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Deuteronomy 1 - 17

Deuteronomy 1:1-3:29
This is the continuing story of God's mighty working on behalf of His chosen people. He is leading them on to the land He had promised to them. Entering this land will not be easy. There will be plenty of opposition. The enemy will be defeated. The Lord will triumph over all who stand against Him.

Deuteronomy 4:1-6:25
There is a real challenge here - Continue in the way of the Lord. Don't turn back from following Him. This is important - not only for ourselves but for generations to come. The Word of the Lord must never be dismissed as something which is to be left in the past. Love for the Lord is not to be set aside as a thing of the past. We are to preserve the Word of the Lord for the next generation. The call to love God must be passed on those who come after us.

Deuteronomy 6:1-9
We don't begin with the call to love God. We begin with His plan to bless us - "the land" (Deuteronomy 6:1,3): "There is a happy land, far, far away, where saints in glory stand, bright, bright as day."
* "far, far away" - "Your Kingdom come": What a great future!
* "saints" - That's what we are: by the grace of God.
* "stand" - Yes! We'll be standing. We have fallen, but we shall stand!
* "bright" - Darkness will be a thing of the past. In God's light, there will be no darkness.
Thinking about God's future changes our present. We see how much He loves us, and we want to love Him more, and more ...

Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20
The contrast between God's people and those who worship false gods is so strong. It would be easy for God's people to feel superior. God's Word gives us no encouragement to have a superiority complex (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). How are God's people to remain true to Him when there are so many pressures to conform to the world? - We must remember that we need the Word of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3). Without His Word, we will be easy victims for Satan. The Lord warns His people - We must remember to obey Him, or we will, by our disobedience, bring ourselves under His judgment (Deuteronomy 8:19-20). 

Deuteronomy 9:1-10:22
The Lord's people were on a 'journey' (Deuteronomy 10:11). They were journeying with Him. He was leading them in the way of His blessing. In our journey through life, how are we to experience an ever-increasing measure of God's blessing? - "Fear the Lord your God, follow all His directions, love Him, and worship Him (Deuteronomy 10:12). This is the way of blessing. It is "for your own good" (Deuteronomy 10:13).

Deuteronomy 11:1-13:18
God had blessed His people greatly. They were to live in obedience to Him. This is the way of further blessing (chapter 11). At the heart of our obedience to God, there is worship, true worship, worship which glorifies the Lord (chapter 12). At the heart of worship, there is to be the Word of God. Without the Word of God, we will be easily led astray (Deuteronomy 13:1-2). The central message to us here is summed up in Deuteronomy 13:4 - "Worship the Lord your God, fear Him, obey His commands, listen to what He says, serve Him and be loyal to Him."

Deuteronomy 14:1-15:23
"The Lord has chosen you to be His own special possession" (Deuteronomy 14:2). This is a great blessing - We have been saved by grace (Ephesians 2:5,8). "You are people who are holy to the Lord your God" (Deuteronomy 14:21). Those who have been saved by the Lord are to live for Him(Ephesians 2:10). "Be generous to the poor and needy" (Deuteronomy 15:11) - Living for the Lord involves showing kindness to others. We have been loved by the Lord. We are to love others.

Deuteronomy 16:1-17:20
"Honour the Lord your God" (Deuteronomy 16:1) - We are to worship the Lord. Our worship is to be filled with thanksgiving, praising the Lord for His redemption - "The Lord your God brought you out of Egypt." Moving from the land of bondage, we move, by faith, into the land of salvation: "You will enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you. You will take possession of it and live there" (Deuteronomy 17:14). As the Lord leads us on, our praise to Him increases. Let praise increase as grace increases.

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Lord, help us to love You – and help us to love one another. How can we say that we love You if we are not learning to love one another? How can we learn to love one another if we are not opening our hearts to the greatest love of all – Your love for us. Fill us with Your love. Change us by Your love. May our whole life shine with the glory of Your love.

God continues to carry forward His great purpose of salvation.

Genesis 16:1-16
We move from salvation and the assurance of salvation to Satan and the activity of Satan. Sarai came with temptation - "Why don't you sleep with my slave? Maybe I can build a family through her." Abram gave in to temptation -"Abram agreed with Sarai (Genesis 16:2). The evil influence of Sarai continued: "Sarai mistreated Hagar so much that she ran away" (Genesis 16:6). When we read of Satan and his activity, we must not imagine, for a moment, that Satan wins the victory over the Lord and His purpose of salvation. This becomes clear as the story develops. The Lord's purpose will not be thwarted by the activity of Satan. The "Almighty Lord" will be victorious. This chapter ends with the birth of Ishmael. It is not a high- point in the purpose of God. It is a sign that Satan is trying to overthrow God and His gracious purpose. This leads to a 13-year gap in God's speaking to Abraham (Genesis 16:16-17:1), but that…

Isaac and Jesus

Genesis 22:1-24
Abraham was prepared to sacrifice Isaac - "You did not refuse to give Me your son, your only son" (Genesis 22:12). God did give His only Son for us - "God did not spare His only Son but handed Him over to death for us all" (Romans 8:32). While there may be comparisons made between the sacrifice of Isaac and the sacrifice of Jesus, we must emphasize the great difference - the sacrifice of Isaac did not happen, the sacrifice of Jesus did. For Isaac, there was a way out. For Jesus, there was no other way. Abraham's faith was proved genuine without the sacrifice of Isaac. Our faith only becomes a reality through the sacrifice of Christ (Galatians 2:20-21; Galatians 3:13-14).