June 1, 2022

(Deuteronomy 5, Psalm 88; Optional 1 Corinthians 7:25-35, Proverbs 26:1-5)

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See May 11 for SPECIAL NOTE on format change… 

Deuteronomy 5 – Deut 5:3 – In my margin I’ve written an old theological truism: “God has no grandchildren!” Moses (directed by God) is calling THIS generation to a fresh commitment to trusting and obeying Yahweh.

Deut 5:6 – We don’t EARN God’s favor by our obedience. HE initiates the relationship, rescues us from our bondage (in OUR case our bondage to sin), THEN calls us to RESPOND in trusting, loving obedience.

Deut 5:23-28 – The need for a MEDIATOR. Moses was a wonderful POINTER to Jesus here (and see Deut 18:15-16 cf Acts 3:22-23, 7:35-38), but Jesus is the PERFECT fulfillment of the Mediator we need (1 Tim 2:5)! There are religious groups that attempt to insert other mediators along with Jesus, and this distracts / diminishes from the unique worship due to Jesus.

Deut 5:28-29 – A beautiful glimpse into the heart of God! This doesn’t take away from the absolute sovereignty of God over the heart in Deut 29:4, but DOES show a sweet desire of God (on one level) for Israel to have an obedient heart, but did not at THIS time (though He will one day – see Deut 30:6, Exek 36:26-27). God is sovereign AND we are responsible – this is one of those verses that makes my mind whirl and be humbled and drives me back to Deut 29:29!

One more thought here…  Sometimes believers tell me they feel guilty proclaiming their commitment to love and obey God, KNOWING they’re NOT going to even close to perfectly keep that proclaimed desire. But note that God is pleased with their response, even though later He will have Moses remind them that they ARE still “prone to wander” (cf hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and the very sad song in Deut 32). There ARE times when it’s VERY appropriate to proclaim that our deep desire and commitment is to love and obey God! (And we should also humbly remember that we ARE prone to wander and cry out to Him to Him for help – kind of like one of my favorite prayers in Mk 9:24).

PSALM 86-87 – Ps 88 – A cry to God when a believer has been in darkness a long time and FEELS unheard (v 1-2), FEELING rejected and abandoned by God (v 14). This and Psalm 39 are the two darkest. Most Psalms of lament have a turning point where there’s clear hope. But this darkness (v 6, 12, 18 – “darkness” is the last word in Hebrew and permeates this Psalm) has been going on a long time (v 8-9, 15).  Tiny rays of hope…

  1. Calling Yahweh “God of my salvation” (v 1) is a tiny reminder that He has rescued us out of deepest darkness to become our personal salvation.

  2. The whole Psalm IS directed to God, and there’s no threatening to leave for another option, like in Exodus and Numbers where the people kept threatening to get a new leader and go back to Egypt. This is much more like Peter in Jn 6:68 – “to whom shwall we go? YOU have the words of eternal life.”

  3. As Christians, we know that Jesus took the righteous judgment we deserve (and notice the deep DARKNESS that occurred in the middle of the day on the cross), so that believers now have a much clearer revelation that even when we FEEL abandoned, the TRUTH is in Heb 13:5b and Matt 28:20b (He is WITH US).

Optional 1 Cor 7:25-35 – Reasons why God calls some to be single and freed up to additionally focus on His Kingdom advancement in these last days (“undivided devotion to the Lord”). Note that the selfish modern extended “playtime” of many young adults is NOT in view here at all!

Optional Prov 25:21-28  – Prov 26:2 – cf Num 23:19-23, Deut 23:3-6. There’s no “jinxing” God’s people! There’s also a movement among Christians that really saddens me… There are some who are convinced of generational “curses”. They think that your ancestor’s sins can trap you and that you must find out about them, confess them and turn from them. Those who are adopted and don’t know their family background would seem to be stuck here, except that verses like this disprove the idea. And don’t forgot how Jesus took the real curse of God’s righteous judgment and PAID IN FULL and believers are RELEASED (Gal 3:13).

Prov 26:4-5 – One of the best examples of a paradox (a SEEMING contradiction), and one of my favorite illustrations of TWO DITCHES – there IS a time and a way to ANSWER a fool, and there is a time to NOT answer a fool. These verses give guardrails to keep us from going into the ditches.