The Spirit of Abundance

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

We can live with a spirit of scarcity that believes and acts from the mindset that what I have is mine; that I need to protect it; that to give it away means a negative on the profit/loss sheet of my life. Or we can live the way God created us to live: from a spirit of abundance. God’s Word tells us that he is the giver of everything we have anyway, and we are to trust him with it. Trust, then, leads us to live with a loose grip on what we have; a loose grip that opens the hand and generously gives it away. Likewise, trust is convinced of God’s promise that as we live generously open-handed, he will make sure our hands are always full.

Going Deep // Focus: Deuteronomy 24:19-22

When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all you do. When you beat the olives from your olive trees, don’t go over the boughs twice. Leave the remaining olives for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. When you gather the grapes in your vineyard, don’t glean the vines after they are picked. Leave the remaining grapes for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt. That is why I am giving you this command.

One of the first social interactions we experience as human beings is in the sandbox. And the first words of that interaction go something like this: “Mine!” Then we grab our toy and clutch it tightly to our chest. From then on out, we get pretty good at being selfish, which is no surprise since we get a lot of practice at it throughout the rest of our lives. The reason for this is that being self-focused was rewired into our DNA at the fall. You see, the essence of sin is to tend to what self wants instead of what God wants. And of course, that leads to selfishness in every area. It is just the drift of the natural man. That is why David prayed,

Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. (Psalm 119:36)

But there is a better way—selflessness. To be unselfish means to be God-focused and others-oriented. And to be God-focused and others-oriented requires our trust that God will supply what he calls us to give away, a mindset of abundance that is convinced there is more than enough, and the obedience of generosity that opens the hand and releases what we possess. Trust, abundance and generosity—the antithesis of sin, the polar opposite of selfishness.

We can live with a spirit of scarcity that believes and acts from the mindset that what I have is mine; that I need to protect it; that to give it away means a negative on the profit/loss sheet of my life. Or we can live the way God created us to live: from a spirit of abundance. God’s Word tells us that he is the giver of everything we have anyway, and we are to trust him with it. Trust, then, leads us to live with a loose grip on what we have; a loose grip that opens the hand and generously gives it away. Likewise, trust is convinced of God’s promise that as we live generously open-handed, he will make sure our hands are always full.

This is the cycle of abundance is the law of the universe. It is an immutable law. It says that the more we give away, the more God gives us to give away. But we have to trust God to give us more, or we will hold back what we have in fear, selfish and from an impoverished spirit of scarcity.

God was calling the Israelites to live from a spirit of abundance in Deuteronomy 24:19-22. They were to give generously and intentionally so that others would receive blessings through them as if it were from God himself, which had been what Israel had experienced during their time of need. God was now calling them to be the conduit of generosity, and the call came with a promise: “Then the Lord your God will bless you in all you do.”

That is God’s call to you and me, too. To be open-handedly, proactively, intentionally generous. And he has promised to meet our spirit of abundance with heavens abundance. Like the Israelites, he wants to make us a conduit of ridiculous generosity, so that the more we give away, the more he will give us to give away.

The spirit of abundance—it takes trust, but it is a terrific way to live.

Going Deeper With God: Find a way to be generous today—with your treasure, your talent and your time. Do it, and God will see to it that you have more than enough treasure, talent and time left over.

God The Micromanager

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

If you are ever wearied by the constant call to holiness, even in the minutiae of your life, never forget the fruit of total obedience: “so that the Lord your God may bless you in everything you do in the land.” If that is the outcome of allowing God to rule over the details of you, then constant, micromanaging oversight is a small price to pay.

Going Deep // Focus: Deuteronomy 23:20

…so that the Lord your God may bless you in everything you do in the land you are about to enter and occupy.

Miscellaneous. That is the section heading one of the Bible translations gives the multi-faceted, or you might even say, disconnected rules and regulations God’s gives to Israel for daily living. Some of the rules are earthy, and even awkward to talk about—I’ll let you read them for yourself. Some of them seem a bit onerous and unfair. Some of them are clearly understandable in light of God’s holiness and how he wants us to worship him. And some of them are quite practical and obviously make a lot of sense.

