How can I alone bear your problems and your burdens and your complaints? Deuteronomy 1:12
Moses was overwhelmed when leading the children of Israel through the desert, and he asked in bewilderment, “How can I alone bear your problems and your burdens and your complaints?” Imagine bearing the problems for an entire nation. The truth is, we can’t even bear our own problems, burdens, and complaints. We haven’t the strength, wisdom, or intestinal fortitude to withstand the weight of life. Even the apostle Paul said, “We were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).
Problems are a testing ground to prove our dependence on God. When we’re pressed beyond measure, we have to cast our burden on Him who blesses beyond measure. The relief of casting our cares on God is like the relief one feels when a long ordeal has ended. We cannot bear our burdens alone, but the Lord Jesus Christ has risen from the dead with strong shoulders.
He can carry your cares today and He can also carry you in His omnipotent arms.
The devil sometimes goes too far. He drives us straight into the Lord’s arms. Ruth Bell Graham
Deuteronomy 1 – Skip Heitzig
May 14, 2015
As we kick off our series in Deuteronomy, we see how this book is not just a repetition of previous accounts, but a safeguard against God’s truths being forgotten or neglected over time. In this first chapter, Moses recapped the four-step journey that led the Israelites to wander in the wilderness for nearly forty years.
Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! Micah 7:19 nlt
At the Second Chance Bike Shop near our neighborhood, volunteers rebuild cast-off bicycles and donate them to needy kids. Shop founder Ernie Clark also donates bikes to needy adults, including the homeless, the disabled, and military veterans struggling to make it in civilian life. Not only do the bicycles get a second chance but sometimes the recipients get a new start too. One veteran used his new bike to get to a job interview.
Second chances can transform a person’s life, especially when the second chance comes from God. The prophet Micah extoled such grace during a time the nation of Israel groveled in bribery, fraud, and other despicable sins. As Micah lamented, “The godly people have all disappeared; not one honest person is left on the earth” (Micah 7:2 nlt).
God would rightly punish evil, Micah knew. But being loving, He would give those who repented another chance. Humbled by such love, Micah asked, “Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people?” (v. 18 nlt).
We too can rejoice that God doesn’t abandon us because of our sins if we ask for forgiveness. As Micah declared of God, “Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!” (v. 19 nlt). God’s love gives second chances to all who seek Him.
Reflect & Pray
What sin will you repent of and gain a second chance from our loving God?
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the grace of second chances.
Imagine driving down a gravel road on a dark, rainy night. Even the light from your headlights seems to be swallowed by the blackness as you struggle to avoid veering off the road. Now consider what a difference it would make if there were yellow lines down the middle and white ones along the sides. You’d know exactly where on the road you’re supposed to be.
These two scenarios represent the difference between a life based on preferences and one guided by scriptural principles. Preferences fluctuate with the circumstances. When this is the basis for our decision making, the result is confusion, stress, and possibly danger as we wander through life. In contrast, principles are God’s unchanging truths, which keep us on the path of His will and protect us from spiritual danger and deception.
Daniel is an example of a young man who lived by principles. When he realized there was a line he couldn’t cross without disobeying the Lord, he stood fast and trusted God instead of conforming to the pagan world around him. Daniel chose not to eat food that had been sacrificed to Babylonian idols, and he left the consequences of his obedience to the Lord.
There are two main reasons we sometimes rely on preference-based decision making: Either we want to fit in, or we want to avoid the negative consequences that could come as a result of obeying the Lord. Yet to go this route will leave us in darkness, swerving dangerously through life. Safety and security can be found only in obedience to God’s principles, which are like bright white lines on the road keeping us in the center of His will.
“And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.” (2 Kings 22:11)
This experience of Judah’s good King Josiah illustrates the convicting power of the Scriptures and points up the essential importance of the revealed Word of God in the process of repentance, forgiveness, and salvation. It is the Word of God that brings conviction of one’s need of salvation, and this is the indispensable first step leading to salvation. “For by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).
It is also through the Scriptures that one comes to an understanding of salvation: “The holy scriptures . . . are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). Furthermore, it is the Word that generates saving faith: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Finally, the very miracle of regeneration, transforming a lost soul into a born-again child of God, is accomplished by the Holy Spirit on the basis of saving faith in Christ (as revealed in Scripture) through the Word. “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth” (James 1:18). “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23).
The result of King Josiah’s reading of the Word was that he “made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments” (2 Kings 23:3).
In view of the transcendent importance of God’s Word in every phase of the process of salvation, it is no wonder that the apostle Paul’s great command, just before his martyrdom and just after his tremendous assertion of the full inspiration of Scripture and its sufficiency for every need (2 Timothy 3:15-17), was, simply, “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2). Not just preach, but preach the Word! HMM
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
There is another and worse evil which springs from this basic failure to grasp the radical difference between the natures of the two worlds. It is the habit of languidly “accepting” salvation as if it were a small matter and one wholly in our hands. Men are exhorted to think things over and “decide” for Christ, and in some places one day each year is set aside as “Decision Day,” at which time people are expected to condescend to grant Christ the right to save them, a right which they have obviously refused Him up to that time. Christ is thus made to stand again before men’s judgment seat; He is made to wait upon the pleasure of the individual, and after long and humble waiting is either turned away or patronizingly admitted. By a complete misunderstanding of the noble and true doctrine of the freedom of the human will, salvation is made to depend perilously upon the will of man instead of upon the will of God.
However deep the mystery, however many the paradoxes involved, it is still true that men become saints not at their own whim but by sovereign calling. POM037-038
Sovereign God, I’m Your servant. I’ll share the message, I’ll pray for response, but only You can draw an unsaved person to faith in Christ. Thank You for the privilege of having even a small part in Your sovereign work. Amen.
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us In all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are In any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.—2 Corinthians 1:3, 4.
The spirit of gracious and expressed affection. Ah, let no one shrink from expressing it! The heart has strange abysses of gloom, and often yearns for just one word of love to help. And it is just when the manner may be drier and less genial than usual that the need may be greatest.
Lucy C. Smith.
God puts within our reach the power of helpfulness, the ministry of pity: He is ever ready to increase His grace in our hearts, that as we live and act among all the sorrows of the world we may learn by slow degrees the skill and mystery of consolation. “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” There is no surer way of steadfast peace in this world than the active exercise of pity; no happier temper of mind and work than the lowly watching to see if we can lessen any misery that is about us: nor is there any better way of growth in faith and love.
“I will judge between cattle and cattle.” Ezek. 34:22
Some are fat and flourishing, and therefore they are unkind to the feeble. This is a grievous sin, and causes much sorrow. Those thrustings with side and with shoulder, those pushings of the diseased with the horn, are a sad means of offense in the assemblies of professing believers. The Lord takes note of these proud and unkind deeds, and He is greatly angered by them, for He loves the weak.
Is the reader one of the despised? Is he a mourner in Zion, and a marked man because of his tender conscience? Do his brethren judge him harshly? Let him not resent their conduct; above all let him not push and thrust in return. Let him leave the matter in the Lord’s hands. He is the Judge. Why should we wish to intrude upon His office? He will decide much more righteously than we can. His time for judgment is the best, and we need not be in a hurry to hasten it on.
Let the hardhearted oppressor tremble. Even though he may ride roughshod over others with impunity for the present, all his proud speeches are noted, and for every one of them account must be given before the bar of the Great Judge.
Patience, my soul! Patience! The Lord knoweth thy grief. Thy Jesus hath pity upon thee!