Archive for : March, 2018

03/23/2018 — Joshua Chapters 1-4

Well, if you are like me you learn something new about God’s will every time you read the inspired word.  I certainly did as we read through the books of the law — Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.  But I am pleased to be heading back into some of the books of history.  Joshua is one of my favorites and I have used he and Moses in some business training — as an example of “transition planning.”  After the death of Moses  the Lord did not just turn to Joshua and say “you got it now.”  Instead we see in Chapter 1:5-9 that the Lord first reassured Joshua and to not fear the future:

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.  Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Then, in Chapter 3 we see the Lord give the people a sign that Joshua is his chosen leader with the drying of the Jordan:

And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’”

03/22/18 — Deuteronomy Chapters 32-34 & Psalms 91

In these verses there are elegant, inspired words of praise as Moses, even though his death is imminent, recognizes the glory of the Lord.  Deuteronomy 32:3-4

I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
    Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
    and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
    upright and just is he.

Many scholars also feel that Psalm 91 was penned by Moses:

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

Word of praise and words of assurance for God’s Nation and for each of us.

03/21/2018 — Deuteronomy Chapters 30-31

As I read through these chapters even though we only read “words” I was taken by the emotions of  Moses that these words expressed.  We all know what it is like to leave friends behind & the emotions involved.  This is what I feel in these words.

But Moses not only expresses his sentiment towards the Nation — he leaves them with advice that we will see repeated throughout the inspired word of God:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance.  The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”


03/20/2018 — Deuteronomy Chapters 28-29

I see a New Testament parallel when I read Deuteronomy 29:2-6:

Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them: Your eyes have seen all that the Lord did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear. Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.”

The Israelites had seen all of the miracles the Lord had bestowed them.  Yet, Moses refers to them as not having spiritual understanding of what had occurred.

Well — take a look at Mark 8:17-19    17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they replied.

The Nation of Israel and Christ’s disciples saw miracles surrounding them and, yet, did not fully understand who God and His Son are.  But reflect — do we look around us each day and fail to see the hand of God involved in our daily lives?






03/19/2018 — Deuteronomy Chapters 24-27

The historical significance of the area close to the two mountains named in Deuteronomy 27, Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim, is immense.  For lying between these two mountains is the city of Schechem.

Genesis  12:6 tells us that Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

The Israelites were now there and I have to wonder – did Abraham ever climb these mountains and look out over what was the “Promised Land?”

So, while we may be tempted to read through these verses quickly and without focus we need to always recognize  that each letter, each word in the inspired Word of God is placed their to help us learn more about the fulfillment if His plan for mankind.



3/18/2018 — Deuteronomy Chapters 21-23

As we have seen with many others of God’s laws Chapter 21 contains instructions for caring for “your brother.”

If you see your fellow Israelite’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to its owner. If they do not live near you or if you do not know who owns it, take it home with you and keep it until they come looking for it. Then give it back. Do the same if you find their donkey or cloak or anything else they have lost. Do not ignore it. If you see your fellow Israelite’s donkey or ox fallen on the road, do not ignore it. Help the owner get it to its feet.

A commentator wrote that these verses contain specific “action words:”

a. You shall not see . . . and then hide yourself: God here condemned the sin of doing nothing. To see your brother in need, and to do nothing, is to do evil.

b. Until your brother seeks it; then you shall restore it to him: Simply put, when something is lost, a finder cannot claim it as theirs without taking all due diligence to restore it to the owner.

c. You shall surely help him left them up again: Also, if someone’s donkey falls down, and you can help them, then you must. To pass by your brother in need and to hide yourself from them is to sin against your brother and against God.

3/17/2018 — Deuteronomy Chapters 17-20

I was not very far into this reading when I came across a passage that helps explain so many of the laws the Lord gave the Israelites through Moses.  Reading from Chapter 17:7 — The hands of the witnesses must be the first in putting that person to death, and then the hands of all the people. You must purge the evil from among you.

Coffman writes:  “Capital punishment of idolaters was not a desirable thing per se, but it was enjoined out of regard to the welfare of the whole nation. God was the King of Israel, and the worship of another God was simply high treason, thus deserving the most severe penalty.

Several times in the Law we see the penalty of death imposed.   While certainly the results are humanly tragic we must remember that the Lord had chosen Israel as His nation — and His law was to help them remain pure by “purging the evil” in their midst.

3/16/2018 — Deuteronomy Chapters 14-16

As we have seen in other chapters of Deuteronomy there is much repetition of what we have read in earlier books. And as we read Chapter 14:28-29 we see the Lord’s continued care for who we may consider “forgotten” people of that time:

At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, 29 so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

In particular note the the Lord’s instructions includes the “foreigners.”  This is significant because foreignness could not own land and care for themselves.  Yet, the Lord provided …

3/15/2018 – Deuteronomy Chapters 11-13

Do the verses in Deut. 11: 18-20 sound familiar:   18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates,

Go back a few Chapters to Deut. 6:7-8  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Now, if you are like me and someone repeats an instruction it is usually because it is very important!  In his commentary I think Matthew Henry does a marvelous job of summarizing the importance of these verses for the Israelites and for us:

1. Let our hearts be filled with the word of God: Lay up these words in your heart and in your soul. The heart must be the treasury or store-house in which the word of God must be laid up, to be used upon all occasions. 

2. Let our eyes be fixed upon the word of God. “Bind these words for a sign upon your hand, which is always in view (Isa. 49:16 ), and as front-lets between your eyes, which you cannot avoid the sight of; let them be as ready and familiar to you, and have your eye as constantly upon them, 

3. Let our tongues be employed about the word of God. Let it be the subject of our familiar discourse, wherever we are; especially with our children, who must be taught the service of God

03/14/2018 — Deuteronomy Chapters 8-10

Chapter 8:17-18 records:  17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.

These passages remind me of a very familiar New Testament passage — Matthew 6:11  11 Give us today our daily bread.

In the model prayer we recognize that all that we have comes from the Lord — the same message that Moses conveys around 1500 years earlier.  The Lord’s message is consistent — we are but stewards.



03/13/2018 — Deuteronomy Chapters 5-7

In these verses we, again, see Moses repeat a teaching from Exodus — the ten commandments.  But the words are slightly different.  Does this mean that scripture conflicts with itself?  I am sure this is not the case and the following quote from a commentator summarizes my own thoughts.  We must keep in mind that the people Moses is now addressing were not present during the firstreading.

First, it must be remembered that Moses’ purpose in reviewing the Law is not to provide an exact word-for-word recitation of the statements in Exodus. Moses is not only reviewing the Law, but he is expounding and explaining the Law and its implications and applications for entrance into and life in the Promised Land.

Second, Moses was also under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as he spoke and wrote the words in these passages in Deuteronomy. Consequently, it is under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that Moses altered, omitted, or added a word or phrase in his presentation of the Decalogue.


03/12/2018 — Deuteronomy Chapters 3-4

Do the following verses from Deuteronomy 4:1-2 sound familiar?:  1 Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.

How about Revelation 22:18-19? —   18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll

One major reason I believe in the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures is their consistency and that they do not contradict each other.  As we see here – from one of the earliest patriarchs, Moses, until some of the final words recorded by the Holy Spirit the message is consistent.



03/11/2018 — Deuteronomy Chapters 1-2

When I begin reading any book (not just Biblical based) I like to know the background of the book and, if possibly, the author.  One commentary on Deuteronomy penned:

The title of Deuteronomy in Hebrew is Debarim, “words,” from its opening phrase. The English title comes from the Septuagint of 17:18, deuteronomion, “copy of the law”; this title is appropriate because the book replicates much of the legal content of the previous books, serving as a “second law.” It brings to a close the five books of the Torah or Pentateuch with a retrospective account of Israel’s past—the exodus, the Sinai covenant, and the wilderness wanderings—and a look into Israel’s future as they stand poised to enter the land of Canaan and begin their life as a people there.

In Chapters 1 and 2 we see the history of the Israelites in the wilderness summarized.  A few verses on the fulfillment of the Lord’s directives jumped out to me again:

14 Thirty-eight years passed from the time we left Kadesh Barnea until we crossed the Zered Valley. By then, that entire generation of fighting men had perished from the camp, as the Lord had sworn to them. 15 The Lord’s hand was against them until he had completely eliminated them from the camp.

Our Lord is an “awesome God” & we must realize that nothing has changed from the times  of Moses — He is also a “just God” and when our actions are disobedient to His will we will experience the consequences.



03/10/2018 — Numbers Chapters 35-36

What I saw as I read through these verses is the continued reality that the Lord not only cared for the Nation of Israel — he cared for each individual.

In Chapter 35:3-4  he set aside “pastureland” for the Levites; in Chapter 35:22-23 he set aside an arrangement for justice for those whose actions may have inadvertently caused a death; and in Chapter 36:5-7 he set aside the inheritance for Zelophehad’s daughters.

He has never failed to follow-up on His promises and I know that he will care for me, individually, when I read Luke 12:6-7        Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

03/09/2018 — Numbers Chapters 33-34

The very end of Chapter 33 continues the instruction the Lord gave His people to remain “sanctified” and separate from the peoples they were conquering.  Reading Numbers: 33:55-56 — 55 “‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. 56 And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them.’”

How many times do we find us in the same situation — we know exactly what the Lord’s plan for us is and, yet, we allow 0urselves to be lead into “trouble in the land where you live.  Another reason to begin each day with prayer for strength.

03/08/2018 — Numbers Chapters 31-32

Wow! As I read Chapter 31 and come across verses 14-18 my thought was how harsh this instruction was:  14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle. 15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

And then I read the commentary from enuring Enduring Bible Work (

i. Christians are often tripped up by things that were a threat but they did not see them as a threat. Though most Israelites thought these women were safe, they were more dangerous to Israel than an army of mighty warriors. Israel could overcome mighty warriors if they were spiritually strong; but if they were seduced into immorality and idolatry, they would certainly fall.  We often think of many things as dangerous to us as Christians – hostile government, secular humanism, academic attack, and so forth. But the things we accept in our midst as Christians that open the door to immorality and idolatry can do far more real damage than any of those other things.

This is, certainly, why the apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:11-12 to be prepared:

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.



03/07/2018 — Numbers Chapters 28-30

If you are like me you may be thinking — there is certainly a lot of repetition in Numbers.  We read about all of the feast, festivals, etc. and how they are to be performed (Lev. chapters 1-7); the different festivals (Lev. chapter 23,) etc.  So why are they summarized here?  A commentator from “” answers this well:

It was now thirty-eight years ago since these laws were first made. And during that time were much in disuse. At least some of them. And besides, this was a new generation of men that were sprung up. Those that were at Mount Sinai at the giving of the law being all dead, except a very few. And now Moses also was about to die. And would be no more with them to remind them of these laws. And see that they were observed. And a successor of him being appointed and constituted, it may be likewise on his account, as well as the people’s, that these laws were repeated.

The Lord continues to provide the Israelites the details of His Plan.

03/06/2018 — Numbers Chapters 26-27

In these chapters we see the ultimate fulfillment of the Lord’s plan for His people in the Wilderness when in Chapter 26 at the completion of the second census of the Nation we see:

64 Not one of them was among those counted by Moses and Aaron the priest when they counted the Israelites in the Desert of Sinai. 65 For the Lord had told those Israelites they would surely die in the wilderness, and not one of them was left except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.


And in Chapter 27 near the very end of his life we see the continued love of Moses for the people he has been leading:

15 Moses said to the Lord, 16 “May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community 17 to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.18 So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him


03/05/2018 — Numbers Chapters 23-25

As with several other Biblical passages Chapters 23-25 are filled with irony.  Balak was seeking a curse upon the Israelites and, indeed, he kept taking Baalam to different locations to try to spur the curse.

Yet, what Baalam delivers, as instructed by the Lord, are blessings, praises and prophecies.  None more beautiful than:

“How beautiful are your tents, Jacob,
    your dwelling places, Israel!

“Like valleys they spread out,
    like gardens beside a river,
like aloes planted by the Lord,
    like cedars beside the waters.
Water will flow from their buckets;
    their seed will have abundant water.

“Their king will be greater than Agag;
    their kingdom will be exalted.

However, before we praise Balaam, as Paul Harvey, the radio commentator used to say  “and now for the rest of the story …”

from Revelation 2:14 — Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.

… and this is exactly what we see that occurred in Numbers Chapter 25.

03/04/2018 — Numbers 21-22

So, we are at the verses that are taught so often to children — Balaam’s “talking donkey” in Chapter 22:28-31.

But once the donkey “talks” we often forget what happens next.  The “angel of the Lord” personally speaks to Balaam and provides him instructions on the “next steps” in his mission.   As we will see as we read further we see not only an animal used but also a pagan priest, in fulfilling God’s will for His people.

A reminder … there is nothing beyond His power!