Intro: Until Christ’s return, we will never experience a deficit of challenges or battles in this dark and sinful world. The world and human hearts are corrupt apart from the redemption found in Christ and the righteous renewal of humble hearts by the Spirit. To think things are going to get better—through external human effort and dialogue—is to live deceived. Satan is a liar! Evil lies in order to gain control! However, the Spirit gives Christ’s followers discernment: the Wisdom that comes from heaven. In other words, the ability to perceive the Truth.
Open your eyes and observe as evil prowls looking to devour what it perceives as vulnerable. You want a real time example? Russia using its lust and greed for more power and resources by attacking Ukraine. So, how do believers in the world shine as lights in the midst of these ongoing evil acts of injustice, corruption, and war? The answer is we, as believers, must consider the battles that are ahead, seek to live obedient to the Lord’s commands, reach for the endless supply of divine grace, and ask God to use us in the midst to draw more people toward the Savior.
The Old Testament history of Israel is essential for God’s people to know and internalize if we are going to understand our future and God’s work of grace. To get to the Promise Land, Israel had to understand God was greater and more powerful than any foe they faced; greater than any evil. Satan, the god of this world, is NOT God’s equal. Just to remind believers, evil has no power over you unless you give in to it, because Jesus—the name to whom all of heaven and earth must one day bow—lives in you. Victory is possible as we “partner” with God. Salvation comes by grace through faith in Christ!
In our passage today, God’s message through Moses may seem discouraging, but it is not meant to make the people feel defeated. God simply wants them to remember the truth about their poor level of commitment in the past, as well as their human weakness, so they will repent (turn away from evil) and trust him completely. The same God who wrote his commands on stone tablets, writes his commands upon our believing hearts to encourage us to place all of our trust in His sufficiency. The battle is the LORDs! As his soldiers of grace, may we humbly pray for God’s intervening salvation, resist the work of evil in our hearts, and live the Truth in LOVE! “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world (1 John 4:4).
Deuteronomy 9:6-12 (NLT)
6 You must recognize that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land because you are good, for you are not—you are a stubborn people.
Remembering the Gold Calf
7 “Remember and never forget how angry you made the Lord your God out in the wilderness. From the day you left Egypt until now, you have been constantly rebelling against him. 8 Even at Mount Sinai you made the Lord so angry he was ready to destroy you. 9 This happened when I was on the mountain receiving the tablets of stone inscribed with the words of the covenant that the Lord had made with you. I was there for forty days and forty nights, and all that time I ate no food and drank no water. 10 The Lord gave me the two tablets on which God had written with his own finger all the words he had spoken to you from the heart of the fire when you were assembled at the mountain.
11 “At the end of the forty days and nights, the Lord handed me the two stone tablets inscribed with the words of the covenant. 12 Then the Lord said to me, ‘Get up! Go down immediately, for the people you brought out of Egypt have corrupted themselves. How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for Your all-powerful care of Your children. I pray for the protection and salvation of the people in Ukraine. I pray for Mr. Putan to receive a visitation from You; may the scales of spiritual blindness be removed from his eyes to see the evil he is perpetuating against others. I pray for the people of every nation to turn to You for salvation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.