1651.) Deuteronomy 11

August 31, 2015

Consider the BENEFITS of the right choice (obedience and blessing) and the DISASTERS that result from the wrong choice (disobedience and curse).

Deuteronomy 11 (English Standard Version)

Love and Serve the LORD

1 “You shall therefore love the LORD your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always.

Love and obedience.  That is what the Lord wants from us.

2And consider today (since I am not speaking to your children who have not known or seen it), consider the discipline of the LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand and his outstretched arm, 3 his signs and his deeds that he did in Egypt to Pharaoh the king of Egypt and to all his land, 4and what he did to the army of Egypt, to their horses and to their chariots, how he made the water of the Red Sea flow over them as they pursued after you, and how the LORD has destroyed them to this day, 5and what he did to you in the wilderness, until you came to this place, 6and what he did to Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, son of Reuben, how the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households, their tents, and every living thing that followed them, in the midst of all Israel. 7For your eyes have seen all the great work of the LORD that he did.

1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)

However, as it is written:
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him.”

8“You shall therefore keep the whole commandment that I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land that you are going over to possess, 9and that you may live long in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give to them and to their offspring, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10For the land that you are entering to take possession of it is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and irrigated it, like a garden of vegetables. 11 But the land that you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven, 12a land that the LORD your God cares for. The eyes of the LORD your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.

13“And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil.

The early rain fell in October and November, and was important to help soften the ground for plowing and preparing the soil for the seed. The later rain fell about April, and helped the crops come to final harvest.

15 And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full. 16Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; 17then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land that the LORD is giving you.

18 “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul,

We should read the Word of God. Know it. Treasure it. Learn it by heart. Call it to mind in times of joy or disappointment. Talk about it with our families and our friends. Listen to it. Sing it. Love it.

and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.

a Mezuzah

A mezuzah is a sacred parchment inscribed by hand with two portions of Torah. It is stored in a protective case and hung on the doorposts of Jewish homes.

Parchment

The parchment come from a kosher species of animal.

Inscribed by hand

Scribes are trained to inscribe the mezuzah in the same manner and script as the Torah. Any mistakes make the mezuzah invalid.

Torah

The two portions of Torah written on the parchment are Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) and Vehaya (Deuteronomy 11:13-21). Both of these Torah portions include the verse, “And you shall inscribe these words upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.”

Protective case

Once the mezuzah is written, it is rolled from left to right and placed in a protective case.

Hung on Doorposts

Mezuzot are affixed to the doorpost of each room in the home and place of business, except for the bathrooms.  It is customary, upon entering and leaving the residence, to touch the mezuzah.

from About.com:  Judaism.

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22″For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving the LORD your God, walking in all his ways, and holding fast to him, 23then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves. 24 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours.

Leo Tolstoy—

—tells a story about a man who paces off his land. The short story “How Much Land Does a Man Need?”  helps us think about greed, money, and success. Enjoy! (I taught this story in my 10th grade English classes;  it was always one of the students’ favorite pieces.)

Click  here to read it.

Your territory shall be from the wilderness to the Lebanon and from the River, the river Euphrates, to the western sea. 25 No one shall be able to stand against you. The LORD your God will lay the fear of you and the dread of you on all the land that you shall tread, as he promised you.

26 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, 28and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known. 29And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, you shall set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. 30Are they not beyond the Jordan, west of the road, toward the going down of the sun, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah, opposite Gilgal, beside the oak of Moreh? 31For you are to cross over the Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving you. And when you possess it and live in it, 32you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the rules that I am setting before you today.”

“I am setting before you today” — The three great elements to the Old Covenant were the law, the sacrifice, and the choice. Israel had a choice: to obey and be blessed, or to disobey and be cursed. It was a cause and effect relationship with God.  A choice was required. There was no neutral ground. God wouldn’t just “leave them alone.” It would either be blessing or cursing.

–David Guzik

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Music:

A Twila Paris song that speaks of making one’s choices.  HERE  is “I Will Listen.”

