As we read Deuteronomy we are reminded of just how devoted God is to his people. And it is because of his love and devotion to them that He disciplines them. As the Lord led Israel through the wilderness He was testing them and teaching them in order that He might prepare them to live faithfully in the promise land.
God commands Israel to go to war with the 7 nations who are occupying the Promise Land. These people are seen as trespassers in the eyes of the Lord for He had promised to give this land to Israel. These enemies Israel would face were more numerous and powerful than Israel. But that was not to be a cause for concern or worry. God would honor his covenant promises and give his people strength for victory to take possession of the promise land.
This week we study the heart of the covenant, the greatest commandment in all the Bible. In Deuteronomy chapter 6, Moses instructs Israel in what it means to love God and be devoted to him alone. And he commands that they be diligent to teach the generations after them the character, redemption and commandments of the Lord.
As Moses continues preaching to Israel, he recounts to them the covenant God made with them at Sinai. Central to this covenant are the 10 commandments. The glory and goodness of these laws known as the 10 commandments are timeless and universally applicable for every time period and every culture. And as we will see, it was a gracious act of God to give Israel the 10 commandments and it is a gracious gift to us as well.
To be human is to be a worshipper. You were created and designed as a worshipper. As a worshipper, you will either worship the one true and living God or you will worship something else. When we worship God we show him to be as He is, supremely valuable. And when we worship anything other than the Lord, it is idolatry. Last week, we read as Moses exhorted the Israelites to fear the Lord only. Moses continues a similar message in our text this morning and says the Lord alone is worthy of our worship.
The Bible does not tells us to eliminate fear from our lives. Rather, the Bible repeatedly commands us to fear not our enemies but the Lord. Jesus in his ministry will say, “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” Matthew 10:28. We need a biblical understanding of fear. The only rightful recipient of our fear is the Lord. It is by fear of the Lord that we are able to live obedient lives.
This morning we begin a new sermon series in the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is considered the heart of the Old Testament and is frequently on the lips of Jesus in the New Testament. Far from being irrelevant for the modern church, Deuteronomy reveals the foundation of the relationship between God and his people and calls believers today to walk in faithfulness and obedience to the Lord.
This Sunday is purposely chosen to issue a call for justice for the unborn, for those oppressed and for those denied civil rights. The church's goal in fighting for justice is to glorify God, bring joy to the hurting and point everyone to the glorious Kingdom that is to come. As Christ’s body, our mouths and our hands are meant to tell of and point to a God who is perfectly just and who is ushering in a Kingdom of righteousness and justice.
We start every year with the reminder to put Christ first, to commune with Christ and love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. This morning we are going to turn to Proverbs 3 to find instruction on how to trust in the Lord and make him the center of our lives.
God willing we have a full year ahead of us; a year of opportunities, new endeavors, responsibility, work etc. Through it all my prayer is that we would make Christ the center of our lives, the primary priority of our lives, the focus of our heart’s affection and the captivating thought that consumes our mind because Jesus is good and He alone is what satisfies. There is nothing better than Jesus.