If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Deuteronomy 2, Psalms 83–84, Isaiah 30, Jude. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Deuteronomy 2.
The word “Deuteronomy” means “second law” and the book called Deuteronomy records one very long speech Moses made to the Israelites before his death (cf. Deut 1-5 with Deut 34). Moses began this speech by rehearsing his history with Israel from the time they were commanded to invade Canaan (1:6-8). Much of chapter 1 records Israel’s refusal to take the promised land (vv. 26-33) and the resulting judgment of 40 years of desert wandering (vv. 34-46). Here in chapter 2, Moses continues to summarize Israel’s time in the desert and, in verse 7 he said, “The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.” Consider that opening phrase, “The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands.” Wandering around the desert for 40 years seems like anything but a “blessing.” And, it wasn’t a blessing; it was a painful consequence for Israel’s disobedience. Yet, within the judgment of God that generation lived out there was God’s consistent mercy and, yes, blessing. Instead of allowing his people to wander and become victims of heat, dehydration, bandits, and wild animals, God blessed their work (v. 7a), he protected them from anything that would threaten their lives or possessions (v. 7b), and he provided everything they needed to continue living (v. 7d). The wilderness wandering was no blessing, of course, but even within that painful experience, God was faithful and blessed his people.
As we live in this sin-cursed world, God allows and brings painful circumstances into our lives. Sometimes these circumstances are just the challenges of living in a fallen world—disease, natural disasters, personal disappointments, loneliness, and other problems. Sometimes the painful circumstances we experience are the direct result of our own disobedience to God’s word. While we don’t have to live out our lives wandering in the desert, there are times when our lives feel pointless, futile, and about as unblessed as they could possibly be. In those moment, the Scriptures point us to and remind us of God’s blessings in our lives that we take for granted. Think about how God has provided for you and sustained you even at times when he has allowed trials or discipline to come into your life. He has provided for your needs and watched over your life. If we focus on the blessings we do have, they breathe new gratitude for the goodness of God into our hearts and can turn us from discouragement to praise. As we prepare to gather for worship later this morning, think about the things God has done for you lately—the simple things that we often take for granted. Give thanks for them to our Lord specifically in prayer and let these prayers prepare your heart for our worship time together.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.