Obey the Lord your God. In this chapter – the final pilgrimage before the Israelites cross the Jordan River – Moses prepares his people to obey the Lord. Much of what was covered in Deuteronomy was not new, but rather re-iterated- as if what he was saying was really really extra important.
It also reminded on several occasions of what God had done for the Israelites! Do I remember what God has done for me? The awesome and amazing prayers He has answered, or do I get caught up in the now too often? I ought to remember that the Lord is always with me, and He always goes before me! (Deuteronomy 1:30).
I love what Moses says in Deuteronomy 4:7, “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?” – God is always near to talk to, and chase after- yet again.. I become complacent , and lazy – thinking… I’ll connect with God in prayer, and silence tomorrow.
Deuteronomy 4:19 – Its ok to marvel in the beauty of the world – so long as I am not praying to it, or thinking that “it” is the Lord.
4:24: Reminds me of the song How He Loves. “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God”. God wants ME… he wants us as people. What an amazing thing to think about! HE loves ME! And He gets jealous when we cheat on him with ANYTHING that takes HIS rightful place. God wants us to Obey him – not to make our lives miserable, but as a parent has rules for their children to keep them safe and happy in the long haul.
6:4-9: Hear, O Israel: “The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Yet – we refuse to obey him, so he loved us SO MUCH that He sent his only son to take our place -so that we could STILL be with him. My all time favorite verse in the bible right now is from Isaiah 43:4: “That’s how much you mean to me, that’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you”.
Um… WOW! And because of this and I think because of my journey through even these first five books lately I cannot even sing along to this song during worship at church – I simply cry with my head down and eyes closed, realizing I’m being embraced, and fully loved on by God… and its so magnificent!
The burnt offering, atonement offerings, offering for shelters, daily offerings, etc etc etc….The book of Numbers taught me about the many offerings the people were to give to God. For all kinds of things throughout the day, week, month and year. I reflect on my own life, and wonder what I really offer to God. Sure I try to be a good wife, mother, and friend. Serve and give when possible, but -I- don’t- give -with- abandon!
I realized I take for granted the sacrifice that Jesus made. Plain and simple. I go about my day often with no thought about how much time was consumed during the time of the Israelites fulfilling all of these offerings, and I’m concerned about my to do list which often has nothing to do with honoring God… the clothes I’m wearing, the car I drive, the school my daughter goes to, and how clean my house is.
Sure I listen to Christian music and read the bible – but I don’t humbly accept 99% of the time what Christ has really done for me.
Christ…, He fulfilled all of these obligations in the books of law. My head has been swimming these past few months with the do this -do that- do this- do that, and frankly I’ve been exhausted thinking about it, much less doing it! Where did these people find the time? God knew nobody could do ALL OF THESE THINGS- because we are so far from the perfection of God.
In chapter 28 I was tired from reading the requirements for the offerings. Every year we help our family friends butcher chickens. I know – this is a very Lindsey Ingalls Wilder of me – and this year we cleaned 48 chickens, and at the end of the day we were simply exhausted. Now this is a once per year kind of thing- not a monthly or daily thing. The amount of work it takes to slaughter, and clean animals is just understated in the book of numbers!
I can’t imagine the stress the Israelites must have felt. I take for granted what Jesus has done for me and Numbers has pointed this graciously out.
I’ve been connecting my thoughts from these books with songs so often because I don’t exactly know how to verbalize how I feel. But this song really ties it true for me. After reading through the book of Numbers, and others with all of its laws, and regulations surrounding the offerings, I realized how much I need to offer myself up to God. Completely and with abandon. Back in the time of Numbers you had to physically produce offerings to the Lord and what does the Lord require of me now?
Do what is right, love mercy and walk humbly with your God, – Micah 6:8. To love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. (Mark 12:33)
Walk humbly with your God. God isn’t asking me to slaughter animals, or bake bread, and offer up these aromas to Him – but to simply offer my heart to Him – let him Love me and love him in return!
So I’ll stand – with arms high and heart abandoned