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Week 8 Day 5 – Looking Back, Moving Forward

Deuteronomy 1:1-4:49

Here are three thoughts for today:

1. It is a healthy exercise to periodically set aside time to look backward and see what God has done. One of the best ways to do this is to incorporate the spiritual discipline of journaling into your life. If you will spend part of your daily quiet time with God writing down your prayers, thoughts, feelings, interactions with God, interactions with others, and evidences of God at work in your life, it will serve you well in the future. At least once a year, it is healthy to sit down and review this chronicle of your spiritual journey. When we review the ways in which God has worked in our life it can be a great source of conviction and encouragement. We can be reminded of the spiritual trajectory that God has set us on and set a course to either continue in the same direction or to alter course because we realize we have drifted.

2. It is important that we never lose our focus. Moses knew that the nation of Israel was about to transition into a radically different phase of their existence. He knew that the allure of the fertile lands, the riches, and the sensual worship practices of the Canaanites would serve as intense distractions to the sole purpose of the nation. In this final sermon by Moses we hear the intensity in his voice as he tries to connect the people to their source of life. God was the only source of life for the people. God had given the people the detailed instruction of the Law to keep them focused on the goal and not be distracted by sin. We, too, must never forget that it is all about God. If anything, no matter how “good” it may seem, gets in the way of our growing relationship with God, then it is a distraction and needs to be removed from our lives.

3. In Deuteronomy 4:15-20 we are reminded that God has no form. There is nothing that can adequately describe the nature of God. We often speak of God’s face, or His loving arms, but we must remember that this is simply figurative language. God does not have a face. God does not have arms. God is infinite spirit. He is not a being like you and me. He is the source of all being. He is beyond comparison. This passage may seem to be outdated to our 21st century perspective since we do not worship idols. Yet, it is very appropriate for us because we make idols every day. Every time we place a limitation on God and say that, “God MUST do this,” or “God CAN’T do this,” we are carving a stone image of Him. Anytime we create a religious system and say that this particular system is THE ONLY RIGHT WAY to worship God, we have carved a statue of wood and are bowing down to it. Now, before I am misinterpreted as buying into the “all roads lead to God” heresy, let me say that…well…I’m not saying that. There is only one true God. God has objectively revealed Himself through scripture. Now, get this…scripture is a completely accurate description of God, BUT scripture is not a complete description of God. That would be impossible. No amount of scripture could contain enough words to adequately describe the nature of God.

Think of it this way. With God, we are on a need to know basis. He is the creator, we are the creation. We were created for His purposes, we don’t create Him for our purposes. Therein lies the heart of today’s message. As soon as we start creating a conception of God that serves OUR agenda, then we are sliding down the slippery slope of idolatry just like Moses warned the Israelites not to do.

Ask God to examine the temple of your heart today. Are there any idols that have been carved to look like your own desires? If there are, get rid of them. Ask God to smash them.

We must keep our focus on the infinite, indescribable, mysterious, loving God that made us and loves us and has a plan for our lives. His Kingdom come, His will be done!

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