Archive for March, 2010

Subduing Our Iniquities

He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

Micah 7:19

I don’t know about you, but I find myself sometimes struggling to do the things I know I should.  I also find myself sometimes struggling to not do the things I shouldn’t.  Even the Apostle Paul said in Romans 3:15 “For that which I do I allow not: for that which I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I”.  He then goes on to say in verse 18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing”.  The struggle to do right and the struggle against sin is going to be a lifelong struggle for the Christian.  It is true that we can have victory, but it is still a struggle.  That is one of the many reasons I like this verse.

I like the statement in the middle of the verse that says “he will subdue our iniquities”.  I hate sinning.  But in my own power, I can’t do anything about it- we all have that sinful, fleshly nature that wants to sin.  I desperately want my iniquities “subdued”.  I want them destroyed.  I want them gone.  But again, there is nothing in my power that I can do about it.  But there is someone who can do something about it.  Only Jesus can subdue our iniquities.  And He will subdue our iniquities.  This is both a present possession and a future promise.  He is in the process of subduing them now as we walk with Him and obey Him.  He will subdue them completely when He returns.  What a day that will be!  I want that to be my prayer every day- that the Lord would subdue my iniquities.

Keep His Precepts Diligently

Thou has commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

Psalm 119:4

The one word that struck me in the verse is “diligently”.  We all know that we are supposed to be “keeping His precepts”.  We all know that we are supposed to be doing what the Lord wants us to do.  We all know that we are supposed to be obeying Him.  But we are supposed to be doing all those things “diligently”. 

Doing anything with diligence requires a consistent, focused effort.  In fact, that is what diligence means- a consistent, focused effort.  We are not going to keep His precepts by accident.  We are not going to obey Him and follow Him by accident.  It is going to take focus and concentration.  It is going to take will and desire.  We are not going to be able to follow His precepts one day and not the next; or even one year and then allow ourselves to take a day off from following Him.  We are going to have to do it “diligently”.  We are going to have to obey His precepts every single day, on purpose.  So let’s do it.

Giving Out of Blessings

Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee.

Deuteronomy 16:17

There seems to be much debate today about “giving”.  How much should we give?  When should we give?  Where should we give?  What do we “owe” the Lord?  What should our giving be based on?  There are many questions, and we won’t get into all of them here and now, but this is a good summary verse on giving.

“Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee”.  A few things jump out at me from this verse.

1. Everything we have is given to us by the Lord. “Which he hath given thee”.  We have nothing that “we earned”.  If we were able to work for something, it is the Lord that gave us the strength and ability to work.  Anything we have came from the Lord.  So giving should not be so much a case of “I have this and I have decided to give a little bit of it to the Lord out of the generosity of my heart”.  Giving should always come out of a heart of love and gratitude.

2. We are supposed to give according to how we have been blessed.  That should eliminate any stingy givers immediately.  The Lord has been so good to us and has blessed us “beyond measure”.  When we give according to our blessing, you can be sure that we should be giving generously.

3. Every man should give “as he is able”.  Of course, I don’t think this means “well, I have to make the house payment, the car payment, the boat payment, the vacation condo payment, the cable bill, two phone bills, all the other bills and I have to set aside enough money to eat out at least five times this week and I have to have buy some new stuff just because; so I don’t think I’ll be “able” to give this month”.  If we really wanted to, I think all of us could give more to the Lord than we do.  This is not limited to money- we could give more of our time, more of our love, even more of ourselves. 

After all of His blessing to us, there is really nothing that we could give to Him that would be “too much”.  Let us give of ourselves generously according as He has blessed us.

Not for Your Righteousness

Understand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.

Deuteronomy 9:6

In this chapter of Deuteronomy, the Lord is reminding His people of how they provoked Him in the wilderness and how they rebelled against Him from the time they left Egypt until the time He was speaking to them.  The entire journey from Egypt to the Promised Land was a list of time after time that God’s chosen people has tried to rebel against Him.  The Lord is reminding them of this to nail down an important truth: He is not giving them the “good land” for their possession because of anything that they had done.  They are not going to possess the land because of their own righteousness.

They rebelled against Him.  The Lord Himself called them a “stiffnecked people”.  God did not bring the Israelites out of Egypt because they were good and noble and always obeyed Him; He brought them out of Egypt because they were His people.  In the same manner, God did not save us because of how great we are or were.  He did not save us because He knew that we would be perfect followers of Him.  He saved us and forgave us for our sins because 1) He wants to bring glory to His name and 2) He loves us.  We should never forget that the Lord didn’t save us and He doesn’t allow us to walk with Him because of anything great that we have done.  Everything we are and everything we have is entirely because of Him.

