Deuteronomy 31.1-8 – January 17, 2020

Deuteronomy 31.1-8

Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: “I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross the Jordan.’ The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the Lord said. And the Lord will do to them what he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, whom he destroyed along with their land. The Lord will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31.1-8, NIV)

“Moses empowers Joshua as he takes over to help lead the Israelites, and reminds him that God is always with him.”

Thought Questions:

How do you live your life differently knowing that “God goes before you?” What are some specific ways that impacts your decision making and thoughts?

What are you afraid of? How might Moses’ instructions here relieve you of that fear? Why are we afraid if God is with us?

In what ways can you be strong and courageous today as you go about your day?

Deuteronomy 29.12-15 – January 15, 2020

Deuteronomy 29.12-15

You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God, a covenant the Lord is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, 13 to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 14 I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you 15 who are standing here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God but also with those who are not here today.”  (Deuteronomy 29.12-15, NIV)

A covenant is not something that is put into place based on a “contract” in which both party have equal say, but it is made by an entity stronger than the one receiving the covenant, yet it is a promise that the stronger will look out for the weaker’s best interest. God did not make us his people and enter into a covenant with us because of what we had done, but because of who he is and what he not only did … but continues to do.

Thought Questions:

How important is it for us to realize that God makes a covenant with us out of his power, not out of our ability to follow him?

How well do you keep the promises you have made to others, especially those made years ago?

How does knowing you are in a covenant with God affect the ways you live for him?

Melting with Fear – April 10, 2019

Deuteronomy 34.1-Joshua 2.24; Luke 13.22-14.6; Psalm 79.1-13; Proverbs 12.26

The story we read from Joshua shows the contrast of what it looks like to be strong and courageous (Joshua) and what is looks like to be afraid and have no courage (the people of Jericho). Why are the people of Jericho afraid? How does God’s power allow us to have no fear, in contrast to the people of Jericho?

Questions:

Do you think you would like to know God face-to-face? Why or why not?

How have you seen the seemingly least important end up being the most important?

Have you ever wanted God to pay back your neighbors for what they have done? When is this an appropriate response? When is it not appropriate?

What kind of advice are you getting: Godly or wicked?

Closed for Business – April 9, 2019

Deuteronomy 33.1-29; Luke 13.1-21; Psalm 78.65-72; Proverbs 12.25

The Pharisees’ response in today’s story from Luke always boggles my mind. Here is someone in need of healing, yet the response they get is: Come back tomorrow, we are closed. Just how hard-hearted does one have to be to refuse to help someone in need? Or perhaps a better question would be: In what ways do we refuse to help those in need–physically or spiritually–because it does not fit with our schedule?

Questions:

If you were going to give a blessing to your friends or church family as you drew to the end of your time with them, what would that blessing be?

How have you seen a small amount of Christian influence creating a large result?

Psalm 78 goes through a long explanation of what God has done and how the people have responded to conclude with “God chose David.” What purpose do you think this psalm served for the people of God? For us today?

How has worry weighed you down? How can you be free from that worry?

Holiness – April 8, 2019

Deuteronomy 32.28-52; Luke 12.35-59; Psalm 78.56-64; Proverbs 12.24

As Moses concludes his speeches to God’s people in Deuteronomy, we are told he goes up on Mt. Nebo in order to look over into the Promised Land … the land he would not be able to enter because he failed to demonstrate God’s holiness. In many ways, this is a heartbreaking moment. Here is the man who put up with the disobedience and rebellion of the Israelites, yet at the end of the day, would not be able to join them in the land they were promised. What do you think was going through Moses’ mind as he looked out over this land? What goes through your mind as you read this story?

Questions:

What would you include in a song about your history of following God, recounting both how you had acted, but also what God had done for you?

What have you done today in anticipation of Jesus returning? How have you “kept your lamp burning?”

As you read through this account of God’s people in Psalm 78, how do you think you would have responded to them if you were God? In what ways are you thankful that God does not respond as you would?

