Posts Tagged ‘grace’


Deuteronomy 19 (HCSB) “When the Lord your God annihilates the nations whose land He is giving you, so that you drive them out and live in their cities and houses, you are to set apart three cities for yourselves within the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess… You must purge the evil from you. Then everyone else will hear and be afraid, and they will never again do anything evil like this among you. You must not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, and foot for foot.”

For a religion that is undergirded by love, mercy and grace, today’s chapter questions the very fabric of that belief – or does it? (more…)


Deuteronomy 11 (NLT) “You must love the LORD your God and obey all his requirements, decrees, regulations, and commands… “Your children didn’t see how the LORD cared for you in the wilderness until you arrived here… But you have seen the LORD perform all these mighty deeds with your own eyes!… If you obey, you will enjoy a long life in the land the LORD swore to give to your ancestors and to you, their descendants—a land flowing with milk and honey!… Rather, the land you will soon take over is a land of hills and valleys with plenty of rain— a land that the LORD your God cares for. He watches over it through each season of the year!… “But be careful. Don’t let your heart be deceived so that you turn away from the LORD and serve and worship other gods. If you do, the LORD’s anger will burn against you. He will shut up the sky and hold back the rain, and the ground will fail to produce its harvests. Then you will quickly die in that good land the LORD is giving you… Wherever you set foot, that land will be yours. Your frontiers will stretch from the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north, and from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.[b] No one will be able to stand against you, for the LORD your God will cause the people to fear and dread you, as he promised, wherever you go in the whole land…

Haven’t we heard it all before and why should any person live in fear? What is God speaking to the Israelites and us and is there any message in today’s chapter for us? (more…)


Deuteronomy 7 (NLT) “When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations are greater and more numerous than you. When the LORD your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. You must not intermarry with them… For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure. “The LORD did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! Rather, it was simply that the LORD loves you, and he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors… He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. But he does not hesitate to punish and destroy those who reject him. Therefore, you must obey all these commands, decrees, and regulations I am giving you today… Perhaps you will think to yourselves, ‘How can we ever conquer these nations that are so much more powerful than we are?’ But don’t be afraid of them! Just remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all the land of Egypt. Remember the great terrors the LORD your God sent against them… “No, do not be afraid of those nations, for the LORD your God is among you, and he is a great and awesome God. The LORD your God will drive those nations out ahead of you little by little. You will not clear them away all at once, otherwise the wild animals would multiply too quickly for you. But the LORD your God will hand them over to you. He will throw them into complete confusion until they are destroyed. He will put their kings in your power, and you will erase their names from the face of the earth. No one will be able to stand against you, and you will destroy them all.

Death and destruction seem to be a big part of God’s instructions to His chosen people. How is that evidence of a loving God and how different are we from any other religion that terrorizes non-believers? (more…)


Deuteronomy 3 “Next we turned and headed for the land of Bashan, where King Og and his entire army attacked us at Edrei. But the LORD told me, ‘Do not be afraid of him, for I have given you victory over Og and his entire army, and I will give you all his land. Treat him just as you treated King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon.’ “So the LORD our God handed King Og and all his people over to us, and we killed them all. Not a single person survived… “So we took the land of the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River—all the way from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon… “When we took possession of this land, I gave to the tribes of Reuben and Gad the territory beyond Aroer along the Arnon Gorge, plus half of the hill country of Gilead with its towns. Then I gave the rest of Gilead and all of Bashan—Og’s former kingdom—to the half-tribe of Manasseh… “At that time I gave this command to the tribes that would live east of the Jordan: ‘Although the LORD your God has given you this land as your property, all your fighting men must cross the Jordan ahead of your Israelite relatives, armed and ready to assist them… “At that time I gave Joshua this charge: ‘You have seen for yourself everything the LORD your God has done to these two kings. He will do the same to all the kingdoms on the west side of the Jordan. Do not be afraid of the nations there, for the LORD your God will fight for you.’ “At that time I pleaded with the LORD and said, ‘O Sovereign LORD, you have only begun to show your greatness and the strength of your hand to me, your servant. Is there any god in heaven or on earth who can perform such great and mighty deeds as you do? Please let me cross the Jordan to see the wonderful land on the other side, the beautiful hill country and the Lebanon mountains.’ “But the LORD was angry with me because of you, and he would not listen to me. ‘That’s enough!’ he declared. ‘Speak of it no more. But go up to Pisgah Peak, and look over the land in every direction. Take a good look, but you may not cross the Jordan River. Instead, commission Joshua and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead the people across the Jordan. He will give them all the land you now see before you as their possession.’

