1644.) Deuteronomy 4

August 20, 2015

Chapter 4 is like an Oreo cookie! It begins and ends by impressing on Israel the importance of obedience, affirming God’s command that “You shall have no other gods before Me.” The central section is an extended teaching on God’s command not to make an idol, because God loves them.  (The people, not the idols.  And who knows, He might love Oreo cookies, too!)

Deuteronomy 4 (English Standard Version)

Moses Commands Obedience

1“And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 2 You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.

3Your eyes have seen what the LORD did at Baal-peor, for the LORD your God destroyed from among you all the men who followed the Baal of Peor. 4But you who held fast to the LORD your God are all alive today.

5See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 7For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?

from Edges of His Ways,
by Amy Carmichael

Deuteronomy 4:7 (KJV) – So nigh . . . as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for.

Deuteronomy is full of light for all who desire to follow our Lord fully, and does most wonderfully “speak to our condition.”

This verse must have helped millions.  It came to me yesterday as if read for the first time:  “so nigh . . . as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for”—in all things, in this which fills the heart of any one of us to-day.

Those who go amongst the Hindus know how utterly different it is with them.  (Note:  Amy Carmichael went to South India in 1895 and remained there without a break until she entered into Life Eternal in January 1951.) In desolation, bewilderment, need of any kind, they have no God so nigh unto them that they can be sure their prayer is heard.

“Lest thou forget” (verse 9).  Do we take time to remember?  A very busy person was running through his day’s life with a Quaker, who listened quietly, and then said, “Friend, when dost thou think?”

“Specifically the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, . . .and ye came near and stood . . . and the Lord spake” (verses 10-12).  Have we not known such days?

8And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?

9 “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— 10how on the day that you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’ 11And you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, while the mountain burned with fire to the heart of heaven, wrapped in darkness, cloud, and gloom. 12Then the LORD spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice. 13 And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments, and he wrote them on two tablets of stone. 14And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and rules, that you might do them in the land that you are going over to possess.



HERE  is “Teach Me Thy Ways”  by Jerry Gadwa.


Idolatry Forbidden

15 “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. 19And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. 20But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day.

Your god is leaving his mark upon your life!

As Martin Luther said:  “Whatever then the heart clings to, whatever thy heart relies on, that is properly thy god.”

21Furthermore, the LORD was angry with me because of you, and he swore that I should not cross the Jordan, and that I should not enter the good land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance. 22For I must die in this land; I must not go over the Jordan. But you shall go over and take possession of that good land. 23 Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the LORD your God has forbidden you. 24For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

25“When you father children and children’s children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, so as to provoke him to anger, 26I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. 27And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you. 28And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.

God gave Israel the Promised Land, but not unconditionally. If they persisted in idol worship, God would remove them from the land and scatter them among the nations. This, of course, is exactly what happened some 550 years later, at the time of the Babylonian Exile of Judah.

29 But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice. 31For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NASB)

‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.’

The LORD Alone Is God

32“For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of. 33 Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live?

Moses before the Burning Bush in “Moses und Aron,” the 1933 opera by Arnold Schoenberg. John Tomlinson as Moses. Photo by Ken Howard. Metropolitan Opera.

34Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?

35To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides him. 36 Out of heaven he let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you. And on earth he let you see his great fire, and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire. 37And because he loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, 38 driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day, 39know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. 40 Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for all time.”

Numbers 6:24-26 (KJV)

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:

The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Cities of Refuge

41Then Moses set apart three cities in the east beyond the Jordan, 42that the manslayer might flee there, anyone who kills his neighbor unintentionally, without being at enmity with him in time past; he may flee to one of these cities and save his life: 43 Bezer in the wilderness on the tableland for the Reubenites, Ramoth in Gilead for the Gadites, and Golan in Bashan for the Manassites.

Introduction to the Law

44This is the law that Moses set before the people of Israel. 45These are the testimonies, the statutes, and the rules, which Moses spoke to the people of Israel when they came out of Egypt, 46beyond the Jordan in the valley opposite Beth-peor, in the land of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon, whom Moses and the people of Israel defeated when they came out of Egypt. 47And they took possession of his land and the land of Og, the king of Bashan, the two kings of the Amorites, who lived to the east beyond the Jordan; 48 from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, as far as Mount Sirion (that is, Hermon), 49together with all the Arabah on the east side of the Jordan as far as the Sea of the Arabah, under the slopes of Pisgah.

As Moses addressed the nation they were on the threshold of the Promised Land. It had been some 38 years since they received the Law of God at Mount Sinai and now Moses reviewed and explained the Law of God with the new generation. If they were going to take the Promised Land, they had to be trained in God’s Word. They would not take it by a do-it-yourself spirituality, but only by obedience to the eternal word of God. The same is true for us — we will never walk in the abundant life God has for us unless we do it by His word.

–David Guzik


English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Oreo cookie.    http://buyfoods.biz/one-oreo-cookie/
sacred heart.   http://vultus.stblogs.org/sacre_coeur.jpg
Moses and the burning bush.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/4-mcbee1.jpg
blood on the door for Passover.   http://www.glory-of-zion.org/outmail/Passover.jpg.png

1643.) Deuteronomy 3

August 19, 2015

Moses commissions Joshua in this fesco in the Sistine chapel painted in 1481 by Luigi Signorelli.  (See verse 28.)