Hard as it seems
Standing in dreams
Where is the dreamer now
Wonder if I
Wanted to try
Would I remember how
I don’t know the way to go from here
But I know that I have made my choice
And this is where I stand
Until He moves me on
And I will listen to His voice

This is the faith
Patience to wait
When there is nothing clear
Nothing to see
Still we believe
Jesus is very near
I can not imagine what will come
But I’ve already made my choice
And this is where I stand
Until He moves me on
And I will listen to His voice

Could it be that He is only waiting there to see
If I will learn to love the dreams that He has dreamed for me
Can’t imagine what the future holds
But I’ve already made my choice
And this is where I stand
Until He moves me on
And I will listen to His voice

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

Images courtesy of:
Dare to make a choice.   http://images.sodahead.com/polls/0/0/0/2/4/8/3/8/3/polls_100042_2031_297390_poll.jpeg
bright futures.    http://www.maine.gov/education/ml/images/sun_000.jpg
Deut. 11:18.    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3554/3352846824_7bc59bb7fa.jpg
mezuzah.    http://studentorgs.utexas.edu/cjso/Mezuzah/mezuzah.jpg
“Autumn Tundra” painting.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/10-autumn_tundra.jpg

 


1650.) Deuteronomy 10

August 28, 2015

Deuteronomy 10 (English Standard Version)

New Tablets of Stone

1“At that time the LORD said to me, ‘Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and come up to me on the mountain and make an ark of wood. 2And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets that you broke, and you shall put them in the ark.’

3So I made an ark of acacia wood, and cut two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain with the two tablets in my hand. 4And he wrote on the tablets, in the same writing as before, the Ten Commandments that the LORD had spoken to you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. And the LORD gave them to me. 5Then I turned and came down from the mountain and put the tablets in the ark that I had made. And there they are, as the LORD commanded me.”

Getting right with God after a time of rebellion must always begin and center on God’s word. In the days of Josiah, King of Judah, repentance and revival came to the people of God when they focused on God’s word again (2 Kings 22:8-23:25).

–David Guzik

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Why are there ten commandments?

Mel Brooks  (snicker, snicker . . .)  explains,  HERE,  from his movie History of the World, Part I.

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6(The people of Israel journeyed from Beeroth Bene-jaakan to Moserah. There Aaron died, and there he was buried. And his son Eleazar ministered as priest in his place. 7 From there they journeyed to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Jotbathah, a land with brooks of water. 8At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD to stand before the LORD to minister to him and to bless in his name, to this day. 9 Therefore Levi has no portion or inheritance with his brothers. The LORD is his inheritance, as the LORD your God said to him.)

Getting right with God after a time of rebellion must always have a focus on the priestly ministry of Jesus on our behalf. This work of Jesus is shown in His atonement for our sin at the cross, on His intercession for us in heaven, and on the blessing that He brings to us from heaven.

–David Guzik

10 “I myself stayed on the mountain, as at the first time, forty days and forty nights, and the LORD listened to me that time also. The LORD was unwilling to destroy you. 11 And the LORD said to me, ‘Arise, go on your journey at the head of the people, so that they may go in and possess the land, which I swore to their fathers to give them.’

Getting right with God after a time of rebellion must always come to a place of progress again. It does no good to come back to the word, come through God’s priesthood in Jesus, and then remain stuck in the same place. God wants us to move on with Him, and when we are walking right with God again, we will go in and possess the land.

–David Guzik

.   .   .   .   .

Finding that good balance

Can we be like the Israelites at this moment — a people with every confidence in our God, but with no illusions about ourselves . . .

It isn’t easy, but it is simple: there is only one God, and we owe him our obedience to his moral will which he has made unmistakably clear. (See verses 12-13.)

Circumcise Your Heart

12“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good?

–from New International Biblical Commentary:  Deuteronomy
by Christopher Wright

To fear the Lord your God is to have a basic respect and reverence for the covenant Lord that permeates all other attitudes ( see 5:29 and 6:13).  To walk in  all his ways, as the imitation of God, is perhaps the phrase in the Hebrew Bible that most nearly summarizes what we mean by “Old Testament ethics” (see 5:33 and 8:6).   To love him is to have and express covenant loyalty and obedience flowing out of gratitude (see 6:5 and 11:1).  To serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul is virtually identical to “loving” God, but with the added metaphor of bonded service to the one who has bought and therefore owns the people (see 6:13 and 10:30).  To observe the Lord’s commands is to give careful, conscientious, and constant attention to the terms and stipulations of the covenant relationship (see 7:11 and 11:1).

.   .   .   .   .

Deu10 Micah

14Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. 15Yet the LORD set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. 16Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. 17For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. 18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. 19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 10:18-19 (NIV)

He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.  And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.

Whenever I get one of those email forwards which rant about immigrants, I copy the verses above and send “To All.” And I write them on Facebook posts I get sent which demean immigrants. I am not sure that I have made many friends that way, but I do feel I can present them all a truth to consider. After all, my grandparents were immigrants. And the Lord obviously has a place in his heart for us to be kind to those who are making hard transitions.

20 You shall fear the LORD your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear. 21 He is your praise.

He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen. 22Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons, and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.

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Music:

Verse 21 of this hymn says, “He is your praise.” I have sung this hymn of praise countless times — in the car, in the shower, on walks, when I am rejoicing and when I am in tears, alone and with a congregation, at my wedding and (I have asked) at my funeral — and I find it never loses its appeal.  HERE  is “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation” is sung here by Fernando Ortega.

