32 So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.
Moses wrote these words after two chapters (4-5) of reminding the Israelites that obedience was required by God in order to inherit the land that was promised. Chapter 4 starts out with:
"Hear the decrees and laws . . . Follow them so that you may go and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you. Do not add to what I command you or subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you." 4:1-2
Sandwiched between the opening of 4 and closing of five are reminders of how Great a God they serve and several warnings to "not forget" what they had seen and heard. It was imperative that they obey and then teach their children to obey if they wanted to continue to possess the land God was giving them as an inheritance. (4:9).
Another warning comes in 4:23 not to make forget the covenant and do not make idols for yourselves because "God is a consuming fire, a jealous God!" Disobedience would lead to being scattered (4:27)
In 4:32 Moses encouraged them to "ask about the former days" of any other God who speaks to his people out of fire! How blessed they were and that they were "shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God, besides him there is no other." (4:35)
And then 5 opens up again with a command to "Learn (the decrees and laws) and be sure to follow them." After going over the Ten Commandments Moses again says "These are the commands of the Lord. . . and He added nothing more." In other words, this is what you must obey!
Then the Lord speaks through Moses in 5:29 and says "Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children."
In these passages, Jesus would learn the heart of his Father. His Father longed to give His people their inheritance to Enjoy forever, if only they would obey! In these words, Jesus is reminded several times to "not forget" but to remember the desires of his Father's heart. He is also warned not to add or take away from the law, but to simply keep what the Lord had commanded. Failure to do so would lead to being forever scattered in a land away from the presence of His Father.
Jesus longed to satisfy the desires of his Father's heart. He was not interested in his own fame and glory, but being taught these words as a child by Mary and Joseph, Jesus developed a passion to have a heart after His Fathers heart. A passion to inherit what his Dad wanted to give him. And hear in these words he learned how to receive that inheritance and never lose it! It was not complex, but actually rather straight forward. All he had to do was:
"be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess."
Praise His holy name, Jesus did not forget, but tied these things to his heart, he kept them and obeyed, and now, he will forever enjoy the inheritance that was set before him, his bride, and they will forever dwell in the land that he has been promised!
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says:
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
This is followed by Deuteronomy 6:20-25 which says:
20 In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” 21 tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Before our eyes the Lord sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. 23 But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors. 24 The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. 25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”
What another perfect display of God preparing the exact words that would be needed for His Son who would one day come into our humanity as our Savior. In verses 4-9 the laws and decrees were summed up for Jesus. The Ten Commandments were condensed into the one thing that would make you follow them with all your heart, Love God! God had proven his love time and again by taking care of His people, and the laws were there not to hinder them, but to keep them in a right relationship of love with God!
And God knew one day his Son would ask "What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded?" He knew His Son would want to know, but more importantly, he would need to know the answer to this question. That is why God prepared an answer for Mary and Joseph to share with him: "The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today." (He had been spared death by Herod as an infant and kept alive on long journeys to Egypt and back) The his parents would continue: "And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness!"
Early on Jesus learned how he would be the "righteous One" and it would be so as long as he was careful to obey! He learned his obedience would not be of raw determination, but rather as a response of his love for the One who loved him. He gave himself to love the Lord his God, his Daddy, and that love drove him to obedience which was considered his righteousness!
Jesus allowed these words to implanted on his heart, he tied them around his neck, his parents imprinted these laws and decrees on his mind and Jesus was careful to obey. Therefore the promise of 7:12 would be his: "If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God WILL KEEP his covenant of love with you. . ."
Praise God these stories were written so Jesus could be taught and learn and grow in wisdom and favor with both God and man! Praise God he understood them, obeyed them, and received his reward, of which you and I are a part as members of his body!
What a Savior! What #Impact
Deuteronomy 8 opens up with another memory from Moses. "Remember how the Lord led you all the way in the desert . . . To humble you and test you in order to know what is in your heart."
It is not hard to see the impact these words had on Jesus. As he was being led out into the wilderness, he was humbled and hurting. This 40 days and nights were no pleasure trip. His body longed for food and water. But as he endured this difficult trial, these words rang in his ears:
"He humbled you, causing you to hunger. . ." 8:3
And then he was given the reason why he was being tested and humbled :
"To teach you that man does not live by bread alone, but on EVERY word that comes from the mouth of the LORD."
As Jesus wrestled with his weakness as a man, with his desire for food, as he faced the temptation to use his power for his own needs, he clung to these words he learned as a child. Truths Mary and Joseph taught him. He realized that he was in training as he reflected on verse 5:
"Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines (trains) you."
Jesus knew who the test was really from, His Dad. He had been brought out here so that what was in his heart would be revealed. Was he truly going to surrender to the road that was ahead of him? Would he be still and depend completely on his Father? Was he going to listen to these words and follow the path set before him? A path that required his 100% trust in the one who led him there? Was he going to feast on the word in order to dwell in His Fathers house, or would he choose the bread of this world over the "Bread of Life?" Would he accept the word of God as his manna from heaven, or would he fail the test and take the abundance of this life over the promise of what was to come?