Deuteronomy 3 (English Standard Version)

The Defeat of King Og

King Og was a giant.

1“Then we turned and went up the way to Bashan. And Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. 2But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not fear him, for I have given him and all his people and his land into your hand. And you shall do to him as you did to Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.’

3So the LORD our God gave into our hand Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people, and we struck him down until he had no survivor left. 4And we took all his cities at that time—there was not a city that we did not take from them—sixty cities, the whole region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. 5All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, besides very many unwalled villages. 6And we devoted them to destruction, as we did to Sihon the king of Heshbon, devoting to destruction every city, men, women, and children. 7But all the livestock and the spoil of the cities we took as our plunder.

Psalm 135:5, 10-12 (NIV)

I know that the LORD is great,
that our Lord is greater than all gods.

He struck down many nations
and killed mighty kings-

Sihon king of the Amorites,
Og king of Bashan
and all the kings of Canaan-

and he gave their land as an inheritance,
an inheritance to his people Israel.

8So we took the land at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, from the Valley of the Arnon to Mount Hermon 9(the Sidonians call Hermon Sirion, while the Amorites call it Senir), 10all the cities of the tableland and all Gilead and all Bashan, as far as Salecah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. 11(For only Og the king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Behold, his bed was a bed of iron. Is it not in Rabbah of the Ammonites? Nine cubits was its length, and four cubits its breadth, according to the common cubit.)

Some scholars suggest that King Og’s ‘bed’ was really his  sarcophagus, and was made not of ‘iron’ but of ironstone.  It measured 13 and a half feet long, and 6 feet wide.  His burial place, it seems, became widely renown, and may have looked something like the picture above.

Division of the Land

(This land is all on the east side of the Jordan River; two-and-a-half tribes will eventually settle here.)

12“When we took possession of this land at that time, I gave to the Reubenites and the Gadites the territory beginning at Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and half the hill country of Gilead with its cities. 13 The rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, that is, all the region of Argob, I gave to the half-tribe of Manasseh. (All that portion of Bashan is called the land of Rephaim. 14 Jair the Manassite took all the region of Argob, that is, Bashan, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and called the villages after his own name, Havvoth-jair, as it is to this day.) 15To Machir I gave Gilead, 16and to the Reubenites and the Gadites I gave the territory from Gilead as far as the Valley of the Arnon, with the middle of the valley as a border, as far over as the river Jabbok, the border of the Ammonites; 17the Arabah also, with the Jordan as the border, from Chinnereth as far as the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, under the slopes of Pisgah on the east.

18“And I commanded you at that time, saying, ‘The LORD your God has given you this land to possess. All your men of valor shall cross over armed before your brothers, the people of Israel. 19Only your wives, your little ones, and your livestock (I know that you have much livestock) shall remain in the cities that I have given you, 20 until the LORD gives rest to your brothers, as to you, and they also occupy the land that the LORD your God gives them beyond the Jordan. Then each of you may return to his possession which I have given you.’

21And I commanded Joshua at that time, ‘Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings. So will the LORD do to all the kingdoms into which you are crossing. 22You shall not fear them, for it is the LORD your God who fights for you.’

Joshua had a huge job to do — to bring a whole nation into a land where they would not be welcome, and where they would have to fight to possess what God had rightfully given to them. With this huge challenge in front of him, Joshua is encouraged to remember all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings (Sihon and Og). Remembering God’s past faithfulness is key to present and future victory.

–David Guzik

Moses Forbidden to Enter the Land

23“And I pleaded with the LORD at that time, saying, 24‘O Lord GOD, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (Amplified Bible)

And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.

For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours?



HERE  is “What a Mighty God We Serve” sung with spirit by the Metropolitan Baptist Church Cherub choir!


25Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon.’

26But the LORD was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. And the LORD said to me, ‘Enough from you; do not speak to me of this matter again. 27 Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and look at it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan.

View from Mt. Nebo/Pisgah, across the Jordan Valley and into the Promised Land. This was the place where Moses would be able to see the Promised Land from a distance, and then die. This is where the book of Deuteronomy will end.

28But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he shall go over at the head of this people, and he shall put them in possession of the land that you shall see.’ 29So we remained in the valley opposite Beth-peor.

from New International Biblical Commentary,
by Christopher Wright

So Moses will die, and the people will live.  Judgment and grace are interwoven. In some sense Moses was bearing more of the suffering of his people than was his personal due. He foreshadows that future servant of Yahweh who would indeed offer a blameless life for the sin of us all (Isaiah 53:4-6).  Would it have eased Moses’ pain and disappointment, we might wonder, if he could have known that one day he would stand in the land on another mountaintop and have a conversation with that very servant about the sacrifice he was about to accomplish?