As you read the list, you get the feeling that God is micromanaging his people. And as you read in hindsight the history of the Israelites, that is exactly what they needed. They needed someone to tell them what to do, where to go, and how to live.

So do we! However, we resist that kind of intrusion into our lives, even by God. We don’t want a religion that restricts our freedom or a church that give us lists of do’s and don’t’s to follow or a preacher who dictates our behavior. We want our freedom to choose.

In reality, God has allowed us that very thing, our freedom. As New Testament believers, we are free from the restrictive minutiae of the Mosaic law. It didn’t work anyway. Controlling people’s behaviors in the Old Testament didn’t change their hearts. That is the definite assessment of the New Testament. And that is precisely why Jesus came to pay the price for our failure to live up to the requirements of the law. That is why the Holy Spirit was sent to live within us, continually empowering us in heart and mind to live in holiness unto the Lord. We just couldn’t do it without his daily, moment-by-moment help.

That is why we need a micromanaging God. At least I do—and I have a feeling you do too! We need that constant empowerment of God’s Spirit. We need his daily enablement to do the right thing. And we need his continual infilling to help us want to love God wholehearted and live in holiness. We even need the Holy Spirit to help us want to want to love the Lord and live righteously. Of course, we have to do our part to love God and live righteously. Like the Israelites, doing has to accompany being. Since we are the children of God, we now must act like it! But still, we need a God to micromanage our lives. That is what Brother Lawrence, the famous monk best known for “Practicing the Presence of God,” was seeking when he prayed,

O my God, since thou art with me, and I must now, in obedience to thy commands, apply my mind to these outward things, I beseech thee to grant me the grace to continue in thy presence; and to this end do thou prosper me with thy assistance, receive all my works, and possess all my affections.

And if you ever get tired of that, if you are ever wearied by the constant call to holiness, even in the minutiae of life, never forget the fruit of total obedience: so that the Lord your God may bless you in everything you do in the land.

If that is the outcome of allowing God to rule over the details of me, then constant oversight is a small price to pay.

Going Deeper With God: You are not under the law; you cannot gain righteousness by strict adherence to the Mosaic code. That was the whole point of Jesus’ death and resurrection. That is the whole point of salvation by grace through faith. That is the whole point of the empower presence of the Holy Spirit. Even still, he gives you the want to and the power to live a life of holiness. Are you allowing him to control you to that end even in the smallest details of your life? If not, repent of your rebellion and surrender it to God.

When Not To Mind Your Own Business

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Both Moses and Jesus said it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus further clarified that in the Parable of the Good Samaritan by defining “neighbor” as anyone who is within our ability to love and help. Then he upped the ante by saying in no uncertain terms that loving them was equally important as loving God. Plain and simple: you love your God when you love your neighbor. Now that is true social responsibility!

Going Deep // Focus: Deuteronomy 22:1-4

If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility. Take it back to its owner. If its owner does not live nearby or you don’t know who the owner is, take it to your place and keep it until the owner comes looking for it. Then you must return it. Do the same if you find your neighbor’s donkey, clothing, or anything else your neighbor loses. Don’t ignore your responsibility. If you see that your neighbor’s donkey or ox has collapsed on the road, do not look the other way. Go and help your neighbor get it back on its feet!

Both Moses and Jesus said it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus further clarified that statement in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37) by defining for us that our neighbor is anyone who is within our ability to love and help. He then upped the ante on neighborly love by saying that it was right next to loving God in order of importance:

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

“Equally important.” Said another way, that means you cannot love God without loving your neighbor. That is a pretty clear and strong message Jesus is sending anyone who would love God.

