The Scriptorium

Caveat Lector

We need to get this straight. Deuteronomy 28.47-68

This Way to Blessing: Deuteronomy 28 (6)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 80.1-3
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
You who lead Joseph like a flock;
You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth!
Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh,
Stir up Your strength,
And come and save us!
Restore us, O God;
Cause Your face to shine,
And we shall be saved!

Psalm 80.1-3, 7, 19

(St. Theodulph: All Glory, Laud, and Honor)
O God of grace, restore us, and shine on us Your face!
O save us, Lord, work for us; renew us by Your grace!
Give ear, O gracious Savior, Who leads us as Your flock:
Stir up Your pow’r and favor, our King and Lord and Rock!

Today’s Text: Deuteronomy 28.47-68

Preparation
1. Why would all this horror come upon the people of Israel?

2. How could they avoid this?

Meditation
Just when we thought the curses for disobedience couldn’t get worse, they do. Wholesale deprivation. Captivity. National ruin. Cannibalism. This is the sort of degradation, corruption, trouble, and destruction that comes upon people who decide they know better than God how to manage their lives (vv. 48-57).

Those who have known the grace and blessings of God should serve Him with a glad and joyful heart (v. 47). He is the source of all blessings (Jms 1.17). Turn from Him to your own ways, and you get what you’ve chosen.

Decide right now, and every day, to “carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, THE LORD YOUR GOD” (v. 58). For if we choose to reject His grace and guidance, and have no gratitude toward Him in our heart, then we are choosing to go back into an Egyptian captivity of our own – captivity to sin and the service of the devil (vv. 58-63). If we choose to reject the promises of God, He will uproot us from them (v. 63). He will scatter us among all the other unbelieving peoples of the world, so that we are indistinguishable from them (v. 64). There we will find no rest, but only trouble, uncertainty, and deepening captivity to sin (vv. 65-68).

This is a solemn warning for anyone who has known the grace of God and tasted of His goodness and blessings, yet who turns from His Law – and all His Word – to live apart from Him. Caveat lector.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Years ago, one of our granddaughters cut her bangs really short, and then went to her Mom and proudly said, “See that? That’s bad!” We all still get a sweet giggle remembering that. In many ways, we do the same thing with God. But instead of claiming our mistakes, like Taylor did, we find really bad things that other people do and then remind God how bad they are: “See them? They’re bad!” Do we ever stop to think that not fearing our glorious and awesome God is just as ghastly (v. 58)? Or how about not serving the Lord our God with joy and gladness of heart because He has blessed us with the abundance of everything (v. 47)? Paul reminds us of this sin in his litany of ungodliness and unrighteousness that “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom. 1.21). When we repent, when we claim our sins as our own, when we say to God, “See this? That’s bad!”, He hears and forgives. “Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD…If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared…for with the LORD there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption” (Ps. 130.1, 3, 4, 7).

Reflection

1. Why do we have to decide every day, and in every situation, that we are going to follow God?

2. How can you know if you are becoming captive to sin? What should you do then?

3. Why are confession (“See that? That’s bad!”) and repentance so important to the life of faith?

God declares that, unless the Israelites thoroughly devote themselves to the keeping of the Law, vengeance is prepared for their neglect. It is indeed a harsh and severe threat whereby transgression in any respect is without remission; for perfect obedience is required by the words, "to do all the words that are written in the Law.".
John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Deuteronomy 28.58

Thank You, Jesus, that You walked the path of perfect obedience to God’s Law; help me to walk that path as well so that…

Closing Prayer: Psalm 80.14-19
Pray for revival – in yourself, your church, and all the Church around the world. Confess your sins, and vow to follow the Lord according to His Word. Seek Him for revival daily.

Psalm 80.4-19

(St. Theodulph: All Glory, Laud, and Honor)
How long will You ignore all Your people’s fervent prayer?
Shall bitter tears fall ever?  O Lord, renew Your care!

Our neighbors mock and scorn us, they laugh at our distress;
Renew, O Lord, and turn us, look down on us and bless!

You set us free from sin, Lord, and planted us in grace;
We rooted in Your strong Word have spread from place to place.

Our shadow covered mountains, our branches reached the sea;
Your grace flowed like a fountain of life, abundantly.

Now You in wrath have spoken and bruised Your chosen vine.
We languish, Lord, are broken by wrath, deserved, divine.
Once more, Lord, hear our pleading: return and heal this vine!
Look down on us, so needy, and show Your love divine!

Though we be burned and perish because of Your command,
revive us, Lord, and cherish this son of Your right hand.

Then let us not return to our sinful, selfish ways,

But call on You and learn to surround You with our praise.

T. M. and Susie Moore

Listen to our summary of last week’s study in Deuteronomy by clicking here. You can download all the studies in the series by clicking here. And check out our current ReVision series on encouragement.

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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