English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Signorelli.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/joshua_moses.jpg
King Og.     http://bibeltemplet.net/Bilder/goljat.GIF
burial stones.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/3-og-stones.jpg
Do Not Enter sign.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/dd/Do_Not_Enter_sign.svg/600px-Do_Not_Enter_sign.svg.png
view from Mt. Nebo.    http://s3.amazonaws.com/churchplantmedia-cms/thejourneyhouston/mt-nebo-view-1.jpg

1642.) Deuteronomy 2

August 18, 2015

This map presents a traditional understanding of the Exodus route. There are other maps out there, with some quite good rationales, for very different journey routes.

Deuteronomy 2 (English Standard Version)

The Wilderness Years

1“Then we turned and journeyed into the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea, as the LORD told me. And for many days we traveled around Mount Seir.

2Then the LORD said to me, 3‘You have been traveling around this mountain country long enough. Turn northward–

Deu2 mountain

from Edges of his Ways,
by Amy Carmichael

Deuteronomy 2:3 (KJV) – Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward.

It would take too long to tell what this word has meant to me. I will only say it spoke about a mountain of thought round which I have walked rather often. It is time to stop compassing that mountain.

After settling that matter, I remembered one who for two whole years has been walking round a certain Mountain of Desire. When the desired thing was not given at the expected time, there was great disappointment. Perhaps the Lord is saying to that one and to others who are constantly praying about something personally desired, Leave the matter to Me:  you have prayed enough about it. You have compassed that mountain long enough.

I know another who always seems to be walking round a mountain of rubble. Self and the feelings of self, doubts and questions, grumblings, little piled-up ingratitudes—what are these but rubble? Is it not very dull to keep on compassing so dull a mountain? Hear the heartening word of the Lord, Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward. “Rise ye up, take your journey” (verse 24), “fight the good fight of faith,” begin to possess your possessions.


Years ago this word from Deuteronomy and this short devotional from Amy Carmichael changed my life. I had been compassing a mountain of sorrow over the loss of my marriage—“self and the feelings of self,  doubts and questions, grumblings”—rubble, really! I asked God’s forgiveness for my complaining and self-pity. Then I turned to “possess my possessions” of the encouraging Word of God, the delight of being mom to three wonderful children, my kind friends, the work I had to do and the strength I had to do it . . .  and in time I have found myself at a new place, a vast field of blessing. Indeed the Lord is faithful!

4and command the people, “You are about to pass through the territory of your brothers, the people of Esau, who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. So be very careful. 5Do not contend with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as for the sole of the foot to tread on, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession. 6 You shall purchase food from them for money, that you may eat, and you shall also buy water of them for money, that you may drink. 7For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.”‘

Jacob and Esau did not get along — something about a bowl of stew, and a father’s blessing . . .

Esau was the twin brother of Jacob; the boys were Isaac’s sons and Abraham’s grandsons. Moses tells Jacob’s descendants to be respectful to Esau’s descendants, to be peaceful and pay for everything they used.

8So we went on, away from our brothers, the people of Esau, who live in Seir, away from the Arabah road from Elath and Ezion-geber.

“And we turned and went in the direction of the wilderness of Moab. 9And the LORD said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab or contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land for a possession, because I have given Ar to the people of Lot for a possession.’

Ruth, great-grandmother of King David, was from Moab.

The Moabites were also relatives of the Israelites. Their common ancestor was Terah, the father of Abraham. Abraham’s nephew Lot had a son named Moab by his elder daughter, and another son Ammon by his younger daughter (Genesis 19:30-38). Due to this familial relationship, God protects (at this point in history) the Moabites and the Ammonites (verse 19).

Moses had previously told Pharaoh that “the earth is the Lord’s” (Exodus 9:29). God was clearly sovereign over Egypt. The fact that God had given land to Israel’s relatives should have reassured the Israelites that the Lord was sovereign here, too, and was perfectly able to bring them to their own land as well.

10( The Emim formerly lived there, a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim. 11Like the Anakim they are also counted as Rephaim, but the Moabites call them Emim. 12 The Horites also lived in Seir formerly, but the people of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them and settled in their place, as Israel did to the land of their possession, which the LORD gave to them.)

13‘Now rise up and go over the brook Zered.’ So we went over the brook Zered.

14And the time from our leaving Kadesh-barnea until we crossed the brook Zered was thirty-eight years, until the entire generation, that is, the men of war, had perished from the camp, as the LORD had sworn to them. 15For indeed the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from the camp, until they had perished.

In these brief verses, Moses covered thirty-eight years of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness. This was a period when they just took up time, waiting for the generation of unbelief to die so that the generation of faith could take the Promised Land.

16“So as soon as all the men of war had perished and were dead from among the people, 17the LORD said to me, 18‘Today you are to cross the border of Moab at Ar. 19And when you approach the territory of the people of Ammon, do not harass them or contend with them, for I will not give you any of the land of the people of Ammon as a possession, because I have given it to the sons of Lot for a possession.’

See the countries of Edom (Esau’s descendants), Moab, and Ammon.

20(It is also counted as a land of Rephaim. Rephaim formerly lived there—but the Ammonites call them Zamzummim— 21 a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim; but the LORD destroyed them before the Ammonites, and they dispossessed them and settled in their place, 22as he did for the people of Esau, who live in Seir, when he destroyed the Horites before them and they dispossessed them and settled in their place even to this day. 23As for the Avvim, who lived in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorim, who came from Caphtor, destroyed them and settled in their place.)

