Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Reminder for Rebellious Hearts

Today's Reading:
Deuteronomy 31:1-32:27
Acts 11:1-30
Psalm 58:1-11
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Focus Verses: Deuteronomy 31:24-27
24 After Moses finished writing in a book the words of this law from beginning to end, 25 he gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD: 26 “Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you. 27 For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the LORD while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die!"

Here, at the end of his life, Moses is less than cheerful and optimistic about Israel's future. After reminding the people of the importance of seeking and obeying God, after stressing the importance of knowing and teaching God's word to their children, and after writing all the words of the Law in a book, he tells them to put the book beside the ark of the covenant as "a witness against them." He basically tells them, "Here's God's word. Put it in a sacred and special place so it can remind you of how rebellious and disobedient you are."

While Moses faithfully communicated the Law God revealed to him, he had absolutely no confidence that the Israelites would be able to follow it. He said, "I know you are corrupt and that you'll turn away from the things I've taught you." Moses gave the Law, but he understood that the future of his people would depend completely on the grace of God. Even Moses knew that the Law was unable to change people or save them.

Response and Action:
Knowing what is right and true is good, but knowledge cannot make me righteous. Knowing what is wrong only serves to show me how easily I am prone to do it. It highlights my inability to overcome the corruption and rebellion at work in me. It shows me that I need God's grace. Only by the grace of God and the power of his Spirit can I be transformed and strengthened to do his will.

I will seek to know the Scriptures and to humbly follow the instructions and precepts it reveals, but my confidence will be in God's grace, not in my ability to follow instructions. I will listen to the teachings of Jesus and make every effort to obey them, but my hope is in Him, not in my ability to obey him. I know how stiff-necked and rebellious I can be, so my hope is firmly fixed upon God's grace and his resurrection power to transform and shape me.

O God, help me to turn away from what is wrong and to do what is right. Help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. Lead, teach, transform, shape, and strengthen me, that I might delight in your will and walk in your ways to the glory of your Name. Through Christ, I pray. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: John 1:14, 16-18

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. - - - 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Embracing Grace: A Gospel for All of Us
by Scot McKnight

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