(This Bible Study chapter is from my meditations in Deuteronomy chapters 4 through 10 (a book in progress. Take the time read through this intro and look up the Bible verse below. Be patient and enjoy spending time in reading and “camping out” on these Bible verses. I pray it is a blessing for you).
This chapter is about truth and imagination. That’s an interesting contrast of terms, isn’t it? Let me explain.
Have you ever been in a crisis situation? I have. Back in 2005, I was the point person of a team of about 40 people leaving our church in Elgin, IL (near Chicago) to go on a mission’s trip to Jamaica. The day and time our plane was scheduled to land in Jamaica, just so happened to be the same day and time that Hurricane Emily was also scheduled to land in Jamaica. About a week out from our arrival date, our team began nervously watching the hurricane’s movements as it tracked across the Atlantic.
It was an unforgettable experience for our whole team. For me, even now, I can vividly remember the weight of the pressure of having to be the one to decide if we needed to cancel the trip and how to communicate to our team.
I won’t relive the moment by moment things that occurred, but I will summarize it by saying that the Lord moved in the hearts of our team to trust in God’s leadership (and in my leadership) and also put it on the heart of our pastor at that time to make a few calls (which opened up a new opportunity for us to serve in Miami). It was an incredible experience seeing the personal involvement of God in our situation.
Within about a 48 hour period of time, we completely changed our itinerary to go to Miami for a week of fruitful service there and the eventual expansion of ministry back at our home church (we started a soup kitchen when we got back). Interestingly enough, months before the Lord put it on my heart to have as a theme for our trip, “expect the unexpected” Our God is awesome.
I’m bringing up that story because it relates to what I was mentioning earlier about truth and imagination. The truth is that I lived out that story. For me, just writing about this experience floods my mind and heart with memories and emotions. As I remember what took place, it leads me to spontaneously write “our God is awesome”.
However for you, as the reader, you will need to use your imagination a bit to put yourself into the story and try to imagine what the team members would have been feeling. Would they be thinking I was going to cancel their weeklong mission trip? Would they have a confidence that their leadership could handle making new plans on such short notice? How would the team members deal with their disappointments? What would they be thinking of God’s sovereignty and power with a hurricane just happening to “land’ the same time our flight was to land?
Truth and imagination. When you have time, I’d encourage you to read the following verses from the Book of Deuteronomy chapters, 4 through 10 about the awesomeness of our God. I’ve written some observations about God’s personal involvement with the Israelites, but you might come up with other interesting observations. You will need to use your imagination a bit to try to really understand how the Israelites would have really felt.
For example, if you were living at that time, how do you think you would have responded to hearing a great voice from Heaven speaking to you from a mountain that appeared to be on fire! Do you think that memory would have stayed with you the rest of your life?
What would it have been like for you to know there was a land of promise that Almighty God was preparing for you?
What would it have meant for you to know you would be involved in the future with fighting nations stronger and more numerous than you, but knowing Almighty God was going to fight for you? Use your imagination.
As you think on these things, meditate also on the applications for you today. Almighty God still seeks to do life with you. He offers you the opportunity to be forgiven and freed from your sins of disobedience and reconciled to Him. He promises to dwell within you through His Holy Spirit. He warns us that we still will be fighting battles, not with men, but with “rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over the present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (eph. 5:12, esv)
So, in your “quiet times” meditate on the truths from these Bible verses (and review the observations I’ve listed) and imagine what it would have meant to hear these words coming to you if you were an Israelite living in the time of Moses. Then, think what is the take-away for you today? What does Almighty God want to say to you today?
4:3 – He destroyed/judged Baal worshipers
4:7- He is near His people and responds to their prayers
4:10-15,33,36, 5:22-25,- He appeared to them visually at Mt. Horeb in a fire and spoke to them (Hebrews 12:18-21 says (esv): For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear
4:24 – He is a consuming fire, a jealous God
4:20, 27, 34,37-38, 5:15- He has the ability to uproot a people
4:32 – He created man
4:1,21-22,40, 5:6- the Lord is giving them a land to dwell in
6:2,3,18,24- the Lord has revealed His good intentions for His people (that their days would be prolonged, and that things would go well with them if they obeyed His instructions on how to live life, and that they would end up in the land He promised them, which is a good land
6:10-11, 19, 21-23, 7:1-2, 12-24, 9:1-6- it is the Lord that is bringing in the Israelites into a good land, removing all the strong and mighty people who are living in the land and are very much enemies of God
4:25-26,6:15, 7:4, 8:19-20 -He has the right to exercise judgement in his holiness & power to wipe you off the face of the earth
7:6-8, 10:15 God chose the Israelites and loved them and would prove faithful to them
7:18-24, 8:1-7,15-16 – The Lord walked through life with the Israelites (through their deliverance from Egypt and their wilderness times) providing strength, but also loving, fatherly discipline
9:13-14, 18-20, 10:10 – although the Lord would have been just in bringing judgement on the rebellious Israelites, God was merciful and listened to the intercessions of Moses to not wipe them out
10:14 to the Lord God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it
10:17 – He is God of gods, Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the case of the fatherless and widow, giving them food and clothing
10:21-22- the story of the Israelites and their experience to and from Egypt was a testimony of love and power of God