24‘Rise up, set out on your journey and go over the Valley of the Arnon.

The Arnon is a 2-mile wide, 45-mile long valley which runs into the Dead Sea.

Behold, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land. Begin to take possession, and contend with him in battle. 25This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you on the peoples who are under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you.’

The Defeat of King Sihon

26“So I sent messengers from the wilderness of Kedemoth to Sihon the king of Heshbon, with words of peace, saying, 27 ‘Let me pass through your land. I will go only by the road; I will turn aside neither to the right nor to the left. 28 You shall sell me food for money, that I may eat, and give me water for money, that I may drink. Only let me pass through on foot, 29 as the sons of Esau who live in Seir and the Moabites who live in Ar did for me, until I go over the Jordan into the land that the LORD our God is giving to us.’ 30But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand, as he is this day.

31And the LORD said to me, ‘Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land over to you. Begin to take possession, that you may occupy his land.’

32Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Jahaz. 33And the LORD our God gave him over to us, and we defeated him and his sons and all his people.

Psalm 44:6-8 (NIV)

I do not trust in my bow,
my sword does not bring me victory;

but you give us victory over our enemies,
you put our adversaries to shame.

In God we make our boast all day long,
and we will praise your name forever.

34And we captured all his cities at that time and devoted to destruction every city, men, women, and children. We left no survivors. 35Only the livestock we took as spoil for ourselves, with the plunder of the cities that we captured. 36 From Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and from the city that is in the valley, as far as Gilead, there was not a city too high for us.

The high walls of the Canaanite cities had intimidated Israel 38 years before (see Deuteronomy 1:28). But walking in faith, they were now nothing before the Lord.

–David Guzik

The LORD our God gave all into our hands. 37Only to the land of the sons of Ammon you did not draw near, that is, to all the banks of the river Jabbok and the cities of the hill country, whatever the LORD our God had forbidden us.

1 John 5:3-5 (NIV)

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.



HERE  is “Victory Chant” sung to Jesus by the Cedarmont Kids. “Hail, Jesus, You’re my King!”


English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
map of wilderness journey.    http://www.keyway.ca/gif/wildjour.gif
mountain sketch.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/2-mountain-sketch.jpg
Jacob and Esau.    http://s3.amazonaws.com/photos.prod.jewishboston.com/photos/80065/2-jacobesau_large.jpg
Ruth gleaning in the field.   http://www.loaves-and-fishes.org/images/story-of-ruth.jpg
wilderness wanderings.    http://biblestudy.pppst.com/exodus/banner_moses_wilderness.gif
map of Edom, Moab, and Ammon.  https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e8/Levant_830.svg/2000px-Levant_830.svg.png
Valley of the Arnon.     http://www.bibleplaces.com/images/Arnon_Valley_view_southwest_from_Aroer,_tb061204191.jpg
victory.    http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/5540/vlcsnap45828hy7.png

1641.) Deuteronomy 1

August 17, 2015

Moses’ farewell sermons in this, the last of the Five Books of Moses, review what God has done in his lifetime, make predictions about the future, and urge his listeners to be loyal to God.

“Deuteronomy is arguably the most influential book of the Old Testament. It brings the Pentateuch to a climactic conclusion. It is at the same time the first of the prophetic books, with the greatest of Israel’s prophets, Moses, giving his last impassioned sermons to Israel before he dies. Echoes of Deuteronomy’s phraseology and ideology have been detected throughout the Old Testament, and it is one of the books most quoted in the New Testament.”

–from Exploring the Old Testament:  A Guide to the Pentateuch,
by Gordon Wenham


Deuteronomy 1 (English Standard Version)

The Command to Leave Horeb

The Sinai Peninsula’s Mount Sinai (aka Mount/Gebel Horeb, Mount/Gebel Musa) rises behind the storied, 4th century St. Catherine’s Monastery, the oldest continuously operating Christian monastery in existence today.

The Sinai Peninsula’s Mount Sinai (aka Mount/Gebel Horeb, Mount/Gebel Musa) rises behind the storied, 4th century St. Catherine’s Monastery, the oldest continuously operating Christian monastery in existence today.

1These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness,

At this point Israel was camped on the great plains of Moab, able to see across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. This was the land of Canaan that God promised them but which they had not occupied for 400 years.

In the wilderness: They had come through a long and difficult journey from Egypt — made all the more long and difficult because of their unbelief and the death of the adult generation which first came out of Egypt.

These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel: At this pivotal point in Israel’s history, on the threshold of the Promised Land, and ready to adopt a true national identity, Moses spoke to Israel in this book of Deuteronomy.

The name Deuteronomy means “second law.” It was the second giving of the Mosaic Law, the first being at Mount Sinai. Moses felt compelled to bring this reminder of the Law to Israel, because those ready to enter the Promised Land were only children — if born at all — when the Law was originally given at Mount Sinai.

–David Guzik

in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab. 2It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea.

Kadesh-Barnea was the place where, in Numbers 13 and 14, Israel believed the report of the unfaithful spies and rebelled against God, refusing to go into the Promised Land.

