Bible Reference: Deuteronomy 13:3-4
Translation: GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
Bible Text: 3 The Lord your God is testing you to find out if you really love him with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 Worship the Lord your God, fear him, obey his commands, listen to what he says, serve him, and be loyal to him.
OBSERVATION: The Israelites were about to branch off into a ‘new world’, at least to them, where they would have to decide who they would serve, who they would honor, and who they would allow to guide their heart. Moses, through the help and direction of God, gave the Israelites instructions, and God saw fit to have these included in His Word, because He knew that you and I would face the same challenges that the Israelites were about to deal with. Let’s concentrate on the advice given so that we might be best prepared for what our day might hold in store for us.
APPLICATION: In my younger days, I worked for a company that relocated me every few years to manage their business on several Bahamian islands. At each island, my wife and I had to face the challenge of ‘going with the flow’, or maintaining our faith, in spite of vast variances in culture. In reading today’s Scripture, I now wonder if we were presented with challenges by God to see if we truly loved Him and were willing to serve Him, even under very diverse situations that we may had found ourselves in? There are also other situations that we often find ourselves in. While chatting with friends, someone invariably will turn to bad-mouth a close neighborhood friend of yours. Do you stop them in their tracks, or could that have been a time where God was testing your loyalty to that neighborhood friend? Perhaps God wanted to see how much you would tolerate in hearing your friend belittled or destroyed verbally, before standing up for them? So what does this testing do to those of us involved? Surely it is a test of our loyalty and friendship. But what about the child of God that once heeded to His voice and surrendered their life to His Lordship. What happens when that person faces a challenge in life and is hurt by someone at church? How do you help that person overcome the fear of rejection, and bitterness against the whole Christian faith? Unfortunately this is so prevalent that I believe that each of us have at least one friend or family member who refuses to enter a church door again, because of past hurts. Don’t you know dear friends, that God saw this coming as His precious children entered a land where its people knew every god but the holy God of heaven? Don’t you know that it would have become the inhabitants’ main object to see what these newcomers were made of, and to convert them into thinking the way they did? God certainly saw this coming, so He had Moses sit down and prepare the Israelites for what’s ahead. Unfortunately not a whole lot has changed, for whenever Christians walk outside of their church doors, they are bombarded by a world filled with sin, false gods, hatred, enemies of God, people who have been hurt by someone called by the same name as us – Christian. How well prepared are you to face the opposition? Perhaps it’s your turn to be tested on your love for Jesus – the One who sacrificed His very life so that you might receive forgiveness of sin and face eternal life with He and the Father – God. I believe verse 4 details how we are to stay true to our Lord and Savior – Worship the Lord your God, fear him, obey his commands, listen to what he says, serve him, and be loyal to him.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we have been placed on this earth as ‘light’ into a dark world of sin, hatred and unbelief. It is often challenging – much like the Israelites were about to face as they entered into the Promised Land, where the inhabitants served every other god except You. But Lord, You gave Moses encouraging words for the Israelites as well as our current generation – worship You, fear You, obey Your commands, listen to what You have to say to us, and to serve You in sincerity and loyalty. Please help us to stay on track with what You ordered through Your servant, so that we may never become distracted with the evil things of this world and its leader. You are our King oh Lord, may it be evident in everything we do to avoid the distractions that Satan sends our way. AMEN!