Tuesday, August 07, 2012

#musesofamom: A Forgotten Book of the Bible

When we refer to the Old Testament in the Bible, we may think about Creation, the Great Flood, battle heroes, smart judges, wise prophets, good and crazy kings, praises in the Psalms, wisdom in Proverbs, and the eventual Captivity of God's people.

What we don't think about is Deuteronomy.

Deuter-what?

You probably know that this book is in the Old Testament, but you wouldn't consider it as one of those "go to" books.  After all, all the exciting history and stuff that is better understood is elsewhere.

But did you know that Deuteronomy has a multitude of encouraging nuggets for all of us?  Yep, right in there with all those laws and commandments given to the Israelites by God through Moses.

As teacher and rabbi,* we know that Jesus quoted from the book of Deuteronomy (Matthew 4:4; Deut. 8:3).  If Jesus taught his followers from this book, then he will most definitely want us to look more closely at it too.

I took this on as a challenge, delving into the book to see what I could find. It didn't take long for me to find a good lesson.

In chapter 4, Moses is giving Israel a warning from God about idolatry, but in verse 29, there is a treasure:   

"But from there you will search again for the Lord your God.  And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him."  (NLT)

When we need God, He is always "findable!"  He doesn't play hide and seek with us; when we truly look for Him and ask of Him, He is going to be right there for us. (Psalm 146:18)

That's a good promise right there, but it gets better.  Verses 30-31 say this:  

"When troubles come and all these awful things happen to you, in future days you will come back to God, your God, and listen obediently to what he says.  God, your God, is above all a compassionate God.  In the end, he will not abandon you, he won't bring you to ruin, he won't forget the covenant with your ancestors which he swore to them."  (MSG)

"When troubles come."  Oh, and don't we know that to be true?  We have our good times, but troubles can be around the corner:  your child becomes desperately sick, the hubby gets laid off, the house payment is late, the minivan needs major repair, again.  Each of us has had, and will have our share of trouble.

"You will come back to God."  When there are good times, don't we sometimes have a tendency to let things roll and not be close to God as we should?  Don't worry.  He knows.  And he knows that you will come looking for Him when things aren't so good.  He desires for you too.  He also asks you to listen to what He has to say and to follow it so He can help you through the bad times.

"God, your God, is above all a compassionate God."  He is your God!  You don't need permission to approach Him.  He is merciful, kind, sympathetic and understanding.  He is ALL heart!  He's ready to wrap you in a loving hug while you are going through your mess.

"He will not abandon you ... he won't forget"  He is ever faithful and will never reject or turn away from you no matter what the trouble is or what you may have done!   He is yours and you are His.  He will always be attentive and listen to everything that you have to tell Him during your distress.

Don't feel as though when troubles come that you cannot go to your God for help and a hug.  Even if you haven't spent much time with Him during the good times, He is forgiving, loving and always, always there for you.  All He asks is for you to come to Him.  He is "our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. " (Psalm 46:1)

Is there something you are struggling with and can share with Him today?  Don't wait. Go to Him and ask for His help.  And don't forget to ask for the hug.  He gives the best hugs ever!

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*Rabbi was a title of dignity given by the Jews to the masters of the law and distinguished teachers.