The journey from Mount Horeb to Kadesh Barnea only took eleven days. But from Kadesh Barnea (the threshold of the Promised Land) back to Kadesh Barnea (back to the threshold of the Promised Land) took forty years. This was because it took forty years for the generation of unbelief — those who were adults when Israel left Egypt — it took forty years for that generation to die out in the wilderness, and for a generation of faith and trust in God to arise in place after them.

–David Guzik

3 In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them, 4after he had defeated Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth and in Edrei.

5Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to explain this law, saying,

The night before he left for college. The evening before her wedding. As a mom, I look at my children as they are about to embark on a new venture, and there is so much to say, to remind them of, so much that I want to be sure they know before they head out . . . I guess Moses felt the same way about the children of Israel.

6“The LORD our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. 7Turn and take your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland and in the Negeb and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. 8See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them.’

Leaders Appointed

British judges on their way to the Palace of Westminster for the start of a new legal year. These judges follow in the footsteps of the leaders Moses appointed thousands of years earlier.

9“At that time I said to you, ‘I am not able to bear you by myself. 10The LORD your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as numerous as the stars of heaven. 11 May the LORD, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times as many as you are and bless you, as he has promised you! 12 How can I bear by myself the weight and burden of you and your strife? 13 Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.’

14And you answered me, ‘The thing that you have spoken is good for us to do.’

15So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and set them as heads over you, commanders of thousands, commanders of hundreds, commanders of fifties, commanders of tens, and officers, throughout your tribes. 16And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him. 17 You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’ 18And I commanded you at that time all the things that you should do.

Israel’s Refusal to Enter the Land

19“Then we set out from Horeb and went through all that great and terrifying wilderness that you saw, on the way to the hill country of the Amorites, as the LORD our God commanded us. And we came to Kadesh-barnea. 20And I said to you, ‘You have come to the hill country of the Amorites, which the LORD our God is giving us. 21See, the LORD your God has set the land before you. Go up, take possession, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has told you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’

22Then all of you came near me and said, ‘Let us send men before us, that they may explore the land for us and bring us word again of the way by which we must go up and the cities into which we shall come.’

23The thing seemed good to me, and I took twelve men from you, one man from each tribe. 24And they turned and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshcol and spied it out. 25And they took in their hands some of the fruit of the land and brought it down to us, and brought us word again and said, ‘It is a good land that the LORD our God is giving us.’

“Return of Spies” by David Ascalon.

26“Yet you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. 27And you murmured in your tents and said, ‘Because the LORD hated us he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.

from Daily Readings from Luther’s Writings
by Martin Luther; ed. by Barbara Owen

You grumbled in your tents and said, “It is because the Lord hates us that he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to hand us over to the Amorites to destroy us.”
–Deuteronomy 1:27

See what a great disaster that tiny first beginning of doubt and the turning to trust in human prudence finally brings with it.  Having now totally forgotten all the promises and wonders of God and being absorbed only in their own plans, the Children of Israel begin listening to false messengers and preachers.  Those messengers proclaim, and these people believe, greater things than the facts warrant.  Instead of giving assent to the true Word of God, they give in to the lies of men.

Unbelief runs riot because the Word of God is lost, and in vain do Joshua and Caleb try to impress upon them the promise and truth of God (Numbers 14:6-9).  Godlessness conquers, and the lie wins out; truth lies prostrate.  This is the fruit of human prudence and power in matters that belong to God.  Finally they come to blasphemy.  “The Lord hates us,” they say.

This is the gratitude for the many miracles shown them.  How could one ever overstate this most evil example of unbelief?  After believers have begun to mistrust God, whom they previously considered propitious, they make God an object of their hatred.  For when His Word is changed, He Himself is changed; for He Himself is in His Word.

Note, therefore, that godlessness makes dangers more and greater than they are, but it cares nothing for the Word of God.  On the other hand, godliness regards all dangers, even the greatest, as nothing and the Word of God as the power of God (Romans 1:16).

28Where are we going up? Our brothers have made our hearts melt, saying, “The people are greater and taller than we. The cities are great and fortified up to heaven. And besides, we have seen the sons of the Anakim there.”‘

29Then I said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them. 30The LORD your God who goes before you will himself fight for you,

2 Corinthians 12:10 (NASB)

Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, 31and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.’

from Edges of His Ways,
by Amy Carmichael

Deuteronomy 1:31 (KJV)
And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.

“This place” is different for each of us.  For some it is the place of the heart’s choice as well as His; for some it is not.  For all of us it is a new place each day, and we shall never be there again.  I have been thinking of it as an opportunity that will not recur.  To lose it is to lose it forever, and that is a solemn thought.  Is it not like our Father to lead up to it by reminding us that He bare us and carried us all the days of old?  “As a man doth bare his son” in all the way that we went until we came into this place, He bare us and carried us.  The love that we proved yesterday is the same to-day.  It will be the same to-morrow.  Trusting that love we can go on to-day in “this place.”



HERE  is a song and poem simultaneously. The poem is “Footprints in the Sand” by Mary Stevenson. The song is “Drown” by the band Chasen.