Turn and Obey

And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.  But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.  When thou are in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

Deuteronomy 4:28-31

Reading about the journey of the children of Israel has been a blessing to me in that, no matter how much they murmered and complained and rebelled, the Lord still had mercy on them.  Even in this passage, in which the Lord is detailing how His people would eventually turn to worshipping idols, the Lord tells them that He is a merciful God.  If, at any point, they will “turn to the Lord thy God” and will “be obedient unto his voice”, He will not forsake them nor destroy them.  What an amazing promise!

No matter how often or to what extent we disappoint Him, no matter how much we rebel against Him, He is simply wanting us to turn to Him in repentance and obey His voice.  He is a merciful God.

Has He Shewed Himself to You

Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?… Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there in none else beside him.  Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.

Deuteronomy 4: 33, 35-36

Has God spoken to you?  Has God shewed Himself to you?  I hope He has.  Have you ever wondered “why me?”?  Have you ever thanked the Lord for His mercy and grace in allowing you to hear His voice?  These verses give us the reason that the Lord talks to us and shews Himself to us.

1. So that we will know that the Lord is God.
2. So that we will know that there is no other God besides Him.
3. So that He can instruct us.

Do we know and understand that the Lord is God?  Do we try to put other things in front of Him?  Do we try to set up other things in our lives as gods above Him?  Do we follow His instructions?  If not, we need to.

All the Time, In Every Place

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9

When should we talk about the Lord and the Bible?  How about all the time.  When should we think about the Lord and the Bible?  How about all the time.  These verses pretty much sum up the way we are to treat the Word of the Lord. 

We are supposed to teach them diligently to our children.  We are suppose to talk about them when we 1) are sitting down, 2) are walking or travelling, 3)are laying down, and 4) are standing up.  Sitting, walking, standing and lying down- I think that pretty much takes care of just about all of life.  There is no time when we shouldn’t be thinking about and/or talking about the things of the Lord.  They should be on our hands and right in front of our eyes.  They should be written on the posts of our house and everywhere else. 

There is a reason for all of this thinking about and talking about the things of the Lord- if we don’t keep them constantly in mind, we will forget.  Just like the Israelites, we are a forgetful people.  It is very easy for us to forget the Lord who has been so good to us.  But the cure for that forgetfulness is to be in constant thought about the things of the Lord and to be in constant communication and communion with the Lord.

Full and Forgetful

And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildest not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedest not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt  have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

Deuteronomy 6:10-13

When are we most likely to forget the Lord?  These verses give us a good idea of when we need to be on guard against forgetting Him.  We need to take the greatest care to remember the Lord when He has blessed us abundantly.  Here He tells the Israelites that when He has given them a good land and great cities that they did not have to build, then they might forget Him.    When they have their houses filled with things He gave them, and drink from wells that they haven’t digged, and eat the fruit of trees they haven’t planted, then they might forget Him.  When they have “eaten and are full”, then they would be at risk of forgetting Him. 

Do any of those things sound familiar to us?  The Lord has “brought me out of bondage”.  I go to a great church in a free country- I didn’t build the church and I didn’t fight for my country’s freedom.  I have a house filled with things and I have plenty (in most cases, too much) food to eat whenever I want it.  I have been spoon fed the Bible, and I can purchase and/or read a Bible just about anywhere I want to.  Many through the ages have not had this privilege.  

In my opinion, Christians in America (and I am talking primarily to myself) are at a great danger of forgetting the Lord who has brought us out of bondage.  Let us pray that we will remember the Lord and His goodness and mercy to us.  Let us be vigilant that we do not forget the things He has done for us!

Turn to Him and Obey Him

When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

Deuteronomy 4:30-31

The Lord is giving the Israelites some instructions about occupying the Promised Land.  And here He gives them a promise.  He knows that they are going to go off after idols and everything else under the sun.  Just two verses earlier in verse 28, He says “And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell”.  He knows that they are going to turn their backs on Him; yet He still tells them that when they are in tribulation because of their sins, if they will turn to Him and be obedient to His voice, He will not forsake them nor destroy them.  “For the Lord thy God is a merciful God”.  He is rich in mercy.  He delights in mercy. 

Even though we turn our backs on Him, He stands ready to forgive if we will just turn back to Him.  Though we disobey Him, He is ready to forgive us if we will only turn back to Him and obey Him.  What a marvelous, merciful God!

Seek Him and Find Him

But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

Deuteronomy 4:29

This is a wonderful promise- if we seek Him, we can find Him!  We can’t seek Him halfheartedly.  We have to seek Him with our whole heart and with all our soul.  But if we are willing to seek Him, we will find Him.  “Thou shalt find him”. 

Proverbs talks much about seeking for Him and searching for Him.  Proverbs 2:4-5 talks of seeking for wisdom, “If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”

If we seek Him with everything we have and everything we are, we will find Him!  What an encouragement!