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Passage: Deuteronomy 32-34

On Tuesday, March 19, 2013 (Last Updated on 3/19/2014), Yujin wrote,

See now that I, I am He,
And there is no god besides Me;
It is I who put to death and give life.
I have wounded and it is I who heal,
And there is no one who can deliver from My hand (Deuteronomy 32:39).

Someone asked if the Bible admits to there being other gods because sometimes it speaks of Yahweh, the God of Israel, going against the gods of the nations. Simply put, no. There are no other gods but God. The mention of "gods" in the Bible does not suggest actuality but simply what pagans think, believe, and worship as such. 

We find a parallel declaration in Isaiah 43:10-13,

And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
And there will be none after Me.
I, even I, am the Lord,
And there is no savior besides Me...
So you are My witnesses,” declares the Lord,
And I am God.
Even from eternity I am He,
And there is none who can deliver out of My hand;
I act and who can reverse it?

Again in Isaiah 45:5 we read,

I am the Lord, and there is no other;
Besides Me there is no God.

Now, notice something else back in Deuteronomy 32:39. God says, "It is I who put to death and give life." Once again, God says, "I have wounded and it is I who heal." How are we to understand this? Is God simply saying that He can kill and give birth? Is He simply saying that He can wound people and also heal their wounds? No. There is nothing special about these things. Then, what is God saying here?

God is saying that death and life, wounds and healing, are His domain. In other words, no one can kill without God's both knowing and allowing it, neither can they wound anyone. What is more, the beginning of life and the restoration of life are also His provenance. There is nothing hidden from the LORD. There is nothing that slips His notice or control, neither the craftiness of men nor of angels. You can attribute this or that genocide to ruthless rulers or even the devil, but ultimately God allowed it. If it happened apart from His knowing or apart from His control, then He would not be God. 

Theologians make a big deal about how it was not God but Satan who afflicted righteous Job and his family, but did God not know what Satan would do? Was God deceived by Satan? Didn't God give Satan permission to do what he did and that with limits? When we make such excuses for God, rather than defending His honor, we are belittling Him, and we show ourselves ignorant of the true nature of God. 

Friends, the fact that God sees and controls all death and life, all wounding and healing, should comfort us. Then, we can know for sure that He has the power to bring His promises to completion:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified (Romans 8:28-30).

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

Passage: Deuteronomy 32-34

On Monday, March 19, 2012 (Last Updated on 3/19/2014), Yujin wrote,

Friends, we read this in Deuteronomy 32:26-27,

 I would have annihilated them, 
      wiping out even the memory of them. 
 But I feared the taunt of Israel’s enemy, 
      who might misunderstand and say, 
   “Our own power has triumphed! 
      The LORD had nothing to do with this!”’

Since the people have not yet entered the land, this is a prophecy of their future. God would be so angry with them, He would consider annihilating them and erasing every memory of them. However, what stays His hand is not the few that were faithful in the land but rather the prospect that the world looking on might misinterpret His actions. God doesn't want anyone to take credit for what He did.

Know for certain that the chief purpose of God is not man's salvation, or condemnation for that matter, but His glory. Of all that is said of the "Fatherhood of God," what father would destroy his own children, and in such a terrible fashion. Would you do this even if your children were to curse you to your face? Yet, God would do this, even for less, because of His holiness. It is with no hesitation that God wiped out 24,000 of His children in one fell swoop when they adulterated themselves with the idols of Moab. Even more, the entire adult generation that God delivered from Egypt was slaughtered over forty years of arduous wandering in the desert. Even more, everyone except eight were swept away by the great flood.

Much is made of the "Fatherhood of God" from the Parable of the Prodigal Son, a parable with no interpretation from Jesus. We ought to be careful in how we interpret such parables, especially since parables were designed to hide truth, and all of them required explanations even for the disciples to understand. While God is "the Father" and "our Father in heaven," we must not forget that He is God and Creator and perfectly holy. God's discipline is not just a slap in the butt. He will destroy the life and often in the Scriptures in a "Final Destination" kind of way. You can get a taste of this from the language of Deuteronomy 32.

Too often God's love has been taught as something "touchy-feely" rather than something deeply profound. It is not without reason that our love for God is always equated with our fear of God. And it is not without reason that the root meaning of God's "lovingkindness" (hesed) toward us in the Hebrew is not some emotional tendency in God but rather God's faithfulness to do what He says; that is, fulfill His covenant promises. Our hope is not in some emotional connection with God, which often belies our emphasis on having a "relationship with God." No, our hope is in God's faithfulness to keep His promise to save those who trust in Jesus Christ.

