Monthly Archives: February 2013

Don’t Mess With the Bible

We seem to have well impressed upon our minds the idea that we should not add to nor take from the content of Scripture.  Good for us.

Deuteronomy is one of the places where this sentiment is expressed.  “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” (Deut. 4:2; see also 12:32).

What is found here, relatively close to the beginning of the Bible, is also found near the middle (Prov. 30:5-6) and at the end (Rev. 22:18-19) as well.

I think the Lord is serious about this and doesn’t want us to forget.

What we would never do overtly, we sometimes do practically.  Really, we do.

The Bible warns us about what some have called “practical atheism.”  It’s not that a person is verbally denying the existence of God, but they act as if He’s not there (see James 4:13-17).

In the same way we may never think of trying to remove or add to the Bible, but sometimes we act as though some of the Bible’s instruction isn’t there or that some idea, opinion, or practice we have is there.  We act as though some things are in the Bible that aren’t and other things most assuredly present are no part of God’s word.

There is more than one way to add to or take away from.

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading and introduction CLICK HERE

February 28 Bible Reading: Catch Up Day

Today is the “Catch Up Day” for the 4th week of February’s schedule so no reading is assigned for today.  Below, though are some thoughts for consideration based on this week’s readings.

1. Since there is no assigned reading for today don’t consider this an assigned reading.  But it is hard to leave Moses without at least referencing Psalm 90.  Moses, not David, is its author.  Of all that we know of Moses and what he wrote, its opening lines are rich with meaning:

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”   (Psalm 90:1-2)

The rest it is well worth the read.

2. One of the sternest warnings given to Christians in the New Testament is, “Take care brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God” (Heb. 3:12).

Now that’s strong!  It follows immediately on the heels of a quotation from Psalm 95 that references the rebellion of Israel in the wilderness “where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years” (v. 9).

Yes, the wilderness experience served as a warning for the succeeding generation for whom Moses wrote Deuteronomy, but also for followers of Jesus down to this very day.

For today’s daily devotional CLICK HERE

For February week 4 Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

For February Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

Singing Heaven’s Song

Marketers know the value of a good endorsement.

They are trying to get you to do something (usually buy their product) and to do so they employ the services of some known, respected person to speak favorably about what they have to offer.  Since you already know and trust this person the likelihood is that you will do as they suggest is greatly enhanced.

What would you think of an endorsement from heaven?

It’s not that anything is for sale, but this song that God instructed Moses to write and teach to the people of Israel as a witness for Him (Deut. 32:1-43) is also sung in heaven (Rev. 15:3).  What happens in heaven ought to be of supreme interest to us all.

The message of this song was quite important for Israel and, obviously, is one heaven itself finds worthy of repetition.  It seems appropriate that this song would capture our own attention as well.

For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God!

The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice.

A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.

(Deut. 32:3-4)

If my interest is in heaven, and it is, then a song sung there is my interest as well.  And just think; it’s a song I can learn before I arrive.

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

February 27 Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 32-34

Some people call it a “swan song”.  I’m sure there’s a story behind that name, but Moses had one, literally–the song, not the swan.

It may seem a bit unusual to us, but an important part of the transition from Moses’ to Joshua’s leadership was the song of Moses (32:1-43).  It was by God’s command that Moses wrote it. Remember from yesterday’s reading, God said, “Now therefore, write this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the people of Israel.” (31:19).  He intended that in the future when “many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness” (31:21).

Finally, the book closes with the account of Moses’ death, including the fact that God buried him and no one knows the tomb’s location (34:6).

For today’s daily devotional CLICK HERE

For February week 4 Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

For February’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

February 26 Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 18:15-22; 31

Today’s reading goes back and picks up an important prophecy about the coming Messiah (18:15-22).  When people in the New Testament thought about John the Baptist or Jesus in terms of “the prophet,” this is what they were talking about (see John 1:21; Matt. 16:14).

