Weekly Thought: Encouragement from Every Book Deuteronomy: God in Every Moment
Out of the thousands of mundane, seemingly insignificant choices that I make each day, how many of those choices does God care about? Is the majestic Lord of the universe, who laid the foundation of the earth and is the master of all the galaxies and unknown worlds far beyond our reach, really concerned with the daily happenings of our average lives?
In the book of Deuteronomy, God’s people Israel are about to finally enter into the land which God had promised after forty years wandering in the wilderness. The hope of generations is about to be realized as they are about to embark on another epic chapter of God’s grand plan and narrative. Yet before this momentous event in Israel’s history, Moses (right before he is about to die) takes special care to urge the people to faithfulness as he sets before them the Law and commandments of the Lord. When we read some of these commandments, they might strike us as bizarre, obscure, or irrelevant. Why would God care about that? Why waste time instructing the Israelites to do that? Doesn’t God have bigger concerns to worry about?
Deuteronomy 22 offers some examples of apparently trivial commandments from God:
“You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them. You shall take them back to your brother. 2 And if he does not live near you and you do not know who he is, you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall stay with you until your brother seeks it. Then you shall restore it to him. 3 And you shall do the same with his donkey or with his garment, or with any lost thing of your brother’s, which he loses and you find; you may not ignore it” (Deuteronomy 22:1-3).
In verse 8 of the same chapter, God commands this:
“When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring the guilt of blood upon your house, if anyone should fall from it.”
Does a lost ox or sheep or garment of a neighbor really matter all that much to the God over all creation? Why is he insistent making sure that Israelites make an effort to return that which is lost? Why does it matter what the roof of a house in Israel looks like?
A sheep or a garment might not matter much to us, but it certainly mattered to the owner of the lost item. There is little inherent value in those things, but God does care about His people. He does care about how we treat our neighbors, even down to the smallest of details. He cares that houses are safe in order to prevent death or injury to a neighbor. He cares that I care about the wellbeing of those around me. He cares that I consider the needs of others. God instructs in the details and he guides us in mundane decisions because how we act even in those small aspects of life reflects our hearts and attitudes toward God and our neighbors. He desires that we are the kind of people that demonstrate love not just in grand gestures and large sacrifice but also by everyday kindness and consideration for the needs of others because God cares deeply for every person. Not one sparrow falls from the ground apart from the care and attention of the sovereign Father above (Matthew 10:29). God is big enough and powerful enough to attend even the smallest of occurrences and details of his creation. How much more, then, is God concerned about each person? This idea is exemplified in Deuteronomy 10:17-19:
“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”
The mighty Lord of lords loves the weakest and most vulnerable, each and every one: the fatherless, the widow, and the sojourner. He expects his people to share in that same compassion in every action that we take and in our overall way of living. Ultimately, nothing we do should be disconnected from our love for God and others. How we live matters. How we care for our neighbors matter. How we think about choices matters. This can encourage us because we are reminded that each moment has an eternal purpose and each day can be lived in a way that magnifies the intense love that God has for his created beings. Not only that, but we can know that God is with us and present in each moment as we seek to honor him in all of our decisions and choices. He strengthens us and guides as we try to live with every ounce of energy that we have for his divine will and purpose.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).