NEVER AGAIN? Deuteronomy 17

I’ve discovered a gem in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, in the midst of laws, rules and regulations.   A fragment of a verse which gives me pause.

Chapter 17 focuses on negative and positive instructions for a king, if ancient Israel chooses to have one.  Marvelous words that also apply to all believers.  Look at Deuteronomy 17:16 for that gemstone–‘…You shall never return that way again.’

The warning’s issued against anything material or spiritual that will lead Israel to turn back to Egypt.  Back to slavery. Back to worshipping gods other than the one true God, Yahweh.  Backwards.  ‘Never return that way again.’

A thought crosses my mind– true repentance means that we don’t return to sinful ways on a regular habit.  Instead of toying with what God forbids, turn away.  Don’t say you’ll do it, do it.  Not like Lot’s wife, who’s supposed to be on a salt-free diet, yet gazes over her shoulder, yearning to go back sin’s way, then becoming a block of Kosher salt.

I know when I mean business with the Lord that things change in my life.  Yes, I’ve had times of grasping greed, holding tightfistedly to money and things.  Not just then, but now.  When I look in the mirror of my Bible, I know that I must change.

But do I really want to?  Completely?  100%?  Don’t I wish!  I’m far from perfect.  Often a perfect mess!  Yet Jesus knows that I long to be His true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool follower.  At least most of the time.  See my dilemma?  Yet He forgives me, giving strength to get off my duff, stop wallowing in guilt and pity, shifting my transmission, so to speak, out of reverse into forward drive.

Now it’s your turn to face whatever needs changing.  Being honest and upfront, probably best keeping it between you and your Lord, knowing the trouble sin causes.  Hoping and praying never to return that way again.

At least until the next time.  And when we do, as we will, get up and go.  Holding Jesus’ hand.  Looking up into His face, resolving not to double back, flip-flopping, and bottoming out once again.  Jesus will help you get right back up!  Ready?

Lord Jesus, I want to be more like you.  Amen.

A VERSE TO DYE FOR!……Read Hebrew 4: 12-13

Over the years, 9 as a Presbyterian minister and 14 as the pastor of the United Christian Church here where we live in Aberdeen, Washington, I’ve visited lots of parishioners in various hospitals. At Englewood Hospital in New Jersey, where my two sons were born. Even peddling and riding my French moped, a Motobacane, across the George Washington Bridge to New York City’s Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital; and then, of course, many hospitals and nursing homes and rehab centers in our Western Washington area for the past umpteenth years. Many times patients needed to have a procedure involving a special dye that would bring to light in the network of veins and arteries in the human body problems that could only be detected in this way. A special dye that brings something to light. Something that needs attention. Something that we’re missing on our own, something that needs correction. Spiritually, that special dye that brings to light is God’s Word, the Bible. In the New Testament book of Hebrews, the author writes that ‘…the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.’ Like a dye that brings to light, the Bible will open up our lives and attitudes to God’s scrutiny like nothing else can or will. Let me suggest that if you don’t want to change in any way, if you are just so satisfied with yourself as you are, if you like everything about yourself and want to hang on to what you know is contrary to God and His ways, then don’t read the Bible! Now let me say that when I read God’s Word, of course, there is such comfort and hope and encouragement from cover to cover, but that’s not the complete story. No, like a surgeon who needs to remove something that is playing havoc with our health, so God’s Word will cut and penetrate and get right to the heart and marrow and joint of where I and we need some change. As they say, ‘no pain, no gain’. So, don’t shy away from the Divine Surgeon and His Word–it’s all for our own good as we desire to be more like His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus died so that the dye of the Word would save us and cleanse us making us more useful for His Kingdom. ‘I’m ready, Doctor Jesus…do your work, show me what I can’t see on my own, make me more like yourself!’