God’s Provision for Revenge

Paul taught, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’” (Romans 12.19). God, who is perfectly holy and just, is perfectly able to right wrongs that have been inflicted on people. Jesus taught that our ability to judge […]

The Role of the Prophet

Paul recognized prophecy as one of the Spirit’s gifts. He wrote, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. “To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, “To another faith by the same Spirit . […]

Help Wanted: Good Leaders

If you ask Google the question “Why good leaders are important,” you will discover almost 10 billion answers. Here are the first three articles I found that discusses the need for good leadership. “Leadership matters. It matters today more than ever,” says Raj Sisodia, Babson professor of marketing and the F.W. Olin Distinguished Professor of […]

Hunger and Thirst for Justice

Two of the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount reflect the sentiment of God’s command concerning justice in Deuteronomy. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5.5) has caused a considerable amount of confusion as to its meaning over the years. Dallas Willard explains that the meek are the oppressed […]

Remember God’s Great Gifts

The Festival of Weeks remembered God’s gift of the Ten Commandments. In his sermon about the Ten Commandments, Moses marveled at God’s grace. He said, “For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him? “And what other great nation has statutes […]

Passover and the Path to Freedom

The Passover celebration remembered a central element in the path to freedom for Hebrew slaves. The Passover was the critical moment when God released his people from slavery to the Pharaoh and began their journey to nationhood. The Passover recalls the night when all Hebrew families slaughtered a lamb and placed blood on the doorposts […]

What About The Poor?

When a woman poured very expensive oil on Jesus’ head, a dispute arose among his followers. They reasoned that the ointment should have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus responded with words about the poor that have been discussed for centuries: “For you always have the poor with you” (Matthew 26.11). […]

The Tithe – Trust and Love

Above all, God desires humans to live in a love with him and other people. Trust is a central component of a loving relationship. Without trust, there can be no genuine love. God commanded the nation he founded to show their trust in him through the tithe, which is the giving of ten percent of […]

What to do with False Prophets

Jesus warned us about false teachers when he said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7.15). Petting zoos often feature cuddly and cute sheep. I have never seen wolves, even baby wolves, featured in this fun children’s […]

Tearing Down Idols

The story of God’s interaction with humans is one of abundant love and acceptance for all people. At the same time, God is utterly intolerant of idols. God does not tolerate other so-called “gods.” He knows that these substitutes for the “Genuine Article” are destructive to all of life. As the Hebrew nation was about […]

Learning to Depend on God

Paul wrote, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4.13). He learned that everything was possible to him, as long as he was living united to Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke about what happens when people live separately from him. He said, “Apart from me you can do nothing. “Whoever does not […]

God’s Love for the Oppressed

I briefly touched on three verses in yesterday’s article. They are worthy of more consideration and more detailed treatment. Let’s meditate on God’s love for the vulnerable and oppressed and the response he expects from us. God’s Love for the Vulnerable I have been reading a book by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, who have […]

The One Who Is Our Praise!

The five verses of our study in Deuteronomy today are one of the reasons why I wanted to study this book. I have divided the verses into five sections and provided meditations on the verses. I encourage you to spend time in prayer and meditation on these verses, too. May God bless our understanding of […]

Levi’s – More than Blue Jeans!

When you hear the word, “Levi,” you are probably like me and think of a brand of blue jeans. In addition to good jeans, Levi is one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Their role will add to our appreciation of worship. Levi’s Job Description While Moses was on the mountain with God, he received […]

How to Pray for Others

If you were to make a list of spiritual giants, Moses would be near the top of the list. God fashioned him to be an exceptional leader and spiritual guide. People have followed his example of humility, obedience, and prayer for centuries. Moses’ example in today’s Deuteronomy passage models for us how to pray for […]

Grace for Stubborn People

Imagine that you work in human relations and are responsible for hiring prospective job applicants. One reference question states: “Check all that apply. The applicant is . . .” — Bullheaded — Unreasonable — Willful — Rigid — Self-willed — Insubordinate — Rebellious Before you is a reference for a prospective employee and every one […]

The Victory is the Lord’s

God’s victories for the Hebrew nation are a good picture of how he works throughout history. We study this slice of history to build our faith in God’s love and power. Obstacles to the Promised Land As the Israelites were about to enter the promised land, they knew there would be significant challenges. — Deuteronomy […]

Don’t Forget!