Death and destruction mar the Israelites every step as they advance to their promised homeland. What justice is there in this and what is God speaking to us through this passage? (more…)


Deuteronomy 1 These are the words that Moses spoke to all the people of Israel while they were in the wilderness east of the Jordan River… Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, going by way of Mount Seir. But forty years after the Israelites left Egypt, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses addressed the people of Israel, telling them everything the LORD had commanded him to say… “When we were at Mount Sinai, the LORD our God said to us, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on. Go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all the neighbouring regions—the Jordan Valley, the hill country, the western foothills, the Negev, and the coastal plain. Go to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, and all the way to the great Euphrates River. Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it, for it is the land the LORD swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to all their descendants.’”… “Then, just as the LORD our God commanded us, we left Mount Sinai and traveled through the great and terrifying wilderness, as you yourselves remember, and headed toward the hill country of the Amorites… Go and occupy it as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!’ “But you all came to me and said, ‘First, let’s send out scouts to explore the land for us. They will advise us on the best route to take and which towns we should enter.’…

Forty years spent in the desert and now to lecture the tired populace was not going to reinvigorate the Israelites, was it? How is God speaking to us through this reflection of the painful Israelite journey? (more…)


Numbers 35 While Israel was camped beside the Jordan on the plains of Moab across from Jericho, the Lord said to Moses, “Command the people of Israel to give to the Levites from their property certain towns to live in, along with the surrounding pasturelands. These towns will be for the Levites to live in, and the surrounding lands will provide pasture for their cattle, flocks, and other livestock… “Six of the towns you give the Levites will be cities of refuge, where a person who has accidentally killed someone can flee for safety… “When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, designate cities of refuge to which people can flee if they have killed someone accidentally. These cities will be places of protection from a dead person’s relatives who want to avenge the death. The slayer must not be put to death before being tried by the community… These cities are for the protection of Israelites, foreigners living among you, and traveling merchants. Anyone who accidentally kills someone may flee there for safety… The community must protect the slayer from the avenger and must escort the slayer back to live in the city of refuge to which he fled. There he must remain until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the sacred oil… “All murderers must be put to death, but only if evidence is presented by more than one witness. No one may be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. Also, you must never accept a ransom payment for the life of someone judged guilty of murder and subject to execution; murderers must always be put to death. And never accept a ransom payment from someone who has fled to a city of refuge, allowing a slayer to return to his property before the death of the high priest. This will ensure that the land where you live will not be polluted, for murder pollutes the land. And no sacrifice except the execution of the murderer can purify the land from murder. You must not defile the land where you live, for I live there myself. I am the Lord, who lives among the people of Israel.”

Why would a good and just God provide refuge to murderers and have all of Israel know that He has provided such an accommodation? What is behind all this provision for such grievous sin and how does it related to us today? (more…)


ImageNumbers 32 The tribes of Reuben and Gad owned vast numbers of livestock. So when they saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were ideally suited for their flocks and herds, they came to Moses, Eleazar the priest, and the other leaders of the community. They said, “Notice the towns of Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sibmah, Nebo, and Beon. The Lord has conquered this whole area for the community of Israel, and it is ideally suited for all our livestock. If we have found favor with you, please let us have this land as our property instead of giving us land across the Jordan River.” “Do you intend to stay here while your brothers go across and do all the fighting?” Moses asked the men of Gad and Reuben. “Why do you want to discourage the rest of the people of Israel from going across to the land the Lord has given them? Your ancestors did the same thing when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to explore the land”… But they approached Moses and said, “We simply want to build pens for our livestock and fortified towns for our wives and children. Then we will arm ourselves and lead our fellow Israelites into battle until we have brought them safely to their land. Meanwhile, our families will stay in the fortified towns we build here, so they will be safe from any attacks by the local people. We will not return to our homes until all the people of Israel have received their portions of land. But we do not claim any of the land on the other side of the Jordan. We would rather live here on the east side and accept this as our grant of land”… So Moses gave orders to Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders of the clans of Israel. He said, “The men of Gad and Reuben who are armed for battle must cross the Jordan with you to fight for the Lord. If they do, give them the land of Gilead as their property when the land is conquered. But if they refuse to arm themselves and cross over with you, then they must accept land with the rest of you in the land of Canaan”… So Moses assigned land to the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph. He gave them the territory of King Sihon of the Amorites and the land of King Og of Bashan—the whole land with its cities and surrounding lands.

Is it not wonderful to see how the heads of the tribes of Reuben and Gad wanted to provide for their flocks and families first and yet keep to their commitment of seeing Israel established in the land of Canaan. Why then does Moses tell them off? (more…)