It is perhaps because our concept of "love" arises out of the sixties that we think of it in the emotionally charged, tears-inducing kind of way. Such emotions are not wrong, but they do not have any basis in Scripture. It would be more accurate to connect loving God with "working out our salvation with fear and trembling," as Paul teaches in Philippians 2:12. 

How long will you misunderstand God's motives? The same God that saved sinners like you and me has destroyed other sinners like you and me, as well those much worse and much better than you and me. Be grateful that God has chosen you for salvation, but it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with God. As God has declared,

I am the LORD; that is my name! 
   I will not yield my glory to another (Isaiah 42:8).

For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. 
   How can I let myself be defamed? 
   I will not yield my glory to another (Isaiah 48:11).

Daily I am aware of my depravity. I am deserving only of judgment. But praise God for His grace, by which my dread is transformed into a glorious hope. Praise God that He has determined that He will be glorified in my salvation rather than in my destruction. It is because of You, LORD, that I am in Christ Jesus, who is my righteousness, holiness and redemption! (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Passage: Deuteronomy 32-34

On Sunday, March 20, 2011, Unmi wrote,

Deut 32: 3 I will proclaim the name of the LORD.  Oh, praise the greatness of our God! 4 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.

Wow! What a powerful statement. No matter what circumstance we are currently in, let us remember that our God is perfect and His ways are just. As a child of God, we should have comfort in this alone. Whether the road we each take leads us to blessing or suffering on this earth, man's chief end is to glorify God.  May the name of the LORD be praise!

Passage: Deuteronomy 32-34

On Saturday, March 19, 2011, Stephen wrote,

I am thankful today that the Lord has granted me another day on earth!  Let us live worthy of His calling by proclaiming the name of the Lord and praising His greatness of our God!  God says that he will surely bring the calamities upon His children because of their unfaithfulness to Him but at the end they will be vindicated and all the nations will rejoice with His people.  We see that their unfaithfulness cannot nullify God's plan to bless them and other nations.  Christ came through the line of Judah to bless the Jews and the Gentiles alike.  His faithfulness prevails in any circumstances.  Isn't it such a comfort that He is faithful?  Open-mouth smile

Passage: Deuteronomy 32-34

On Friday, March 18, 2011, Aaron wrote,

I was surprised that it says that God buries Moses on the mountain.  I saw in the footnotes that it could be read as "they" buried not sure.  But as has been said, Moses must have been especially special to God as well for God to have buried him.  We always view Moses as a prophet and intermediary between the people and God.  I've not heard of anyone discuss the relationship that Moses and God had together, and whether God viewed Moses as more than merely a man/prophet, but for God to have buried him (versus leaving it to the people or priests), would that signify that God and Moses were then merely God/servant?  To my, it would open up another dynamic if we learned that Moses and God had conversations beyond what is written in the Bible.  Not that I imagine them discussing their favorite baseball team, but those soul searching questions we have, questions about nature we have, and the wickedness of His people.

Passage: Deuteronomy 32-34

On Sunday, March 7, 2010, Matt wrote,

Chapter 34 of Deuteronomy tells of Moses's death.  Reflecting on his life it was an anointed one indeed.  In fact he was the only one who talked with God face to face.  No one would dispute his relationship with God was unique and special.  Ironically he wasn't allowed to enter the promised land because of his disobedience in the Desert of Zin.  Quite a high price to pay but that just goes to show that with much knowledge and understanding (power) comes great responsibility.  Moses was just a man but God held him to a higher standard based on his faith.  I think God wants us to gain this power but I think we sometimes feel like it is too much work, not a priority or are afraid of what we must do once we have it.  These are characteristics of our sinful nature.  We naturally don't want to know God but his Spirit gives us that motivation.  Once it is in us we not only struggle with our own desires but with God's as well.  I personally feel that the struggle is as natural as the other spiritual battles that takes place in the world every day.  Peace can be garnered however when we align ourselves with God's will and lower the resistance to the Spirit's leading.  Let us continue to seek this peace and closeness with God for all else that we desire comes from that alone.

Yujin comments...Amen, brother Matt! Your sharing reminds me of the parable of the talents. The one given 10, invested and returned 10 more. The one given 5, invested and returned 5 more. The one given 1, buried it and gave back what he received. This last servant is called foolish and wicked. Such are those that try to run or hide from God's calling and gifting. At the judgment, they will be shown not only to be unfruitful but unsaved, and whatever talent was given to them will be taken from them and given to those that have been faithful. And the fruitless servant will be thrown into hell. Yet, the fruitful servants will be warmly welcomed into heaven. Everyone who has ears to hear should hear. We can find motivation to be faithful to the fullest extent both in the prospect of welcome and reward for the fruitful as well as the threat of eternal punishment for the fruitless.