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

Images courtesy of:
Moses and the tablets of stone.    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3240/2429813694_8b8c1e6f18.jpg?v=0
tightrope walker.   http://powerpoint.vn/EC3/CD1/animations/people1/acrobat/tightrope_walker_pole_a_hc.gif
Love the Lord, with rose.   http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o47/cindysarcady/Scriptures/Deut6.jpg
Micah 6:8.  http://in1.ccio.co/l5/76/X2/1695183734439223138HjKxrkAc.jpg
immigrants cartoon.    http://masbury.files.wordpress.com/2007/02/illegal-immigrants.jpg
Praise God.    http://faithcenter.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/praisegod.jpg

1649.) Deuteronomy 9

August 27, 2015

Deuteronomy 9 (English Standard Version)

Not Because of Righteousness

1“Hear, O Israel: you are to cross over the Jordan today, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves, cities great and fortified up to heaven, 2a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’ 3Know therefore today that he who goes over before you as a consuming fire is the LORD your God. He will destroy them and subdue them before you. So you shall drive them out and make them perish quickly, as the LORD has promised you.

God was leading Israel into something too big for them. It was a challenge they could only meet if they trusted in God. The cities they would battle against were mighty and the people they would battle against were great and tall. Yet God had called them to enter into this seemingly impossible battle. It was a battle too big for Israel, but not too big for the Lord. Israel could know both facts: That in themselves, the job was impossible (without Me you can do nothing, John 15:5), but in God the battle could not be lost (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, Philippians 4;13).

–David Guzik

4 “Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,’ whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you.

Israel’s temptation to pride did not come in something they would actually say out loud. Long before we will say proud words we think proud thoughts in our heart. Therefore Israel must not think in their heart that it was because of their righteousness that the Lord has given them the land.

This is a preview of salvation by grace through faith, in which we cannot think that it is our righteousness that has obtained it. Instead, it is the righteousness we have received in Jesus Christ. When we receive any gift from God, we are tempted to take it and use it to glorify ourselves. Israel must not do this in regard to the gift of the Promised Land, and we must not do it in regard to any gift the Lord would give us.

–David Guzik

5 Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Romans 3:10-11 (NLT)

As the Scriptures say,

“No one is righteous—
not even one.
No one is truly wise;
no one is seeking God.”

6“Know, therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people. 7Remember and do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD. 8Even at Horeb you provoked the LORD to wrath, and the LORD was so angry with you that he was ready to destroy you. 9 When I went up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the LORD made with you, I remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water. 10And the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone written with the finger of God,

Psalm 8:3 (NASB)

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained . . .

and on them were all the words that the LORD had spoken with you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly.

11And at the end of forty days and forty nights the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant. 12Then the LORD said to me, ‘Arise, go down quickly from here, for your people whom you have brought from Egypt have acted corruptly. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them; they have made themselves a metal image.’

The Golden Calf

13 “Furthermore, the LORD said to me, ‘I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stubborn people. 14 Let me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven. And I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.’

15 So I turned and came down from the mountain, and the mountain was burning with fire. And the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands. 16And I looked, and behold, you had sinned against the LORD your God. You had made yourselves a golden calf. You had turned aside quickly from the way that the LORD had commanded you. 17So I took hold of the two tablets and threw them out of my two hands and broke them before your eyes.

“Moses with the tablets of the Law” by Rembrandt, 1659

18Then I lay prostrate before the LORD as before, forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all the sin that you had committed, in doing what was evil in the sight of the LORD to provoke him to anger. 19For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure that the LORD bore against you, so that he was ready to destroy you. But the LORD listened to me that time also. 20And the LORD was so angry with Aaron that he was ready to destroy him. And I prayed for Aaron also at the same time. 21Then I took the sinful thing, the calf that you had made, and burned it with fire and crushed it, grinding it very small, until it was as fine as dust. And I threw the dust of it into the brook that ran down from the mountain.

22“At Taberah also, and at Massah and at Kibroth-hattaavah you provoked the LORD to wrath. 23And when the LORD sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, ‘Go up and take possession of the land that I have given you,’ then you rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God and did not believe him or obey his voice. 24 You have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.

25 “So I lay prostrate before the LORD for these forty days and forty nights, because the LORD had said he would destroy you. 26 And I prayed to the LORD,

This great prayer of intercession from Moses is described more fully in Exodus 32. Moses asked for mercy upon Israel because of God’s past faithfulness to them.

Hebrews 3:5 (NIV)

Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house.

