From the Pastor's Desktop
“...know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.”
(Deuteronomy 4:39 ESV)
In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses is giving final instructions to the Israelites in regard to their entering the Promised Land west of the Jordan. God has told Moses that he will not be permitted to enter the land with them, but after seeing the land from Mt. Pisgah, he will die and be gathered to his people there. Therefore, Moses takes this opportunity to remind this nation of people where they have come from; to remind them of the rebellion and disobedience of their parents, the generation that was delivered from Egypt. He then reminds them of the Lord’s commandments, rules and statutes, and the importance of worshipping God alone.
All the nations around them worshipped gods of wood, stone and metal images, gods who could not hear, or see, or speak, or act in any way, but they were to worship the LORD and Him alone. It was the LORD who brought them up out of Egypt, who led them through the Red Sea on dry land, who fed them manna from heaven, and gave them water from a rock. He was the one who led them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It was Him who set them apart as His people, and who would give them this land that they were about to take possession of.
Because He alone is God, He gave them commandments, rules and statutes that they were to live by, and practice, and teach to their children after them. At various times along the way, when those commandments or rules were challenged, it was God who acted and judged the disobedient. He is also the God whose steadfast love and mercy forgave their rebellious hearts and who has provided for their every need while traveling through the wilderness.
It seems to us today that these people had a short memory when it came to remembering the great acts that the Lord performed for them all along the way, but are we really that different from them? We too need to be reminded of God’s faithfulness, His greatness, and His provision for us from day to day. We tend to get a bit “big for our britches” and think that we’ve accomplished significant things on our own, when the reality is that God has been there every step of the way, despite our grumbling and complaining, and our disobedience, and continues to grant us mercy and grace for each step of our journey.
We have a tendency to bump God off of the throne in our minds, and try to assume that place ourselves, or at the very least, reduce God to being someone who is there if and when we need Him, (like there could ever be a time when we don’t need Him). The psalmist in Psalm 84 gets it right when he expresses his worship of God. “How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.” (Psalm 84:1 ESV), and later in verses 11-12, “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!”
Do we really live, do we even worship as though we believe in God like this psalmist? Is God truly exalted in our minds that we would say, “What He says we will do, where He sends we will go, never fear, only trust and obey.” I encourage you today to grant Him the place of priority in your life; give Him the seat on the throne of your life, and then honor and revere Him as the “God in heaven above and on the earth beneath.”
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen