Category Archives: Deuteronomy

Trust is serious business

Deuteronomy 1:32-33

In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord, your God, who went ahead of you on your journey in the fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and show you the way you should go. NIV

Again and again, throughout the Bible, we are reminded not to worry.

Repeatedly, we are called to trust God.

And yet, we don’t.

This verse reminds me that to trust in God is both a command and a privilege.  God expects it, and, it hurts him when we don’t do it.

Here, he tells the people to look at all He has done for them.  He has gone ahead of them on every step of their journey out of Egypt and through the dessert.  He has made himself known to them in palpable ways … in a pillar of cloud by day, of fire by night.  He has provided for their every need, spreading manna each morning for them to gather.

And, I love the example of manna.  If I’m recalling correctly, manna couldn’t be kept overnight … if so, it went bad.  The Israelites had to gather new manna each day, except on the Sabbath … they were permitted to gather two days worth prior to the Sabbath and it would not go bad on the Lord’s day.

Each day, I must trust God with everything that day holds.

Just like the Israelites needed the daily ritual of gathering their miracle food to remind them of the source of their strength and their salvation, I must spend time with God each day to nurture my relationship with Him … to cement my dependence on Him … to grow in my trust of Him.

God is my provider.  He knows that.  I know that.

God calls me to trust Him … not to worry, but to trust.

Trust is serious business.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


Filed under Deuteronomy, Old Testament, Trust, Worry

The top dog has no worries

Deuteronomy 28: 13 -14

The Lord will make you the head, not the tail.  If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.  Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them. NIV

I’m back in Deuteronomy 28.

The Message translates these verses, “God will make you the head, not the tail; you’ll always be the top dog, never the bottom dog, as you obediently listen to and diligently keep the commandments of God, your God, that I am commanding you today.  Don’t swerve an inch to the right of left from words that I command you today by going off following and worshipping other gods.” MSG.

There’s a lot here to ponder.

Obedience … bottom dog … the narrow path.

I’m not a dog person.  For the most part, they frighten me.  When I was very small, we moved into a house next to a family that had a German Shepherd.  Lucky was his name, and he was much taller than I was.  Lucky was loud.  He would stand at the chain link fence between our houses and bark, and bark and bark.  When I was outside, he would run up and down the fence and bark, and bark and bark, and I remember how big his teeth seemed, and how mad he seemed.

Now that I’m older and have played with a few dogs, I can see that it is likely that Lucky just wanted attention.  I’m betting he was pretty frustrated by the little kid who wouldn’t come over and talk to him or try to pet or play with him along the fence.

I was the bottom dog.  The bottom dog always submits to the top dog’s wishes.  In my case, I interpreted Lucky’s wish as being that I would stay as far away as possible … I was more than happy to do that.

There’s a Looney Toons cartoon that I’ve always loved.  It features two dogs …  a big bull dog, whose name, I think, is Chester, and a much smaller dog, who spends most of the cartoon trying to please Chester.  Chester is the top dog … he gets to call the shots … the top dog has no worries.

This verse is very interesting to me when I bump it up against Matthew 20:16, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”  NIV

In Christ, we are called to be servants.  We must put the needs of others first, and our own second.  This seems counterintuitive to Deuteronomy 28, but, as I think about it, it makes perfect sense.

If we follow the commands of the Lord our God, if we love our neighbors as ourselves, if we follow Christ’s teachings and his example, we will not veer from the narrow path referenced at the end of these two verses.

We will be the victors, we will be the head and not the tail, we will spend eternity in the kingdom of heaven.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


Filed under Deuteronomy, Old Testament

There will be plenty of money

Deuteronomy 28: 12b

You will lend to many nations, but borrow from none. NIV

This is the second half of the verse I looked at yesterday.  I think it is its own reminder.

There will be plenty of money.

In my experience, money, or the lack of it, is often a source of worry.

This verse says that it needn’t be.  In exchange for our obedience, God will provide.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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There’s a whole storehouse of blessings!

Deuteronomy 28:12a

The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. NIV


How often do we think about rain as being a blessing? Since I don’t live in an agrarian society, my answer is, “not often.”

I am more prone to think of it as an annoyance or inconvenience, “Where is my umbrella?” or “If it would just rain, I wouldn’t have to water the azaleas.”

Either way, I take it for granted. It will rain. Rain is an inescapable fact of life.

But, it’s not.

I know this intellectually. I have a good friend who works in this field, and he and his colleagues are painfully aware of the tenuous existence of this, “fact of life.”

This verse says rain is a blessing from God’s storehouse. He will provide it.

