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Category Archives: Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy 18:15-18

Moses continued, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you yourselves requested of the Lord your God when you were assembled at Mount Sinai. You said, ‘Don’t let us hear the voice of the Lord our God anymore or see this blazing fire, for we will die.’ “Then the Lord said to me, ‘What they have said is right. I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him.
Deuteronomy 18:15-18

Dear God, it is easy to criticize your leadership style. Speaking through flawed and frail humans instead of speaking to us directly. Giving us a collection of books written over the course of hundreds (thousands) of years with inconsistencies that can be glaring (two different creation stories back to back in Genesis that are different?). Sending Jesus to live, die, and come back to life to atone for our sin. You allow all of this suffering to happen in the world–from human on human crimes to natural disasters. These are just a few examples.

But what’s the alternative. What would be a better way? Would it be better if you actually spoke to us directly in an audible voice, gave us a 100-page instruction manual on how to live, made us work for our atonement, and made earth heaven, removing all obstacles in life as well as our free will? I’ve thought about this some in the past. Yes, sometimes this system of yours can be frustrating, but it is always better than any alternatives I can come up with.

Father, thank you for your gentleness. In terms of your prophets and scripture, thank you for a chance to get to know you in a more personal way through both stories of your interaction with people over millennia and through the life and examples of Jesus. And thank you for the struggles. Yes, there are times when I’d love to ask you if you regret free will, but I know the world would be pretty miserable without it. In the end, I suppose it come down to the fact that I trust you, and I also trust that this vague system that leaves room for flawed interpretations of your nature and how I should live my life also leaves enough latitude for me to be wrong and still be in relations with you.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2019 in Deuteronomy

 

Deuteronomy 13:1-4

“Suppose there are prophets among you or those who dream dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles occur. If they then say, ‘Come, let us worship other gods’—gods you have not known before— do not listen to them. The Lord your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul. Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.
Deuteronomy 13:1-4

Dear God, one of the things that is good about getting the “verse of the day” from Bible Gateway is that it will occasionally give me a random verse with which I’m not familiar. In this case, I’m sure I’ve read this before, but it’s been a long time and I’ve forgotten it.

The actual verse was verse 4, the last two sentences: “Serve only the Lord…” but I think the most important part is pointing out the false prophets at the beginning. I need to being everything I read or hear to you and the Holy Spirit in discernment. Even from people I trust.

For example, I really like the preaching of Andy Stanley, and I’m sure he works hard to vet his teaching for authenticity and accuracy. I’m also sure he’s been unknowingly wrong about some things. I have had the opportunity to preach and I am sure that I’ve made mistakes that made you wince. I’ve worked hard to make sure what I say is supported by scripture and consistent with what I know of you, but I’m sure I’ve been wrong. Heck, I’m sure I’ve put wrong things and incorrect conclusions in these prayers to you, and, because I blog them, someone might accidentally receive and start to believe some wrong theology.

There is a Christian denomination in town that teaches that the congregation must accept what is taught from the pulpit regardless of their personal response to it. Therefore, they cannot visit other churches and they cannot hear teaching from anyone outside of their denomination. That’s too bad on two counts. It’s dangerous to give any human that much power over a group, and it’s so limiting to only hear limited perspectives on you and all that you are.

Father, in the end, there might be some mistakes made, but it finally comes down to verse 4: “Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.” Help me to serve only you and to fear no one but you. Help me to obey your commands, make room to listen to you and your Holy Spirit, and simply cling to you for all of my life.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2019 in Deuteronomy

 

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Deuteronomy 6:6-7
And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.

 

Dear God, I think it’s impossible to be a good parent. Well, I take that back. I think there are some people out there who are good parents. I’ll rephrase. I really tried, but as I look back on my parenting all I see is failure and mistakes. I wasn’t strict enough here. I was too strict there. I didn’t pray enough here. I was too spiritual there.

I was talking to a woman yesterday who adores her father and talked about all of the lessons and wisdom he imparted to her. I was sitting there admiring the heck out of the guy and wishing I was more like him, but then I remembered something. This woman, who is in her late 20s now, ended up leaving home and moving in with her boyfriend while she was still in high school. She is married to the boyfriend now, but I am sure that that felt like tremendous failure to that father in the moment. Of course, now, the woman is one of the most admirable people I know. I admire both her and her husband greatly. But I’m sure her life and how things were going didn’t always look that promising to her parents.

One thing that I tend to get from you more and more the closer I get to you is that you have made room in your plan for my failures. While I can do some damage, to be sure, in the broad scheme of things, your overall plan has allowed for my mistakes. You are always working for the good for those who love you (Romans 8:28), whether we can see it or not. In the case of this woman, she talked about the struggles she experienced through her choices and how they made her stronger. Her father is very pleased with her now. I’m sure he couldn’t see it at the time, but you were working all things together for the good of those who love you.

Father, I have a lot of work today, and I have a lot of opportunities to really blow it, but I am going to trust you that this path is ordained. Whether it has struggle waiting for me, or even failure, I trust that you will use my work–my life–for your glory. I submit it all to you. To paraphrase an “invitation hymn” from my Baptist days, all to you I surrender. All to you I freely give. I will ever love and trust you. In your presence daily live. I surrender all. I surrender all. All to thee my blessed savior, I surrender all.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 

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Deuteronomy 6:4-9

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Dear God, I suppose that if there is one thing I am supposed to know and remember to pass on to my children it is what the Jewish people call the “Shema Yisrael.” You are God, you are one, and I must love you with my whole heart, soul, and strength. Boy, is that harder to pass down than it sounds.

Over 20 years ago, I was at a Promise Keepers conference at Texas Stadium in Irving. One guy was talking to us and he used an illustration of three chairs. Each chair represented a level of love for and commitment to you. Chair #1 was VERY committed. Chair #2 was kind of committed. Chair #3 was not committed at all. He said that it usually goes that of generation #1 starts out in the first chair, it is likely that the next generation will be in the second chair and the third generation will be in the last chair. I think this is probably true which is why you gave Moses this passage to Still into the Israelites. We need to do everything we can to keep our children (and their children) in the first chair.

Father, you know what my wife and I tried to do with our children when they still lived at home. Now, they are both out in the world, and they will take those lessons (some of them anyway) with them. Give them what they need to live in that first chair. Help my wife and me to live in that first chair and stay there. It’s hard to not be distracted or tempted to follow our own way. But you are our God, you are one. I will love you above all others and with everything I have.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2018 in Deuteronomy