Moses and the Promised Land

Bible:

Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day. Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated. And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended. Deuteronomy 34:1-8 ESV

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. I Corinthians 15:17-22 ESV

Reflection:

Have you ever heard of a bucket list? Some people make lists of things they want to do before they die, or “kick the bucket.” These lists are often ambitious, full of things like traveling to exotic places or having exciting adventures like hang-gliding or bungee jumping, or learning new things like a foreign language or getting a college degree. Bucket lists can be fun, and they can be a way to enjoy the blessings God gives on this earth. But in the end, our lives are not our own, and we can’t guarantee that we’ll get to everything on our bucket lists.

Moses had only one thing on his bucket list. He wanted very badly to enter the promised land. He had wandered in the wilderness for many years, waiting for the time to lead his people home, but God didn’t allow him to go there. Instead, God allowed him to see the whole land from a mountaintop, and then he died. Moses didn’t enter the promised land on earth, but he came into the presence of God in heaven, which is even better.

In a way, bucket lists can be a little bit foolish. Having a bucket list can make people start thinking that there’s nothing good to look forward to beyond this life. We should have all the fun we can, they think, because after we die there isn’t anything at all to enjoy. But that’s not true. Jesus came to die for us, and he rose again on the third day. Everyone who believes in Jesus will also be raised to a new life with him at the end of the world. We will live forever in the promised land of heaven. When we die, we will see Jesus and be with him. Even if we don’t get to do all the fun things we hope to in this life, we will have an even better life with Jesus forever!

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to die for us and rise again, so that we can live with him in the promised land of heaven forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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A New Leader

Bible:

 And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, the days approach when you must die. Call Joshua and present yourselves in the tent of meeting, that I may commission him.” And Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves in the tent of meeting.  And the Lord appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud. And the pillar of cloud stood over the entrance of the tent.

And the Lord commissioned Joshua the son of Nun and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you.” Deuteronomy 31:14-15, 23 ESV

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:23-26 ESV

Reflection:

Cindy was really afraid to go to school. She was shy, and her family had just moved to a new city. She didn’t know any of the other kids. Her mother walked to school with her the first day, and that helped her feel better. However, when they got to the classroom, her mother told her that she couldn’t follow Cindy into the classroom. Cindy would have to learn to trust her teacher to take care of her. Her mother had to pass Cindy’s care to someone else. It was hard for Cindy to watch her mother leave and to learn to trust a new person. It was also hard for her mother. She loved Cindy and knew Cindy trusted her. She knew it might be difficult for Cindy to adjust to a new teacher.

The people of Israel probably felt the same way. They had followed and trusted Moses for 40 years, and had heard God speak to them through him. They had sometimes become angry with Moses and disobeyed him, but they knew he was their leader and that he spoke for God. But soon the time would come for Moses to die. He couldn’t stay with them forever, and his assistant Joshua would be the one to lead them into the promised land. God called Joshua and spoke to him, promising to be with him in the challenging times ahead. He promised he would work through Joshua as he had worked through Moses. The people would have to learn to trust and follow a new leader. When God commissioned Joshua, it gave encouragement to Joshua, Moses, and the people of Israel that God was still with them and would help them.

God gives us different people, such as parents and teachers, to teach us and take care of us. But one thing never changes. God is always with us, no matter what. If we have to go through a difficult change, we can be sure that God stays the same. He sent Jesus to die for us and to make us his people, and he promises to stay with us and love us forever. Jesus is the one we can always trust, and he will never stop being our leader and our friend.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending our Savior Jesus to lead us and help us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

God is Near

Bible:

“For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.” Deuteronomy 30:11-14 ESV

For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:5-11 ESV

Reflection:

King Arthur’s knights once went on a quest for the holy grail. The legend was that the same cup that Jesus and his disciples had used at the last supper before Jesus died on the cross, the cup Jesus had used to give his followers the first communion, was now somewhere in England. King Arthur’s knights went out to find it. They rode over the countryside and through forests, and had many adventures and faced a lot of danger. In the end, only the most perfect and best knights were allowed to see the holy grail. Many knights died on their quest, and most of them never found what they were looking for.

The story of the holy grail is a kind of picture of working hard and facing danger to find something wonderful and precious in life. It often does take a lot of effort and trouble to accomplish something good. However, in God’s way of doing things it’s different. God’s holy law was a gift to his people. It was given to them so that they could hear it and learn it and teach each other and hold it in their hearts. They didn’t have to work hard to get God’s law; it was a gift. It was near them, just as God himself was.