At first, I thought of God having a storehouse of rain, which He well could, but, then I thought about a storehouse of a whole variety of blessings. I love that.

He will open the storehouse of his blessings … they’re all there … stored up for us … waiting for the time when He will bestow them.

I want to be worthy of those blessings.  I want to be an obedient servant.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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You will be blessed with abundant prosperity

Deuteronomy 28: 11

The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity — in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground — in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you.  NIV

I skipped verse 10.

I’m working my way through Deuteronomy 28 and looking at all of its reminders not to worry.  Verse 10 essentially says that all the people on earth will fear the people of God.  I don’t want to be a source of fear or worry for others … in fact, it would be a worry to me to worry others … I don’t want to be feared.  So, for me, verse 10 really is not a reminder not to worry.  But, verse 11 is.

The Lord will grant abundant prosperity … defines “abundant,” as “present in great quantity, more than adequate, over-sufficient, well or richly supplied, abounding.”  That’s a lot.

Prosperity is defined, “a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition, esp. in financial respects; good fortune.”

In my experience, “abundant prosperity” is all about your perspective.  For some people, there is never enough … they always are looking for the next new thing … more, more, more … and our society plays on that.

But, if we are truly honest with ourselves, abundant prosperity is anything we have that meets, or even perhaps a bit exceeds, our need.

I love Costco.  I love the whole concept of it.  Every time I go, I’m delighted to see what new  pallet of fun stuff will have been delivered there … things I could never have possibly thought that I might need are there in abundance … batteries by the case, lightbulbs by the case … everything by the case, actually.

For years, I lived in small apartments.  When I lived in New York city, I had so little space that three of my dresser drawers were inaccessible.  I stuffed them with off-season clothes, and closed them up … the bed completely blocked them.  Each season, I would move the bed, rotate the clothes and then put the bed back.

Now that I have a bit more space, I don’t have to do that anymore.  Now, I have enough closet space, and even a pantry.  So, I can go to Costco, and buy a 24-pack of paper towels and a similar-sized bunch of toilet paper and pop them in my pantry so that we never run out.

Abundant prosperity.

How much do we define “abundant” by the space we individually have to fill?  In New York, if I had an extra roll of toilet paper … that was abundant.  In fact, you could buy single rolls at the corner store and I did that sometimes, so I wouldn’t have to store five rolls I wasn’t using.

I just counted.  There are 24 rolls of toilet paper in my pantry … 24!  That’s abundance.

God promises the blessing of abundant prosperity … more than we need.

Today, I’m going to adjust my perspective.  I’m going to rejoice in the over-abundance of blessings in my life, and I will be thankful for all that God has given me.

That’s a lot to think about today.

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You don’t have to figure it out on your own

Deuteronomy 28: 9

The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. NIV

There are 14 verses in this passage of the Bible.   I’ve found seven reminders not to worry here … almost one for every verse in the chapter so far.  This is the eighth.

We aren’t here on our own … God is with us, we are his people.

And, we don’t have to figure everything out by ourselves … God has a plan, and he has shared with us our role in it.

We are to follow His commands, seek to do His will, and trust in Him for our safety and our security.

The Message translates this verse, “God will form you as a people holy to him, just as he promised you, if you keep the commandments of God, your God, and live the way he has shown you.” MSG

Walk in his way … live the way he has shown you.  I want to do that.  I want the blessings that come from that.  I don’t want the worries of trying to figure this out on my own.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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A blessing on everything you put your hand to

Deuteronomy 28: 8

The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to.   The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. NIV

At this point, the Israelites have wandered the dessert for 40 years.  They’ve been true nomads.  40 years!  I can’t imagine.  And, before that, they were living in Egypt, where life was beyond hard.

Now, God is promising them blessing upon blessing as he gives them the promised land — if they are obedient, their worries will be over.

This verse gives such hope to me in 2010 … I am thinking of how much more it must have meant to a people that had endured so much.

His blessing on everything I put my hand to …

This ties right back to John 15:5 — He is the vine, I am the branch.  If I abide in Him, I will bear much fruit.

Years ago, before we bought our house, an invasive vine took root in our front yard.  There are at least 10 places where the thing has roots.  I have dug and dug and dug … a few times, I think I’ve gotten all of one of the root balls, but, within a few months, a pleasant green little vine will pop its head up again in that same spot.

I’ve hacked them, I’ve sprayed them with weed killer, I’ve consulted other friends who garden … all to no avail.

I’ve finally given up.  The vines were here before we were, they will be here long after we are gone, and the best that I can hope to do is to coexist with them.

