Christ is complicated and hard, but he is here for it!

 

 

-Carly

Deuteronomy 7-8 B

The LORD did impossible things, everyday, for Israel during their Exodus and 40 years in the desert.

  • Manna from Heaven
  • Water from a rock
  • Clothes that don’t wear out
  • Feet that don’t swell
  • Victory over the most powerful nation of the known world

All this was to give them confidence to face the impossible things ahead.

Why is it so hard to remember? Why do I fret about things and not stop to celebrate when they’re worked out? I tend to get busy fretting over the next thing too quickly.

Lately, I feel the LORD speaking impossible-sounding dreams to me. I find myself thinking it could just as easily happen as not happen. God opens doors, shows favor, and I have a work ethic. As I discussed an impossible dream with a friend, I suddenly felt a nudge to stop and think, anything is possible. I am on the cusp of becoming a dual citizen. Numerous impossible things have lined up for me and I’ve worked hard. Why can’t other crazy things happen?

Then I realized, I hadn’t let myself really reflect, thank God, and properly celebrate the aforementioned monuments.

I love how many festivals and holidays God mandated in the Law. As we often say; Remembering His faithfulness is the key to continuing in faithfulness. That has always been the case. This history lesson is to give them courage.

Write out some highlights of your history with the LORD. Is there a major victory you forgot to celebrate? An entanglement you’ve been freed from? Take time to meditate on these things and go to the LORD in thankfulness. What personal holidays could you implicate to remind yourself in the future?

-Bethany

Deuteronomy 5-6 B

“ ‘In the future your children will ask you, ‘What is the meaning of these laws, decrees, and regulations that the Lord our God has commanded us to obey?’ Then you must tell them, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his strong hand. The Lord did miraculous signs and wonders before our eyes, dealing terrifying blows against Egypt and Pharaoh and all his people. He brought us out of Egypt so he could give us this land he had sworn to give our ancestors. And the Lord our God commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear him so he can continue to bless us and preserve our lives, as he has done to this day.’ ” 6:20-24

I love that we are not only invited, but commissioned, to tell God’s story. We often get it wrong, or distort it with our human hands and hedonistic versions, but he still sits back and leaves the storytelling to us.

I love hearing people’s rescue story. My friend Tyler started a relationship with Jesus after some of his friends in high school invited him to go bowling with his youth group. My brother in law has an amazing story of people in a village audibly hearing God’s voice in the fields. The godlessness so deafening, creation cried out in rebuttal. Someone walked up to my friend Dom in a coffee shop, pointed a finger at him and boldly shared the gospel. Slowly over time, God got a hold of his heart and he drastically uprooted his life and reoriented it towards the gospel.

Today, this really jumped out to me: “and the Lord our God commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear him so he can continue to bless us and preserve our lives, as he has done to this day”. God’s laws and instructions for our life are not meaningless. He deeply desires to bless and preserve our lives, and his boundaries are out of love. You can hand-pick any commandment and see it’s rooted in care.

I use to think sabbathing was some kind of godly deprivation (I’m an enneagram 7). Like God just wanted to withhold, for the sake of withholding. Then I worked a highly relational and physical summer job where we only had 24 hours off a week. I learned the discipline and importance of coming into the presence of God and resting.

Notice the opportunities God gives you today to tell his story.

 

-Carly

Deuteronomy 3-4 B

Check out Carly’s thoughts from last time.

Remember how we talked about the possible demi-gods in Genesis?

“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” (Genesis‬ ‭6:4‬)

It seems we are running into them again with Og King of Bashan.

“For only Og king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Behold, his bedstead was an iron bedstead; it is in Rabbah of the sons of Ammon. Its length was nine cubits and its width four cubits by ordinary cubit.” (3:11)

This victory over Og is mentioned 22 times in the Bible. It’s a huge deal (much like the man himself). That’s because it was key to Israel’s budding identity to know the LORD could give them victory over the world’s most intimidating foes.

I will now shift to another thought:

“And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, from Egypt, to be a people for His own possession, as today.” (4:19-20‬)

Over the past few years I’ve gained an increasing fascination with the LORD’s seemingly devil-may-care attitude toward the rest of the ancient world.

Listen, Israel, it’s fine for the rest of the world to create their religions around the sun, moon and stars. In fact, that’s what I gave them. But you will be different, because I’m showing Myself through you in a special way.

I know He blessed them to, in turn, bless everyone, but it seems pretty clear He knew they would fail to do that. Did He really leave 99.9999% of all humanity in the dark for centuries just because?

I don’t quite have my answers yet, but I’ll keep seeking to know about this. I think the relatable application is, like Peter’s object lesson in John 21 in relation to John: don’t worry about what I’m doing with them, be obedient to what I’m saying to you.

That’s something I have to check myself on constantly. How are you doing with that? What are your thoughts on the LORD being okay keeping Gentiles in the dark?

-Bethany

Deuteronomy 1-2 B

Back in the Old Testament! Read Bethany’s overview here, it also has the link to the Bible Project video.

“Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, going by way of Mount Seir. But forty years after the Israelites left Egypt, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses addressed the people of Israel, telling them everything the Lord had commanded him to say.” 1:2-3

The Israelites spent 40 years on an eleven day journey. According to faulty internet research, this would be about a 9 hour drive, but who knows. The point is: God was taking them the long way (and he is very clear about his intentions with this in Numbers 14).

My husband, in his wisdom, once said that we’re not ready for the promise land right out of slavery either. The relatable parallels between the Israelites and our Christian hearts are unending; we have so much to draw from their (literal) walk with God.

We are all individually on a journey in the wilderness with Jesus. Sometimes we’re following him diligently, as he fends off our enemies and drops provisions down like manna from the sky. Other times we’re camped out in one spot in life, restlessly turning our attention to other idols as we grow impatient.

“But I said to you, ‘Don’t be shocked or afraid of them! The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’ “ 1:29-31

God might be taking you the long way through the wilderness, but he is with you. 

We are so excited to read through this story again!

 

-Carly