‘O Lord GOD, do not destroy your people and your heritage, whom you have redeemed through your greatness, whom you have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 27Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Do not regard the stubbornness of this people, or their wickedness or their sin, 28lest the land from which you brought us say, “Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land that he promised them, and because he hated them, he has brought them out to put them to death in the wilderness.” 29 For they are your people and your heritage, whom you brought out by your great power and by your outstretched arm.’

We can seek the mercy and power of God through prayer by praying with the same heart and by pleading the same reasons before the Lord. Prayer on solid reasons like these is far more effective than merely casting wishes up towards heaven.

  • Because of God’s past faithfulness to us
  • Because of His past faithfulness to our forefathers
  • Because of His own glory and reputation among the nations
  • Because we are His people

Keeping these things in mind is also a way to refine our prayers. When we pray only for the things consistent with God’s glory, we have our hearts set on the right things.

–David Guzik

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Music:

HERE  — From Australia, Hillsong United and “Consuming Fire.”   So many good connections in this song — that we obey the commandment to honor the Name of the God — that God has “exalted above all things my name and my word,” according to Psalm 138 — that it is all the work of the Spirit — Enjoy!

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

Images courtesy of:
consuming fire.    http://www.bobbyred.com/consume.gif
null set.    http://www.coolmath.com/sites/cmat/files/page_images/reference/dictionary-null-set.gif
God’s finger.    http://www.millennialstar.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/adams-finger.gif
golden calf.     http://www.childrensillustratedbible.com/images/calf-450px.png
Rembrandt.    http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/christian/images/RembrandtvanRijn-Moses-with-the-Tablets-of-the-Law-1659.jpg

1648.) Deuteronomy 8

August 26, 2015


Deuteronomy 8 (English Standard Version)

Remember the LORD Your God

1“The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers. 2And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.

God tested Israel. It was not because He didn’t know their hearts, but because they didn’t know their hearts. We have to constantly be corrected of our over-estimation of ourselves.

–David Guzik

3And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Jesus used this verse, which he knew by heart, to rebuke Satan in the wilderness, when Satan asked him to turn stones into bread.

Jesus answered, “It is written:  ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
–Matthew 4:4

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

God allows us to suffer difficulties and hardships for a purpose.  God led the children of Israel to wander through the wilderness for forty years in order to humble them and test them.  When they refused to obey Him and enter the Promised Land, the Israelites revealed that they did not really know Him.  If they had, they would have had more faith.  God spent the next forty years testing the hearts of His people to see if they were prepared for His next assignment.

Testing reveals what is in your heart and produces a robust faith.  God allowed His people to hunger so they could experience His provision and develop a deeper level of trust in Him.  As the people walked with God they came to understand that their lives depended upon His Word.  They learned that God’s Word was the most important thing they had.  After depending on God for forty years while living in the desert, the people listened when God spoke, and they believed.  When they finally entered the Promised Land and waged war against their enemies, the Israelites knew that God’s word meant life and death.  They were prepared to listen to Him, and as a result He led them to an astounding victory.

Is God presently testing you in some area of your life?  What has His testing revealed?  Have you become bitter toward God because of where He has led you?  Or have you come to trust Him more as a result of what you have gone through?

4 Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. 5Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you.

Proverbs 3:11-12 (New International Version)

My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,

because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.

6So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. 7For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills . . .

a land with water

8a land of wheat and barley . . .

a land of agriculture (barley fields)

a land of agriculture (barley fields)

of vines and fig trees and pomegranates . . .

a land of viticulture

a land of olive trees and honey . . .

a land of smoothness and sweetness

9a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity . . .

a land of plenty

in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper.

Ancient copper mines and smelters have been discovered in recent years in the Arabah below the Dead Sea.

Ancient copper mines and smelters have been discovered in recent years in the region below the Dead Sea.

10And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.

1 Timothy 4:3 (Contemporary English Version)

God created these foods to be eaten with thankful hearts by his followers.

1 Corinthians 10:31   (NRSV)

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

Matthew 6:33 (ESV)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

11“Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, 12 lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, 13and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, 16who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.

Never let the abundance of God’s gifts cause you to forget the Giver!

17Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

God gives you power to make / produce / get wealth.

In times of abundance, it is easy to forget the Lord, or at least to no longer seek Him with the urgency we once had. We often think too highly of our own hard work and brilliance. Yet we must see that God gives us the body, the brain, and the talent. It is all of God. And why has God blessed us? His plan is that it would ultimately further His eternal purpose. Therefore we have no right to use our material blessing to further selfish purposes; instead, we use our resources to advance His kingdom.

–David Guzik

19And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. 20Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God.

