Todays readings… Deuteronomy 13&14, Ecclesiastes 6, Acts 3&4


    Today’s Deuteronomy reading brings to our attention an aspect of God’s dealings with us we need to understand and appreciate.  This final message of Moses, we are finding very interesting: in a number of places it contains lessons very appropriate to our days. Moses warns the people to beware of simply following some person who forecasts correctly about a “sign or a wonder” and it “comes to pass.”  [Ch. 13 v.1,2]  For if such a person “says, ‘Let us go after other gods … and let us serve them’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer of dreams.”[v.3]   And then Moses makes a point we may struggle to appreciate.

    Moses says, “For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”  Our immediate question might be – why does God need us to do that?   We do not understand this as meaning that God makes this happen, rather that he allows this to happen and he has a good reason for allowing it.  When the people entered the promised land they faced many challenges and had to fight many battles, their faithfulness to their God was tested, they had to prove themselves by their trust in God as they went to conquer the idol worshipping nations with all their humanly attractive bad and immoral behaviour. 

These were situations they encountered before they crossed the Jordan and some of them died because they failed the test.

    Moses exhorts them, “You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.” [v.4]. 

They (and we) would not need to hold fast if there were no situations which threatened to pull us away from him; that tested our faithfulness.  Today there are a multitude of such situations.  But what is the quality of faith if it is not tested? Can you identify when there have been times in your life when the Lord has been testing you?  How close are we now in 2017 to crossing the Jordan?

    The miracles we are reading about in Acts are such that they defy any possibility that human cleverness was involved.  Today we read of a man so lame from birth that he had to be carried each day and laid at the Temple Gate.  He was more than 40 years old and Peter and John said to him, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up and immediately he  …” [Ch.3 v.6].  

The reaction of the people gave the disciples a wonderful preaching opportunity, but the reaction of the priests was quite the opposite [Ch. 4], they failed this testing. The Bible message is there in every language for all to read, but nearly all, in 2018, are failing the test.  Can you sense God testing you?  Are you passing the test?