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April 18, Day #109 – A Less-Distracting Perspective

Today’s readings give us much profound truth upon which we must think and carefully meditate. Deuteronomy 28:15-68 begins with the warning: “However, IF you do not obey the LORD your God …” (verse 15). From this we can see that the blessings and curses of this chapter are contingent upon obedience, and as we read earlier in Leviticus 26, this section also presents the sad end of a collective people who intentionally and willingly refuse to recognize and honor the majesty of our God. Together, these chapters present some of the most frightful judgments in all the Bible – indeed, in all of literature. Personally, I can seldom read them without coming to tears - literally. For our sins, these are the punishments which we deserve, yet God will mercifully withhold them from us, if only we will acknowledge Him – carefully, as is recorded in Deuteronomy 27 – “with all our hearts and all our souls” (verse 17). Notice some of these curses: “The LORD will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything” (verse 20) … “plague you with diseases” (verse 21) … “your carcasses will be food for the birds and the beasts” (verse 26) … “madness, blindness, and confusion of mind” (verse 28) … “you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot” (verse 65) … “you will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life” (verse 66) … and probably the worst – “you will eat the flesh of the sons and daughters the LORD your God has given you” (verse 53). These horrible curses are unthinkable and unimaginable … yet they came to pass in Israel (cf., 2 Kings 6:24-29). We must understand that here in Deuteronomy 28, Moses is warning the people about what could happen if they disobey God. What could happen, did happen – for the people were disobedient to God. Thus, what Moses is writing here is not merely a warning; it is prophecy that later came true – and with Israel’s present worldwide dispersion – it is still true and effective today.

In Psalm 47, we see that our God - “the LORD Most High is awesome, the great King over all” (verse 2). Such a One must properly and rightfully summon our praise and worship, for He is high, lofty, and lifted up (cf., Isaiah 6:1). We have a duty to acknowledge Him because He made us, and He owns us (verse 9). Psalm 47 calls upon us five times to “sing praises” to Him (verses 6-7). However, He desires more than simply our duty; He wants what cannot be coerced - our love - freely-expressed. He is the “King of all the earth,” and as such, He is worthy of all our praise and worship (verse 7). He is the King to whom all other “kings belong,” for “He is greatly exalted” (verse 9). There is no king like our God.

In addition to the expressions of worship, praise, and love found in Psalm 47, Luke 18:1-30 identifies some of the distractions that prevent us from loving Him effectively with our whole hearts. This section of Scripture illustrates the antidotes to those distractions: persistent prayer (verse 6); humility (verses 13-14); childlike trust (verses 15-17); and a proper use of our resources (verses 18-30). Here, Jesus is not condemning wealth, but rather He is sharing His truthful perspective on it – remember that He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (cf., Psalm 50:10-12), and none of them ever distracted Him. A proper use of our resources begins with the recognition that nothing we own is truly ours – everything we have belongs to God. He has entrusted to us a stewardship of the things we have, and they are simply for our management. We are caretakers of His property and His resources. When we understand this correctly, we have a completely different, less-distracting perspective about everything.

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