“And I Pleaded”
Torah: Deuteronomy 3:23–7:11
PROPHETS: Isaiah 40:1–26
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: Matthew 23:31–39
These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.
Torah 1 & 2
Pleading With God For Entry
Still preaching to the new generation of Israelites camped just east of the Jordan River, Moses recounts his pleading with God to allow him personal entry into the Promised Land (3:23–29; cf. Numbers 20:8–12). He then pleads directly with Israel, pleading for them to follow God and live in covenant faithfulness—trusting the promises of the covenant and obeying the obligations of the covenant. Moses pleads with Israel for fidelity to God based on:
(a) their recent past experience (4:1–4; cf. Numbers 25)
(b) the resulting testimony of greatness that will glorify God (vv. 5–8)…
Pleading With Israel For Fidelity (Faith–Based Obedience)
c) their distant past experience at Horeb/Sinai (vv. 9–24; knowing and following the one true God means fleeing idolatry)
d) their future experience of grace (vv. 25–31)
e) their unique relationship with God, whereby He freed them from slavery, covenanted with them at Sinai, and is now beginning to grant them their Promised Land (vv. 32–40; cf. Psalm 147:19–20)
What do you plead with God for in prayer (cf. James 4:3)? How faithfully are you pleading with those with whom you live and work to know and follow God in covenant fidelity?
Torah 3 & 4
Israel’s Law of the LanD
Moses sets apart three Trans-Jordanian cities as safe havens for people who unintentionally spill their neighbor’s blood (cf. Genesis 9:6). This system supports establishing true justice in the land by limiting unjust bloodshed by relatives seeking revenge for the death of their loved one (cf. Numbers 35:12).
Moses then gives a brief historical review of recent events, pleading with Israel to see God’s covenant faithfulness and respond in kind.
God’s Obligations of the Heart
Deuteronomy 5:1–21 [18 Heb]
God’s obligations are part of His covenant (5:1–21). These obligations, however, are only dead works of the flesh if not motivated by trusting God and pursuing His glory! Messiah Yeshua spoke of these very same obligations with His followers with the same goal as Moses: calling people to covenant fidelity and instructing them in how to do that in relationship with a holy God (cf. Matthew 5:17–48). These obligations can be summarized in terms of loving God and loving people.
Which one of the ten specific obligations is the most difficult for you? Talk to Yeshua about it in prayer and follow Him and His example in pursuing God’s obligations—trusting the Father and bringing Him glory in every way and at all times.
torah 5 & 6
God Leads Through His Word
Deuteronomy 5:22 [19 Heb]–6:3
Moses recounts God’s awesome Presence at Mt. Sinai as well as the people’s fearful response. God had intended to arouse this kind of response and had informed Moses of His intentions beforehand (cf. Exodus 19:9 and 20:20).
God’s intention was to instill in His people a holy fear that would serve as the foundation upon which He could build a long-term loving covenant relationship (cf. Proverbs1:7a).
That relationship was to be nurtured through God’s chosen and appointed mediator (cf. Deuteronomy 18:15–18 and Acts 3:22; 7:7:37).
We Are Called To Follow In Covenant Faithfulness (Sh’ma Yisra’el)
The Sh’ma (“Listen,” v. 4) and v’Ahavta (“and You shall love,” vv. 5–9) continue to call God’s people to exclusive covenant fidelity and steadfast love (vv. 10–15).
Obedience to God’s instruction and following Him alone is the only Way of blessing and life.
Sing or say the Sh’ma and v’Ahavta right now (preferably out loud, unless you are on a commuter train or something!) as a way to call your own heart to see God for Who He really is (6:4), and then commit yourself afresh to total fidelity (6:5–9)! Listen for His response…
torah 7 &
God Will Be Worshiped
God Will Be Obeyed
Idolatry, and intermarriage that would inevitably lead Israel astray into false worship, were unacceptable (cf. 20:16–18).
Israel belongs to God, not because anything in Israel, but because of God’s covenant faithfulness and love as expressed to the patriarchs (cf. 26:18–19). God’s character of faithfulness and love is the foundation of security for all people who covenant with God through His chosen and appointed mediator, Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).
God’s call to know Him personally and obey Him faithfully is the consistent appeal throughout the ages.
How is God leading you to more faithfully heed this call? How is God leading you to more faithfully proclaim this life saving call to others?
Comfort My People
Tisha B’Av (the 9th of the Hebrew lunar month of Av) falls during this week. In the cycle and rhythm of life, this day is a solemn day of mourning. This is the day of the year on which both of the Temples were destroyed in Jerusalem. The Babylonians destroyed the first Temple in 526 B.C.E. Romans destroyed the second one in 70 A.D. Both of these events occurred on the same day and were brought on by Israel’s covenant faithlessness. We are still alive and recognizable as a people and land today because of God’s covenant faithfulness. The Haftarah portion begins with God commanding Isaiah, and all who love Jerusalem, to comfort her.
After the trauma of the Temple’s destruction, Jerusalem needs comforting. How much more during the trauma of homicide bombings and the hopelessness of a Messiah-less life? Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6) that the Prince of Peace will reign as King!
Messiah Is Coming
Messiah spoke words of rebuke to Jerusalem. These very same words of rebuke, however, become words of comfort when the hearers respond with repentance and faith (cf. Hebrews 12:5–11). Messiah’s harsh words are motivated by a deep love that is clear in the final verses. Yeshua is pleading with God’s covenant people to return. He has commissioned us to do the same.
If Yeshua returned today, what would He say to you? How can you honor Him today through covenant fidelity?
Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.