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April 5, Day #96 – Reviews, Reminders, and Repetitions

Today we come to the book of Deuteronomy in our readings. Deuteronomy is the fifth book of Moses, and the word means “second law.” By now, all the Israelites who disobeyed God in the wilderness wanderings have died off – as God promised (cf., Numbers 14:21-23; Deuteronomy 1:35), so here in the book of Deuteronomy, this second giving of God’s law will establish the law firmly in the hearts and minds of the younger generation who will go in and possess the land. Whereas the book of Numbers ends with the Israelites on the plains of Moab across from Jericho (cf., Numbers 35:1), the book of Deuteronomy begins with the command of the LORD, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain … break camp … Go in and take possession of the land” (verses 6-8). We will see that this book emphasizes the need for Israelite obedience, reviewing and remembering from whence and what the Israelites have come, and considering their hope of future redemption – looking ahead to their inheritance in the land. In this section - Deuteronomy 1:1-2:23 – we see that Moses reviews before the people their past years since coming up out of Egypt. Moses addresses the selection of leaders (verse 9-18). In this section, he points out that the selected leaders were not to “be afraid of any man, for judgment belongs to God (verse 17). He reminds the people about how spies were sent out into the land (verses 19-25) and repeats that “the LORD God is giving us [the land] – go up and take possession of it” (verses 20-21). Then Moses revisits the Israelite rebellion (verse 26-46) – “the LORD you God, Who is going before you, will fight for you as He did in Egypt” (verse 30). All this leads to Deuteronomy 2 – the wanderings in the desert “these forty years” (verse 7). Moses’ review of these events here in Deuteronomy should be as good for us as it was for the Israelites. Reviews, reminders, and repetitions serve for our instruction, so what can we learn from them? I gather from these that we should not be stubborn, stiff-necked, rebellious, or willful like the Israelites were – which only lead us to a bad end.

Psalm 41 is another Psalm of David. In verses 1-6, we see that the LORD is concerned about those who are weak and that He provides deliverance for them in their time of trouble. David says that “the LORD will sustain him on his sickbed and restore him from his bed of illness” (verse 3). This statement is not an ironclad promise of the Lord to heal every illness. However, it is a statement that is true – if someone is sick, that person’s ultimate healing and restoration is accomplished by the Lord. In the end, all healing and restoration from sickness is a work of our sovereign God who heals as He desires. He may choose to work through medical personnel and medications, but in the end, He is the Source of healing. We see this in David’s cry – “O LORD, have mercy on me; heal me …” (verse 4). Healing is an act of God’s mercy.

In Luke 9:57-10:24, we see the cost of following Jesus. I’ve often wondered about the Lord’s lack of a “place to lay His head” (Luke 9:58). This statement reveals our Lord’s true humility, and yet, He is the sovereign Creator of the universe. He owns it all - but when He sojourned among us those 33 years - He chose to live without a home of His own. He has provided a physical address foremost for us and the animals, but He also demonstrated His deep commitment to His mission by subordinating His own needs to that mission. Such incredible servanthood and genuine humility - living day to day without any concern for Himself! In Luke 10, He shows us His major concerns - workers for the harvest; peace; healing the sick; collective discernment of the truth and the power of the Holy Spirit; prayer and joyous praise expressed to the Father; and revealing all these things to the innocent and weak (i.e., especially to children). Truly, we are blessed to participate in His mission - to “see and hear what prophets and kings longed to see and hear,” but never did (verse 24). What a joyous responsibility we have!

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