Monday, 26 September 2016

Deuteronomy! Chapter 1

Deuteronomy 1.
Verse 3: 'Moses addressed the People of Israel, telling them everything God had commanded him concerning them."
Moses reminds the Israelites of the journey they have been on and the way he, under God's guidance, has led them.
Initial thought: why is he telling them all this? Were I there, would I feel like a child being reprimanded for having been disobedient? Would I feel guilty, chastised? A journey which should have taken 11 days took 40 years of much trouble and heartbreak.
God said: (v6, v8) "The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, ...  See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore he would give to your fathers – to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – and to their descendants after them.’
God TOLD them. Again, in v21 " See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’
But they didn't just accept this - they wanted spies to go in first to reassure them. Even then, although the reports were of a good land, the Israelites still refused to go because they were too afraid of the inhabitants, even though Moses reminded them that God would fight for them:
vv29 - 33 "Then I said to you, ‘Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.’

In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God..."

Then God was angry with them and would not let them go in to the Promised Land: even Moses, who, as their leader, He held responsible. It was only Caleb and Joshua, the spies who encouraged the Israelites that the Canaanites could be defeated, and the youngest, innocent children, who would go in. (vv 34 - 40)

And of course the Israelites then regretted it, tried to make it right by going in to fight even though God said he would not be with them and they were defeated. 

This seems scary. That we can lose a God-given opportunity and cannot reclaim it. Even risking God's anger further. This was the God of the Old Testament, the God of the Law, clearly laid down for all to follow with rules and consequences.

And even though Jesus is loving and forgiving all who come to him, we still need to learn to live with consequences, which may not change however remorseful we might be....

So Moses, at the end of his life, begins his final address to his people by reminding them of their failure...

We need to learn from the past.

The Israelites had God: His presence, promises, provision, protection. Yet all they could see were the problems.  Their vision was clouded by the circumstances.

So why did Moses remind the Israelites of all their mistakes and failures?  So they could learn from the past and make better choices in the future. To trust God, not making hasty decisions and rushing ahead.

We need to learn from the past. We need to admit our failures, accept the consequences and turn to God in humility for our futures.

And remember that God " works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

We can trust Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment