As we start this new book, here is a head’s up that we’ll be going back to our normal six chapters per week rhythm as we read through Deuteronomy. Sundays will go back to being a rest (or catch-up) day. For an overview (or refresher) on Deuteronomy, click here.
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Read Deuteronomy 9
Not Because of Israel’s Righteousness
9 Hear, Israel: You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky. 2 The people are strong and tall—Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: “Who can stand up against the Anakites?” 3 But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you.
4 After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, “The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. 5 It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations,the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 6 Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.
The Golden Calf
7 Remember this and never forget how you aroused the anger of the Lordyour God in the wilderness. From the day you left Egypt until you arrived here, you have been rebellious against the Lord. 8 At Horeb you aroused the Lord’s wrath so that he was angry enough to destroy you. 9 When I went up on the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenantthat the Lord had made with you, I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water. 10 The Lord gave me two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God. On them were all the commandments the Lord proclaimed to you on the mountain out of the fire, on the day of the assembly.
11 At the end of the forty days and forty nights, the Lord gave me the two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant. 12 Then the Lord told me, “Go down from here at once, because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have become corrupt. They have turned away quickly from what I commanded them and have made an idol for themselves.”
13 And the Lord said to me, “I have seen this people, and they are a stiff-necked people indeed! 14 Let me alone, so that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven. And I will make you into a nation stronger and more numerous than they.”
15 So I turned and went down from the mountain while it was ablaze with fire. And the two tablets of the covenant were in my hands. 16 When I looked, I saw that you had sinned against the Lord your God; you had made for yourselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. You had turned aside quickly from the way that the Lord had commanded you. 17 So I took the two tablets and threw them out of my hands, breaking them to pieces before your eyes.
18 Then once again I fell prostrate before the Lord for forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water, because of all the sin you had committed, doing what was evil in the Lord’s sight and so arousing his anger. 19 I feared the anger and wrath of the Lord, for he was angry enough with you to destroy you. But again the Lord listened to me. 20 And the Lordwas angry enough with Aaron to destroy him, but at that time I prayed for Aaron too. 21 Also I took that sinful thing of yours, the calf you had made, and burned it in the fire. Then I crushed it and ground it to powder as fine as dust and threw the dust into a stream that flowed down the mountain.
22 You also made the Lord angry at Taberah, at Massah and at Kibroth Hattaavah.
23 And when the Lord sent you out from Kadesh Barnea, he said, “Go up and take possession of the land I have given you.” But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. You did not trust him or obey him.24 You have been rebellious against the Lord ever since I have known you.
25 I lay prostrate before the Lord those forty days and forty nights because the Lord had said he would destroy you. 26 I prayed to the Lord and said, “Sovereign Lord, do not destroy your people, your own inheritance that you redeemed by your great power and brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.27 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Overlook the stubbornness of this people, their wickedness and their sin. 28 Otherwise, the country from which you brought us will say, ‘Because the Lord was not able to take them into the land he had promised them, and because he hated them, he brought them out to put them to death in the wilderness.’29 But they are your people, your inheritance that you brought out by your great power and your outstretched arm.”
Deuteronomy 9 is a great reminder of our constant need to depend on the Lord and give glory to Him instead of ourselves. The chapter begins with Moses telling the Israelites they are undeserving of the grace and mercy they have been given over and over again by God. And yet even still, God goes before them and fights for them, winning the battle. It can be easier to run to God when we have a battle in front of us, or something we know we cannot accomplish on our own. But how quickly are we to give him the glory when we are victorious because of His help?
The Israelites are told of their coming success solely because of the Lord and not their doing, and still they turn to idols while Moses is on the mountain speaking to God on their behalf. The beginning of this chapter shows us how relatable we can be to the Israelites, in that although our rebellion is present, God’s mercy abounds all the more and for that we can be grateful.
