Old Testament In a Year: March 28 – Deuteronomy 11, 12, 13

Deuteronomy 11, 12, 13
Focus Verse: You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. – Deuteronomy 11:18

Do not merely read God’s Word, but also remember God’s Word. Let it be imprinted on your heart and mind. Let it become impressed on your soul. Commit yourself to it. Let it be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path.

When your heart is filled with God’s Word, your thoughts and behavior will reflect its truth and goodness.

When your eyes are fixed on God’s Word, you will never doubt the way in which you should go.

When your mouth speaks God’s Word, you will be an encouragement to the discouraged and a light to those in darkness.

Women of the Word: Sisera’s Mother

Sisera was the captain of the army of King Jabin of Canaan. Together, they and the powerful Canaanite army were enemies of Israel and often oppressed them and fought against them. One day, Jabin sent Sisera and the Canaanite army to fight against Barak, Deborah, and the Israelite army. To Sisera’s shock, he and the Canaanite army were defeated and Sisera fled from the battle scene on foot. He soon came to the tent of a man named Heber the Kenite. But Heber wasn’t home. Only his wife, Jael, was. Jael welcomed Sisera into the tent and gave him milk to drink. Tired from fighting, Sisera lay down and soon sank into a deep sleep. When Jael saw that he was sleeping, she took a tent peg and a mallet (which is a hammer) and used these items to kill him.

When Barak and Deborah found out how and by whom Sisera died, they sang Jael’s praises in a song which is recorded in Judges 5:24-27:

Most blessed among women is Jael,
The wife of Heber the Kenite;
Blessed is she among women in tents.
He asked for water, she gave milk;
She brought out cream in a lordly bowl.
She stretched her hand to the tent peg,
Her right hand to the workmen’s hammer;
She pounded Sisera, she pierced his head,
She split and struck through his temple.
At her feet he sank, he fell, he lay still;
At her feet he sank, he fell;
Where he sank, there he fell dead.

The stanza following this one (Judges 5:28-31) makes mention of Sisera’s mother. Barak and Deborah imagine that when Sisera’s mother did not see him returning home victorious, she peered out the window and cried: “Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why is the clatter of his chariots delayed?”

Barak and Deborah further imagine that a wise lady tried to assuage the concerns of Sisera’s mother by suggesting that he was dividing the spoils and captives of the Israelite army of which he had conquered. But this was not the case. It was not Sisera and the Canaanite army who had conquered, but Barak, Deborah, Jael, and the Israelite army.

We don’t know the exact response of Sisera’s mother to her son’s delay or how she reacted when she found out about his death. We can imagine, like Barak and Deborah, that she was initially worried and then grief-stricken when she learned of his fate. Sisera’s mother may have found it hard to believe that her son – a fearless warrior, mighty army captain, and all that jazz – was felled by a simple stay-at-home (or in those days, stay-at-tent) wife and an audacious female judge. What she probably did not realize was that it was not two women who defeated Sisera and the Canaanite army. It was the God in those two women. Continue reading

I Rise Today

I rise today
with the power of God to pilot me,
God’s strength to sustain me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look ahead for me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to protect me,
God’s way before me,
God’s shield to defend me,
God’s host to deliver me,
from snares of devils,
from evil temptations,
from nature’s failings,
from all who wish to harm me,
far or near,
alone and in a crowd.

—”Saint Patrick’s Breastplate,”
Old Irish, eighth-century prayer

Old Testament In a Year: March 27 – Deuteronomy 8, 9, 10

Deuteronomy 8, 9, 10
Focus Verse: “Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people. – Deuteronomy 9:6

God does not give you good things because of your goodness. He gives them because of His grace.

The best things you have – salvation, peace, joy, eternal life, an inheritance in Heaven, hope and a future – you did not attain on your own. So, do not glory in yourself. Glory in God. Your sufficiency is in Him and you are accepted by Him because of Him, not because of yourself.

God is good to you because He is a good God. He cannot be anything but good. When you are a mess, He does not hold back miracles. When you lack faith, He remains faithful. Know, therefore, that the Lord your God does not give you good things and is not preparing a place for you because of your goodness, but because of His goodness.

Old Testament In a Year: March 26 – Deuteronomy 5, 6, 7

Deuteronomy 5, 6, 7
Focus Verse: You shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt, – Deuteronomy 7:18

When you doubt that the impossible can come to pass and when you fear that the worse will happen, open your Bible and remember what the Lord has already done.

Remember what He did for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Remember what He did for Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel. Remember what He did for Moses and Miriam. Remember what He did for the entire nation of Israel.

Remember what He did for David and Solomon, Ruth and Esther, Daniel and Joseph.

Remember. Remember. Remember. The same God they served is the same God you serve. If He did it back then, He can do it again.

Do not be afraid. Only believe. Miracles still happen. Dreams still do come true. God is still at work on behalf of His people, on behalf of you.

Old Testament In a Year: March 25 – Deuteronomy 3, 4

Deuteronomy 3, 4
Focus Verse: For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them. – Deuteronomy 4:31

If you seek God with all your heart and search for Him with all your soul, you will find Him. He is not far from you, but is very near. Even during times when you fail to obey His voice, He will not leave you or forsake you or forget you. He will remember the promises that He made to you and He will fulfill them.

Your failures do not affect God’s faithfulness; His grace does not depend on your goodness.

There has never been a god like your God. He remains close to you so that whenever you call on Him, He hears and answers. He walks with you and He talks with you. He calls you by name.

Once you become His, you are His forever. Nothing will ever separate you, not even death. No one can snatch you from out of His hand.

Old Testament In a Year: March 24 – Deuteronomy 1, 2

Deuteronomy 1, 2
Focus Verse: And in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.’ – Deuteronomy 1:31

As a father carries his child, so God carries you. He carries you gently through hardships and storms and dangers, safely bringing you to the place where you need to be. By His grace and goodness, you are provided for every step of your journey.

God carries you by meeting your needs and supplying your wants; defeating your enemies; and keeping you from that which seeks to hurt you. God carries you in His arms, on His shoulders, and on eagle’s wings. He carries you close to His heart.

When you feel like you can’t go on, lift your arms to God and say, Carry me Jesus. Carry me more.

When you have more questions than answers, when you feel weary and weak, when you cannot stand without falling, when you are breaking, God will carry you.

Old Testament In a Year: March 23 – Numbers 34, 35, 36

Numbers 34, 35, 36
Focus Verse: These six cities shall be for refuge for the people of Israel, and for the stranger and for the sojourner among them, that anyone who kills any person without intent may flee there. – Numbers 35:15

As Savior, Jesus the Christ is your city of refuge. He is divinely appointed by God to provide shelter for sinners and is open at all times, to receive all people. As there was always room in the cities of refuge, there is always room in Christ for you.

When Satan taunts you, calls you by your sin, and seeks to send you on a guilt trip, flee to Christ. Instead of facing condemnation, punishment, and wrath for your wrongdoing, you will find redemption, peace, and salvation. Through His death (the death of the High Priest), you are pardoned and forever set free.

The path leading to Christ is never blocked, the gate is never shut, and the door is never locked. It doesn’t matter what you have done, if you go to Christ, He will in no wise cast you out or turn you away.

Come to Me and find refuge, Christ says. Come to Me and find rest. Come to Me and find restoration. Whosoever will may come.