You can find almost anything on the Internet, such as “101 Funny Jokes About Forgetting.” Here’s one. Three brothers age 92, 94 and 96 live in a house together. One night the 96 year old draws a bath, puts his foot in and pauses. He yells down the stairs, “Was I getting in or out […]

Why God Lets Us Wander in the Wilderness

A well-known fact of Hebrew history is the wilderness wanderings of the people. Instead of acting in faith and obedience, the people relied on their perception of events. The result was forty years of desert wandering. While the people wandered in the wilderness, God worked on their character. In case the people had forgotten the […]

The Path to a Blessed Life

The Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5) and the Great Commandment to love God with our entire being (Deuteronomy 6.5) are the pathways to a blessed life. It is painful to think about all of the wrongs that are happening in the world today. Think about how much of the world’s sorrow is caused by people who […]

Good News for the Overlooked

When I was in high school, I was among the “nobodies” and “losers” of our class. I am conscious today of including other people because I still remember the feeling of being excluded. Many people have had experiences like mine, or even much worse. They know being excluded, picked last, body shamed, or racially profiled. […]

Don’t Test God

It was during final exams week in seminary when I fell asleep while driving. I had finished a Sunday at the church I served in Mississippi and was returning to New Orleans. When I awoke, I saw the lights of a passing car on a bridge while speeding at 80 miles an hour. I was […]

The Danger of Prosperity – Forgetfulness

A Chinese pastor once told Dr. Henry Blackaby, “I believe the Chinese church has fared better under persecution than has the American church under prosperity.” The Hebrew nation was on the verge of entering the promised land, and the danger of prosperity was real. Moses counseled the people about what could happen when they prospered. […]

Home Cooking – Home Schooling

I grew up in a relatively small town in the ’50s and ’60s. Without going into a lengthy explanation, I must say that the restaurant selections were sparse. Thankfully, my mother was a good cook and the family ate breakfast and the evening meal together. During breakfast, everyone read a different section of two newspapers […]

The Greatest Commandment

Each of the first three Gospels records encounters between Jesus and the religious authorities around the subject of the commandments. Here is Matthew’s account. Matthew 22.34-36 – When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which […]

The Fundamental Truth of Religion

Religious authorities attempted to embarrass Jesus with difficult questions. After failing with different tactics, one scribe asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered him and said, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Mark 12.28-29). Jesus followed this statement of faith with the two […]

The Practical Effects of the Ten Commandments

The last two of the Ten Commandments are the theme of today’s article. In addition to these two commandments, we will examine Paul’s words about how the Spirit enables us to live by God’s guidance. Truth Telling The Ninth Commandment: Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor (Deuteronomy 5.20). The primary historic meaning […]

Why Nations Fail

I have been reading the book, “Why Nations Fail,” for a couple of weeks. The authors, Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson have done extensive research on why some nations thrive and others fail. The book has introduced me to the phrase, “extraction economy.” In this kind of economy the powerful extract the resources of […]

Instructions on How to Live a Long Life

The first four of the Ten Commandments were given to maintain a love relationship with God. Jesus echoed the call for obedience to God’s commandments and said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14.15). Friends and loving partners know that actions and words go together to cement relationships. The lack of […]

Why Is The Sabbath So Special?