As Joshua has previously been selected as Moses’ successor (see Num. 27:18-23), he is now “officially” commissioned to lead (31).

For today’s daily devotional CLICK HERE

For February’s week 4 Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

For February’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

God’s Blessing is America’s Curse

We thank God for our blessings, as we should.

Do we always know how to rightly identify blessings?  It sounds like it would be easy enough doesn’t it?  All of the good things that we enjoy we acknowledge to come from the hand of God–those are blessings.

Things like prosperity and wealth and physical goods that make our lives more pleasant and easy sure do fall in this category, don’t they?

Surely!

But God warned Israel–and we ought to pay attention as well–that once they had received what God had given them, when they were “satisfied and had become prosperous” they would turn away from God (Deut. 31:20; NASB).  At that point their blessings would become a curse.

Is it mere coincidence that the American culture having achieved its greatest heights of wealth and prosperity is at the same time suffering its worst spiritual crisis?  Hardly.

God’s blessings have become our curse.

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading and introduction CLICK HERE

What God Could Do or Has Done?

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden is remembered as much for the life lessons he taught as his record number of national championships.

“Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do” was among those lessons.

We all have limitations.  But when we begin to focus on our inabilities, our handicaps, and our shortcomings, we fail to accomplish all that we are perfectly capable of doing.

We have limitations spiritually.  God says as much when we are told that there are some things which God has kept secret from us (Deut. 29:29).  We don’t know everything and what’s more, we can’t know.

That disturbs some folks.  Consequently they have become obsessed with what God could do or what is within the realm of possibility, all the while virtually ignoring what God says He has done and what He has put in place.

“The things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever” (Deut. 20:29).

Instead of worrying about what God “could” or “might” we should focus instead on what He “does” and “is”.

What God is able to accomplish through us and in us and by us based on what He has made known should never be hampered by our concerns for what He has kept secret.

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading and introduction CLICK HERE

February 25 Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 27-29

The bottom line is whether or not we will obey God.  That was the critical issue of Adam and Eve’s experience in Eden and it is the critical issue for Israel as they prepare to enter Canaan’s “rest” (see Hebrews 4).

Obedience brings blessing.  Disobedience, of necessity, brings a curse.  Moses carefully and clearly lays this out (27-28).  The instructions included here that will visually and audibly impress these truths on Israel (see 27:4-8) are indeed later fulfilled as given (see Joshua 8:30-35).

Based on this restatement of “the words of the covenant” (not just the matters of blessing and cursing, but all that’s been said in this book thus far), the covenant relationship with God is reaffirmed (29).

For today’s daily devotional CLICK HERE

For February week 4 Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

For February Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

Different and the Same

Great measures have been taken by many teachers and preachers of the Bible to show the distinction between the Old Covenant and the New; that the Law of Moses is no longer binding as a law on God’s children.  That is as it should be because the Bible itself makes that distinction (see Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:6-13; Rom. 8:3; etc.).

On the other hand, the effort to show that both the Old and New Covenants are based on the same principles has not been so strong.  That is not as it should be.

When Paul wrote that disciples of Jesus Christ have been circumcised (see Rom. 2:9; Col. 2:11) he was saying exactly the same thing that Moses said was to be true of those under the first covenant and the Law.

Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. For 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. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.  (Deut. 10:14-18)

Circumcision that counts, whether speaking of the Old or New Covenant, is circumcision of the heart.  That is a heart that knows who and what God really is.

Different covenants same God.

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading and introduction CLICK HERE

February 24 Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 9:1-12:28

The gist of today’s reading–and all of Deuteronomy for that matter–can be summed up in these words:

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, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good? (10:12-13)

Beginning in 12:29 and going through chapter 26 Moses repeats many of the specific laws and instructions previously given at Sinai.  These won’t be a part of our readings from Deuteronomy.  Tomorrow we will move ahead to some of the closing matters of the book.

For today’s daily devotional CLICK HERE

For February week 4 Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

For February Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE