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 Learning From the Past Posted on 9-24-2004
WOTR News Article When was the last time you read through the book of Deuteronomy? Has it been awhile? Maybe you should consider reading it again because it's a really good book filled with many valuable lessons for us today. One reason we know it's important -- When Jesus was being tempted by the devil in the wilderness after his baptism, He quoted 3 Scriptures and they were all from Deuteronomy. It seems like this was one of His favorites, and can I suggest that it should be significant for us too?

Today, I decided to start reading Deuteronomy again and I'm glad I did. The 1st chapter begins with Moses refreshing the Israelites about some of their history. He reminded them in verse 8 how they had been told by God "See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your fathers--to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--to give to them and their descendants after them." But they didn't listen. Why? Did they have any reason to doubt God? Hadn't He already proven to them that He was Almighty when He victoriously brought them up from their slavery in Egypt? But are we really any different? Are we sometimes quick to forget the victories that Jesus has performed in our lives? Do we doubt God, even when He has already proven His faithfulness to us?

They had the pillar of fire by night and the cloud of God by day (verse 33) to remind them of God's love and provision, yet they still had problems trusting and believing God. What blessings do we have and enjoy everyday that remind us of how gracious and trustworthy our Father in Heaven truly is? Even the simple things are there to remind us: The sun came up today, there is food in my kitchen, my heart is still beating Idea

Then in verse 19, Moses said "So we departed from Horeb, and went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw on the way to the mountains of the Amorites, as the Lord our God had commanded us". They had passed through that dreadful wilderness, and yet they wanted to turn back instead of going on to the glorious land before them. It makes me think of us today. Right now, we're passing through a dark land. The Lord has liberated us from the slavery of the devil and is leading us to the promised land of heaven. But yet, sometimes we can be uncertain of where we're going and we begin to doubt. Satan tempts us to look back, and maybe we even think about turning. But yet Jesus, our loving Shepherd, continues to tenderly lead and gently nudges us back on track. He says "Fear not, neither be discouraged" (verse 21).

Even after the Israelites had sent out spies to scope out the land, they still hesitated to move onward. Moses said "Nevertheless you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God" (verse 26). Why do we hesitate to follow the path that leads to everlasting life? Do we think that this world is better than heaven will be? How can we choose sin over Jesus when God's Word reveals the precious love of the sacrificing Savior and the beauties of eternal life?

Moses says that their hesitation boiled down to unbelief (Deuteronomy 1:32). Paul also commented on this in the book of Hebrews "So we see then that they could not enter in because of unbelief." (Hebrews 3:19) He then connected this situation with us: "Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it." (Hebrews 4:1-2) I find this very interesting. It was a lack of faith that kept them from moving forward, and Paul tells us that being unfaithful will also cause us to come short of what God has for us. I think the faith that Paul speaks of is not just a belief in God, but it is a total dependence upon God, which results in a very close relationship with Him. When we choose to let go of Jesus and go our own way, we are losing hold of that real faith and slipping into sin. The solution is simple: let's stay close to Jesus each day through prayer and contemplation of His Word! He won't let go of us, so let's not let go of Him Exclamation May God give us the strength to be faithful and to trust His leading all the way to the gates of heaven.

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