Thankful for God’s Testing!

Scripture reading for February 21st:  Deuteronomy 12-15

Key Scriptures:  Deuteronomy 13:1-3  “If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer.  The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love Him with all your heart and with all your soul.  It is the Lord God you must follow, . . “

Moses warned the Israelites about false prophets.  These might even come with signs and wonders.  If they tried to lead the people to worship other god, they were to avoid them and take action to rid the community of these wicked prophets.  God would test His people and their love for Him through these so-called prophets who tempted them.

Thankful for testing:  We can rejoice in testing when we love God with all our hearts!  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”  (James 1:2-3)

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Thankful for God’s Writing!

Scripture reading for February 20th:  Deuteronomy 7-11

Key Scriptures:  Deuteronomy 10:3-5  “So I made the ark out of acacia wood and chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I went up on the mountain with the two tablets in my hands.  The Lord wrote on these tablets what He had written before, the Ten Commandments He had proclaimed to you on the mountain, out of the fire, on the day of the assembly.  And the Lord gave them to me.  Then I came back down the mountain and put the tablets in the ark. . “

Moses had been given the two tablets with the Ten Commandments that originally God had inscribed during his initial 40 days on the mountain.  On seeing the golden calf and the Israelites in profane worship, he broke the tablets in anger.  Again, Moses prepared two more tablets and God graciously wrote the law and Moses placed these in the Ark of the Covenant.

Thankful for God’s writing:  God wrote on stone tablets in Moses’ day, but now writes His law on the tablets of hearts who believe in His Son, our “Ark”!  “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”  (2 Corinthians 3:3)

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Rejoicing in Love for God!

Scripture reading for February 17th: Deuteronomy 3-6

Key Scriptures:  Deuteronomy 6:4-7  “Hear, O Israel:  The Lord our God, the Lord is One.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children, . .”  

The Israelites were admonished by Moses to remember that God is One!  He is the One and only God who is worthy of their love.  They must love Him with all that is within them.  They are to show their love by keeping His commandments and impressing them on succeeding generations.

Rejoicing:  Jesus set our example of loving His Father by keeping all His commands.  He sent His Holy Spirit to live in us.  “If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father and remain in His love.  I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”  (John 15:10-11)

 

 

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Rejoice that God Carries Us!

Scripture reading for February 16th:  Numbers 34-36, Deuteronomy 1-2

Key Scriptures:  Deuteronomy 1:29-32  “Then I (Moses) said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them.  The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as He did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert.  There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until your reached this place. In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God.”  

In Deuteronomy, Moses is recounting the history of the Israelites deliverance from Egypt and God’s dealings with them in their unbelief.  God had been patient with them, even though most rebelled.  This had cost those 20 years old or more to die in the desert, except for Caleb and Joshua.  God had led them through the desert experience and carried them to the door of their inheritance!

Rejoice in the victory of Jesus Christ:  Jesus Christ, our ‘Joshua’, carries us into our ‘rest’ and promised inheritance!  “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

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Thankful for a Holy God!

Scripture reading for February 15th:  Numbers 30-33

Key Scriptures:  Numbers 33:50-53  “On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho the Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: “When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you.  Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places.  Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess.”  

The Israelites were given specific instructions about possessing the land that God had promised them.  They were to destroy all the idols and idolatrous places of worship and drive out the inhabitants completely.  They must be separate and cleanse the land from all evil and wickedness lest they be ensnared by the idolatry and sensuality of the Canaanites.

Thanksgiving:  We are thankful today that God is holy and calls His people to a holy and separated life that He might dwell in their presence and they might enjoy Him forever and ever!  “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.  For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?  Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? . . .As God has said, “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.”  (2 Corinthians 6:14, 16)

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Thankful for the Oil of Joy!

Scripture reading for February 14th:  Numbers 25-29

Key Scriptures:  Numbers 25:10-13  “The Lord said to Moses, “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the Priest, has turned My anger away from the Israelites; for he was as zealous as I am for My honor among them, so that in My zeal I did not put an end to them.  Therefore tell him I am making My covenant of peace with him.  He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”  

It has been said that zeal is love in action.  Eleazar was zealous for God’s honor and thrust his spear into a sinning Israelite who was having idolatrous  and immoral sexual relations with a woman not his wife.  In doing so, God gave him a covenant of peace and exaltation to a lasting priesthood.

Joyful thanksgiving:  Jesus Christ was zealous for God’s honor and took a spear for the sins and immorality of mankind!  He received everlasting honor and an eternal Priesthood as reward!  “But about the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.  You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness, therefore God, Your God, has set You above your companions by anointing You with the oil of joy.”  (Hebrews 1:8-9)

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Thankful for Snakebite Remedy!

Scripture reading for February 13th:  Numbers 20-24

Key Scriptures:  Numbers 21:7-9  “The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you.  Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.”  So Moses prayed for the people.  The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live. So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole.  Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.”

Because of again complaining against the Lord and His leader Moses, poisonous snakes began biting the offenders and they were dying.  The people asked for prayer and Moses asked God for healing.  The remedy was found to be a bronze replica of a snake lifted up on a pole in the camp.

Joyful Thanksgiving:  God provided a remedy for our fatal snake bite, coming through sin from Adam’s disobedience.  Jesus was made sin and lifted up on a wooden cross and all who look to Him are healed!  “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.”  (John 3:14-15)

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Thankful for Atonement!

Scripture reading for February 10th:  Numbers 15-19

Key Scriptures:  Numbers 16:46-48  “Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put incense in it, along with fire from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them.  Wrath has come out from the Lord; the plague has started.”  So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly.  The plague had already started among the people, but Aaron offered incense and made atonement for them.  He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped.”  

Once again the Israelites were in danger of death because of rebellion and speaking against God’s leadership.  Moses and Aaron sought God’s mercy by falling on their faces.  Then Moses instructed Aaron to intercede with incense and coals from the altar.  When he obeyed, the plague of death was stopped! He literally stood between the living and the dead.

Thanksgiving:  We are thankful for a High Priest who offered Himself for our sins and was nailed to a cross to stop the plague of sin that was sweeping us away!  “Who is he that condemns?  Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”  (Romans 8:34)

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Thankful for Grace (again)!

Scripture reading for February 9th:  Numbers 11-14

Key Scriptures:  Numbers 14:17-19  “Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared:  ‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.  Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generations.’  In accordance with Your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as You have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”

The Israelites were in rebellion against the Lord’s command to go in and take their promised land.  Moses prayed after God spoke of destroying them and making another people through Moses.  He prayed that the Lord’s ‘strength’ would be displayed!  This ‘strength’ was forgiveness of sin and rebellion and continued patience with His people!

Overflowing Thanksgiving:  Thank God for His Strength that makes sinners alive from death!  “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved!” (Ephesians 2:5)

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The Joy of His Smiling Face!

Scripture reading for February 8th:  Numbers 6-10

Key Scriptures:  Numbers 6:22-27  “The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites.  Say to them:  “‘” The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”  “So they will put My Name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”” 

God gave specific instructions as to how Aaron, the appointed High Priest and his successors were to bless God’s people.  They were to declare God’s blessing and protection over His people and declare His smiling face upon them and His grace and peace over them.  This would mark God’s people with His Name!

Rejoice in God’s blessing:  It will be the ultimate pleasure of all believers marked by God’s name through faith in Jesus Christ to see God’s face!  “They will see His face and His Name will be on their foreheads.”  (Revelation 22:4)

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