“These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red Sea,.…And it came to pass in the fortieth year, the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the Lord had given him in commandment unto them.”
Deuteronomy 1: 1, 3
King James Version
“I’m Not What I Was – and Neither Are You!”
“We must remember throughout our lives that in God’s sight there are no little people and no little places. Only one thing is important; to be consecrated persons in God’s place for us, at each moment.”
Francis A. Schaeffer
Am I growing in my relationship with Jesus every day?
“The renewal of our natures is a work of great importance. It is not to be done in a day. We have not only a new house to build up, but an old one to pull down.”
“This life therefore is not righteousness but growth in righteousness; not health but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not what we shall be but we are growing toward it; the process is not yet finished but it is going on; this is not the end but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified.”
I love the hobby of working with mosaic tiles and old cracked pieces of china. My interest in this form of artwork began several years ago when I was given a small box which was covered with pieces of pottery. After surveying this little treasure, I decided I might be able to cover boxes and flower pots myself. So I took several classes that gave me the foundation I needed to do mosaic work.
What I found is that training and practice are absolute necessities in order for improvement to be shown in the finished product. Certain rules need to be followed and specific techniques sharpened if you want each project to look better.
It interests me that so often in our daily work and hobbies, we understand the necessity of refining our skills and yet when it comes to our spiritual life we somehow seem to think that we are “mature” and “perfected” overnight. If we snap our fingers, we believe our spiritual life will be fully developed the minute we accept Jesus. Yet as we review the lives of some of the mightiest Biblical heroes and heroines, we note the perfection they longed for was not an immediate gift, but was a work that took a lifetime.
This is what we find in the book of Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Bible.
Several weeks ago, my mother pulled some books out of my dad’s library. My father loved to go to used book stores and find volumes written by great preachers like Charles Spurgeon, D. L. Moody, and G. Campbell Morgan whose life was greatly influenced by Dwight Moody. A thorough Bible student, G. Campbell Morgan spent a great deal of time in his life as pastor of Westminster Chapel in England and he not only taught but wrote many books including one my father had entitled, The Message of the Books of the Bible.
As I read his notes on the book of Deuteronomy, I must admit his insight directed me in a different pathway than I was headed at first.
Deuteronomy, to me, seemed like a book filled with history. It is a verbal diary of the life of the children of Israel tracing their liberation from Egyptian bondage to their freedom in the Promised Land. As I read each chapter, I was reading the book as though it were a travelogue. But G. Campbell Morgan noted that two specific texts “bookend” Deuteronomy. The first text is Deuteronomy1: 3, (K.J.V,) “Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the Lord had given him in commandment unto them.” This was one bookend. The other bookend is found in the final chapter of Deuteronomy, 34, verses 9 and 10. “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him; and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses. And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.”
When the book of Deuteronomy began, Moses laid out historically and spiritually where, not only the children of Israel were, but also where he was. Trained for 40 years in the courts and schools of Egypt, Moses’ view of God was extremely limited. And so God used some of Moses’ own folly to take him into the wilderness of Midian where for 40 years, he spent time in nature alone with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This training prepared Moses for leadership of God’s children and for the close face-to-face relationship that took God’s champion a lifetime to develop.
While Deuteronomy does seem like a travelogue – in my further reading, I found Moses’ spiritual-log. A detailed history which perfectly portrays God’s guiding and healing hand in, not only Moses’ life, but our lives as well.
While the specific stories of women’s lives aren’t as prevalent in Deuteronomy, we must remember that the foundation and support of Moses’ life was profoundly affected by women. Because of this fact, it will do all God’s daughters, and sons too, who come to the garden each day, to take time and reflect on God’s guiding hand in the life of Moses and God’s children. What we will see is that by the end of his life, Moses could say to the children of Israel, “Praise God – I’m not where I was and neither are you!” As one unknown author so perfectly penned: “I may not be who I want to be, and I may not be who I am going to be, but thank God I am not who I was.”
“A soul may be in as thriving a state when thirsting, seeking and mourning after the Lord as when actually rejoicing in Him; as much in earnest when fighting in the valley as when singing upon the mount.”
“We have our treasure in earthen vessels, but thou, O Holy Spirit, when thou livest in a man, thou livest in what is infinitely lower. Thou Spirit of Holiness, thou livest in the midst of impurity and corruption; thou Spirit of Wisdom, thou livest in the midst of folly, thou Spirit of Truth, thou livest in one who is himself deluded. Oh, continue to dwell there, thou who dost not seek a desirable dwelling place, for thou wouldst seek there in vain, thou Creator and Redeemer, to make a dwelling for thyself; oh, continue to dwell there, that one day thou mayst finally be pleased by the dwelling which thou didst thyself prepare in my heart, foolish, deceiving, and impure as it is.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Available May 2009