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Music:

HERE  Twila Paris sings what the Lord was teaching the Israelites:  “I am Not My Own.” Oh, that each day we would remember, no matter what our circumstance, how much the Lord loves us and cares for us!

I am not my own
I am bought with a price
I am not my own, not my own

I am not my own
I cannot hold to pride
I am not my own, not my own

Take this false desire
Burn it in Your righteous fire
I am not my own, not my own

This is not my home
This is not Paradise
This is not my home, not my home

This is not my home
I have been far and wide
This is not my home, not my home

Make this longing true
Turn my wistful heart to you
This is not my home, not my home

When I turn to find Your eyes
O Lord, O Lord
I begin to realize
Once more, once more

I am not my own
I am bought with a price
I am not my own, not my own
Take this false desire
Burn it in Your righteous fire
I am not my own, not my own
I am not my own, not my own

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
stream. http://lh5.ggpht.com/_RvjCRVK8i2U/Rfp4Mi4IlBI/AAAAAAAAAA8/KT7wbiONvYM/C:%5CDocuments+and+Settings%5COwner%5CMy+Documents%5CMy+Pictures%5CTasmania%5CScripture+on+Pics%5CDeut8_7.jpg
Satan tempts Jesus.    http://images.faithclipart.com/images/3/f1111106aa/img_f1111106aa1.jpg
man under stress.    http://n8tip.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/stress5.jpg
river and mountains.    http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1023/858568198_a69822e4fa.jpg
barley field.    https://peacedeen.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/12168242.jpg
grapes.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2a/Vineyard_in_Montone.jpg
olives and olive oil.    http://media.rd.com/rd/images/rdc/mag0709/olive-oil-misconception-01-af.jpg
loaves of challah bread.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/challahpost1.jpg
copper ore.  http://www.ghosttowngallery.com/ghostsariz/bisbee1086-101.jpg
wad of bills.   http://img89.imageshack.us/i/wadofcashfb0.png/

1647.) Deuteronomy 7

August 25, 2015

Deuteronomy 7 (English Standard Version)

A Chosen People

1“When the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it,

“When” — not “if.” Israel wasn’t in the land yet, but Moses still instructed them as if it were a certainty. This was based on the faithful promise of God, but it was also according to His principle of preparation. God prepares us before He brings us into a place.

–David Guzik

and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than yourselves,

the “Ites”

Some Biblical scholars refer to these various nations as the “Ites,” as per the last syllable of their names. There are actually more than seven. Moses forgot to mention the Mosquito-Bites, the Chinese-Kites, the Dust-Mites, the Last-Rites, the Ballet-Tights, and the Miller-Lites!

2 and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. 3 You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, 4for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the LORD would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. 5But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire.

6“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

This is the great motivation for obedience: knowing and walking in the love of God. When we really believe God loves us, and live with that belief as a conscious fact, we find it so much easier to obey — and to utterly destroy our sins or anything else that would damage that relationship of love.

–David Guzik

7It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8but it is because the LORD loves you

1 John 4:10 (Amplified)

In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins.

and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. 11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.

12 “And because you listen to these rules and keep and do them, the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love that he swore to your fathers. 13He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb

Like, watermelon fruit?

and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil,

Bread from grain, wine from grapes, oil from olives.

Bread from grain, wine from grapes, oil from olives.

the increase of your herds and the young of your flock,

Deu7 lambs

in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you. 14You shall be blessed above all peoples. There shall not be male or female barren among you or among your livestock. 15And the LORD will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you knew, will he inflict on you, but he will lay them on all who hate you. 16And you shall consume all the peoples that the LORD your God will give over to you. Your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.

17“If you say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I. How can I dispossess them?’ 18 you shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt, 19the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God brought you out.

Deu7 10_plagues
Our recollections of God’s faithfulness in the past will give us hope for our current struggles.

So will the LORD your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. 20Moreover, the LORD your God will send hornets among them, until those who are left and hide themselves from you are destroyed.

Hello!  Hornets are particularly big wasps.

21You shall not be in dread of them, for the LORD your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God.

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Music:

HERE is truth! “Our God Is an Awesome God”  sung by Michael W. Smith.

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22 The LORD your God will clear away these nations before you little by little. You may not make an end of them at once, lest the wild beasts grow too numerous for you. 23 But the LORD your God will give them over to you and throw them into great confusion, until they are destroyed. 24And he will give their kings into your hand, and you shall make their name perish from under heaven. No one shall be able to stand against you until you have destroyed them. 25The carved images of their gods you shall burn with fire. You shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them or take it for yourselves, lest you be ensnared by it, for it is an abomination to the LORD your God. 26And you shall not bring an abominable thing into your house and become devoted to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest and abhor it, for it is devoted to destruction.

Psalm 119:37 (NLT)

Turn my eyes from worthless things,
and give me life through your word.

_________________________

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

Images courtesy of:
Barn and verse 13.    http://chamberscreations.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/he-will-love-thee1.jpg
beer.   http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/05/miller_products/image/lite.jpg
John 15:16.    http://rlv.zcache.com/john_15_16_postcard-p239051990156082029trdg_400.jpg
For God so loved the world.   http://www.ewtn.com/series/2007/For_God_So_Loved.jpg
fruit of the womb / watermelon baby.   http://ww1.prweb.com/prfiles/2006/10/19/453501/watermeloncostume1.jpg
bread, wine, oil.    http://www.loscabosguide.com/daantonio/images/da-antonio-bread_1968_r1.jpg
lambs and ewe.  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/d6/e4/78/d6e478e3ed49ae29f1f1df7f5010ffc5.jpg
ten plagues of Egypt.   https://bloorlansdownechristianfellowship.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/4-four-list_of_10_plagues.jpg
hornet.    http://www.virginmedia.com/images/hornet431x300.jpg
John 1:1.    http://iamgracie2009.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/in-the-beginning-and-the-bible.jpg

1646.) Deuteronomy 6

August 24, 2015


Deuteronomy 6 (English Standard Version)

The Greatest Commandment

1“Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the rules that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, 2that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.

Psalm 128:1-4 (NIV)

Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways.

You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your sons will be like olive shoots
around your table.

Thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.

3Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

In Hebrew, these  following verses are known as the Shema (“hear” in Hebrew). It is the classic Hebrew confession of faith, describing who God is and what our duty is towards Him:

4“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.


from “Rediscovering Biblical Narrative as Storytelling in the Digital Age,”
a lecture by Dennis Dewey, Presbyterian Pastor and Biblical Storyteller

In Luke’s account of the boy Jesus in the Jerusalem temple, we must note that the story reports that “all who heard him were surprised at his intelligence and his answers” (Luke 2:47).  The CEV translates it as “how much he knew.”  What Jesus knew, he knew by heart.

Heart learning is the often overlooked first corollary of the shema of Deuteronomy 6, the so-called “greatest commandment”: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (6:4-5). Following the shema come five rather urgent suggestions concerning how this love of God is to be perpetuated generation after generation.

In my experience—and I do this little quiz frequently in my workshops—many people remember #5: “Write these things on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (6:9); we might call this “publicize.”

Some remember #4: “Bind them as a sign on your hand and as an emblem on your forehead” (6:8), in other words, wear them like jewelry; we might call this “symbolize” (though I can barely resist the alternative, “accessorize”).

Many will also remember #3: “Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise” (6:7b); we might call that “theologize.”

And nearly everyone can remember #2: “Recite them to your children” (6:7a)—“catechize.”

But nearly no one can recall the corollary that occupies the #1 slot following immediately upon the shema: “Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart” (6:6)—“internalize.” I suspect that this metaphor reveals a fundamental understanding of ancient Israel in their experience of and relationship with the text, a veritable window into an appreciation of Hebrew spirituality: that the primary repository of the tradition is the memory of the heart—both the heart of the individual and the collective heart, i.e., “memory” of the community.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a musical rendition — “Shema” (“Hear, O Israel”)  by Adrian Snell.

Hear! O Israel
The Lord our God, the Lord is one
Love the Lord your God with all your strength and might
With all your heart and soul my people come
Hear! O Israel
The Lord our God, the Lord is one

Teach my laws for life
Impress them upon your children
Like foundations to your home
And walk with the words of life all around you
Let them be a cornerstone

Tie these words as symbols on your hands
that they may offer goodness
Tie them on your foreheads
That your eyes may see
Write them on the doorframes of your homes
and on the gates of the city
That in everything you shall remember me

Hear! O Israel
The Lord our God, the Lord is one
Hear! O Israel
The Lord our God, the Lord is one

Based on the Shema, Deuteronomy 6: 4-9

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10“And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

“A remembering heart is a grateful heart.”
–Amy Carmichael

______________________________

13It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.

Jesus used this verse, which he knew by heart, to rebuke Satan in the wilderness, when Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor, if only Jesus would bow down and worship him.

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan!  For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'”
–Matthew 4:10

14You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— 15for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God— lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

16 “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.

Jesus used this verse, which he knew by heart, to rebuke Satan in the wilderness, when Satan asked him to throw himself down from the highest point of the Temple.

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
–Matthew 4:7

17You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you. 18 And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers 19 by thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the LORD has promised.

John 14:15 (NASB)

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”

20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?’ 21then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22And the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. 24And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. 25And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.’

