Category Archives: Deuteronomy

The blessings extend beyond you

Deuteronomy 28: 4

The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock — the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.  NIV

What a beautiful, beautiful promise.  Blessings for obedience.  If we will obey the Lord our God, not only will we be blessed, but, our kids, our crops, our and our livestock all will be blessed.

I’m betting that if I had kids, crops or livestock, I would find a way to worry about them … this verse says I wouldn’t have to.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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His blessings are everywhere

Deuteronomy 28:3

You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.  NIV

So, why do we worry again?

God’s blessings are abundant and all around us.

This verse is a promise to God’s people.  If we will obey His laws and carefully follow His commands, we will be blessed wherever we go.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Follow carefully

Deuteronomy 28: 1-2

If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.  All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God. NIV

Here, Moses is speaking.

In my NIV Bible, this chapter is titled, “Blessings for Obedience.”  That’s not a bad trade!

This entire speech, which goes on for 14 verses, is filled with reminders not to worry.  I heard it read aloud last night and it spoke to my heart.  I’ve decided to spend some time here for the next few days.

Verse one says that we must “fully obey” and “carefully follow.”

I think that’s interesting.  Matthew 7:14 says, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life.” And, Matthew 19:24 says, “Again I tell you it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” NIV

If you “fully obey … and carefully follow … blessings will come.”  That’s a reminder not to worry … follow the rules, care about others more than you care about yourself and your things,  and you will be blessed.

Each time I start a new sewing project, I am alway anxious to get to the point where I can actually begin to sew.  It seems there are a million steps that must be completed … the fabric must be chosen, and washed, and dried and ironed; the pattern must be determined; the cutting must be done.  But, once all of those steps are completed, it is finally, finally time to turn on the machine.

I love the smell of sewing machines.  My newest one is mostly plastic and has a computer, so, it doesn’t have the same smell.  But, my older one, and many others I’ve used over the years, is made of cast iron, with rubber belts and a small motor and a little electric light.  When I was a kid, I would take the thing apart and carefully oil all of its pieces to ensure that they would continue working properly.  It is likely that oil that gives a machine that distinct smell.  In any case, I love it.  It’s the smell of something good about to happen.

Before I can begin to sew, the machine has to be threaded.  As I wind the thread through all of the various parts, I delight in the simplicity of it.  If I thread it properly, the machine will work magic.  When it comes time to thread the needle, I don’t always find that part very easy.  It’s not that I can’t see they eye, but, sometimes, it is just challenging to get the thread to go through.  To some extent, I think that depends on what the thread is made of, but, I’m confident that human error is also a factor.

When I successfully thread the needle, I feel a sense of relief.  All of the barriers between me and beginning to sew have been removed, and I can actually start the project.

Threading the machine, and finally the needle, is a metaphor for life.  There are many steps we must take along the way.  If we follow the rules that God has set out for us, our paths will be straight, we will enter the kingdom of heaven, and untold blessings will be ours.

If you fully obey … blessings will come.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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It’s catching!

Deuteronomy 20:8

Then the officers shall add, “Is any man afraid or fainthearted?  Let him go home so that his brothers will not become disheartened too.” NIV

This is a great reminder not to worry … don’t do it because it is infectious!

As I read this verse this morning, the phrase, “misery loves company” came to mind.  When I Googled that phrase, I found that it means pretty much what I thought it did … people who are unhappy want to be around other unhappy people.

But, and this was news to me, apparently, if unhappy people encounter happy people, they will do things to bring them down.

While I had honestly never thought of it that way,  I can see that this is true for worriers.  If I’m worried about something, and someone that I know or love is not, I often have the erroneous perspective that they would share my worry if they just had all the “facts” that I have.  But my “facts” are often (read always) colored by my own perspective … which isn’t always a balanced one.

One of my dearest friends said something so powerful to me this week.  She said, “now, clean your lenses,” and go back and look at this again.  She was right.  I was looking at the issue through a perspective crowded with stress and worry.  Having worn eyeglasses for as long as I can remember, her precious advice provided a mental picture that will stick with me.

In this chapter of Deuteronomy, the people are being given instructions on what to do before going into battle.  If one of the warriors is worried or afraid, he should be sent home so that others won’t become disheartened, too.

This makes a lot of sense to me.

My attitude, good or bad, has an impact on those around me.  I need to think about how to apply this guidance to my own life and to situations that I’m facing.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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No-one can make you

Deuteronomy 1: 28-29

“Where can we go?  Our brothers have made us lose heart.  They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky.  We even saw the Anakites there.'”  Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them.  The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes,” NIV

So, this morning I went to the word “lose” in my NIV concordance and began searching for the phrase “lose heart” in the NIV.  Here I am back in Deuteronomy with Moses and the people.  Again, the story is being told of their fateful decision not to enter the promised land.

The most interesting phrase to me in these two verses is, “our brothers made us lose heart.”  The Message says, “our brothers took all the wind out of our sails.”

Now, I’ve certainly felt like that.  I’ve had more than a few parades rained on by folks who did not share my enthusiasm, but, can someone else actually MAKE us lose heart or worry?  I don’t think so.  I think that worry is a decision that we make when we are faced with evidence, any evidence, or maybe, as I think of it, perhaps no evidence at all … Worry is what happens when, among other things, we convince ourselves that the goal is beyond our grasp.  Other people can contribute to our predisposition to worry.  I worked for a woman once who delighted in saying and doing things that would cause me to react with worry … it was a game to her, and I was not mature enough to see it.