32Yet in spite of this word you did not believe the LORD your God, 33 who went before you in the way to seek you out a place to pitch your tents, in fire by night and in the cloud by day, to show you by what way you should go.

The Penalty for Israel’s Rebellion

34“And the LORD heard your words and was angered, and he swore, 35 ‘Not one of these men of this evil generation shall see the good land that I swore to give to your fathers, 36 except Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He shall see it, and to him and to his children I will give the land on which he has trodden, because he has wholly followed the LORD!’

37Even with me the LORD was angry on your account and said, ‘You also shall not go in there. 38 Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall enter. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. 39And as for your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in there. And to them I will give it, and they shall possess it. 40But as for you, turn, and journey into the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea.’

Romans 6:23 (NIV)

The wages of sin is death.

41“Then you answered me, ‘We have sinned against the LORD. We ourselves will go up and fight, just as the LORD our God commanded us.’ And every one of you fastened on his weapons of war and thought it easy to go up into the hill country.

42And the LORD said to me, ‘Say to them, Do not go up or fight, for I am not in your midst, lest you be defeated before your enemies.’

43So I spoke to you, and you would not listen; but you rebelled against the command of the LORD and presumptuously went up into the hill country. 44 Then the Amorites who lived in that hill country came out against you and chased you as bees do and beat you down in Seir as far as Hormah. 45And you returned and wept before the LORD, but the LORD did not listen to your voice or give ear to you. 46So you remained at Kadesh many days, the days that you remained there.

Wasted Opportunity

Christopher Wright in his New International Biblical Commentary on Deuteronomy (based on the NIV) calls verses 26-46 a “litany of disaster.”  He says,  “The sequence of verbs is poignant, climactic, and sobering.   It stands as a warning to every generation of God’s people to avoid such a chain reaction:  you were unwilling . . . you rebelled . . . you grumbled . . . you were afraid . . . you saw but you did not trust . . . you thought it easy . . . you would not listen . . . you rebelled . . . you came back . . . you wept . . . you stayed.”


English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
heading.    http://www.foundationsforfreedom.net/References/OT/Pentateuch/Deuteronomy/_res/_resDT2-3%202/Deuteronomy_Heading.jpg
St. Catherine’s  at the base of Mount Sinai.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/51638-1000w.jpg
British judges.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/1-british-judges.jpg
Ascalon.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/1-12return-spies.jpg
open Bible.   http://www.clipartbest.com/cliparts/nTX/4B4/nTX4B4qTB.jpeg
father carrying his son.   http://parentsareteacherstoo.com/Images/FatherSon.jpg
40 years.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/1-40-years.jpg

1640.) 1 Peter 5

August 14, 2015

“The Apostle Peter Kneeling” by Rembrandt, 1631

1 Peter 5 (New Living Translation)

Advice for Elders and Young Men

1 And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: 2 Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. 4 And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.

5 In the same way, you younger men must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for

“God opposes the proud
but favors the humble.”

1Pet5 Jesus-washing-feet-

John 13:1-5 (NIV)

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.

“If you are willing to be nothing God will make something of you. The way to the top of the ladder is to begin at the lowest round. In fact in the church of God, the way up is to go down; but he that is ambitious to be at the top will find himself before long at the bottom.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.     –1 Peter 5:7

The Christians Peter addressed were facing persecution.  They did not know whom they could trust; a friend, a neighbor, or even a family member could betray them, resulting in suffering and even death.  But Peter had walked with the risen Christ, and he had personally experienced the love that Jesus had for His followers.  He knew that Christ was in control, capable of handling every trial and that He wanted to do so as an expression of His love.

Casting our cares is a choice.  It means consciously handing over our anxiety to Christ and allowing Him to carry the weight of our problems.  At times this is the most difficult part of trusting God!  We don’t like turning over the responsibility of our problems.  We have been taught that self-reliance is good and praiseworthy.  We may even enjoy worrying.  Yet if we are to be freed from the burden of our concerns, we must choose to cast them into the strong hands of our Father.

Peter does not distinguish between little cares and big cares.  God does not differentiate between problems we should handle on our own and God-sized needs.  He asks us to turn them all over to Him.  He stands prepared to take your load and to carry it for you.  Will you let Him?

Psalm 37:5 (ESV)

Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.

8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

5. roaring-lion

quotes from The Screwtape Letters,
by C. S. Lewis

(in which an older demon, Screwtape, instructs a younger one, Wormwood, about how to be successful in luring and keeping people away from God, whom he calls the Enemy)

“It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

“Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is finding his place in it, while really it is finding its place in him.”

“There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against the Enemy. He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.”

“Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen.



Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

Peter says God will “place you on a firm foundation.”  Organist Diane Bish and the Chancel Choir of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church perform this stirring arrangement of  “How Firm a Foundation” by Bish.  Click  HERE  to be inspired!

How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He has said,
To you, who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

Fear not, I am with you, O be not dismayed,
For I am your God and will still give you aid;
I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call you to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with you, your troubles to bless,
And sanctify to you your deepest distress.

