The Scriptorium

Choose Blessing

Because the alternative is not pleasant. Deuteronomy 10, 11

Blessing and Curse: Deuteronomy 10, 11 (7)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 51.10-13
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

Psalm 51.10-13
(Passion Chorale: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded)
Create in me a clean heart, renew me from within!
Take not Your Spirit from me because of all my sin.
Salvation’s joy restore, Lord, and keep me in Your hand;
thus shall I tell Your strong Word to sinners in the land.

Review Deuteronomy 10, 11; meditate on Deuteronomy 10.12, 13, 20, 21

Preparation
1. How would you summarize Moses’ message to God’s people in these two chapters?

2. What did God expect of His people? Why?

Meditation
The life of faith is not complicated. We don’t need to be theologians or monks or missionaries to realize the fullness of life God intends for us. It’s really quite simple: God has graciously redeemed us; He has told us how to know fullness of life with Him; He calls us to obey Him in all things, and to resist the allure of false deities; and He holds before us exceedingly great and precious promises that will be ours as we walk obediently in His Word.

Believe in God and obey Him: That’s the sum. If you choose to obey, you will be blessed. If you choose not to obey, you’ll miss the promised blessing, and you’ll have to deal with the consequences, which can be unpleasant (Heb. 12.3-11).

We can learn from the history of God’s people that failing to trust the Lord and to obey Him can lead to disaster. This was true for the generation assembled on the plain of Moab, and it’s just as true for us.

Obedience to God begins in the heart. We must seek the Lord daily to cleanse and renew our heart, so that we fear, love, and delight in Him as we should (cf. Pss. 51.10-13; 139.23, 24). Unless we take God’s Word to heart, fix our minds on it, perform it in all our works and ways, and teach it diligently to one another at every opportunity, we may be easily turned from obedience and blessing to neglect and disobedience and curse.

These chapters also emphasize the importance of fearing the Lord, an affection not much commended in our day. God is great and powerful; no one can stand against Him when He moves to judge them. We should fear Him not just because He is so great, but because before Him we deserve only wrath. It’s only because Jesus has borne

 God’s judgment on our behalf that we are free from condemnation; but we must continue to fear the Lord, as even Jesus taught (Matt. 10.28), and to love and obey Him in all things.

The people were about to enter the land of promise, and to realize blessings beyond their wildest imaginations. They must not forget these words which Moses spoke to them. And we who have come to know all the promises of God in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 1.20) must be equally diligent to walk the path He did and keep the commandments of our God (1 Jn. 2.1-6).

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Restaurants require shirts and shoes to enter. Theaters and other venues require tickets to gain admission. God had requirements for the Israelites to enter the Promised Land: Fear the LORD your God, walk in all His ways, love Him, serve Him with all your heart and soul, and keep His commandments and statutes (Deut. 10.12, 13). The prophet Micah asked, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic. 6.8) Now we have been grafted into these requirements by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He says to us, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it… Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt. 7.13, 14, 21). Although Jesus has perfectly fulfilled all the requirements set forth in the Law of God, we, in appreciation and love for this triumphant gift, and our longing to enter the Kingdom of God, must also, through the power of the Holy Spirit, strive to keep these same requirements. Because in putting on the shirt and shoes of obedience, we are allowed to walk through the door of the Kingdom.

Reflection
1. How is obedience to God’s Law like the “shirt and shoes” requirement of eating at a restaurant?

2. How does Jesus both fulfill the Law for us and require it of us (cf. Matt. 5.17-19)?

3. Why must we have our heart, as well as our mind, fully engaged with the Lord if we hope to obey His Law?

The whole address has this scope, that the people should testify their gratitude by their obedience, and thus being allured by God's bounties, should reverently embrace His Law. On this account also, he requires them to love God, before he exhorts them to obey the Law itself. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Deuteronomy 11.1

Help me to show my love for You today, O Lord, by loving my neighbors as I…

Closing Prayer: Psalm 51.1-9
Use this time in prayer to let the Lord search your soul and all your life. Confess any sins and repent of them before the Lord. Commit to following the Lord according to His wisdom and righteousness for the day ahead and always.

Psalm 51.1-9
(Passion Chorale: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded)
Be gracious to me, Savior, according to Your love!
According to Your mercy, my sins, my sins remove!
O wash me, precious Savior, and cleanse me from all sin;
look on me with Your favor, and cause my grief to end.

Against You only, Savior, have I become unclean;
thus just the condemnation which You pronounce on me.
Lord, I was born to sinning, while You seek truth within;
to wisdom my heart winning, release me from my sin!

In Jesus’ blood and mercy, Lord, cleanse my evil heart!
Let me washed, cleansed, renewed be and pure in whole and part.
Bring joy again and gladness; look not upon my sin.
Deliver me from sadness; renew me yet again!

T. M. and Susie Moore

Listen to our summary of last week’s study in Deuteronomy by clicking on today's column at the website. You can download all the studies in the series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: Ancient Christian Commentary Series III, Joseph T. Lienhard, S. J. ed. in collaboration with Ronnie J. Rombs, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001). All quotations from John Calvin from John Calvin, Commentaries on The Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Order of A Harmony, Rev. Charles William Bingham M. A., tr. and ed. (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1863. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore