There are a number of good lessons we can learn from today’s passage, Deuteronomy 11:8-21. Let’s go!
Deuteronomy 11:8-9 (NIV) 8 Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 9 and so that you may live long in the land that the LORD swore to your forefathers to give to them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey.
On verses 8-9: Moses tells this current generation of Israelites to observe all of God’s commands so that they may have strength to “take over the land” God has for them (v8) and also strength to “live long in the land” that they take over (v9).
Likewise, as followers of Jesus, when we obey God’s commands, it has a strengthening effect on our lives. Observing God’s commands fills my life with peace, joy and satisfaction. It positions me to receive God’s blessings. It strengthens my faith and my capacity to love God. It gives me insight into why God gives His commands. It causes me to mature and grow up spiritually. It enables me to make the most of what God has given to me. It prepares me to take on greater territory. That’s what obedience to God’s commands does. Like a superfood, obedience to God’s Word strengthens you.
What’s a command from the Lord you can obey today?
While we will never obey God perfectly (after all, that’s why we need Jesus to save us) God wants us to experience the strength that comes from obeying Him. That’s one reason why Jesus says in John 4:34: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” Obedience to God is a super food for your soul.
Deuteronomy 11:10-15 (NIV) 10 The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. 11 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end. 13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today–to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul– 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.
On verses 10-15: Here Moses points out to the Israelites that the land they are about to enter is different from the land they have been used to living in. But Moses tells the Israelites that the key to flourishing in that new land is the same: “love the LORD your God…and serve Him with all your heart” (v13) and He will add everything you need (v14-15).
Likewise, the new season you are in (or are about to enter) will be different in some significant ways from the season you just came out of, but the key to flourishing in this new season is the same: love, trust and serve God with all your heart, and He will add everything you need. God is with you in this new season, so hang on to Him tightly!
Deuteronomy 11:16-17 (NIV) 16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the LORD’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you.
On verses 16-17: Moses warns the Israelites: don’t “turn away” from God and worship other things; otherwise, God’s anger will burn and He will shut the heavens so that we are separated from His blessings. The overarching story of the entire Bible is that all of us have turned away from God and the result is that the heavens are shut; that is, we have no way of reaching God or accessing heaven. But because God loves us, He sent Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sins on the cross, so that we could be forgiven and reconciled to God. That’s why John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” When we were locked out of heaven, Jesus came and unlocked heaven for us through His death on the cross.
Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NIV) 18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
On verses 18-21: One of the recurring themes in Deuteronomy is that God’s Word is food for our souls and critical to our success. So Moses tells this current generation of Israelites to “fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children…Write them on your doorframes…” It’s because when we place God’s Word in front of us often, we can’t help but be changed by it. I encourage you to try to memorize Scripture verses that impact you, put them in places where you can see them often, and incorporate them into your prayers and even your conversations with others. For the more you set God’s Word before you, the more you give God’s Word room to transform your life.
Thank You, Father, that Your Word gives me strength. Please empower me today to obey Your commands and to hang on to Your Word, growing stronger each day as a result. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!