Deuteronomy is divided into 4 sections: Provision - Obedience - Commitment - Leadership. The previous devotions examine ~ Provision. Continuing, an overview of the next section finds Moses giving a refresher course on the Lord's Commands (the Law) and the need for obedience.
Read Deuteronomy 8:1-9:6 (complete text on obedience - Deut. 4:44-28:68)
. . . Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness for forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would really obey His commands. . . He did it to teach you that people need more than bread for their life; real life comes by feeding on every word of the LORD. . . Today you are about to cross the Jordan River to occupy the land belonging to nations much greater and more powerful than you. . .
I will say it again: The LORD your God is not giving you this good land because you are righteous, for you are not - you are a stubborn people.
The Promised Land lay before them but would require obedience to enter. Once before they stood on the threshold of this God-offered possibility, but refused to go forward. Andrew Murray writes (in his book A Life of Obedience; p.69-70): The land of promise that has been set before us is the blessed life of obedience. We have heard God's call to us to go out and to dwell there . . . We have heard the promise of Christ to bring us there and to give us possession of the land. . . But do we desire that all our life and work be lifted to the level of a holy and joyful obedience?
A desire to be obedient is not the same as being obedient. Murray continues with this response to how we must embrace obedience: It can only be reached by an inflow of the power of the Holy Spirit. By a faith that grasps a new vision and lays hold of the powers. . . which are secured to us in Christ. How does Abraham respond when God first gives the promise? By faith Abraham obeyed . . . And he went out, not knowing where he was going. (see Hebrews 11:8). Through faith, we find obedience that grasps a new vision. Our ability to be obedient comes from Christ, the Bread of Life.
Deuteronomy 10:12-13 describes God's expectations: And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you? He requires you to fear Him, to live according to His will, to love and worship Him with your heart and soul, and to obey the LORD's commands and laws that I am giving you today for your own good.
- What faith challenges did the Israelites face as they entered their land of promise?
- If you embrace obedience, what hope waits in your land of promise?
- What is required to experience "real life"?
Lord, You call us to new hope within a world of old doubt. You offer the Bread of Life to a starving people. You secure our faith through the living Christ. And what do You ask of us? To love You with obedient hearts. Forgive our greed for the land of promise held tightly by selfish desires. Open our hearts to "real life" so we can embrace the blessed life of obedience. Amen. ~ dho