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Deuteronomy 28:20 - Blessings and cursing - Day 174

Still catching up  First 14 verses of this chapter are the blessings for obedience after entering the Promised Land.  The next 54 verses are the curses for disobedience.  Seems that "the stick" is more of a motivator than "the carrot" God clearly threatens his people who know His laws, statues, commandments and rules with dreadful results if they disobey.   How are we to understand God's blessing and cursing in light of this chapter? God has a high standard for His people.  In the OT, this was Israel and Judah.  In the NT, this is the Church.  But this doesn't mean that perfect perpetual obedience was or is possible.  When I look at Israel, I can be dismayed that they fell away so quickly, but not that they fell away.  As Paul explains in Romans, the law exposes our sinfulness and drives us to the Savior.  It does not and cannot save us. Common grace is the only explanation for delay in judgment.  Common grace is not saving grace. The gospel is the only hope
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Matthew 2:7 - Herod and God's will - Day 173

Trying to catch up Secrecy as a cover for wicked intent.  Herod's murderous plot required secrecy on a human level. The wise men were only warned not to return to Herod after they had completed their task.  They were not warned about what Herod would do with the information they willingly provided.  They had no way of knowing Herod's intent when they gave the information. Likewise, the scribes who provided the location not knowing Herod's intent.  They just provided truthful answer to a question.  Herod then excluded them from further conversation with the wise men. Herod's original intent was only to kill the infant Jesus.  Once this plan was thwarted, he had no moral qualms about expanding to all boys under the age of 2. Herod's plot to maintain power was God's plan to fulfill prophecy regarding the Messiah.  While Herod was keeping the plot secret from other people, he could not keep it secret from God.  In deed, Herod was unknowingly carrying out God's s

Isaiah 53:2 - Despised and rejected - Day 172

Dear Friends, I'm back in the catch up mode.  I've gone back for some part time work at Millstone.  I have become so accustomed to the extra time in the day and a regular schedule that writing up a devotional each day is a challenge. Enough excuses.  Isaiah 53 is one of the most poignant descriptions of the Messiah.  So I hope you spend some additional time thinking about how Jesus fulfilled this description. Blessings, Jeff John Baptist will later say "behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world"  But if was not Jesus' physical appearance that got his attention.  When we think back about Saul and David, each one's physical appearance was remarkable.  Other OT characters also have notable physical traits (hair of Samson and Absalom, Eli's obesity at end of life, etc).  But Isaiah is painting a different picture of the Messiah. Some thoughts: Jesus is the exact imprint of God's nature and the radiance of His Glory.  Yet there is no associ

Deuteronomy 25:17 - "Remember the Amalekites" - Day 171

Good afternoon, Today's passage highlights one of the realities of the fall.  Nations typically don't get along with their neighbors even if they are related.  All of history is full of conflict and remembering what "your people" did to "my people".   For example, "Remember the Maine" was the justification for the Spanish-American War.  European powers were constantly at war with each other for centuries.  Hope for "world peace" and "co-exist" are misplaced because man is fallen.  The only place we find all nations, tongues and tribes at peace is in heaven. Blessings, Jeff Exodus 17:8-16 tells the story of the battle between Israel and Amalekites.  Joshua led the army, but it was Moses holding up the staff of God with the aid of Aaron and Hur that enabled the victory.  This occurred before Israel reached Mt Sinai.  So God is reminding Israel just before the enter the Promised Land. From Complete Word Study Bible Amalek was the s

Isaiah 51:4 - Promise of future comfort is a comfort in the present - Day 170

Good morning fellow pilgrims, As we continue in the comforting portion of Isaiah, the many facets of His promises are on display.  Since we are finite (bound by space and time), it is difficult to see beyond these limits.  Yet God graciously gives us a picture through Isaiah's words.  As believers, the present is not all we have.  We can live knowing that the future is secure. Blessings, Jeff The future comfort of Zion. Isaiah is given a message for the future.  Listen to me, pay attention and similar statements throughout this chapter.  Like a letter written to a generation in the future. Somebody in Isaiah's time could read it but not really understand what he was talking about. The "immediate" application to post-exile which is 100 years in future and the advent of the Messiah even further off.  The Jews living when the messiah comes should see the fulfillment.  God's Justice, righteousness and salvation are connected. "My" refers to God, not Isaiah. 

Psalm 112:1 - Thoughts on greatly delighting - Day 169

Hello again my friends, Listened to an Al Mohler commentary this morning.  Quoted a Harvard professor who likened lies to cockroaches.  You just can't get rid of them completely.  Dr. Mohler went on to say that as people of the truth, meditating on God's truth so that we are saturated with it helps us to keep lies out of our minds.  This reading is from yesterday, but that commentary was very appropriate. Blessings, Jeff What is blessedness?  Fearing the Lord and greatly delighting in his commandments..  The material blessings follow.  The narrow gate is fearing the Lord and delighting in his commandments.  The pasture beyond is where the good things described here are found.  Attempting to get the wealth and riches without going through this gate is futile.    Has light dawned in the darkness for you?  This is the sign that you are truly upright, gracious, merciful and righteous.  The proof that you fear the Lord and greatly delight in his commandments. What does fearing the L

Deuteronomy 22:5 - Thoughts on God's restraint of passions - Day 168

Good afternoon friends, As we come to the end of Deuteronomy, we see the extent of God's concern for the social and moral fabric of Israel as they are about to cross over Jordan.  I want to encourage us to consider His ongoing concern for restraint of passions. Blessings Jeff I don't know if I should be surprised that such a prohibition was needed so far back in history.  Not that I am a fashion expert, but I am having a hard time imaging how a man's cloak is different from a woman's cloak.  Yet God knew that such a prohibition was necessary for his chosen people at that time.  My conclusion is that however a culture distinguishes between clothing for men and women, this is a significant distinction.  God is not saying what a man's garment should look like and what a woman's cloak should look like.  The culture recognizes the difference between the sexes in terms of biology and their clothing was made to align with this difference.   That being said, the desire