Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pause and Ponder--Twelve: Five

Deuteronomy 12:5

"But you shall seek the LORD at the place which
the LORD your God will choose from all your tribes,
to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come."

Talk about needing context and setting... let's rewind a bit, shall we?  Surely.

In verses 1-4 of Deuteronomy 12, God is telling the children of Israel what He wants to happen once they get into the Promised Land.  Let's listen in...

"These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on the earth.

You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree.

You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place.

You shall not act like this toward the LORD your God."

Loose (very loose) translation:  Pagan worship? No good. Bad for you (especially your children) and an affront to Me-- it's gotta go.  Oh, and don't even think about trying to worship Me like they worship their false gods.

For the sake of time, space, and the health of your eyeballs, I'm going to do a little bullet point action.

{{Picture Book Time}}

• The dividing of, crossing through, and sealing up of the Red Sea is an Old Testament picture of the New Testament truth of salvation through Jesus Christ.  When Jesus died the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom opening up the Holy of Holies and giving us access to the tangible presence of God.

• The wilderness wandering of the Israelites was designed to get "the Egypt" or world out of them and prepare them for the Promise Land.  It wasn't supposed to take forty years.
Disobedience, rebellion, and complaining do not lead to inheriting the promises of God.

• The Promise Land is not a picture of Heaven.  There is another crossing through a body of water before entry to the Promise Land, which is an Old Testament picture of the New Testament truth of the baptism of the Holy Spirit aka the Spirit-filled life.  The Israelites had battles to fight and enemies to drive out of the Promise Land.

This is where we pick-up in our verse.

"But you shall seek..."

Don't forget... it's personal.  We must seek Him out for ourselves.

"...the LORD..."

We are created to worship. God built it in to people.  His perfect plan/design is that we worship Him.
If we are not worshipping the Lord... we are worshipping something or someone else.

" the place which the Lord your God will choose..."

God chooses how He would like to be worshipped.  We can't just make up our own ideas of what we'd like to do to honor God.

The Canaanites did that.  Their ideas of worship?  Sacrificing their children by burning them alive on the glowing incandescent arms of their "god" Molech.  

In the first four verses, God is telling them all the "junk" of false worship and pagan gods have to go in order to live victoriously in the Spirit-filled life.

Our God, the Lord and One True and Living God says, "Worship Me in Spirit and in Truth." John 4:23

What does that mean?

Well, what is the "job description" of the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit's job is to point us to Jesus.

Who is this Jesus?  He is the way, the truth, and the life.

In John chapter 1 it says,

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Our worship of Him will never go against His character as revealed in His Word.

The Word (the Holy Bible, the Scriptures,...) reveal the nature, character, and love of God and His plan to redeem a lost people through His Son, Jesus.

God has chosen the "place" we worship Him... it is at the cross of Calvary-- in Spirit and in Truth.

But here, always, is the kicker-- we must choose to enter the Spirit-filled life.

When the tribes of Israel came to the Jordan river, the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh said (again, very loose paraphrase), "We like the looks of things over here.  We have an exceedingly large number of livestock and there is plenty o' room for all our "stuff."  We don't want our portion of land in the Promise Land, we'd like to stay on this side of the river."
(See Numbers 32 or Joshua 1).

And God let them.

And later, when the enemies of the Israelites came (as enemies do) guess which tribes were the first ones picked off?  You guessed it.

Until we are in Heaven (ahhh, the tabernacle... but that is a post for another day), we will always have battles to fight.  But there is one difference... in the Promise Land of the Spirit-filled life, we aren't battling defensively, trying to stay alive.

In the Promise Land, we are battling from a place of victory taking back "ground" that God has given us. 

He has already secured our victory.


Heavenly Father and Lord of Hosts of the armies on High, show us the areas the Enemy is robbing us of what is rightfully ours as Your children.  Fill us with Your Spirit and give us wisdom and clarity as we study Your Word.  Empower us to conquer the Enemy with the Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, and Meekness of Your Son Jesus who sits at Your Right Hand.

1 comment:

Ann said...

I love that the Lord gives us choices. But sometimes I wish we didn't have so many choices:)

But God is so good and I am so glad that He helps me choose His way over mine.

He has a love language too! :)

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