Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday, March 14: Deuteronomy 8-10 by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Deuteronomy 8-10

Here are a few things that stood out for me from today's passage. The first thing that stood out for me was:

Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. 

This baffles me. I can't imagine clothes lasting for 40 years. What about the children? We just recently replaced all of our son Kaden's pants because the ones we bought him in Fall are all too short. Maybe the lack of need to replace the adult clothing did not make finding clothing for the children such a burden? Maybe they just passed clothing around from the children that had already outgrown items? Maybe?? Whatever it was I think that it was a reminder that God took care of all their needs in a very real way.

Also this:

11 “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, 12 lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, 13 and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15 who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.17 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. (emphasis mine)

I think we live in a society that encourages us to rely on our own abilities and strengths and ignore that those are gifts are given to us by God. To acknowledge that we didn't gain something on our own is so counter cultural.

When I went up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the Lord made with you, I remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water. 10 And the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words that the Lord had spoken with you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. 11 And at the end of forty days and forty nights the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.12 Then the Lord said to me, ‘Arise, go down quickly from here, for your people whom you have brought from Egypt have acted corruptly. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them; they have made themselves a metal image.’(emphasis mine)

It doesn't take long for disobedience and doubt to take hold. Moses was away for 40 days and 40 nights...that's about 960 hours. Yet in that short amount of time, the people fell into their sinful ways and lost their faith in what God could do. It would have been even less time because by the time Moses came down, they had already created the idol. So how long was it before they started to talk about the need for the idol? A week? A month? Did Aaron try and persuade them against it? Was he instantly convinced? For us too, it doesn't take long for us to fall into the trap or into the habit of sin. Some people say that it only takes 21 days to form a new habit but interestingly I found this on this website:

The reality is, habits are easier to make than they are to break. If you repeat a behavior often enough, those synaptic pathways are going to get worn in. The human brain is a very adaptive piece of machinery. But does that take 21 days? Who knows? Everyone's brain is different, and habit formation also relies on aspects of experience and personality.
Breaking a habit is a lot more complicated, because while parts of those worn-in pathways can weaken without use, they never go away [source: Rae-Dupree]. They can be reactivated with the slightest provocation [source: Delude]. If you've ever tried to quit smoking, you already know this. You can go a year without a cigarette, and then give in one time and BAM, the habit comes right back.(emphasis mine)

The habit of sin never goes away. The slightest leaning to sin can give way to reverting to our old ways despite our best intentions to give ourselves fully to God.

I think what is also interesting is that the amount of time is the same for both Moses and for the left behind Israelites. Moses chose to use his time to humbly obey God and the Israelites used their time to move away from obedience to God and rely on themselves. It was the same amount of time with very different outcomes.

Moses again spent 40 days and 40 nights in humble pleading with God for the sinfulness of Aaron and the Israelites. It doesn't tell us but were the Israelites also bowing down for forgiveness at that time? I'm thinking they were not since it was Moses who destroyed the golden calf after his time pleading with God not to destroy them.

“At that time the Lord said to me, ‘Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and come up to me on the mountain and make an ark of wood. And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets that you broke, and you shall put them in the ark.’ So I made an ark of acacia wood, and cut two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain with the two tablets in my hand. And he wrote on the tablets, in the same writing as before, the Ten Commandments[c] that the Lord had spoken to you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. And the Lord gave them to me. Then I turned and came down from the mountain and put the tablets in the ark that I had made. And there they are, as the Lord commanded me.”(emphasis mine)

Everything can be restored. The stone tablets written by the hand of God. The commandments of instruction. The relationship of God with people. Everything can be like before. What a comfort to know that no matter what we break in our anger and in our stubbornness that through God it can all be restored. We have a new beginning and things can be as they once were.

12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?

It sounds simple.

Fear God.

Be like God.

Love God.

Serve God.

Obey God.

But our habit for sin brings us back to the same old mistakes in no time at all. We forget how God takes care of us in big ways and small ways. We begin to think that our talents are the things that get us where we are. We turn from God and rely on ourselves. We serve ourselves and our selfish desires no matter what we know to be true. Old habits die hard. However, through Christ all things are restored....if we desire that and seek it.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageDeuteronomy 11-13


Tyson said...

Something that stood out to me today was Deuteronomy 8:2-3
2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way into the wilderness these forty years,to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.3 He humbled you,causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither of you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

TammyIsBlessed said...

Those verses all jumped out at me too.

So true that bad habits are hard to break and easy to fall back into. We cannot ever become complacent about sin, particularly ones we know we are susceptible to!