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April 12, Day #103 – Life in the Kingdom of God

Today we learn a lot about humility. We come to Deuteronomy 15-16:20 in which we read about the year for canceling debts and freeing slaves, the sanctification of firstborn animals, and some of the feasts in Israel. In Deuteronomy 15, Moses asserted that “there should be no need for poor people among you … for the LORD your God will richly bless you” (verse 4). Think of that! This was God’s promise delivered through Moses, but the promise was dependent upon one contingency: “If only you fully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all His commands” (verse 5). Here, we see generally that poverty is negatively correlated with obedience. Put another way, poverty is an indicator of the presence of sin. It is the result of human sin. For example, sins like pride, theft, greed, corruption, etc., on a grand and collective scale produce wide-spread, large-scale poverty. People are “hardhearted and tightfisted” toward others (verse 7), and in His sovereign omniscience, God forthrightly tells the Israelites, that unless the people are “generous and openhanded, there will always be poor people in the land” (verses 10-11). In chapter 16, God reviews the regulations for Passover, the feast of weeks, and the feast of tabernacles. He says that “no man should appear before the LORD empty-handed” (verse 16). This implies that all the Israelites were to be guided in their daily lives by an attitude of giving – proportional to “the way the LORD your God has blessed you” (verse 17). Unfortunately, we have “perverted justice and shown partiality,” (Deuteronomy16:19) – trusting “in our own bow and sword” for victory (Psalm 44:6). God promises that, where we have done this, our day of reckoning will come as surely as night follows day.

Psalm 44:1-12 states that our heritage and our prosperity come to us by “the right hand” (verse 3) of the Lord our God. Living in a land like ours, it’s easy to forget how difficult life is for the rest of the world. Many Americans are blind to the hardships of daily life outside of our country. God has loved us and poured out His mercy, grace, and blessings on us, but like the Israelites, we stand in mortal danger of being “rejected” (verse 9). God loves the rest of the world no less than He loves us, so our heritage and our prosperity will require much more of us in the coming day of reckoning. Collectively and nationally, like Jerusalem in Luke 13, we have shamefully squandered our heritage and wasted our prosperity.

In Luke 13:31-14:14, we read that Jesus “longs to gather us under His wings,” but we are not willing,” and “our house is becoming desolate” (verses 34-35) before our eyes. Desolation is tragic, but a willingness – whether active or passive - to allow ourselves to become desolate is far worse. In Luke 14:4, we see part of the problem that ultimately leads to desolation: “They remained silent … and they had nothing to say” (verses 4-6). At the Pharisee’s house, Jesus also notices that “the guests picked the places of honor at the table” (verse 7), which initiated His parable of the wedding feast. Here, Jesus warns people not to put themselves forward, for “a person more distinguished than you may have been invited … and you will be humiliated” (verse 8-9). Like silence, perverting justice, showing partiality, etc., this attitude is what ultimately leads a house to the desolation that Jesus was concerned about. Jesus says, “take the lowest place … for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (verse 11). Humility will characterize all of life in the Kingdom of God.

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