The following write-ups are “homework” from a new Timothy Group which began in early December 2016. The format/structure of these write-ups here is an online version of what other members of the group are doing in hard-copy format, using four columns spread over two A4 sheets of paper. Each column corresponds to a different purpose:
- Rewrite the passage, word for word. In my case, I am typing up the entire passage from scratch.
- Paraphrase or re-tell the passage in your own words
- “I Will” / application / What is God showing me?
- Special / specific question assigned for each week
The bible passage for this week is Deuteronomy 4:6-9. Throughout this series I will be using the New Living Translation version of the bible.
If you obey them carefully, you will display your wisdom and intelligence to the surrounding nations. When they hear about these laws, they will exclaim, “What other nation is as wise and prudent as this!” For what great nation has a god as near to them as the Lord our God is near to us whenever we call on him? And what great nation has laws and regulations as fair as this body of laws that I am giving you today?
But watch out! Be very careful never to forget what you have seen the Lord do for you. Do not let these things escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.
When we are faithful and true to God’s commandments, it is a demonstration of our maturity and knowledge of matters concerning God to those around us. The motivation first begins with the nature of the law and legal framework that governs our society – the fair and moral standards which they are designed upon are evidence of God’s love and presence working in harmony with our society. This sense of equality and Godly values espoused by the system itself is testament to the heavenly favour bestowed upon our society; one which is in communion with God and God communes with in return.
However, do not be complacent in remembering the original favour and grace that God poured out for the previous generations. Remind yourself daily and constantly that God was the one who first showed us love and grace in enabling the people of Israel to undergo the exodus from Egypt through the wilderness to the Promised Land. Celebrate and commemorate these past promises from God with all future generations, so that they may pass it on too.
What is God Showing Me?
God reveals himself to me through His faithfulness and harmonious nature. The first understanding gleaned from the passage, and is reinforced by my paraphrasing, is that God’s laws are there for a Holy purpose. At least, the original Deuteronomic laws and legal framework was all holistically encompassed in the love and divine nature of God. The standing of laws like the 10 Commandments are foundational and established by the moral authority of God alone.
When we are consistent in obeying His commandments and upholding His righteousness, it bears fruits such that others around us will notice. When we stand up for things that are of God, we may stand out, particularly in today’s modern society where we have corrupted and distorted the original meaning and purpose of governments and legislation.
God also shows me that we, as humans, forget easily, which is why the last verse emphasises the need to remember, and to pass on the memory of the Exodus to future generations, so that they may honour and give God the glory He rightly deserves. In remembering the past, God’s acts of grace and love should humble us and ensure we do not become prideful or boastful, and instead remain humbled by His sheer awesome that comes with just being God.
In terms of a practical “I will” outcome, I will uphold the righteousness of God above the self-righteousness of Man. I will be discerning as to where and when matters originate from a Godly and holy perspective, and equally be discerning for when that is not the case.
What is the Implication for my Community?
A great example is the whole issue that is contentious in society today whereby governments think they can simply legislate morality in the form of same-sex marriage. This passage teaches us the complete opposite that we cannot change God’s law and remain close to him, let alone be living examples of His righteousness. The simplest way to articulate the argument is that pursuing to change the law and recognise same-sex marriage legally is ultimately about glorifying ourselves and NOT about God. This passage teaches me that we are called to reflect His glory, and put aside our worldly desires. In this way, the implication for our society and community is that we have and continue to fall short of the glory of God. That the secular community pursues the same-sex marriage agenda is proof of how far we have fallen and forgotten our heritage.
The growing challenge for believers who remain true and sincere in their pursuit of drawing near to God is that it gets harder in a society which insists that God and faith are irrelevant, for individual consumption and not for public discussion. There also remains a lesson in obedience; that to be a disciple pursuing God means to obey His word above the foolishness that is today’s world.
Our society needs to repent of our wicked and selfish ways, humble ourselves before our Holy God so that we can receive His forgiveness and allow Him to heal our land.