As he pondered the offer set before him, his mind reflected on the words of warning given in 8:11-14
11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
Jesus did not want to forget his Father! He did not want his own way. He did not want to be proud and satisfied in this world! But rather, his heart longed for his Father. His heart beat for one thing only, to glorify His Daddy in heaven!
And just before he answered the enemy on that day, he reflected on one final warning in 8:19
"If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods (your self and your own desires) and worship and bow down to them (satisfy your own longings over obedience to God), . . . you will surely be destroyed."
As Jesus allowed these words to impact him as a child, and then come alive in him at the moment of the test, he chose to trust his Father, to obey the commands, even if it killed him in this moment! He chose the manna of every word of God over the satisfaction of his belly. He chose his Daddy's will over his own, and he turned to his enemy as his stomach growled in desperate hunger and quotes these words that had been implanted on his heart so many years before:
"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of the Lord!"
He followed the Spirit into the test. He displayed his humbleness and he passed the test, setting his eyes on the much greater prize set before him!
May we also, as we are tested and humbled to see what is in our hearts, may we too have these words implanted in our hearts so they too may role off our tongues, so we may be found worthy of the calling set before us, the calling to follow our Good Shepherd no matter where he leads!
Sometimes it is great to just allow Scripture to speak for itself. This is Deuteronomy 10:12-13.
Moses has spent the entire book of Deuteronomy up to this point (and beyond), reminding the people of Israel of what they have been through, what God had commanded them, and what He has promised them.
As Jesus was taught the history of God and his people, these words from Moses certainly rang loud in his ears. Jesus wanted to know what his Daddy wanted from him, what He desired from Jesus, and here it is all wrapped up in two verses!
As this impacted Jesus, may it also resonate in my soul. What does God ask of me?
To Fear Him and walk in ALL His ways, to Love him, to Serve him with all my heart and soul! To observe his commands (to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength, to love my neighbor as myself, and to love my enemy as he loved me when I was his enemy) because it is for my own good! (See Duet 11:1, 22-25)
To obey leads to blessing, to not obey would end in a curse! 11:26-28
And might I end with this praise: Praise Jesus he allowed this to impact him and he followed through on His obedience, and secured the blessing on my behalf!
What a Savior!
Jesus went into the wilderness to be tested. Matthew 4 and Luke 4 tell the story. Jesus was not just tried, the enemy chose an area in which he hoped to find a weakness in Jesus. His hunger. Jesus knew he had the power to fulfill his own desires, but he realized that God had allowed him to be hungry to test him.
The Devil attacked his lack of praise and popularity Jesus had enjoyed before his humanity. But through the words of Scripture Jesus knew that it was a test to see what was in his heart.
Then the enemy attacked his determination to endure suffering to obtain an inheritance by offering him kingdoms for the small price of bowing his knee and worshiping the Enemy.
But Jesus had memorized the following as a child. He had meditated on it as a young man, and now faced with the test, he remembers these words:
Deuteronomy 13:3-4 ". . . The Lord your God is testing you to find out wether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and Him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him."
I am so thankful that Jesus was trained as a child in the way he should go. My heart leaps with joy as I read these words and see how Jesus not only knew them, but chose to live by them. Because a young boy named Jesus was trained, because a young man name Jesus was impacted, because a man named Jesus chose to trust and obey, I can stand today and declare:
"The Lord, he is my God. . . God remembers his covenant forever." 1 Chronicles 16:14-15
Because Jesus was trained in the way he should go, and because he was impacted by the words of these stories, Jesus chose to believe in the promise of something greater than what he was offered on that day in the wilderness, and now you and I have been made co-heirs with Christ in both his suffering and what he kept his eyes on, his Glory! Romans 8:17
Thank God that he wrote a story to #Impact Jesus so that I could have a Savior who redeemed me as his own!
Jesus had a heart for the poor. He spoke highly of the poor lady who threw in her two "pennies". He connected with them because he grew up in a home where he watched his parents scrape to get by! In Luke 4:18 he declared he had come to give the Good News to the poor!
After climbing the hill in Matthew 5 and Luke 6, Jesus said "blessed are the poor, for yours in the kingdom of God!"
In Luke 14 as Jesus spoke he encouraged his host, a Pharisee, that when he was having a feast to "invite the poor"
Jesus, in Matthew 9, when he looked over the people, he had compassion on them because they were like a poor sheep without a shepherd. Jesus displayed a great heart for the poor, in fact at one point telling a man who wanted to follow him to "go sell your possessions and give the money to poor, then come follow me!"
And where might have Jesus received this heart, this passion to take care of the poor and needy? One must only look at Deuteronomy 15 where it states in v.4 "However, there should be no poor among you!" Because God told them through Moses in v.7-8 "do not be hard hearted or tight fisted toward your poor brother. Rather, be open handed and freely lend him WHATEVER he needs." And again in v10, "Give generously. . ." Finally he read and was impacted by 15:11, "There will always be poor in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land."