“Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land…”[1]

Not Just Idle Words

“Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land…”[1]

“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase…”[2]

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses… I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life[3]

God is very serious about His Word. What God says is important to Him because obeying His Word is important to us and we are very important to our Father. He wants the best for us and always knows what is best. His Word gives us life, direction, blessings, and peace which we can gladly share with others. Living our lives according to His Word assures us of the best possible outcome regardless of any challenges that are sure to come.

“How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying His commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; and an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy (referring to far more than finances) and their good deeds will last forever. Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate and righteous. Such people will not be overcome by evil and they will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They share freely and give generously to those in need… They have influence and honor.”[4]

God said He is your life. God’s Word reveals His will. His ways are life. Choose life. He has literally set before us life and death, prosperity and adversity. The prosperity He offers will hold us up even in adversity. His blessing does not fail us—we fail the blessing by not blessing the Lord and others with our lives. His truth is life. We will face trouble—mountains, valleys, challenges, pain, and disappointment. That’s why we need a friend who “sticks closer than a brother” (Jesus in us and Jesus in others—the good neighbor). Many are our troubles, and many of them are man-made and self-inflicted. “The ways of sin are death”—death to joy, peace, security, dreams, futures, relationships, fruitfulness, blessing, and any kind of prosperity, and especially to a soul that can prosper, whether abounding or abased.

If we sell out to worship the blessings, we get the effect of the curse. The curse is the consequences of sinful choices and not taking God’s Word seriously. Much in America is broken because people are broken. Relationships with God, family, and others are broken. Too often people make the tragic mistake of worshiping the blessing and the “stuff” while forgetting God and others. When we seek our will and way rather than God and His way, we are headed for serious trouble. When you follow God’s Word and you are blessed and prosper, do not make the mistake of thinking, “Look what I have done.” Do not make an idol of anything, or you will lose the abundant life God freely offers those who follow Him and take His Word seriously. You will have sacrificed your future and the blessings available here and now for something that has no life.

Remember when you are blessed, God has blessed you so you can be a conduit of His blessing to others. Too often people make the mistake of trying to help the poor by turning them over to an institution (the government) rather than seeking ways to help those in need—person to person, family to family, community to community.

Pastors, priests and all true believers must stand up and challenge our nation to put God and His Word back in first place. This past Saturday I joined Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego, to challenge and pray with pastors who were preparing to protest government trends limiting freedom of religion and speech in our churches. Last Sunday, in what was referred to as “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” more than 500 pastors boldly addressed controversial moral issues and will send their messages to the IRS in protest of the Johnson law, which was passed years ago, that says they cannot preach on the issues that have become political or they will lose their tax-exempt status. This is nonsense! Fear on the part of preachers and churches has helped drive our nation into a pit of despair. Our nation was built on a solid foundation that was inspired by pulpits aflame with the truth of God and individuals who understood personal responsibility and that genuine righteousness is not just religious pretense.

Every minister must take Paul’s challenge in 2 Timothy very seriously: “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus… Preach the word; reprove, rebuke, exhort with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, will want their ears tickled, and they will accumulate teachers in accordance with their own desires… But be sober, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist and fulfill your ministry.”

Disturbing national trends are the result of Christians failing to take God’s Word seriously in their personal lives. The national trend to drive God, prayer, and faith out of the public square has come because many professing Christians have left it out of their own personal and private lives. The breakdown we are witnessing in America is not just economic or political—it’s spiritual and moral. Our outer collapses are an expression of more serious inner problems including an anti-biblical worldview. Many people cannot get along with others because they cannot get along with themselves. They cannot get along with themselves because they cannot get along with God.

God offers each one of us the answer. “Return to Him with your whole heart”. Humble ourselves and pray, seeking His will and gladly turn from our foolish ways. Let me paraphrase a portion of the last chapter of the prophet Hosea:

Your sins have brought you down. Confess and return to Me. The world and the flesh cannot save us. Never again say to the idols you have made, “You are our gods.” In You alone do the orphans find mercy and the Lord says, “Then I will heal you of your unfaithfulness, for My love knows no bound and I will be like a refreshing dew from heaven. You will blossom like the lily. My people will again live under My shade, in My shadow, and you will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. (This is a sure promise of blessings and prosperity restored.)

God has offered us a great and glorious invitation. It is my earnest prayer that we will hear His call and return to Him before it is too late. The choice remains – humility or humiliation, life or death.


[1]Deuteronomy 32:46-47

[2]Deuteronomy 30:15-16    

[3]Deuteronomy 30:19-20

[4]Psalm 112:1-9

 

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