ODJ: crushed

January 6, 2015 

READ: Deuteronomy 1:42-46 

If you go ahead on your own, you will be crushed by your enemies (v.42). 

The other day I read two passages in Deuteronomy and Numbers with similar messages. They caused me to recognise more deeply the consequences of disobeying God and failing to heed His warnings. Put succinctly: moving forward without God’s leading, permission or assistance, regardless of how we justify our words or actions, will lead to His judgement.

Let’s take a look at how two accounts in these Old Testament books reveal this truth. But as we do, keep in mind that we’re considering the physical, earthly consequences of our disobedience, not the eternal consequences of sin for which Jesus made salvation possible.

In Deuteronomy 1, Moses recounted how the Israelites had balked at God’s provision and “refused to trust the LORD” (v.32). Because they disobeyed and would not enter the land when God told them to, He postponed their entry into it for 40 years.

Later, the Israelites had grown tired of wandering in the desert and began complaining. Discontented with God’s timing, they prepared to head to the Promised Land on their own terms. They took things into their own hands and attacked their enemies, though they had been warned by the Lord, “Do not attack, for I am not with you. If you go ahead on your own, you will be crushed by your enemies” (Deuteronomy 1:42). And, indeed, when they attacked they were crushed and defeated. “The Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in those hills came down and attacked them and chased them back as far as Hormah” (v.45).

When we choose words and actions that go against God’s will and His clear instruction, we reap the consequences. Instead, may we increasingly pray and seek God’s wisdom before we speak or act. —Roxanne Robbins

365-day plan› Genesis 8:1-22

Read Luke 11:28 and see what Jesus says about people who take in God’s Word and faithfully put it into practice. 
Ready to lash out at someone with your words? Consider God’s commands, and then choose to do what is right in His eyes. What will prevent you from being crushed by willful God-dishonouring decisions today? 

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ODJ: walk worthy of God

February 9, 2013 

READ: 1 Thessalonians 2:12-16 

We pleaded with you, encouraged you and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy (v.12).

Congratulations for doing so well!” Friends and family recently showered me with praise. But it was due to the fact that my daughter had done exceptionally well in her national examinations. As a father, I couldn’t have been prouder of my daughter’s achievements. Likewise, we do our heavenly Father proud when we live our lives “in a way that God would consider worthy” (1 Thessalonians 2:12; see also Matthew 5:16).
That the believers at Thessalonica would live in a way “that God would consider worthy” (1 Thessalonians 2:12) was Paul’s expectation for his spiritual sons and daughters. Bible teacher Alexander Maclaren states: “Here we have the whole law of Christian conduct in a nutshell. There may be many detailed commandments, but they can all be deduced from this one.”
To live a ‘worthy’ life means reflecting in our words and actions who our heavenly Father is (Matthew 5:48; Ephesians 5:1). It means to become like His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2).

To live worthy lives, we need God’s Word. The Bible is not ‘mere human ideas’. It’s the “very Word of God” that has the power to transform lives and “continues to work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). To live worthy lives, we must receive, believe and be changed by God’s Word (Romans 12:2).
Paul also warned us of God’s wrath (1 Thessalonians 2:16). God’s anger is just as real as His love (Exodus 34:6-7; Jeremiah 32:18). When we “fail to please God” (1 Thessalonians 2:15) and “continue to pile up [our] sins,” there is no escaping God’s wrath (v.16, Hebrews 2:1-3, 10:26-29). God will punish sin and sinful behaviour (Proverbs 3:11-12; Hebrews 12:9-12).
Our Father has certain expectations of us. Let’s get to know Him better and better, and produce every kind of good fruit that honours and pleases Him (Colossians 1:10). —K.T. Sim

What does the worthy life look like based on Ephesians 4:1-5 and Colossians 1:9-10?
What steps do you need to take to walk worthy of God? How has God’s Word changed you in the past few months?

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