God’s law is good and right, but no one can ever keep it perfectly. We all sin and disobey God’s law. Because of that, God sometimes seems very far away from us. We need help, and there’s nothing we can do to help ourselves. That’s why God sent Jesus to be our Savior. No one had to try to climb up to heaven to bring Jesus down to help us. No one had to go deep down into death to bring Jesus out of the grave that first Easter morning. Jesus came to us when we were helpless, and died and rose again so our sins could be forgiven. Jesus is very near us, and always ready to help us. His Holy Spirit gives us faith to trust him to save us and keep us close to him.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to us to save us and help us. Amen.

Fugitive Slave Laws

Bible:

“You shall not give up to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. He shall dwell with you, in your midst, in the place that he shall choose within one of your towns, wherever it suits him. You shall not wrong him.” Deuteronomy 23:15-16 ESV

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. Galatians 5:1, 4-5 ESV

Reflection:

Many years ago in the United States, some states allowed people to own slaves, while other states did not. Slaves sometimes ran away from their masters and came north to the free states. In the free states they could live and have families and be free of slavery. However, in 1850 a new fugitive slave law was passed in the United States. This law required that people who had once been slaves and were living in free states be returned to their masters in the south. Some people used this law to hunt down people who had escaped from slavery and return them to their old life.

God gave a different law to his people Israel. They were not to return escaped slaves to their masters. The people of Israel were to remember what it had been like to be slaves in Egypt and to welcome escaped slaves into their communities and towns. People who had been slaves were to be able to start new lives, work, and have families without being afraid of being returned to their masters by their neighbors. God’s law gave escaped slaves the opportunity for freedom and new lives.

We all were slaves to sin and death and the devil, but Jesus set up free by dying on the cross for us and by rising again. Sometimes people try to makes God’s people slaves again by making them afraid that God won’t love them anymore if they sin. One way this happens is when people talk about all the rules we have to obey. Sometimes when we hear these rules we become afraid of losing God’s love and work hard to be good. This is like being a slave again. But God already loves us for Jesus’ sake. He forgives us our sins every day, and he also sends us his Holy Spirit to help us live in ways that please him. Because of Jesus we are God’s people forever, safe in his love and living a new life of freedom.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for forgiving our sins and setting us free for Jesus’ sake. Help us to live a new life for you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Fugitive_Slave_Law_of_1850

Helping Others

Bible:

“You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them. You shall take them back to your brother. And if he does not live near you and you do not know who he is, you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall stay with you until your brother seeks it. Then you shall restore it to him. And you shall do the same with his donkey or with his garment, or with any lost thing of your brother’s, which he loses and you find; you may not ignore it. You shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen down by the way and ignore them. You shall help him to lift them up again.” Deuteronomy 22:1-4 ESV

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:30-37 ESV

Reflection:

Many years ago in New York City a woman named Kitty Genovese was walking home from work late at night. She was attacked and stabbed by a man. Kitty screamed for help, and some of her neighbors heard her. Some of them called the police, and one of them stayed with her while she died. There were other neighbors, however, who didn’t do anything to help her. A man who was in the lobby of a building nearby ignored what was happening and took a nap. Another man, who was a friend of Kitty’s, was too afraid to do much of anything. He saw what was happening, but he paced inside his apartment and later called some friends instead of the police. Sometimes the story is told that 38 people heard Kitty scream and no one tried to do anything, but that’s not true. However, there were people who ignored what happened and didn’t help.

The same thing happened in Jesus’ story about a man who was beaten up by robbers on a road and left to die. Two men walked by and didn’t do anything to help him. But the third man who came by did everything he could to help. Helping the hurt man cost him money, and was inconvenient, and possibly even dangerous, but that didn’t stop the Samaritan from helping. He was obeying God’s law, which says that if someone needs help, we should help them. Sinning is not just doing bad things. It’s also not doing good things when there is a need. God’s people were supposed to return animals or coats or other property to people who had lost them, and if animals were lost they were to take care of them and feed them until their owners came to get them.

It’s not always easy to help people when they need help. It’s often easier to make excuses when it would cost money or time to do something good for someone. When we see all the needs in the world, it can seem like there’s too much to do, and that we can never do it all. So we sometimes don’t do anything at all. Not helping and doing good when we can is a sin that Jesus came to die for and forgive. Only Jesus did good all the time. He saw our need for a Savior, and even though it cost him pain and suffering and death, he did what we needed to have all our sins forgiven. Jesus forgives us for all the times we don’t help, and he sends us his Holy Spirit to help us be more loving and giving to people in need.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive us for the times we don’t help people who need us. Please help us be more like Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

http://nypost.com/2014/02/16/book-reveals-real-story-behind-the-kitty-genovese-murder/

God’s Prophet

Bible:

“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.” Deuteronomy 18:15-18 ESV

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Hebrews 1:1-3 ESV

Reflection:

Konrad Lorenz was an Austrian scientist who discovered an interesting thing about ducks and geese. When these animals hatch from their eggs, they become attached to whatever they see moving first. Lorenz took some duck eggs and arranged it so that the first thing the baby ducklings would see when they hatched would be him. He made quacking noises and started to move, and the ducklings followed him. They thought he was their mother! You can see pictures of him with ducklings following him on land, and also pictures of him in the water with his little ducks swimming after him.

