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April 10, Day #101 – Nothing Could Be Clearer

Today we read Deuteronomy 11-12. Our readings begin in chapter eleven with the one task that God intended to characterize and define Israel’s supreme responsibility before a watching world – “Love the LORD your God and keep His requirements, His decrees, His laws, and His commands always” (verse 1). God said, “if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you … then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rain, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied” (verses 13-15). Rain is a symbol of God’s blessing. Here, God promises the Israelites that if they will faithfully carry out their one, supreme responsibility to God before the world, God will bless them to their “satisfaction” (verse15). What does it mean to be satisfied? A person who is satisfied is one who has everything he needs – he lacks nothing. Another word for it is contentment. God reminds them: “Be careful … and if you carefully observe all these commands” (verses 16-23). Associated with His commands are blessings and curses – “If you obey, I will bless you; if you disobey, I will curse you” (verses 26-28). Nothing could be clearer. In chapter 12, God, Who is sovereign, gets to decide how He will be worshiped, which we addressed earlier (cf., March 24, Day #84). Here, God addresses the place where the Israelites are to worship and the way they are expected to worship (verses 4, 8, 11, 13 and 14). We may not approach God any old way – we must come to Him – His way. This means that false worship must be destroyed because it is “detestable” (verse 31). Unfortunately, much false worship obtains in our culture today, and God cannot bless or approve it.

In Psalm 43, we note that the psalmist’s continues to be “downcast” in his soul (verse 5) because of the unfaithfulness of his “nation” and the “deceit of wicked men” (verse 1). He “mourns - feeling rejected and oppressed” (verse 2). In other words, our present discouragements may result from national sin. National sins are not new – as we see in this Psalm, they’ve been going on for centuries. Thus, we can easily identify today with the psalmist. Whether we personally commit them or not, we all collectively own our national sins by virtue of our citizenship (cf., Daniel 9:5). Today, our souls can easily become “downcast” about our national sins – sins that we ourselves don’t necessarily commit - but for which we bear some responsibility. Like the Psalmist, we should pray: “send forth your light and your truth; let them guide me” (verse 3). Our only “hope,” is to “go to the altar of God, to praise Him, and to rest in His mercy (verses 4-5).

In Luke 12:35-59, Jesus, speaking to the “crowd” (verse 54), addresses this very issue - individual responsibility finds itself enmeshed in collective responsibility. We all are responsible agents. All the servants (the whole group) were expected to “be dressed and ready for service” (verse 35) so that their master would find them “watching when he comes” (verse 37). The master expects them to know and do his will. Here we see an interesting contrast that Jesus made between “everyone” and “the one” (i.e., between the whole group and the individual). Thus, “everyone” (i.e., the larger group) has been given “much,” and of them, “much will be demanded” (verse 48). But to the “one” who also knows his master’s will, much has equally been “entrusted,” and of him, “much more will be asked” (verse 48). Why? What’s the difference? Some servants want to be found faithful when their master returns. We will all be held accountable, but some of us will be held accountable for much more. Jesus advises, “judge for yourselves what is right” (verse 57). Nothing could be clearer.

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