When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be your supply;
The flame shall not hurt you; I only design
Your dross to consume, and your gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

–London pastor John Rippon, 1787


Peter’s Final Greetings

12 I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas, whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.

13 Your sister church here in Babylon sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark.

This verse connects Mark with Peter, apparently the same Mark of Acts 12:12, 12:25, and 15:37-39. When the style and perspective of the Gospel of Mark are taken into account, many believe that Peter was Mark’s primary source of information for his gospel.

–David Guzik

14 Greet each other with Christian love.

Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.

5. Peter_Signature


Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Rembrandt.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/Rembrandt_st._peter_in_prision.jpg
Jesus washing feet.    https://mattsbibleblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/jesus-washing-feet-03.jpg
cartoon.  http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_8E54dOHsMTw/RyLGPeHJjqI/AAAAAAAAANY/DbiLe6KxRj4/s1600-h/Carry+your+books+%282%29.bmp
roaring lion.  http://reallyrobins.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/roaring-lion.jpg
Peter signature.  http://www.e-mailmarketing.com.au/profitune/Peter_Signature.gif

1639.) 1 Peter 4

August 13, 2015

Saint Peter, by Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1618.

1 Peter 4 (New Living Translation)

Living for God

1 So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. 2 You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.

Peter gave us two time references that are helpful in having the right attitude in our following of Jesus Christ.

First, no longer should we live in sin (chasing our own desires), and we should answer every temptation and sinful impulse with the reply, “no longer.” Second, we should carefully consider how to live the rest of our time. God has appointed us some further days on this earth; when each of us must answer to Him how we live this time (being anxious to do the will of God).

–David Guzik

3 You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.

4 Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. 5 But remember that they will have to face God, who will judge everyone, both the living and the dead. 6 That is why the Good News was preached to those who are now dead—so although they were destined to die like all people, they now live forever with God in the Spirit.

7 The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers.

1Pet4 pray-without-ceasing

8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.

4. graphics-love-n-hearts

Proverbs 10:12 (NASB)

Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all transgressions.

My mother often quoted a proverb which expresses the other side of this coin:

“Faults are thick where love is thin.”

9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.

4. hospitality

Romans 12:12-13 (NIV)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

Suffering for Being a Christian

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

Peter once told Jesus to avoid the suffering of the cross (Mark 8:32-33). “Once it seemed strange to the Apostle Peter that his Master should think of suffering. Now he thinks it strange that He could have imagined anything else.” (Meyer)

–David Guzik

from My Utmost for His Highest,
by Oswald Chambers


If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all, they are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls so that you will never be surprised at what you come across. Oh, I can’t deal with that person. Why not? God gave you ample opportunity to soak before Him on that line, and you barged off because it seemed stupid to spend time in that way.

The sufferings of Christ are not those of ordinary men. He suffered “according to the will of God,” not from the point of view we suffer from as individuals. It is only when we are related to Jesus Christ that we can understand what God is after in His dealings with us. It is part of Christian culture to know what God’s aim is. In the history of the Christian Church the tendency has been to evade being identified with the sufferings of Jesus Christ; men have sought to procure the carrying out of God’s order by a short cut of their own. God’s way is always the way of suffering, the way of the “long, long trail.”

Are we partakers of Christ’s sufferings? Are we prepared for God to stamp our personal ambitions right out? Are we prepared for God to destroy by transfiguration our individual determinations? It will not mean that we know exactly why God is taking us that way, that would make us spiritual prigs. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through; we go through it more or less misunderstandingly; then we come to a luminous place, and say – ”Why, God has girded me, though I did not know it!”

Acts 5:40-42 (NCV)

The Sanhedrin called the apostles in, beat them, and told them not to speak in the name of Jesus again. Then they let them go free. The apostles left the meeting full of joy because they were given the honor of suffering disgrace for Jesus. Every day in the Temple and in people’s homes they continued teaching the people and telling the Good News—that Jesus is the Christ.

4. congrat promo

“If every call to Christ and His righteousness is a call to suffering, the converse is equally true–every call to suffering is a call to Christ, a promotion, an invitation to come up higher.”

–Charles Brent (1862-1929)

14 So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. 15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! 17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? 18 And also,

“If the righteous are barely saved,
what will happen to godless sinners?”

19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.



All this suffering — and for what?  Ah, believer, look what awaits you!  HERE  is “Den Store Hvide Flok” sung in Norwegian (as it was at my mother’s funeral).  Words in English below. I love this hymn.

Who is this host arrayed in white
Like thousand snow-clad mountains bright,
That stands with palms and sings its psalms
Before the throne of light?
These are the saints who kept God’s Word;
They are the honored of the Lord.
He is their prince who drowned their sins
So they were cleansed, restored.
They now serve God both day and night;
They sing their songs in endless light.
Their anthems ring when they all sing
With angels shining bright.

On earth their work was not thought wise,
But see them now in heaven’s eyes;
Before God’s throne of precious stone
They shout their vict’ry cries.
On earth they wept through bitter years;
Now God has wiped away their tears,
Transformed their strife to heavenly life,
And freed them from their fears.
For now they have the best at last;
They keep their sweet eternal feast,
At God’s right hand our Lord commands;
He is both host and guest.

