I finally finished reading the book of Deuteronomy this morning. It is a hefty book filled with memories and warnings and laws and promises. It is Moses’ final words to the people of Israel…his last opportunity to sober them up and set them on the right path. These people who have been wandering in the wilderness for a generation are about to cross the final river in their way and enter the land God has promised to them.
And Mo ain’t gonna go with them.
‘Cause Mo is about to kick the bucket and be buried on a mountaintop by the Lord, Himself. If ya gotta go…that’s a pretty damn great way to do it.
So, here are some of the last things the guy says to these people…these blessed, rebellious, grateful, stubborn, incredibly human people:
45 And when Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. 47 For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”
Deuteronomy 32:45-47 (emphasis added)
I added boldness to part of that…”For it is no empty word for you, but your very life”. That blows me away and kicks me in the gut. See, I tend to live my life in this place of “on-demand faith”. Life gets tough, so I do a quick search through Scripture for verses about hope. Affliction comes my way, so I skim for passages about healing. Times get good, so I look for something about love or joy or God’s blessing. It’s like I treat the Bible as a menu of feel-good sentiments that I call on when I feel like it.
But this is no empty Word.
I reduce God to my terms when I regard His Word that way. I minimize Him to my level, serving my whims, focused on meeting my concept of what my needs might be. And it is a dangerous thing to do. Focusing on myself means that I lose sight of the eternal reality of God…the massive scope of His creative and destructive power…the devastating beauty of His presence… Whether intentional or not, it means that I am placing myself on the throne and expecting to be served.
This Word is my very life.
Whether I am looking at the Word as Scripture or as the creative authority of the Most High or as God made flesh in the form of Jesus, the truth doesn’t change. This Word IS my very life. I was formed and fashioned through the power of the Word. Life was breathed into my lungs by the inspiration of the Word. I was saved from my sin and the weight of damnation by the grace and mercy of the Word. Everything I have and hope to know through eternity is through the power of the Word.
And, here I am…this blessed, rebellious, grateful, stubborn, incredibly human person…perpetually standing on the banks of a river that separates me from what God has promised me. A river of bad choices and temptations and excesses and possibly-worthwhile-but-not-well-timed possibilities…
And God is telling me to remember where my life comes from.
He’s telling me to be obedient to the Word He has given me.
He’s directing me to be courageous and trusting and faithful to Him.
And I get to choose how I respond to that.