Thursday, April 27, 2023

          In Deuteronomy 1, we read about a rebellion against God.  Amazing, isn’t it?  Amazing that people who were liberated from bondage, set free from slavery and guided safely across the Red Sea would rise up in rebellion against the very God who did all these things for them freely, graciously and faithfully!  We read a bit of detail in Deuteronomy 1:41-42, “Then you replied, ‘We have sinned against the Lord. We will go up and fight, as the Lord our God commanded us.’ So, every one of you put on his weapons, thinking it easy to go up into the hill country.  But the Lord said to me, ‘Tell them, Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.’”  We can easily be like these Israelites.  We can take matters into our own hands and presume that we know better than God.  We think that we can find a way forward that is at odds with what He has called us to be and to do.  We always fail when we take matters into our own hands and act in ways that conflict with what God has said we are to do.
            In Deuteronomy 1:43-45, we read the outcome of Israel’s disobedience against God, “So I told you, but you would not listen. You rebelled against the Lord’s command and in your arrogance, you marched up into the hill country. The Amorites who lived in those hills came out against you; they chased you like a swarm of bees and beat you down from Seir all the way to Hormah.  You came back and wept before the Lord, but he paid no attention to your weeping and turned a deaf ear to you.”  God weighed in and judged the people.  He judged their actions and their motivations.  Their actions were rebellious and vain.  Their motivations came from arrogance and the pursuit of self-glory.  Even when they realized they had failed, God said their weeping and slow-crawl back to Him were insincere and impious.  It was more of a show than a true humble repentance and return to the Lord’s side.    
            In life we can choose our ways or God’s ways but we cannot have both.  We can serve Him or serve something far lesser but we cannot serve two masters.  We can pursue the Lord’s glory or we can chase after our own glory but not both.  As we read the early pages of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, we see the people of Israel living stubbornly and defiantly.  They needlessly pursued their ways and wishes in opposition to the Lord’s will for them.  There was no reason for them to wander that long in the desert except for their own pride and disobedience.  They did it to themselves.  To paraphrase an old saying, “They had met the enemy and the enemy was them.”  Their own arrogance and pride were their worst enemies and they repeatedly stumbled over these things time after time.  Remember Lot ended up in Sodom because it looked good and right to him.  At the end of Judges, the people did what was right in their own eyes.  Pride can be a brutal and devastating sin.  We see through sin-stained eyes at best. 
            Today, consider whether you have invoked your wisdom above God’s.  Have you chosen your ways above His.  Have you acted in haste or delay when God has called you to do the opposite?  Is there an ongoing rebellion in your life against God’s plans and purposes?  We occasionally have to ask very hard questions as we examine where we are and where God would have us to be.  If you find the seeds of rebellion in your life, give them to the Lord.  Put down that rebellion before it metastasizes and threatens to go and grow further.  Surrender daily to Him and live in serenity of His will and ways.  Have a great Thursday!  Remember you can share our worship with others at

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