O blessed saints, now take your rest;
A thousand times shall you be blest
For keeping faith firm unto death
And scorning worldly trust.
For now you live at home with God
And harvest seeds once cast abroad
In tears and sigh.  See with new eyes
The pattern in the seed.
The myriad angels raise their song.
O, saints, sing with that happy throng;
Lift up one voice; let heav’n rejoice
In our Redeemer’s song!


Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Rubens.   http://www.artbible.info/images/rubens_apostel_petrus_grt.jpg
Pray without ceasing.   https://theologigal.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/bible-verses-on-prayer-pray-without-ceasing-1-thessalonians-5-172.jpg
love.  http://dragonartz.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/graphics-love-n-hearts-preview2-by-dragonart.png?w=495&h=277
hospitality.   https://debdebbarak.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/hospitality.gif
Why does God allow suffering?    http://static.lulu.com/browse/product_thumbnail.php?productId=12304281&resolution=320
congratulations.    http://rlv.zcache.com/congratulations_on_your_promotion_card-p137791112957664762b21fb_400.jpg

1638.) 1 Peter 3

August 12, 2015

bronze statue of St. Peter by Arnolfo di Cambio, circa 1300 (St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome)

1 Peter 3 (New Living Translation)


“Those graceful acts, those thousand decencies, that daily flow from all her words and actions, mixed with love and sweet compliance, which declare unfeigned union of mind, or in us both one soul.” 

–John Milton

1 In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over 2 by observing your pure and reverent lives.

Proper submission in the home follows the same principles of submission as towards government or our employers. It is submission not only of the actions, but also of the heart, as demonstrated by the surrendering heart of Jesus (1 Peter 2:21-25).

The call for submission is not merely a call for love and considerate action. It is a call to take the place of submission to authority. The ancient Greek word translated submission was used outside the New Testament to describe the submission and obedience of soldiers in an army to those of superior rank. It literally means, “to order under.”

Yet submission to authority can be totally consistent with equality in importance, dignity, and honor. Jesus was subject to both His parents and to God the Father but was not lower than either of them. “Thus the command to wives to be subject to their husbands should never be taken to imply inferior personhood or spirituality, or lesser importance.” (Grudem)

Of course, submission in marriage follows the same principles as submission in other spheres. We submit to God’s appointed authority as our obligation before God, unless that authority directs us to sin. In that case it is right to obey God rather than men (Acts 4:19-20).

–David Guzik

3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 5 This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands. 6 For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.

Proverbs 12:4 (NLT)

A worthy wife is a crown for her husband,
but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones.


7 In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

If you want your prayers to be helped and not hindered you have to live with your wife in a certain way. There has to be an effort to understand her so as to know her needs. There has to be a special solicitousness of her weaknesses and what she especially needs from you. There has to be a recognition that she is a fellow heir of the grace of life and an accompanying bestowal of honor rather than any belittling or demeaning. When we husbands live like this (with understanding, tender care, and honor), our prayers will not be hindered. If we do not live like this, our prayers will be hindered.

Here’s the way one good commentary put it:

So concerned is God that Christian husbands live in an understanding and loving way with their wives, that he “interrupts” his relationship with them when they are not doing so. No Christian husband should presume to think that any spiritual good will be accomplished by his life without an effective ministry of prayer. And no husband may expect an effective prayer life unless he lives with his wife “in an understanding way, bestowing honor” on her. To take the time to develop and maintain a good marriage is God’s will; it is serving God; it is a spiritual activity pleasing in his sight. (Wayne Grudem, 1 Peter, p. 146.)

–John Piper

Proverbs 18:22 (NLT)

The man who finds a wife finds a treasure,
and he receives favor from the Lord.

“You can never be happily married to another until you get a divorce from yourself.  Successful marriage demands a certain death to self.”  –Jerry McCant

“A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short.”  –Andre Maurois

“My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.”  –Winston Churchill

There is one phase of life that I have
Never heard discussed in any seminar,
And that is — all women think that men
Are funny and all men think that weminar.
–Ogden Nash

All Christians

8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.

1Pet3 may the mind10 For the Scriptures say,

“If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies.
11 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
against those who do evil.”

Suffering for Doing Good

13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good?

Proverbs 16:7 (ESV)

When a man’s ways please the LORD,
he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!

“Crucified Christ” by T. J. Walsh

18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.

No longer will any sacrifice or atonement please God other than what Jesus provided at the cross. Even our own suffering won’t pay for our sins. The price has already been paid.

19 So he went and preached to the spirits in prison—20 those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. 21 And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

22 Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.

from the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in Jesus Christ . . .
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father . . .



HERE  is Charles Wesley’s majestic hymn, “Rejoice, the Lord Is King!”  Note verse 3:  “The keys of death and hell are to our Jesus given.” And verse 4:  “He sits at God’s right hand.”


Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Cambio.  http://lydiapham.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/img_05061.jpg
good wife.    http://helloladies.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/good_wife.jpg
wedding bands.    http://jcarolljewelers.com/portals/0/WEDDING%20BANDS.png
May the mind of Christ.    http://image.slidesharecdn.com/worship-nov182012-131003122215-phpapp01/95/worship-nov-18-2012-49-638.jpg?cb=1380803080
Walsh.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/3-crucified_christ_color.jpg?w=450