So what ever happened to “love your neighbor as yourself”? Wouldn’t you agree that in our modern don’t-stick-your-nose-in-someone-else’s-business culture that we treat neighborly love as optional? We are reluctant to open up our lives—and our homes—for fear of what it might cost us. We may have to actually get involved in their lives, spend time with them, along with our short supply of energy and money, and we might be forced to put our own privacy and convenience on the back burner. Man, this business of engaging with the guy next door is not as easy as it sounds!

And our neighbors don’t make it easy for us. They are just as reluctant to open up their lives to us. They are just as easily offended by our faith, our lifestyle and our political belief as we are theirs. If they know we are Christians, they may even gossip about us, marginalize us, declare us to be narrow and intolerant, and even take us to court for violating their safe zone. Our neighborhoods are no longer communities, they are a collection of houses in a row that serve as nothing more than bedrooms and restaurants. We now come home after work, open our garage doors, drive in, shut the door and go into our home, never appearing again until we drive off to work the next day. The back deck has replaced the front porch as the perch from which we do life. Neighboring is now a lost art.

And that is not biblical! Through Moses, God commanded his people not to mind their own business. They were to get involved. They were to help. They were to sacrifice their own convenience for the good of the community. They were to love their neighbor as they loved him. In fact, loving their neighbor was loving him.

If you desire to be an authentic follower of God, and if you desire to live under his favor, you cannot read a passage like this and remain reclusive. You have to get involved. You have to live the sacrificial life. You must be willing to risk loving your neighbor as yourself. Remember, you cannot love God if you don’t love the person within your ability to love, help, serve and have fellowship with. Within your ability—that is what defines your neighbor.

So what does that mean for you? I don’t know, but you need to think that through, and then begin to act on it. I do, too! All I know is that our love for God is stunted until we get this one right!

Going Deeper With God: Pray about loving your neighbor, not theologically, but practically. Ask God for ideas and opportunities. Then keep your eye open for a divine appointment to love God by loving your neighbor as yourself.

Cursed In God’s Sight—Thankfully!

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Jesus was executed for crimes against heaven. His body was hung on a tree. He was cursed in the sight of God. And while Jesus’ battered body was removed before sundown, even still, God was so grieved by the crime he represented and the punishment he bore that the Father turned his back on his dying Son. And all of this was done to Jesus with God’s foreknowledge to atone for crimes that were not his own. He was the one and only substitute that could assuage the righteous wrath of a holy God. Jesus paid it all, in full, once and forever, for your sin. Yes, cursed is the One who hung on a tree—thank God.

Going Deep // Focus: Deuteronomy 21:22-23

If someone has committed a crime worthy of death and is executed and hung on a tree, the body must not remain hanging from the tree overnight. You must bury the body that same day, for for anyone who is hung is cursed in the sight of God. In this way, you will prevent the defilement of the land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession.

Whether as a modern American you agree with the death penalty or not, it was definitely used under the Mosaic law as punishment for certain kinds of crimes. In ancient Israel, the penalty for particularly offensive sins was swift, sure and beyond brutal. And in some cases, once the guilty person was executed, their body was to be hung on a tree as a sign to all of the seriousness of sin before God and the seriousness of breaking the shalom of the community of God. Indeed, punishment of sin was brutal way beyond our comfort zones.

Even then, there were regulations to mitigate the trauma of witnessing a brutalized body hanging on a tree. It was not to be left twisting in the wind, swinging from the gallows overnight, but it was to be buried within the same day. Not only was the removal of the corpse to spare the sensitivities of the community, it was also to spare the Almighty from having to view what was termed a curse: “Anyone who is hung is cursed in the sight of God.” (Deuteronomy 21:23) Perhaps the execution of a criminal was so painful to God, an all out assault on the dignity with which he created human beings, that looking upon it for some length of time would have forced him to turn his back to it.

Now as we have often seen in our journey through the Old Testament, what happened to Israel spiritually foreshadowed the coming reality of God’s Kingdom awaiting fulfillment in the New Testament. Furthermore, the things that happened to the people of Israel were warnings signs posted to deter the new community from making similar mistakes. Paul writes an entire chapter on Israel’s idolatrous and rebellion in 1 Corinthians 10 as a cautionary tale for the new community, offering this blunt warning:

These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age. So if you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. (1 Corinthians 10:11-12)

The new community was warned in no uncertain terms not to fall into those same patterns of rebellion, idolatry and sin, and thereby become cursed in the sight of God, especially when Jesus had been hung on a tree in their place as one cursed of God :

But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree. (Galatians 3:13)

Think of the similarities between the law in Deuteronomy and the death of Jesus: He was executed for crimes against heaven. His body was hung on a tree. He was cursed in the sight of God. His battered body was removed from the tree and buried the same day. Even still, God was so offended by the crime and the punishment that he turned his back on the dying Son of God. And all of this was done to Jesus by God’s decision to atone for crimes that were not his own. Jesus was the one and only substitute that could assuage the righteous wrath of a holy God. Jesus paid it all, in full, once and for all.

And he did if for sin; he did it for you. Yes cursed is the One who hung on a tree—thank God.

Going Deeper With God: Find an old hymnal and slowly, thankfully, read aloud the words to “Jesus Paid It All.” Truly, all to him you owe.

God’s #1 Command

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Your biggest threat today, tomorrow and any day thereafter, will not be people, circumstances or the random forces of the universe. No, the biggest threat to you is you. More accurately, your biggest threat is fear. Fear, not problems, will paralyze your experience of the life God has in mind for you. That’s why God calls you to “fear not!”, his number one command in the Bible.

Going Deep // Focus: Deuteronomy 20:1

When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you!

Your biggest threat today, tomorrow or any day thereafter, will not be people, circumstances or the random forces of the universe. No, the biggest threat to you is you. More accurately, your biggest threat is fear. Fear, not problems, will paralyze your experience of the life God has in mind for you.

Don’t be afraid! That is the number one command that God gives his people in scripture. Someone has said there are 365 “fear not’s” strategically placed from the beginning to then end of the Bible—one for every day of the year. Why? Because God knew that every day this year when you get up and head off, the enemy waiting outside your door will be the fear inside your mind. But God says, “do not be afraid!”

Easier said than done, right! I am sure that was even more so for the Israelites here in Deuteronomy 20. They were heading out the door to face literal enemies bigger, meaner, more battle hardened and better equipped than they. Yet God’s first command to them as they prepared to possess their Promised Land was “fear not, for I brought you this far, and I wont leave you now.” Furthermore, not only was he with them, he assure them that he was out ahead of them:

For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!

That is true for you, too. That is a promise that you can and should claim today: God is with you, he is ahead of you, he is fighting for you and he has already secured your victory! So listen to what God is saying to you. Proverbs 1:33 says, “Whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

So in reality, as the children of God, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Those famous words were spoken at a time when a lot of people were living in fear. The world was uncertain, World War II was about to engulf Europe, and America was in the middle of its deepest economic depression ever—before or since. And the newly elected president, Franklin Roosevelt, uttered those immortal words during his first inaugural address in 1933. He was quoting God: fear not!

There are several kinds of fear that fight for control of our lives. The first kind of fear is based in an irrational worry of “what if”, and it debilitates a lot of people. Someone has described this fear with a clever acronym as “False Enemies Appearing Real”. A second kind of debilitating fear—and it’s definitely a real one—is the fear that comes from foolish living. Foolish living (see Psalm 14:1, 53:1) by its Biblical definition is to live as if God and his laws do not exist—to live as a practical atheist. Those who live in disregard to the Almighty and his ways cannot help but have an underlying and chronic dread of looming trouble. The third kind of fear is that which comes when we are facing very real threats to the will of God in our lives. They are not false enemies, they are real—big, hair, audacious threats. But just remember, they are not as big as God. So we must learn to surrender to a fourth kind of fear: fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is to be in awe of his person, to respect his commands, and to live in ruthless trust in his good character and unfailing promises.

