READ: Deuteronomy 27 and 28
THINK: Warnings….do you remember any? As little school kids, we were shown a film about child abduction. I vividly remember the big black car, the driver leering out the window, then pulling over to lure his innocent victim inside with a puppy or candy or something. Off the car zoomed, with the screaming child in tow. Terrified, I knew then and there I would NEVER make that mistake! And some time later as I walked the block and a half home from my piano lesson, a car really did pull over. And the driver really did motion me to come to his car. And I RAN! HOME! A real or imagined danger, it didn’t much matter. I had learned my lesson and whether this was a neighborly act of kindness or a monster on the loose, I would not get in a car with a stranger!
Obviously, that warning had a big impact on me. And it wasn’t the last. During junior high we were shown films with strung out druggies, lives wasted, track marks lining their emaciated arms. High school? Gory Driver’s Ed films where cars were wrapped around trees while sirens blared and body bags lined the highway. Ick. Enough. You get my point. A good, old-fashioned scare tactic can go a long way toward keeping us on the straight and narrow.
Chapters 27 and 28 are full of warnings: vivid and graphic and terrifying – drought, heat, boils, tumors, blindness, mothers eating their own children. Terrified Israelites must have known then and there that they would NEVER make those kind of mistakes! Surely they had learned their lesson! Life is a series of choices and consequences and surely they would choose obedience and blessing rather than disobedience and curses.
But, ultimately, none of us gets it right all the time. We grow old and tough to scare. We get complacent, apathetic, and forgetful. And when we fail to heed the warnings, none of us has what it takes to make it right again. Remember the uncut stones in the first few verses of Chapter 27? God is telling the Israelites that no work, no talent, no skills will go into the making of the altar. This is God’s work. We cannot reconcile ourselves to God; we cannot do the work at the altar. None of us are good enough or holy enough or obedient enough either. And our uncut stone, our rock of redemption is Jesus. He does it all – his atoning sacrifice covers us.
If the choices we’ve made have left us in a scary place, the wonderful news is that we can always go running home to JESUS! He is waiting. He is our redeemer and he will forgive and renew and restore and when we choose obedience, he will abundantly bless us!
ASK: Have I believed and accepted the sacrifice of Jesus for my sins? Do I know that through HIS shed blood, I have eternal life? Am I in a place I shouldn’t be? Can I begin to take steps of obedience?
PRAY: Lord Jesus, open our eyes so we can see that obedience really is the easy way! You promise to bless us when we follow your life giving commands.