The Scriptorium

Choose Life

It's not rocket science. Deuteronomy 20.11-20

Next Stage in God’s Covenant: Deuteronomy 30, 31  (2)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 147.12, 13 19, 20
Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
For He has strengthened the bars of your gates;
He has blessed your children within you…
He declares His word to Jacob,
His statutes and His judgments to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any nation;
And as for His judgments, they have not known them.
Praise the LORD!

Psalm 147.12, 13, 19, 20

(St. Anne: Our God, Our Help in Ages Past)
O praise your God, Jerusalem, O Zion, praise the Lord!
He strengthens those who trust in Him with blessings from His Word.

His Word He to His Church bestows – His promises and Law.
No other nation God thus knows: praise Him with songs of awe!

Today’s Text: Deuteronomy 30.11-20

Preparation

1. What did Moses set before the people?

2. How would they be able to know life and blessing?

Mediation
These days we would say that the Word of God is not rocket science (vv. 11-14). God has given us His Word in plain language, accessible to all reasonable people. His will is not a mystery; He has not concealed from us what pleases Him or what is best for us. It’s all right here in black and white.

God has given us His Word that we may do it (v. 14). If we do, life and blessing will accompany us all our days (vv. 15, 16). If we neglect His Word, beginning with His Law, we set ourselves up to fail in our walk with the Lord, and to miss the blessings He intends for us (vv. 15-18).

The smart thing to do would be to choose life and blessing – to get grounded in and obey the Law of God and all His Word (vv. 19, 20). God’s Word marks out the path of life; but we must hear and obey His Word, and cling to the Lord. Thus, we will be able to dwell in His promises and realize all the benefits of His covenant (v. 20).

The Law and Word of God are given to us, but we must apply ourselves unto them. Reading, study, meditation, prayer, and obedience will enable us to internalize the Law of God. Paul said that it takes workmanlike discipline to master God’s Word (2 Tim. 2.15). This is a daily calling and responsibility. Carrying it out faithfully is the key to life and blessing and a greater realization of the salvation of God.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Moses really has a way with words. His lecture reminds me of Elijah taunting the priests of Baal: “Cry aloud, for he [Baal] is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened” (1 Kgs. 18.27). No one can accuse these guys of not having a sense of the ironic or humor. Moses says, “For this commandment… is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off” (Deut. 30.11). It is not in heaven, nor is it beyond the sea. We don’t have to ask who will ascend and bring it to us? Or who will go over and bring it to us, so that we can hear and do it? We can almost sense a bit of exasperation in his tone. He knows that what is being laid before the people is the most serious decision of their lives; and he is not sensing any urgency on their part. How many of us have experienced this with our own children, or with someone else who does not seem to be interested in obeying and loving God? And does God experience this with us? Ever? This is life and good. Death and evil. Yawn. Wake up! Don’t be complacent about this! It’s not rocket science. Choose life! That both you and your descendants may live. Love the LORD your God! Obey His voice! Cling to Him! HE IS YOUR LIFE!

Reflection
1. We have the whole Word of God, which explains to us how to live for blessing and freedom. How can you take best advantage of this great gift?

2. What is one thing you could do to improve your use of the Word of God?

3. Every day we have to choose life – choose to obey the Lord. What can keep us from taking this seriously?

Moses, therefore, declares that the Law is not hard to be understood, so as to demand inordinate fatigue in its study; but that God there speaks distinctly and explicitly, and that nothing is required of them but diligent application. John Calvin (1506-1564), Commentary on Deuteronomy 30.11

Set my heart to know and love You, Lord, so that I…

Closing Prayer: Psalm 147.1-11
Praise God for His abundant provision and for His Word. Seek His strength and blessing for each of the activities or tasks before you today.

Psalm 147.1-11
(St. Ann: Our God, Our Help in Ages Past)
Praise God, for it is good to sing loud praises to the Lord!
With joy our songs of praise we bring to God and to His Word.

The Lord builds up His Church and He His people gathers in.
The broken hearts He tenderly repairs and heals their sin.

The stars He counts, He knows the name of every chosen soul;
His pow’r is great, and great His fame Who understands us whole.

The humble God exalts above; the wicked He casts down.
Sing thanks to this great God of love; let songs of praise abound.

He brings refreshing rain to earth and feeds the beasts so dear.
He puts in man’s strength naught of worth, but loves those who God fear.

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