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OBEYING OR DISOBEYING

As we begin the Book of Judges, the tribes of Judah and Simeon join forces to fight against the Caananites and Perizzites in an effort to conquer the territories which the Lord had allotted to them. This act of obedience lead to a successful campaign.  Not long thereafter however, we see a list of the people groups/nations that were not driven out by the tribes of Israel (Judges 1:21-35).  The problem here is that Moses had specifically instructed the Israelites: “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” (Deut 7:2).   Instead, the Israelites “failed to drive out” some of the people, so the angel of the Lord had some bad news for them: “…Why have you disobeyed my command?  Since you have done this, I will no longer drive out the people living in your land.  They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.” (Judges 2:2-3)

Joshua then dies at the age of 110. Various judges then rule over Israel; but the people who weren’t driven out eventually lead Israel astray, causing the Lord much anger.  And you know what happened:  The Israelites would be captured by their enemies and exiled from their promised land. 

As believer, we must learn to “drive out” those things in our life that cause us to be tempted and to disobey God’s Word. Failing to obey the Lord always comes with a heavy price.

The Psalmists understood God’s wrath but also His love and protection. Psalm 90 is a beautiful prayer that reminds us that God does not tolerate sin (vss 7-9), while Psalm 91 makes it clear that He still provides rest, rescue and refuge to those who love Him and trust Him.

Hallelujah!

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FOLLOW & OBEY

As we close out the Book of Numbers and begin reading the Book of Deuteronomy, we see how the Lord specifically directs women in the tribes of Israel to marry men within their tribes so that land rights would not be lost (or moved) to another tribe (Num. 36:9). God was preserving His divine allocation of territories for the entire nation in order to keep things in balance.

As Deuteronomy opens, we see Moses giving the Israelites a history lesson. He begins a lengthy reminder of how God had blessed the nation but also reminds them how they had rebelled and suffered a 40-year penalty.  Though God had graciously brought them out of Egypt and led them in the wilderness to the promised land, they refused to enter the land as He had directed.  Consequently, an entire generation (most of the nation) died in the wilderness.

As Christians, it behooves us to learn a lesson from Israel’s mistakes. When God gives us direction, follow it; when He say obey Me, obey Him – otherwise, we will find ourselves under His discipline and there will be consequences.

Hundreds of years after Moses wrote Numbers and Deuteronomy, the Psalmist reiterates the history of Israel: “Come and see what our God has done, what awesome miracles He does for His people!  He made a dry path through the Red Sea, and His people went across on foot.  Come let us rejoice in who He is.  For by His great power He rules forever.  He watches every movement of the nations; let no rebel rise in defiance.” (Psalm 66:5-7)

Let us rejoice in the awesome and mighty One!

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