Konrad Lorenz wanted the ducks and geese to trust him and follow him, so he did what he could to become one of them. They probably would have been afraid of him otherwise. When God spoke to his people from the holy mountain, they were so frightened that they begged Moses not to let God speak to them again. They would rather have a human person talk to them and tell them God’s messages. God promised them that he would raise up a prophet for them who would speak his words to them. Moses was God’s prophet, and after Moses God sent other prophets to his people. Prophets are people who speak God’s words to the people he sends them to.

All of God’s prophets pointed ahead to the one great prophet who would come to God’s people one day. This prophet was Jesus. God sent his Son Jesus to us as a human person, to speak God’s words to us and also to do what God sent him to do. God sent Jesus to die on the cross for us to defeat sin and death. When we hear Jesus’ words, we are hearing God speak to us. When we see what Jesus did for us, we see God at work to save us and bring us back to him forever.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to speak to us and to save us. Amen.

Source:

http://www.britannica.com/biography/Konrad-Lorenz

Don’t Forget!

Bible:

“Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 8:11-20 ESV

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
You with your arm redeemed your people,
the children of Jacob and Joseph. Psalm 77:11-15 ESV

Reflection:

The Logan children had gone to the store to buy some medicine. The store belonged to a white man named John Wallace. At that time and place, black people never called white people by their first names, but an elderly black man named Tom Bee always called the store owner John. Many years ago Mr. Bee had saved John Wallace’s life, and had taken care of him in his house as if he were his son. Mr. Wallace had promised that they would always be friends, and that Mr. Bee could always call him John. But now, years later, other white people pressured John Wallace to put Mr. Bee in his place. The store owner forgot all the kindness Tom Bee had shown him in the past, and his promise of friendship. The Logan children saw John Wallace take a gun and shoot Tom Bee in the leg.

It’s very easy to forget past kindness and friendship when life goes on and people no longer need the help and concern they once did. Moses warned God’s people Israel not to forget the love and care God had shown them in Egypt and in the wilderness. When they entered the promised land, life would be much easier. They would no longer be slaves. They would become rich in houses and money and animals, and would no longer have the troubles of snakes and desert scorpions and being thirsty and hungry. It would be easy for them to forget God, and to think that they had worked for and earned all the good things they had. They might even listen to people living near them and start worshiping false gods. This is why Moses warned them, because if they forgot God, God would have to punish them.

God has also shown us wonderful love and kindness. He came to us in Jesus to free us from slavery to sin and death. Jesus freed us by laying down his life on the cross and by rising again on Easter morning. When we first see and understand what Jesus has done for us, or when we feel troubled by sins or are afraid of death, we are happy that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. But when life is going well for us, sometimes we forget that God is the one who gives us all our blessings. We might start to think and act as if we’ve earned everything we have all by ourselves, and start to leave God out of our life. But Jesus sends us his Holy Spirit to help us always to remember what he’s done for us, and to always love and serve him.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for your great love. Help us never to forget or to walk away from you. Amen.

Source:

Taylor, Mildred D. The Friendship New York: Dial, 1987.

Sweet Times Ahead

Bible:

“The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers. And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.” Deuteronomy 8:1-10 ESV

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man that he bear
the yoke in his youth.

For the Lord will not
cast off forever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not afflict from his heart
or grieve the children of men. Lamentations 3:25-27, 31-33 ESV

Reflection:

In China there is a minority group of people called the Bai. The Bai have their own culture and traditions, and one of their traditions is a tea ceremony called “the Three-Course of Tea.” In this ceremony a Bai host will give the guests three cups of tea, each one after the other is finished. The first cup of tea is bitter, and the second cup is very sweet. The third cup of tea is also sweet, but also spicy. The three cups of tea in this ceremony are a picture of the three parts of a person’s life. The bitter cup is like the years when a person is young, bitter and full of trouble and hard work. The second cup is for middle age, when an older person starts to see the results of hard work and struggle and can enjoy life. The third cup is like old age. This is when a person has sweet memories, but also time to think about what life means.

