The Israelites were to bring some of the firstfruits from the promised land to the altar. They were told to ‘rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you (v.11). Once they had given their tithe as stipulated and had done everything else the Lord had commanded, they were able to call on God to bless them and their land (v.15).
The Israelites were the treasured possession of the Lord (v.18) and would be holy people (v.19). They were told to write the words of the law on large plastered stones after they had crossed the Jordan into the promised land (27:8).
If the Israelites committed certain sins they would be cursed (v.14-26). If they fully obeyed God and carefully followed all his commands they would be ‘set high above all the nations on earth‘ and be richly blessed (28:1-6).
The list of blessings is so wonderful that one wonders how the Israelites managed to mess this up. How could anyone spurn the wonderful gifts and blessings of God and go their own way? Their fall from grace was due to our inbuilt damaged human nature and freewill to sin. We experience temptation everyday. God will always give us grace to resist but, within a entire nation, some will always be weak links. We have all been weak links in our time. The Israelites were doomed to failure when it came to perfectly obeying the law. A perfect saviour would be required to rescue us all from the curse of sin to make us a new creation, holy and righteous in the sight of God.
Jesus cured ten men with leprosy. He told them to take action, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests’ (v.14) and as they went, they were healed. This is the difference between belief and faith. The lepers believed that Jesus could heal them but they were only healed when they added action to their belief and went in faith. Only one returned to say thank you to Jesus ‘and he was a Samaritan’ (v.16). His faith had made him well.
We should always return to Jesus and give praise to God for what he has done for us. God loves worship, praise, obedience and gratitude. We should thank God throughout the day for the wonderful things he has done for each of us.
Jesus explained that, ‘the Kingdom of God is within you‘ (v.21). Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and the supernatural gift of Praying in the Spirit demonstrates that God, is living within us.
Many people do not believe in the existence of heaven, ignorant to the fact that whenever they talk to a baptized, born again Christian, they are in close proximity to the Kingdom of God. We need to make the Kingdom visible to the people around us by the joyful way we live our lives.
Jesus talked about his second coming (v.30-35). It will happen without warning, while people are going about their normal daily business or ‘safely’ tucked up in bed. Each individual will have to stand in front of God and receive their personal judgement. We can’t rely on the faith or good works of anyone else to save us. We will rely on our personal faith in Jesus as our saviour who justified us with God through his death on the cross. He is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1).
At the second visible coming of Jesus, even though ‘nations are in uproar‘ and ‘kingdoms fall‘ (v.6), the Lord will be with us, as he is now – our strength, refuge and fortress. We will not fear judgement because we know we are beloved children of God – made righteous through the precious blood of Christ.
He will end all wars (v.9). He will banish all articles of war.
The Holy Spirit within us makes us glad with his streams of living water. As Christians, our hearts are ‘the holy place where the Most High dwells‘ (v.4). When we come to our Father in prayer, it is a precious time to ‘be still‘ and know that He is God (v.10). God is our ‘ever-present help’ (v.1). The billions of Christians throughout the world join in with our worship, exalting him among the nations (v.10).
Image: Sailko, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons