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The First Saturday of Lent

​As Christians, we don’t obey God’s commands out of fear. We don’t obey because we’re afraid something terrible will happen if we don’t. We don’t obey to get something out of it. And we certainly don’t obey because God is the big man in the sky forcing our free will out of our hands.

We obey out of a deep love. Out of a reverent knowing that while we were still sinners and still captives of our broken world, God loved us first.

From the beginning of time, far before the cross, God has been writing a great story of redemption. He has been cultivating moment after moment for His people to overcome.

In Deuteronomy we read about the commands that the Lord laid before the Israelites, not out of strict doctrine but because God wanted them to overcome, he wanted them to be free, He was protecting them from falling down a sinful pit that He knew would be too difficult for them. This chapter is all about God reminding them that He does indeed know best and that their victory (like every other victory before and any to come) lay in their obedience, in their returning to Him.

- Read Deuteronomy 7 

I prefer this chapted in the Holman Christian Standard Bible, but as usual, you can use any translation you'd like.

- Devotional Thought

At​ first look of this chapter, it’s harsh. We see God pretty much demanding the demolition of entire lands. How could a loving and kind God want to get rid of people so many people so ruthlessly?... Because He has his eye set on the ones whose hearts are turned to Him​.​

God wants to give his kids good things. ​But He can't reward them if they're hurting themselves. His command to destroy the ​entire population of each nation He was taking them into was to purify and strengthen His people.

We can't say for sure in our time why there were masses of people killed in the Old Testament, but we do know that Jesus didn't accept the lukewarm. He desires either burning hot or stone cold and these nations that the Lord was ordering to be "completely destroyed" were stone cold. They had long since turned their hearts away from the Lord. They had decided on their own ways above His and weren't close to turning back to Him.

We read that 'God's People' weren't chosen because they were great or mighty, but because of His faithfulnees of keeping His covenant to their forefathers. Here we see the theme of inheritance. They were born into the family of God and He desired their hearts turned towards Him.

We know now that the power of the cross offers redemption to every living soul if they confess that they believe Jesus is Lord with their mouths and in their hearts. But this saving grace wasn't reserved for after the reserrection. If we look at the definitions of redemption, you'll see something interesting.... Google 'Redemption' and here are two things you'll find;

​'T​he action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil​.'

​'T​he action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt​.'

Remember the 'everlasting' joy from yesterday? Well, here's another contiuous tense. Redemtion is a current and future tense. It's not a happened tense. It means that God's redemtpive plan never stops and never runs out. His people are committed to Him, but He continues to search for those who will still turn their hearts to Him!

We also see that Redeption is regaining or gaining posession. We were all born of natural descent from the one who God breathed life into (Adam and Eve) but we have often claimed our lives back into our 'posession' in thinking we don't need God. His redemption offers us the chance to let His reclaim our hearts to their rightful ownership under His care - the care than knows and loves us best!

So when God's Word seems ruthless and reckless, it's because He only has your best in mind. It's not out of your greatness that He loves you but because of His mercy. ​

- Passage to focus on 

"For you are a holy people belonging to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be His own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth...

Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands."

Deuteronomy 7vs6 and 9 HCSB

​I love the HCSB because it uses the name 'Yahweh' here. When using the name 'Yahweh' in old times, it was pronounced in breath. Because it was far too Holy to be said. And that's whats the most awestriking thing about God's redemption. He is God, and yet He longs for our obedience.

- Image for today 

Today's image is what I saw when I read about God's not choosing His people out of their greatness, but because of the covenant over their fathers. Verse 9 talks of God's generosity and loyalty and graciousness. And I think I had this image of Godly hands holding a tiny little bird in mind because we were made to fly and to be free and just because God's hands are there to hold us when we're tired and to protect us, doesn't mean our freeodm to fly and make our own way is taken away.

He's the one above it all but He's not foring anyone anywhere, His hands are open, waiting for us to come to Him.

- Prayer 

Father God,

From the beginning of time we know that you have been coming after our hearts. You have been chasing us down and desiring us to know you and to love you.

I acknowledge before you that I know I have areas of downfall and it is my desire to come right before you. Thank you for treasuring me even though I am only one small human in this great world. But like the little bird learning to fly, I am learning how to trust what you say so that I can spread my wings with freedom and yet with faith.

Thank you for your ongoing redemption, I will never take it for granted again!

- Active idea

What is the area in your life that God wants to completely destroy so that you can step out and walking into freedom? Write out the areas you are struggling with and really need His help with, and then destory the paper as a symbol of taking your trials and handing them over to your king.

You can use the attached colouring sheet to help you process.

5.2 PDF
Download PDF • 232KB

Thank you for joining me today! Hope to see you again soon!

Have a blessed Lent

~ X ~

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