The Hebrew word for Sabbath means “to rest” or “to cease.” Rudy Ross points out in our YouTube video today that before the giving of the Sabbath command the world did not know that there were seven days in a week. One of the gifts of the Sabbath is a day off from labor, something […]

The Careful Use of God’s Name

The humility and graciousness of God are evident in every one of his deeds among humans. One example is his willingness to reveal his name to Moses. Exodus 3 describes the encounter between Moses and God at the burning bush. Some of the high moments of this meeting are below: — Exodus 3.3-6 – God […]

God’s Love and the Ten Commandments

Here is the scene. Over a million people are poised to take possession of the land of Canaan. Forty years previous to this time, God delivered them from slavery in Egypt. Moses emphasized the following about this event: — Deuteronomy 4.6 – As the people followed God’s guidance, their wisdom and discernment would be evident […]

Grace on Display

Grace is a completely undeserved favor bestowed from one person to another. God’s love and grace are the foundation of his relationship with humans. God desires the best for his children and does everything in his power to give us the best. The message of Moses to God’s people in Deuteronomy 5 describes how God […]

God Told You He’d Do It

If you have read the Book of Isaiah, you know that God threatened his people with exile to distant lands because of their sin. In 586 B.C. the exile to Babylon took place and the people didn’t return to the land until 538 B.C. In the 1300’s B.C. Moses gave Hebrew people instructions that were […]

Teach Your Children

Church attendance in America has dropped from 34% in 1970 to 17% in 2021. The United States is the largest Christian nation in the world, but it is also the third-largest non-Christian nation. God instructed the people to not forget what he had done for them. Forgetting has two immediate impacts. (1) To forget what […]

Don’t Miss This Opportunity

I heard a wise and humorous preacher once say, “A good sermon says the same thing three times. First, tell ’em what you’re going to say. Say it. Then, tell ’em what you’ve said.” Moses seemed to approach his audience as the wise preacher suggested. In chapter four he tells the congregation what he is […]

In Awe of God’s Greatness

I have a very informative interview with Rudy Ross on YouTube today (the Bob Spradling channel). Rudy talks about how Jewish Rabbis understand the first six chapters of Deuteronomy and the way they connect with Isaiah. During the interview, we didn’t discuss the Bible verses from Deuteronomy 4. Today’s blog article features some thoughts from […]

Winning Life’s Battles

There is a common pattern in the Bible that should interest us. Three things mark out a great experience with God. (1) God graciously grants a person an encounter with himself. (2) The person responds with awe and worship that is appropriate to such a meeting. (3) The person’s life is changed by the experience. […]

A Journey With God

If you’ve been in church for over five minutes, you have heard that God loves you. Did you know that God also likes you and wants to spend time with you? The Biblical story of human interaction with God begins with God walking with the first couple in the Garden of Eden. Jesus enjoyed the […]

The Consequences of Unbelief

Let’s begin today’s article with a reminder of where we are in the Book of Deuteronomy. (1) God had delivered the Hebrew people from bondage in Egypt. (2) The people of God refused to believe that he was able to take them into the promised land. God caused the people to wander in the wilderness […]

Your Faith (or lack of it) Is Showing

The Book of Hebrews defines faith like this, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11.1). James makes this observation about faith and writes, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save […]

Shared Leadership

The Pastor of Maywood Baptist Church, Jake Taylor, calls himself “Coach Jake.” He has a passionate desire to not be seen as a superstar minister or as the only shepherd of the congregation. He believes that his role is to coach other “players” on the team to discover their gift and serve God to their […]

A Message of Hope

Reading Time: 5 Minutes It is appropriate to end our study of Isaiah with God’s message of hope for his people. The book alternated between judgment and salvation, despair and hope. God’s last word for his people is one of hope. God’s Announcement of Salvation The salvation that God promises is one that is only […]

The Value of Humility

Reading Time: 5 Minutes God’s awesome nature and loving character is revealed in the first two verses of Isaiah 66. Thus says the Lord:Heaven is my throneand the earth is my footstool;what is the house that you would build for me,and what is my resting place? All these things my hand has made,and so all […]

The New Heaven and New Earth

Reading Time: 7 Minutes God’s message to his people has been consistent throughout the Book of Isaiah. Thus says the Lord:Maintain justice, and do what is right,for soon my salvation will come,and my deliverance be revealed. (Isaiah 56.1) The relationship with God and other humans is to be characterized by justice and right living. Imagine […]