But, I do keep them cut back.  If I don’t, within about three weeks time during growing season, they are so vigorous that they will overtake whatever is near them.

I never thought of those vines as being a metaphor for the family of God until this morning.  Those vines are blessed … wherever they grow, (whatever they put their hand to) they are the victors.  I can cut off the branches, but, I cannot kill the vine.

I’ve gained a whole new perspective.  The next time I’m out cutting them, I’ll be thanking God for His blessings and His assurances and His abiding, everlasting love.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


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Your enemies will be unsuccessful against you

Deuteronomy 28: 7

The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you.  They will come at you from one direction, but flee from you in seven.  NIV

I am completely taken with this chapter of Deuteronomy.  I was somewhere recently with someone, I cannot remember who, but, I wasn’t near a hard-copy Bible.  I’ve downloaded a copy of the Bible onto my PDA, but, it is the King James version.  As we discussed Deuteronomy 28, I looked it up and read just the opening verses.  When I did, I saw something new in verse 2, “And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.” KJV

Blessings will overtake me … I love that!

I’m reading Henry Blackabee’s “Experiencing God.”  I’m only in the first week.  Each week, he assigns a memory verse.  This week, (which I confess is stretching into two calendar weeks for me) the verse is John 15:5.  The last part of that verse says, “apart from me you can do nothing.”  Blackabee makes an interesting point.  He says, “I think God is crying out to us, ‘Don’t just do something.  Stand there!  Enter a love relationship with Me.  Get to know Me.  Adjust your life to Me.  Let Me love you and reveal Myself through you to a watching world.'”

Stand there and receive My love … blessings will overtake you … apart from Me you can do nothing.

And my enemies … I’m not supposed to worry about them.  Verse 7 says that they will be defeated before me … while they might mount an organized attack, I read this verse to promise that they will be unsuccessful, and flee in confusion.

That’s a lot to think about today!

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No matter where you go, you will be blessed

Deuteronomy 28:6

You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. NIV

It hit me this morning.  On this entire planet, there are only two places that I can be … in my house, or outside my house.

This verse says that if I am obedient to God, I will be blessed no matter where I go.  That’s certainly a reminder not to worry.

I absolutely feel blessed inside my house.  It is filled with reminders of people that I love, each of whom is a blessing to me.

And, when I go out, I will be blessed, too …

My parents attend a very large church.  It has a completely massive parking lot.  They began attending there when I was away at school.  On my first trip home, my sister rode with me to the church in my car so that I would not get lost.  When I got out of the car, I remember thinking, and then kidding with her, that I half expected to see a parking lot tram, like the ones they have at Disney World, that would come by to transport us to the building.

The various sections of the lot are named for blessings that the Bible promises.  I thought was a nice touch.  That first night, I parked in “Peace.”  I liked that.

But, the greatest blessing in that parking lot, came when I left it … when I went out.

There was a big sign.  I soon learned that there was one at every exit.  It said, “You are now entering the mission field.”  I had never seen it that way.

Each time I leave my house, I am entering the mission field.  There is no sign by my door, but perhaps there should be, to remind me.

The world is filled with people who are not aware of the blessings held in Deuteronomy 28 … they don’t have the privilege of receiving the blessings that obedience brings, because they don’t know about the offer …

I will be blessed when I go out … out into the mission field.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


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Your basket will be blessed …

Deuteronomy 28:5

Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. NIV

As I continue to work my way through the precious promises contained in Deuteronomy 28, I’ve come to verse 5.  This one, I’m certain, was incredibly meaningful at the time, but, I’m not quite sure what it means.  The Message translates this verse, “God’s blessing on your basket and bread bowl.” I get the kneading trough … but what was the purpose of the basket?  My NIV concordance was no help at all … the Hebrew word is translated simply “basket.”

I’m wishing I’d paid more attention in my World History class.

I’m pretty certain that this has to do at least partly with food, and that’s meaningful to me.  Perhaps, the basket was used to help gather food, in the same way that the kneading trough was clearly used to make it.

I love baskets.

A good friend of mine decided to sell those gosh awful expensive ones several years ago, and I found myself going to parties and falling in love with them.  I have several shapes and sizes around the house, and they hold everything from extra rolls of toilet paper in the guest bath, to the back up hard drive for my computer.

They are great for carrying things … I have one that I use to carry food in to other people’s houses.

Your basket will be blessed.

My baskets are blessed … I have no lack of things to put in them.  My bread bowl  is blessed … there’s always bread, and, if there’s not, 7-11 is not too far away.

I am living this blessing.  I’m not worrying.  I am obediently trusting God.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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