Wednesday, April 26, 2023

           The book of Deuteronomy comes from two different Greek words.  “Deuteros” means second.  “Nomos” means law.  So, putting those words together, we have the second law of Moses.  One key word that we find in Deuteronomy is the word “remember.”  Israel was to remember God’s character, deeds and ways.  Memory is a powerful resource for us as we live for the Lord and serve Him.  We can remember His Word.  We can remember what He has done for us.  We can remember His grace and presence with us during difficult times. 
            Early in Deuteronomy, God tells the Israelites to get moving.  It was time for them to move forward to take the land that the Almighty had chosen for them.  They had stayed in one place for much too long and the consequences were not good.  The command came in this way, “The LORD our God said to us at Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them’” (1:6-8). 
            There are occasions in life where God tells us to get moving.  We have been in one place for too long.  We can grow spiritually stale and stagnant at times.  And that usually comes because we have sat down.  So, God rallies us up to get moving in a new direction.  God may have blessings and wisdom for us if we dare to get moving and step onto the pathway that He has for us.  Like Israel, we can get comfortable, too comfortable, in places that we have chosen.  It is easy to linger in the weeds of the familiar, common and everyday places of life.  We can become so comfortable that we lose sight of what God may have for us to do.  We might decide that worship is something we will confine to Sundays—maybe one or two a month.  We might think we have read all there is to read in the Bible.  We might leave prayer to those who are more eloquent of speech than we are.  The enemy would love to move us to the margins of life where we are of little threat to Him or Kingdom work.
            God often has to break into those places to remind us to get moving again—to serve Him, to walk with Him, to live by faith and to trust Him when the ways may not be one hundred percent clear or easy. Another reason we may find ourselves stale or stagnant is we are tired—physically, emotionally and spiritually.  We may be teetering on the edge of burnout.  We may feel like we are well past running on fumes.  We are not running on anything.  Burnout can be a dangerous place and a real place.  If we fail to see it and name it, we could fall captive to it.  Some extended time with God in Bible reading, prayer, journaling and occasions for silence and solitude are good ways to arrest burnout if it has taken hold or to protect yourself against it. 
            Deuteronomy’s opening message is a good check-up for us spiritually.  We are called to see where we stand and how we got to that place.  Complacency can rob us of vitality or could signal that we are running out of gas.  But usually, staying where we are for long periods of time is not healthy.  May we long for the Lord as David did in Psalm 63.  When this future king was roaming in the desert of Judah, he wrote, “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).  When we thirst for the Lord, we will not remain where we are.  When we drink from what He offers us, we find our thirst is quenched. If you are thirsty today, it might be time to drink from the Lord more than just hanging around where you are.  Have a great Wednesday!

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