Do you think life is like this? It probably isn’t for everybody. But Moses told the people of Israel that their life as the people of God was a little bit like the Three-Course of Tea ceremony. They began their life as a nation wandering in the desert. These were hard years of wishing for a homeland and needing to trust God every day for food and water. God was testing them during these years, teaching them to obey his commandments and showing them that he would be with them through all their hard times. Now they were at the edge of the promised land. God promised to bless them with wonderful riches and blessings of plenty to eat. They were about to enter a time of sweetness. He also wanted them to think about what they had been through when life had been bitter, so they wouldn’t forget God’s faithfulness.

Everyone’s life is different, and we never know how much bitterness or sweetness our lives will hold. When God allows us to have troubles, we can be sure that he still loves us and will help us through our problems. He sends us his Holy Spirit so that we can trust him and follow him. When God gives us good times and many blessings, we can be thankful for every wonderful thing he gives us. The best thing he’s ever given us is our Savior, Jesus. Jesus went through the hardest time of all when he died on the cross for us, but someday we will have the joy of being with Jesus in his kingdom forever.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to trust you when life is bitter and thank you for everything that makes life sweet. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.classesoftea.com/three-course-of-tea-of-the-bai-people.html

God’s Loving Choice

Bible:

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 7:6-8 ESV

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11 ESV

Reflection:

Warren and John were brothers who went to a small two-room school many years ago. One day their teacher had a drawing contest. All the students in the classroom drew pictures, and then all the pictures were put up on the wall. The students all looked at the pictures and voted for their favorites. John wasn’t very good at art. His picture wasn’t very good, but it got one vote. When the students asked who had voted for John’s picture, it turned out to be Warren. Warren loved his younger brother and voted for him even though his drawing wasn’t actually the best. I heard this story many years later. Warren was my dad, and John is my uncle. My Uncle John never forgot what happened that day.

What one brother did for another is a very small picture of the love God shows his people. God told his people Israel through Moses that he had chosen them to be his own people, his treasure. He chose them because he loved them. It wasn’t because they were the biggest or strongest nation in the world. In fact, God said they were the smallest and weakest. God’s love is not something that people work to earn or deserve. It’s something he gives because he chooses to.

This is also true for us. God didn’t make us his people because we were so good, or smart, or strong. In fact, we were enemies of God because of our sin, and we didn’t deserve anything but God’s anger and punishment. But God showed us that he loves us by sending our Savior, Jesus, to die on the cross for us. What Jesus did on the cross paid for our sins and made us God’s people. What Jesus did for us is proof that God loves us, and that he will love us forever.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the love you gave us in Jesus. In His Name, Amen.

Orders for War

Bible:

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than you, and when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire.” Deuteronomy 7:1-5 ESV

All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
For kingship belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations. Psalm 22:27-28 ESV

Reflection:

Long ago, in the fifth century B. C., a group of people called the Celts lived throughout central and western Europe. They were a strong and powerful people for awhile, but then they were conquered by the Romans and also the Germanic tribes. The armies of the Roman empire and Germanic tribes killed many of them, took their land, and pushed them westward in Europe. The Celtic people only survived far in the west, especially in the British Isles and Ireland. The Irish, Scottish, and Welsh people are examples of Celts today.

When the people of Israel came to the edge of the promised land, God told them through Moses that they were to conquer the people that lived there. There were a number of tribes of people, and the Israelites were to take over their land, kill the people, and get rid of their false gods. They weren’t supposed to make peace with them or join their families together in marriage. This seems very harsh to us. It makes it seem like God didn’t love the people who lived in the promised land. It seems like God wanted his people to be conquerers like the Romans and the Germanic tribes, taking land and killing people in war. It’s very hard to understand why God would want his people to act this way.

God had allowed the people of the promised land to live there for many, many years, while the people of Israel were slaves in Egypt. He was very patient with them, hoping they would turn away from their false gods and learn to worship the true God. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had lived in the land and given them an example. But nothing changed, and finally God had to punish them. He used his people to punish the people of the land. God also needed to make sure that the people of the land of Canaan didn’t stay there and teach Israel to worship their false gods.

Today God has a different job for his people. He wants us to welcome people from all the nations and ethnic groups of the world into his kingdom. He sent Jesus to die on the cross to destroy the real enemies–sin and death and the devil. This was God’s plan from the beginning, and he promised Abraham that all the nations of the world would be blessed through him. Jesus came to fulfill that promise. We have the joy of welcoming people from all over the world into the family of God through Jesus, the Savior.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your great love for all people. Help us to welcome people from all over the world into your kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://draeconin.com/database/celtinfo.htm