Wednesday, 23 April 2014

MESSAGE TO TEENAGERS Thoughts from Bible Readings for April 21st

MESSAGE TO TEENAGERS!                                                                                                               

We are now getting to the heart of Moses final message as we reach Chapter 4 of Deuteronomy.  He is about to die, this is his urgent last exhortation; very shortly this nation which he had agonised over for 40 years as he led them closer and closer to the promised land – but  they will cross the Jordan without him.  Moses’ words are a powerful message to believers of every age.
The leaders (elders) of the nation are now those who had been teenagers when they escaped from Egypt, they had seen all their parents and older relatives die. As teenagers they had witnessed the wondrous evidence of divine power and presence.  They had seen the astonishing lack of faith in parents and relatives leading to their untimely deaths in the wilderness.  
Moses reminds them, “I have taught you statutes and rules as the LORD your God commanded me that you should do them in the land that you are entering … “ [Ch.4 v.5] “Keep them and do them for that will be your wisdom and understanding in the sight of the people … who will say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people” [v.6]. Later he says, “know therefore today, and lay it to heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on earth beneath: there is no other.” [v.39] 
This is the key point, not to simply “know” a matter, but to lay it to heart!!  So these leaders who had been teenagers 40 years previously went across the Jordan with Joshua as their leader and successfully took possession of most of the land.  We are going to read next month that, after Joshua died the people “served the LORD … all the days of the elders who had outlived Joshua who had seen all the great work the LORD had done” [Judges 2 v.7].
Then came disaster; those who had been teenagers at the time Moses had spoken what we are reading in Deuteronomy, failed to take his message fully to heart! We read in Judges, in the final verse “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” [21 v.25]: just as bad, they failed to properly teach their children to follow in their footsteps.
The spirit in the world today is even worse than this, especially among the young – and many of the not so young!   This is the key question for today - does the word of God guide our lives – or do you do that which is right in your own eyes?  When you read God’s word – do you lay it to heart? We must, it is the only way to please God and His Son and we are reading most meaningful words in John’s Gospel which we aim to comment on tomorrow.

Deuteronomy 4 has huge amounts of exhortation for us as we live and journey at the very borders of the promised land:

"But ye that did CLEAVE unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day" (v4)

"cleave" lit = to adhere to/ to stick to, it's only used elsewhere in Prov 18:24:
"A man of friends may be broken up, but there is a Lover who STICKS CLOSER than a brother". (Greens lit translation)

This CLEAVE is such as the strength of bond of someone who is in love.

When in love, what does it mean - can't stop thinking about them, want to always be with them, spend time with them, wanting to do things for them, of one mind, subservient to them, consumed by them.

This is the relationship we are to have with YAHWEH, our Heavenly Father, that we be truly alive.

Reminds of Jesus' words (John 15:14-16):
"Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain:that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you".