Reflection:

Commandments, statutes, and rules have a negative ring in modern ears, but, as far as Deuteronomy is concerned, keeping them demonstrates one’s love for God. We have read the Ten Commandments in the previous chapter, and the Greatest Commandment in this chapter. So let each of us consider: How can I be more obedient to God — in thought, word, and deed — and show more clearly my love for the Lord?

Please share with us one suggestion of something you do to remain obedient! Go to Reply below —

_________________________

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

Images courtesy of:
Deut. 6:4.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/6-deuteronomy6_4.jpg
Boy Jesus in the Temple.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/artbook__034_034__boyjesusinthetemple____5b15d.jpg
mountain and chair.   http://praylikeagourmet.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/countblessingslakesc7.jpg
Satan offers Jesus the kingdoms of the world.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/jesus-satan-cities1.jpg
Satan tempts Jesus at the Temple.   http://images.faithclipart.com/images/3/f1111106aa/img_f1111106aa1.jpg
multi-hearts.     http://api.ning.com/files/3MOTiPoPg7Mk2dQ1UDhLsCXwI9548Oxu3fORJUnDIyqzmr2NrCJnNZKFhLuLwjbXTPxYM25EeHiriQUFMfWl7KJPUh6z2uoD/moms_heart1.small.jpg
Love God more in sand.   http://www.waitsel.com/music/love_god_more-2.jpg

1645.) Deuteronomy 5

August 21, 2015

Jesus summarizes the commandments.

Deuteronomy 5  (English Standard Version)

The Ten Commandments

 

Moses holding the Ten Commandments, on the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.

1And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. 2 The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. 3 Not with our fathers did the LORD make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today. 4The LORD spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, 5 while I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD. For you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up into the mountain. He said:

6 “‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

7“‘You shall have no other gods before me.

Jesus . . . . name above all names . . . .

Jesus . . . . name above all names . . . .

We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

(This and the following explanations come from Martin Luther’s Small Catechism:  the Ten Commandments.)

.

8“‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 9You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

11“‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

making sin just so cute! . . .

We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.

.

12“‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. 13Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

“I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go unto the house of the Lord.'”

We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.

.

16“‘Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

Deu5 ZitsWe should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.

.

17 “‘You shall not murder.

A grim fact: the majority of gun-related deaths in the United States are suicides.  (from the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC, 2010)

We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.

.

18 “‘And you shall not commit adultery.

"I am my beloved's, and he is mine."

“I am my beloved’s, and he is mine.”

We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.

.

19“‘And you shall not steal.

O be careful, little hands, what you do . . .

We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and his income.

.

20“‘And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Did you hear about . . .

“Did you hear about . . . “

We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest possible way.

.

21“‘And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’

When I lived in Wisconsin, my favorite neighbor was the one who cleared out my driveway after a snow!

When I lived in Wisconsin, my favorite neighbor was the one who cleared out my driveway after a snow! I owned only a shovel!

We should fear and love God so that we do not scheme to get our neighbor’s inheritance or house, or get it in a way which only appears right, but help and be of service to him in keeping it.  We should fear and love God so that we do not entice or force away our neighbor’s wife, workers, or animals, but urge them to stay and do their duty.

.

22“These words the LORD spoke to all your assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.

Decalogue parchment from 1768.

from Praying in the Wesleyan Spirit,
by Paul Chilcote

Holy, Just, and Good God:

Nothing could be more important in our lives than to understand and obey your law, for it is the source of life for those who believe.

You gave us the law originally as a complete model of all truth and wove it into the very fabric of our lives.  We rebelled against you, and in turning away from you we lost the true light of your law of love.  You chose a particular people to whom you gave a more perfect knowledge of your rule of life and then, in Christ, established a new relationship with all your children so that we might have the law written on our hearts anew.

Your law is a perfect picture of you for us.  It is so much more than ceremonies and traditions.  Your law is nothing less than your divine virtue and wisdom in a visible form.  It is like a projection of your eternal mind, a transcript of your nature that we can easily read for ourselves.  Most importantly, the law is rooted in your love.

Your law, O God, is holy.
It is your wisdom from above:  pure, chaste, clean, and holy.  It uncovers our brokenness and brings us to our senses.

Your law, O God, is just.
It prescribes exactly what is best for everyone.  It is the unchangeable rule of right and wrong, willed and created by you for the good of all.

Your law, O God, is good.
It was your goodness, your pure love, that led you to give the law to us as a gift.  It is like a fountain, therefore, springing up, full of goodness and truth.

Lead us, good God, to know and use this gift in a proper way.  Convince us of our sin through your law, so that we can be healed.  Transform us through your law, so that we can truly live in Christ.  Sustain us through your law, so that we can remain with you always.   Through Christ our Lord,  Amen.

