Introduction: I finish my New Year’s starting messages from Deuteronomy 31.
- Week 1 – ‘Search me O God, and know my ways…’
- Week 2 – Enough is Enough – Occupy the Land
- Week 3 – Ending are Just the Beginning
A couple of things to consider.
- Change is Inevitable – v.1-2
Moses, just like Noah, served the Lord (lived) for 120 years.
Applications: It is not unusual for us to look back and consider or reminisce about ‘the good old days.’ Things we did, music we grew up on, when the kids were little, (when we were allowed to play on the streets after dark, or ride in the back of pick-up trucks, etc. But things do change!
Karl Lagerfeld, ‘What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.’
Anonymous – ‘I knew that looking back on the tears would make me laugh but I never knew that looking back on the laughs would bring tears.’
Biblical Application: God was ready ‘to change things’ because God is never static.
Application: As humans/people, as Christians, we prepare and anticipate things changing…and often change is scary!
Many Hale – ‘Change is painful, but nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.’
Transition/Question: What is it about change that we can / should anticipate?
Some of you have heard about or possibly read the book by Spenser Johnson, ‘Who Moved my Chesse’.
- The parable demonstrates the importance of anticipating change. It unfolds in a maze, where four characters — two mice (Sniff and Scurry) and two tiny humans (Hem and Haw), search for cheese, which represents happiness.
- They get pretty good at this. The mice use their simple, rodent-specific talents of sniffing out cheese and scurrying around until they find it.
- Hem and Haw use their human thinking and analytical skills to also find cheese. They find a huge supply and all four enjoy its benefits for quite a while.
The mice are the best equipped at the outset, in part because they have anticipated change.
- They’re not surprised at the change because they noticed it happening. They stayed observant and noticed that the cheese was getting old and the pile was shrinking. They anticipated change.
- They’re ready to act because they’ve stayed alert and anticipated change.
- They act quickly to adapt – they immediately put on their running shoes, which they’ve kept at the ready because they’ve anticipated change, and set out to find new cheese.
- They’re persistent, eventually finding a new stockpile.
- Even with new cheese at hand, they monitor the situation and check around for new supplies because they know things will change again.
Because he rejects the change, Hem is the character most people wouldn’t want to be, but we all probably share some of his characteristics some of the time. We all fail to anticipate change, and once it starts happening, we’re often in denial about it. But the more you look for it, the better you can anticipate change.
Transition: Back to Deuteronomy and to some very encouraging news!
While change is inevitable…God remains the same.
- Unchangeable God – vv. 3-5
Malachi 3:6, ‘I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.’
Psalm 102:25-27 ‘Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end’.
Isaiah 43:1-28 ‘But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.’ …
I am confident that you know and believe this, but I wanted to remind you of that today!
God will always be Present and Available!
Transition: Moses’ final words to the people moving forward is an admonition for steadfastness as it relates to our tomorrows.
- Settled Position
Question: What is our challenge – ‘Be strong and of good courage.’
Moses speaks is to the people of Israel at this point in history to which God’s successor Joshua also starts his book with.’
Joshua 1 – Read / Consider
Strong = to strengthen, prevail, harden, be strong, become strong, be courageous, be firm, grow firm, be resolute, be sore 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to be strong, grow strong 1a1a) to prevail, prevail upon 1a1b) to be firm, be caught fast, be secure 1a1c) to press, be urgent 1a1d) to grow stout, grow rigid,
Courageous = 1) to be strong, alert, courageous, brave, stout, bold, solid, hard 1a) (Qal) to be strong, brave, bold 1b) (Piel) to strengthen, secure (for oneself), harden (heart), make firm, make obstinate, assure
Transition: Moses concludes his final words by reminding the people / (and us), that it is all taken care of. That we can count on God to never fail!
- Completed Preparations – vv. 6-8
- The Lord has gone before us – to prepare the way and direct us.
- He will be with us – Accompany us in all our journeys and assist our movements.
- He will not fail us – the expectation, however strong and extensive, is that He will never disappoint. That we can’t ever expect too much from Him.
- He will never forsake us – He knowing that we cannot do anything apart/aside from Him, He will continue to be present and remain for our success to His glory.
Conclusion: It’s time to say goodbye to Deuteronomy.
- Deuteronomy was a series of farewell messages from Moses to the people.
- Deuteronomy is characterized by a strong sense of urgency.
- 35x the message is ‘go in and occupy.’
- Call to obedience, faith, loyalty, blessing are an individual choice.
- God’s promise to abide and remain through every moment of success, even amidst change, is promised.
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