Deuteronomy 30 (English Standard Version)
Repentance and Forgiveness
An open future . . .
The fundamental demand of the law (to love God with all one’s heart and soul) is presented as the ultimate fruit of God’s grace in the human heart.
1 “And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you, 2and return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. 4 If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. 5And the LORD your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. 6And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
7And the LORD your God will put all these curses on your foes and enemies who persecuted you. 8And you shall again obey the voice of the LORD and keep all his commandments that I command you today. 9 The LORD your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the LORD will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, 10when you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Janis Joplin prays for blessings in “Lord, Won’t you Buy Me a Mercedes-Benz?”
The Choice of Life and Death
An open word . . .
Keeping the law is not impossibly idealistic, impracticable, unachievable. Obedience to the law is not the means of achieving salvation, but the response to a salvation that was already experienced.
11“For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.
Romans 10:5-9 (New Living Translation)
For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands. But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” In fact, it says,
“The message is very close at hand;
it is on your lips and in your heart.”
And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
An open choice . . .
Life, in the end, is not found in the law itself, but in the God who gave it; for ultimately, the Lord is your life.
15“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life,
that you and your offspring may live, 20loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
The Christian life is not difficult. The same Christ who lived a perfect, obedient, and sinless life stands prepared to live it again through you (Galatians 2:20). God’s will is not hard to discern. He has given us the Scriptures, which reveal His will, and He has placed his Holy Spirit with us to guide us to His perfect will in every situation (John 16:13). Our greatest challenge will be to wholly commit our lives to follow God’s will obediently as He reveals it.
Moses gathered the Israelites around Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim before they were to enter the Promised Land. There, God described what they had to do in order to obey Him. God gave detailed instructions so there was no mistaking what was expected of them. Then God asked them to make a choice. If they chose to disobey His commands, they would face His wrath. If they chose to obey, they would receive His blessing.
God’s Word comes to you in the same way. It is not too complex to understand. You don’t have to struggle to discern God’s will about adultery or forgiveness or honesty. God’s word is perfectly clear. The question is, how will you respond? Nowhere in Scripture did God excuse disobedience because His instructions were too vague or complex. Condemnation came because they knew exactly what God wanted them to do, yet they chose not to do it! God, through his Holy Spirit, will always give you sufficient revelation and strength to take the next step with Him. If you are uncertain about what God is asking of you, make sure that you are obeying all that you do know, and through your obedience, God’s next instruction will become clear.
from Experiencing God Day-by-Day
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
Another prayer for blessing. “Spirit of the Living God, Fall Afresh on Me.”
This chorus was written in 1926 by Dan Iverson, a Presbyterian evangelist. Once when he was ministering at First Presbyterian Church in Orlando, he wrote this song and introduced it at the start of one of his meetings. He never got to his sermon. Instead, the congregation sang this chorus for forty-five minutes. On the basis of this hymn and the work of the Holy Spirit, some 400 people came forward, seeking to follow Jesus in a new way.
As we listen, may the Lord grant us hearts that eagerly cry to be broken, melted, molded, and filled — all to the glory of God!
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Future sign. http://ergonomicedge.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/the-future.jpg
red heart. http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=8866035
You can do it. http://www.chroniclebooks.com/images/items/0811846/0811846350/0811846350_large.jpg
Choose Life. http://www.trailblazerswyd.org/Donations/Choose_Life/choose_life_logo%20recent.jpg
boy reading Bible. http://www.houseofhopeghana.org/images/Sebastian%20reading%20Bible.jpg