Today, reject those first three debilitating fears and embrace the fourth life giving fear by exerting trust in the God who is with you and who goes before you. If you will step out in faith to follow his leading, you will have nothing to fear.

Going Deeper With God:Every human being lives life in five domains: personal, familial, social, vocational and spiritual. Take some time today to assess if you are living, in reality, as a “practical atheist” in any of these areas—without regard for God and his laws. If you are, simply and sincerely repent and exert trust in the one who is with you, now and always.

God Is Watching

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

God is watching, not just over the big issues of how we treat one another, but even in the smaller ways that we might take advantage of our neighbors, or short change our customers, or do something because we can get away with it, or go light on a violation because there it is a victimless crime. Not in God’s eyes. He is watching, and he cares because justice at levels big and small, seen and unseen represent his immutable character as well as his ideals for his people. We would do well to remember that!

Going Deep // Focus: Deuteronomy 19:14

When you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession, you must never steal anyone’s land by moving the boundary markers your ancestors set up to mark their property.

When I was little, we would sing a song in Sunday School called, O Be Careful Little Eyes. The song taught that we were not only to take care what our eyes saw, but what our ears heard, what our mouths said, where our feet went, and what our hands did:

O be careful little hands what you do
O be careful little hands what you do
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little hands what you do

The lesson of the song was clear: a loving God was watching us at all times and he was quite concerned that we always did the right thing. Good theology could be found in those lyrics: God is loving, God is Father, God is omniscient, God is omnipresent, and God is just. All true, and we would do well to remember each piece of that theology, even as adults.

When we come to Deuteronomy 19, we find that God is expressing the same concern for the children of Israel. He is quite determined that when they come into the land of promise, his justice would be represented in their legal system:

  • Cities of refuge were to be established: Deuteronomy 19:1-3
  • A process was to be set up for adjudicating both manslaughter and murder: Deuteronomy 19:4-5, 11-13
  • Rules for the evidence needed for a conviction were to be followed: Deuteronomy 19:15
  • Protocols for witnesses to a crime were to be obeyed: Deuteronomy 19:16-17
  • Procedures for judges were to be defined: Deuteronomy 19:18
  • Sentencing guidelines were to be definite: Deuteronomy 19:19-21

And in the middle of those very serious legal protocols, there is another rule issued that seems a bit out of place because it doesn’t seem to be at the same level of intensity as the others: the honoring of boundary lines (Deuteronomy 19:14). By comparison, this might seem to us to fall into the category of a petty crime. We might be tempted to adjudicate it as a “white collar crime.” We might give in to going a little easier on the violator in this particular case.

But even though this crime didn’t leave a dead body, and while it was done out of the view of witnesses, and most likely would have no physical evidence—just a property owner’s word against the accused, since land surveys were not available in those days—we should not miss this cogent fact: this was an act that God had witnessed. And it was a big deal to him.

The point being that God is watching, not just over the big issues of how we treat one another, but even in the smaller ways that we might take advantage of our neighbors, or short change our customers, or do something because we can get away with it, or go light on a violation because it is a victimless crime.

Not in God’s eyes. He is watching, and he cares because justice at levels big and small, seen and unseen represents his immutable character as well as his ideals for his people. That was true for the Israelites, and that is true for us. We would do well to remember,

There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little child what you do!

God is watching. That is not a threat; that is a comfort!

Going Deeper With God: Are there any areas of moral compromise in your life—even in little things? God cares, and he will reward our every effort to bring what might seem like things that are no big deal under his loving rulership.

Permissible vs. Blessable

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

God may give us what we want, but what he gives and what we want do not guarantee it will be for our best. What is permissible is not always blessable. Rather, we should always and only seek what God wants, and trust that he will then take care of what we want.

