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April 7, Day #98 – Watch Yourselves Very Carefully

Today we come to Deuteronomy 4:15-5:3. Here we see that God forbids the Israelites from “making idols or images like a man or a woman, an animal or a bird, or like any creature” (verses 16-18). God says, “watch yourselves very carefully” (verse 15). This means that we are to examine ourselves regularly to ensure that we are “not enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping” such created things (verse 19; cf., 2 Corinthians 13:5-7). One of God’s exclusive gifts to mankind is the gift of worship - which singularly identifies us as His image bearers – but, because of sin, human beings have a natural propensity to misdirect this gift toward other created things. This action is blasphemous to our Creator and degrading to the dignity of our place in the creation. This matter is so serious that God calls “heaven and earth as witnesses against” those who engage in idol worship – promising them on oath that they “will certainly be destroyed” (verse 26). God sets forth the evidence that “no other god” has done for any other nation what He has done for the Israelites “before their very eyes” (verses 33-34). In Deuteronomy 5, God presents His law (i.e., the Ten Commandments) to the Israelites a second time – with the injunction – “Be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or the left … so that you may live” (verses 32-33).

In Proverbs 8:32-36, wisdom encourages us (three times) to “listen to me; listen to my instruction” (verses 32-33). Whoever finds me finds life … but whoever fails to find me harms himself … and loves death” (verses35-36).

In Luke 11:5-32, Jesus says, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Our God alone has the capacity to offer and to provide His children with what they ask for. In fact, here in this passage, we see that God encourages us to ask for “good things” (verses 11-13). God wants to bless us with good things! That is truly incredible! Knowing this, we should pray that the things we ask for are aligned with His will, and that when we ask, our motives are right. Even in our asking, we should have the wisdom to ask for the right things, like Jabez and others did (cf., 1 Chronicles 4:10). God’s lovingkindness to us should cause us to be considerate and not selfish. Jesus models this with perfection.

All of today’s readings provide much practical truth that we should apply to our hearts and practice in our daily lives. Every human being should ask himself, “What if these passages are true? What if Madam Wisdom of Proverbs 8 is right?” The implication is that, until we come to true (i.e., biblical) wisdom, we are like dead people – like zombies walking along the slow road to self-destruction - loving each next step and every moment - along that horrible road. This description mirrors our current culture which has chosen to establish and live by its own lies – having completely removed and buried its own access to the truth. Well, here’s the fact: today’s readings are true. How far do need we to look before we see the concurrence of these principles to reality? We are witnesses to the destruction of all our time-honored institutions; to the erosion of our God-given values; to the senseless killings committed by madmen whose only justification is a will to power; and to the wild self-harms of the crazy-crowd with its multiple suicides caused by alcohol or drug-induced addictions. May I say to you that God’s Word is true, and may He have mercy on us!

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