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Bible Pathways 03/05/2002

March 05

Read Deuteronomy 11 -- 13

In Today's Reading:

Moses outlines the blessings and curses the Israelites will receive -- depending on how they live. He makes clear that the choice is theirs.

Verse for Today:

These are the statutes . . . which you shall observe to do in the land, which the Lord God . . . gives you to possess. . . . You shall utterly destroy all the places, where the nations which you shall possess served their gods (Deuteronomy 12:1-2).


Israel is to love and obey God; God chooses the place where He is to be worshiped; warning against false gods and adding to or taking away anything from His Word; test of false prophets; idolatrous cities to be destroyed; punishment of apostates.

As the Israelites settled in the Promised Land, their attitude and actions toward false gods would be of primary concern. Therefore, their first duty upon entering and possessing the land was to destroy every place of idol worship since they were an abomination to God. According to human reasoning, it may seem intolerant to destroy the worship centers of other religions. But consider this -- should the One True Holy God tolerate false, deceitful gods whose worshipers rejected their Creator and the One who alone can save them from eternal hell?

The Promised Land was to foreshadow the millennial reign of Christ. Israel was to be a role model of the blessings that God would bestow upon a people who were obedient to His Word. History records that Israel failed to be a faithful representative of the One True God and eventually lost that position as well as their land. However, their has always been a remnant, even in exile, including the prophets that remained faithful to God.

We now live under a new dispensation. God no longer dwells in a physical Temple such as the one built in Jerusalem. He now lives in the hearts of believers who must remove all altars of false worship, not in their communities but within their own lives. Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

The New Testament strongly condemns force as a way of achieving the purposes of God. It would be a violation of true Christianity. Jesus said to Pilate: My kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight (John 18:36). At no time does the Apostle Paul, who suffered greatly at the hands of religious leaders, imply that Christians were to forcefully destroy the worship center of false gods or attempt to force others to become a Christian.

As we read the Word of God with a desire to please the Lord, the Holy Spirit empowers the believer to become the person God wants him to be.

Christians should never take the oppressive position of the atheists and other groups that seek to suppress or destroy the Christian's freedom to publicly display Christian principles like the Ten Commandments, reading the Bible, or even singing "God Bless America." Christians should never respond with violence, even against those who would destroy the life of an unborn child.

It is acceptable to disagree with someone's faith, or lack of it, but it is wrong to physically attack people who disagree with someone's convictions.

In contrast, who hate Jesus Christ violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that protects the religious liberty of everyone -- people of all faiths, even the smallest minorities and people who profess no religious faith. America should be a place where all of us, religious and nonreligious, are free to attempt to persuade one another to our view, but not through acts of violence, intolerance, or other means of suppressing their convictions. God created everyone of us with the freedom to choose for or against Him and everyone needs to respect that right.

However, we must, as Christians, follow the Word of God and proclaim Jesus Christ as God, the Creator of all things (John 1:3), and the only Savior from eternal hell (1 Timothy 2:5; Revelation 1:18). As the Apostle Peter said to the rulers of the people, and elders of Israel . . . by the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. . . . Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:8).

A Thought from Daniel: They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever (12:3).

Christ Revealed:

Through the Burnt Offerings, which typified the sinless Christ wholly offering Himself for our sins (Deuteronomy 12:6; Hebrews 10:5-10; John 10:14-18).

Word Studies:

11:14 first rain and the latter rain = autumn rain and spring rain; 11:21 fathers = ancestors; 11:24 uttermost sea = Mediterranean Sea; 11:30 the champaign over against Gigal = flat desert plains opposite Gilgal; plains = oaks; 12:15 gates = towns; whatsoever thy soul lusteth after = as much as you desire; 13:5 to thrust thee part of the way = to draw you away from doing the Will of God.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Tim Holden (PA), Gov. John Kitzhaber (OR), Rep. Todd Platts (PA), and Rep. Don Sherwood (PA) · Pray for your Pastor · Country: Tonga (109,000) in the southwestern Pacific · Major languages: Tongan and English · Religious freedom · 55% Protestant; 22% Mormon; 14% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: All men need to pray to the Lord, who hears prayers (Psalms 65:2).

Optional Reading: Luke 20

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:13

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