Going Deep // Focus: Deuteronomy 17:14-16

You are about to enter the land the Lord your God is giving you. When you take it over and settle there, you may think, “We should select a king to rule over us like the other nations around us.” If this happens, be sure to select as king the man the Lord your God chooses. You must appoint a fellow Israelite; he may not be a foreigner. The king must not…

“Like the other nations.” That is an oft-repeated commentary on the mindset of the Israelites. In this case, Israel wants a king, against God’s clear warning. And ultimately, God gave them what they wanted, when what they needed was to trust in his God sovereign leadership.

God had pulled the Israelites out of bondage and ignominy among the nations to be their only God, their one true king, and to give them the high honor of being his distinct people—a holy nation set apart for his purpose. But early and often, they would want to crawl back into the pit from which they were dug. “Everyone else is doing it!” was often the basis of their appeal. “We want to be like them.”

Since God knows the end from the beginning, he anticipated the Israelite’s cry for an earthly king. When they settled into the Promised Land as a nation, he knew they would see that all the other nations had a monarch—even though that wasn’t working out too well for the heathen—and Israel would begin to long for what they didn’t have: a king to rule over them.

Four hundred years after Moses, the Israelites rejected the Lord’s desire to be their sole ruler and asked for a king. At the end of the period when the judges ruled Israel, the people came to Samuel with the request:

“Look,” they told Samuel, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.” Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance. “Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.” (1 Samuel 5-9)

God knew way in advance what was in their heart, and in his permissive will, he would accommodate their worldly desire. That brings us to a teachable moment: Sometimes God gives us what we want, but what he gives and what we want do not guarantee it will be for our best. (Psalm 106:15) What is permissible is not always blessable. In Deuteronomy 17, God anticipated their longing for an earthly king and told them when that time came, he would grant the desires of their hearts. However, his provision would be with several important provisos:

One, the king was to be a man the Lord chose. The king was not necessarily to be the obvious, the smartest, the wealthiest or even the guy that would win the popular vote: “be sure to select as king the man the Lord your God chooses.” (Deuteronomy 17:15) God wanted the Israelites to look to him for the leader that he would choose for them. God wanted the people to trust him in the selection.

Two, the king was not to be dependent on human power. He was prohibited from amassing a huge army with overpowering weaponry. He was to trust in God (see Psalm 20:7), not in the arm of flesh: “The king must not build up a large stable of horses for himself or send his people to Egypt to buy horses, for the Lord has told you, ‘You must never return to Egypt.’” (Deuteronomy 17:16) God wanted first and foremost the king’s trust.

Three, the king was not to use his royal position to gain sexual satisfaction. As king, he would have all the power, so he could easily leverage it to gratify his fleshly appetites If he did, God warned that this would be his spiritual undoing—the women he took to himself would turn his heart away from God: “The king must not take many wives for himself, because they will turn his heart away from the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 16:17) Both David, and especially Solomon, were royal poster boys of unrestrained fleshly desire. God wanted the king to trust him for satisfaction of his every desire.

Four, the king was not to use his position to gain inordinate wealth. Rather, he was to serve God by serving the people, and by doing this, earthly and material blessings would come: “he must not accumulate large amounts of wealth in silver and gold for himself.” (Deuteronomy 17:17) The temptation with a king, as with all positions of power, would be to use royal authority to serve self rather than the sheep. Again, the king was to trust in the Lord, not in his position, for material blessing.

Fifth, the king was to lead by God’s law, not human wisdom. When a human being ascends to leadership and the people he leads begin to applaud, like clockwork, ego will rise up and cause his downfall. Israel’s king was to lead by the book—Book of the Law: “When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees. This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. And it will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel.” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20) The king was to trust in the Lord with all his heart and not to lean on his own understanding.

God wanted the king’s trust. He wants your complete trust, too—now and at all times. Does he have it?

Going Deeper With God: Power, sex, money—those were the three temptations about which God warned the king. How about you? Are you jockeying for position, pursuing pleasure or chasing money to give your life meaning? God will give you what is best for you as you always and wholly trust him. Surrender you fleshly longings to him.