Another point that we can learn from this chapter is the miraculous mercy we have been given by the Lord. The Israelites’ survival from wandering in the wilderness was purely because of the Lord’s protection, and yet pride still presents itself through the golden calf. We can relate to the Israelites through our quick desire to jump to security instead of faith. However we see our pride play out in our own lives, this chapter helps us see that the Lord so faithfully fights for us and gives us undeserving grace.
Unlike the Israelites, we have Jesus Christ to look to as He has paid the ultimate price for our salvation. Our rebellion has been met with an unimaginable amount of mercy, and still we are prone to stray and wander. Just as Moses spent extensive time with the Lord, may we seek him daily and better understand the idols in our lives we need to destroy. May we be reminded, grateful, and humbled that our salvation can never come from our own doing and instead rests in the hands of God.
- What is one area of your life where you are boasting in yourself that you need to surrender to the Lord?
- How can you practically jump to faith instead of worldly security? Maybe it is serving in a particular area, giving generously, or sacrificing time in order to spend it with the Lord.
- What is one battle you have faced, are in the midst of, or will face that you can give victory to the Lord and recognize his protection?
Lord, I come to you humbly today with the reminder that you faithfully fight for me each day. I pray that you help me remove the idols in my life that blind me from your mercy and grace. Thank you for sending your son Jesus to pay the great price for my sins. I am undeserving and humbled by your love. As I go through my day today, I pray that you walk with me and open my eyes to the victories only possible with You. Thank you for Deuteronomy 9, and the reminder that it is not because of my own righteousness I am victorious, but because of Your mercy and Jesus’ sacrifice. May the praise be Yours forever, amen.
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4 thoughts on “Deuteronomy 9”
Not only do we forget God’s faithfulness, but we also are prone to forget our rebellious acts like they never happened. Moses describes this condition as being “stiff necked” where we display a stubborn, argumentative attitude to what we know is right. Think of an animal that is bridled yet resists going in the way it is to be led. At the root of most sin is unbelief that God is able to do what he promised, desiring our own ways over his. How often do we look everywhere else but God for answers? It’s a miserable, futile way to live when God sees us as the object of his love (v15). The response we should give to so great a love is to respect, follow, love, worship and obey Him. He will show us the way, we must walk in it.
We win!!!! Just like the Israelites we get to go into the promised land, yet once again we are a bunch of stiff necked people even knowing we win. BUT GOD with His unending grace towards us give us the knowledge we already know our battles are won. God’s purpose will always happen and be accomplished. However our part in them, we might never see the blessing due to not being obedient to follow through. We do not need to fear because He goes before us even though we have to do our part in fighting the battles, by being obedient and respecting God. It is a one day at a time task. Taking today, right now, this minute to praise God, give Him glory for the next 900 minutes. Asking Him to walk with You through these 900 minutes with wisdom, knowledge and understanding, for direction for His purpose in your life. Prov 2:6,9-11 (NIV) For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding…. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair–every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you
God I thank You for my next 900 or so minutes of interacting with Your world and people. Thank You for guidance with wisdom, knowledge and understanding for Your purposes through me. Lead me, guide me, give me Your love goggles to see people as You do. Thank You for loving me when I, me, myself gets in the way. Thank You for taking the burden of pride away from me. Help me be humble in Jesus name amen
The commentator said it best, “But how quickly are we to give him the glory when we are victorious because of His help?” The very simple act of gratitude. God saved them from slavery, fed them daily manna, and now handing them free land to take possession of. Have you ever received free land as a love offering? All God is asking for is love in return by acts of obedience and gratefulness. Simple acts compared to His gracious generosity. The same He gives us today with security, healing from sickness, job promotions, protection of safety, and new mercies each day. Two important acts of Christian disciplines of obedience and gratitude…that’s it.
May we pray the prayer today with sincerity and ask for forgiveness.
Two thoughts on today’s reading.
– To God be the Glory great things He has done, is doing, and will do
– “Not because of who I am, but because of what you’ve done, Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who You are”(lyrics from Casting Crown’s “Who Am I”)