How have you worked hard today?

God Will Lead You – April 7, 2019

Deuteronomy 31.1-32.27; Luke 12.8-34; Psalm 78.32-55; Proverbs 12.21-23

Near the end of Moses’ life, God calls Moses and Joshua in order to “formally” give leadership to Joshua. I think there are a couple of things that important here. One, there is no question who the next leader will be for God’s people. (This will not always be the case and will cause problems for the people later.) Two, and I think more important, Moses (for God) gives the command to Joshua to be “strong and courageous.” Why would strength and courage be so important for the leader of the Israelites?

Questions:

How does the fact that God goes before you affect your perception of the “battles” you face today?

How have you sought the Kingdom of God today?

Would you say you have ever given God just lip service in your dedication to him? How can you ensure you are fully committed to him?

Someone once said it is better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubts. What response do you think the writer of Proverbs would have to this saying?

Do Not Fear – April 6, 2019

Deuteronomy 29.1-30.20; Luke 11.37-12.7; Psalm 78.1-31; Proverbs 12.19-20

Jesus often tells people to not be afraid, which leads me to believe that the people he comes in contact with are often … afraid. Why do you think people would fear Jesus? How do you react to him and how do his words bring you comfort?

Questions:

One of the ways it becomes easier to obey God is to remember what he has done. What has God done in your life that prompts you to obey him?

How were the Pharisees unclean on the inside, even if they were clean on the outside?

Do you listen to God’s instruction? How can you do that more?

How have words of truth you have said continued to be not only true, but also valuable over a long amount of time?

If You Obey… – April 5, 2019

Deuteronomy 28-1-68; Luke 11.14-36; Psalm 77.1-20; Proverbs 12.18

Deuteronomy marks a point in the book where Moses begins to list off a collection of blessings and curses that would happen to people if they did or did not follow God. Knowing the consequences of sinful behavior should keep people from doing those things, but that is often NOT the case. Why do you think this is and what might we do to recognize the consequences of not following God?

Questions:

Why do you think the list of curses is longer than the list of blessings here in Deuteronomy?

Why would anyone think Jesus was from Satan?

After reading the Psalm text for today, why do you sense the author thinks that God has rejected him?

How have your wise words brought healing to someone today?

Martha, Martha, Martha – April 4, 2019

Deuteronomy 26.1-27.26; Luke 10.38-11.13; Psalm 76.1-12; Proverbs 12.15-17

Pull out your calendar. Now, take a moment to review it and ask yourself: How much “white space,” that is, unscheduled time, do you have? We often find our value in our work, ignoring those things that may be more important, such as time spent with God. Which are you – a Mary or Martha? Which do you think you should be and how can you work to be that sort of person?

Questions:

Recite your spiritual history, either for your children or just to remind yourself of your story in God.

Pray the Lord’s Prayer today.

How have you seen God to be more glorious and majestic than even the highest mountains? If you are not a mountain person, what is the most beautiful nature scene you have experienced. God’s more majestic than that, by the way.

Think of the last time you were insulted. How did you react?

Eternal Life – April 3, 2019

Deuteronomy 23.1-25.19; Luke 10.13-37; Psalm 75.1-10; Proverbs 12.12-14

When we read that an expert in the law tested Jesus by asking hm about eternal life, we are prone to ignore the significance of his question. It was just a test, we think. Yet if we are honest, isn’t it a question we ask often? We may not be so bold as to say it out loud, but I wonder how often we try to evaluate what is and isn’t a “requirement” for following Jesus. When you think about following Jesus, do you simply enumerate what it is you HAVE to do?

Questions:

In what ways do you live your life so as to leave excess (excess time, excess money, excess energy) for those who are on the outside or on the fringes?

How have you been neighborly today?

What gratitudes would you list today for which you are thankful to God?

Are you jealous of others or content with your own fruit? How do you focus on your own life, rather than worrying about others?