Look at what happened when the Israelites allowed someone else’s thoughts, perceptions and opinions to affect their courage and their actions.  They had to spend 40 years wandering in the desert, and, only those who had remained faithful (just one, I think or maybe two) were permitted to enter the promised land.

I don’t want to be someone who allows someone else to “make” me worry.  I want to think and act out of the assurance that the one true God, who goes before me, and beside me, and under me and over me and behind me will fight for me.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


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Deuteronomy 31:8

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you;  he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  NIV

This verse is part of what Moses told Joshua as the two of them were preparing for Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land.

Since Moses knew that he would not be accompanying the people into Canaan, he must have taken extra care to ensure that Joshua remained focused on the assurance of God’s divine power and provision for His chosen people.

I love that the promises given to Abraham’s own are extended to me through the miracle of Christ Jesus.  I am completely comforted to know that the Lord goes before me and that He will be with me, and that I don’t have be afraid or discouraged, because God will never leave me or forsake me.

The Message translates the last bit of this verse, “Don’t be intimidated.  Don’t worry.”

When I think back to the purposes of this project, which are not only to attempt to find the 365 reminders not to worry that may be included in the Bible, but also to strengthen my walk with God and to seek His peace for my life, I know that one of the key benefits of the project is that I am learning more scripture.  This is a verse that I want to commit to memory.

I want to keep this beautiful promise uppermost in my mind as I face the things that are to come.

I will focus on that today.

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Deuteronomy 20:2-4

When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army.  He shall say: “Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies.  Do not be faint-hearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them.  For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. NIV

This passage immediately follows the one I looked at yesterday.

I love that the instructions here are so clear and precise:  the priest is to come forward and address the army when Israel is about to go into battle, and to remind them that God is the one who goes with them.

Sometimes, when I’m worried about an impending battle or problem, I remember that it is all in God’s hands.  At those times, I am gifted with the “peace that passes understanding.”

Other times when I am worried, I forget that the power of God is on my side.  I place my trust in myself or my circumstances.  It is at those times that I continue to worry and fear and become fainthearted, as the verse says.

What I love about this is — God knows his children.  He knows that we will have a tendency to trust things that we can see and touch, things that seem permanent and trustworthy.  So, He plans ahead.  At the most important times, the people will be verbally reminded that the Lord their God goes with them, and that it is His divine power that will prevail.

I don’t have a priest to provide that reminder as I go out to do battle in my day.  But, I have this verse and dozens of other reminders not to worry.  Today, I will rest in the peace that God has for me and turn my worries over to Him.

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Deuteronomy 20:1

When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you.  NIV

I realized this morning that I really don’t know that much about Deuteronomy, and yet, it contains several of the “fear not” reminders that I’ve found so far.  My NIV Bible has an introduction to each chapter of the Bible, so I went there and discovered that “the word ‘deuteronomy’ means repetition of the law. After forty years the Israelites were about to enter Canaan.  But before they did, Moses wanted to remind them of their history, all that God had done for them, and the laws they had to continue to obey as God’s chosen people.”  The introduction also says that it Moses wrote the book shortly before his death.

I think that is beautiful.  Moses would not be going with the people into the promised land, but he took the time to write down the things that he had experienced with them and to give them reminders of what to do and how much God loved them.

I love this verse.  It speaks directly to one of my favorite stories — David and Goliath.  David had taken this reminder to heart.

And, it speaks to me.  When I face obstacles that seem impossible to overcome, I don’t have to be worried or afraid.  The Lord, my God, is with me!

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Deuteronomy 3:22

Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.  NIV

Moses is commissioning Joshua to lead the people across the Jordan and into the promised land.  Moses will not be able to join them, and he’s upset about that, but, he follows God’s command and encourages Joshua.

And, what encouragement!  With God on his side, to fight his very battles, Joshua has nothing to fear, nothing to worry about.

It is interesting to me that these were true battles.  Soldiers were going to die for opposing the Israelites and God’s will.

I am not called upon to be a physical warrior.  On the contrary, I have an extremely peaceful existence in a quiet suburb, and I rarely venture more than 20 miles from my house.  When I do, the roads are paved (and filled to brim with traffic), there is clean running water everywhere I see, and large office buildings dot the landscape.  No soldiers.  No physical battles.  And yet, I find things to worry about here in this relative paradise.

I know that there is warfare, and I know that for me, worry is my enemy.  But, I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is on my side.  Indeed, He will fight for me.

That’s pretty powerful.  I will think about that today.

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Deuteronomy 3:2

The Lord said to me, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you with his whole army and his land.  Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon.” NIV

It’s safe to say that I have not spent a lot of time reading or thinking about the Old Testament.  Most of what I know about it comes from sermons that I’ve heard, or specific books I might have studied at one time or another, but, to say that I have a good grasp of it would be an overstatement.

It is interesting to me that this story is told over and over and over, why?

I was talking with a dear friend last night who said, “we’re supposed to learn from it.”  She explained that we are supposed to live our lives with an understanding of what is in the Bible, so that we will have a better grasp on things.  We both acknowledged that we probably did not spend enough time with the Old Testament.

So, here I am again, with Moses being admonished not to fear Og, the King of Bashan, who has marched his whole army out to meet the Israelites in battle.  I am thinking that I might need to invest in an exhaustive commentary, so that I will have a better grasp of what is going on here, and/or what I might be learning from it.

I can clearly see this: Moses trusted God.

I will think about that today.

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