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Music:

HERE  is a cute telling of the commandments — “The Perfect Ten” from the kids’ musical Angels Aware.

Number One,  we’ve just begun, God should be first in your life.
Number Two,  the idol rule, those graven images aren’t nice.
Number Three,  God’s name should be never spoken in jest.
Number Four,  the Sabbath’s for our worship and for rest.
Number Five,  we all should strive to honor father and mother.
Number Six,  don’t get your kicks from killing one another
Number Seven,  life is heaven when you’re true to your mate.
Number Eight,  don’t steal and break this rule for goodness sake.
Number Nine,  don’t be the kind who goes around telling lies.
Number Ten,  don’t covet when you see your neighbor’s house or wife.

That’s the list and God insists we stay away from these sins.
That is why we memorize commandments one through ten.

The Perfect Ten, the Perfect Ten,
They’re just as true as they were way back when
God gave the Perfect Ten, the Perfect Ten,
God gave the Perfect Ten.

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23And as soon as you heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes, and your elders. 24And you said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live. 25Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, we shall die. 26 For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of fire as we have, and has still lived? 27Go near and hear all that the LORD our God will say and speak to us all that the LORD our God will speak to you, and we will hear and do it.’

28“And the LORD heard your words, when you spoke to me. And the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken. 29 Oh that they had such a mind as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!

30Go and say to them, “Return to your tents.” 31But you, stand here by me, and I will tell you the whole commandment and the statutes and the rules that you shall teach them, that they may do them in the land that I am giving them to possess.’

32You shall be careful therefore to do as the LORD your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 33 You shall walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.

“The Latest Decalogue”
by Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861)

Thou shalt have one God only; who
Would be at the expense of two?
No graven images may be
Worshipped, except the currency:
Swear not at all; for, for thy curse
Thine enemy is none the worse:
At church on Sunday to attend
Will serve to keep the world thy friend:
Honour thy parents, that is, all
From whom advancement may befall;
Thou shalt not kill; but need’st not strive
Officiously to keep alive:
Do not adultery commit;
Advantage rarely comes of it:
Thou shalt not steal; an empty feat,
When it’s so lucrative to cheat:
Bear not false witness; let the lie
Have time on its own wings to fly:
Thou shalt not covet, but tradition
Approves all forms of competition.

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Books on the Ten Commandments:

The Joy of Faithful Obedience, the remarkable design of the Ten Commandments, and how each is designed to bring freedom into our lives, rather than bondage — by Bill Bright (founder of Campus Crusade for Christ), 2005.

Smoke on the Mountain:  An Interpretation of the Ten Commandments, by Joy Davidman (she married C. S. Lewis), 1954.

Losing Moses on the Freeway:  The Ten Commandments in America, by Chris Hedges, 2005.

Keeping the Ten Commandments, by J. I. Packer, 2007.

The Ten Commandments:  The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life, by syndicated radio psychologist Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Rabbi Stewart Vogel, 1998.

God’s Blueprint for Living:  New Perspectives on the Ten Commandments, by David A. Seamands, 1988.

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

Images courtesy of:
Matthew 22:37-39, drawn by Andrea Gruen.   https://goldenfaithwithin.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/teen-matthew-22-37-39enlarged.gif
Moses at the Supreme Court.   http://www.bibleornot.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/moses-statue-supreme-court-picture.jpg?136f3b
sky writing Jesus.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/e8dba-jesus_4425.jpg
bacon baby.    http://bacontoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/omg-bacon-baby.jpg
preaching.    http://img.forministry.com/F/F0/F03A27CC-2B96-47F6-8C627E5508B4517E/F6F62EE4-0ED4-4469-AF07C9A94B37FAC5.gif
Zits cartoon, by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman.    http://www.thecomicstrips.com/properties/zits/art_images/cg4ac0612754ce00.jpg
handgun.    http://www.self-defender.net/weapons/beretta92.gif
bride and groom on beach.   http://www.getrealphotography.com/images/galleries/destination/bride_groom_beach.jpg
shoplifter.   http://www.atlantacriminallawyersblog.com/files/2015/05/shplftngpic2.jpg
gossiping.    http://www.illustrationsof.com/royalty-free-rf-gossip-clipart-illustration-by-ron-leishman-stock-sample-440101.jpg
helpful snow blowing neighbor.   http://www.gannett-cdn.com/media/KSDK/USATODAY/2014/01/02//1388702505000-snow-blowing.jpg
Decalogue parchment.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Decalogue_parchment_by_Jekuthiel_Sofer_1768.jpg
two tablets.    http://z.about.com/d/christianity/1/0/z/2/TenCommandments.jpg

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