March 10

Mark 13:1-13

In Mark 13:1-13, Jesus speaks of the destruction of the temple, which we know happened in 70 AD. When most Jews thought of the coming of the Messiah, they thought of the King coming to destroy the wicked nations and rule from Jerusalem. Not every Jew perceived that the Messiah would come first to die and rise again, followed by a season for reaching the Gentiles.

The disciples asked Jesus, “When?” “When will the temple be destroyed?” “When is the end?” Up until verse 13, Jesus describes the end of the age. To read my notes on this passage, read the corresponding commentary on Matthew 24, from February 6th.

Deuteronomy 11-13

Do we see love, faith, and mercy in the Old Testament? Or do we just see the law, fear, and judgment? In Deuteronomy 11:1, it says, “LOVE the Lord your God.” From love, then trust and obey.

Moses tells the Israelites to be a witness of the acts of God and share it with their children. Verse 7, “but your eyes have seen every great act of the Lord which He did.”

In verse 12 Moses says the eyes of the Lord your God are always on the land, the promise, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year. This means God is watching over it to care for it, giving rain to care for the growth and blessings He wants to give to them.

In verse 16, he writes, to “take heed to yourselves” when they are exposed to other gods. This is a powerful verse for us today, to “take heed to ourselves.” We have to watch and guard our hearts continuously.

Verse 19, Moses again says to teach God’s Word to your children.

Verse 22 says “if” and verse 23 says “then.” God’s promises are wrapped up in grace, but they also are conditional. IF we obey, THEN we receive the promise – NOT because we’ve earned it, NOT because God is a manipulator, BUT because when we rely on God to the point of action, God is able to extend His grace. If we expect to receive from God based on our performance, we are greatly mistaken. Faith is what positions us to receive. Self-sufficiency, self-righteousness, and self-centeredness NEVER bring us into relationship with God, and if we aren’t in a right position with God, forget about receiving from God – that goes for the old covenant and the new!

God wants to give Israel TERRITORY. With land came establishment. With land came a future for generations. With land came the building of a nation.

When they TREAD on the land, they were claiming it as theirs. They didn’t just stroll the land. They took it with every step, moving forward, taking more and more territory. There are times when God gives a promise for expansion that we use our feet to claim it as ours.

Verse 31, “for you will CROSS OVER the Jordan.” You will go IN to possess it. A river is a natural boundary, something that draws a line. Crossing that boundary on our own is one thing. Crossing that line because God parted it for us is another. God’s promise is on the other side. Today, is there something that seems to be keeping you for possessing God’s promise? Is someone telling you, “No?” Is a circumstance telling you, “Stop?” God is able to give us breakthrough so we can march into our promise and fulfill our kingdom destiny. The idea of crossing a river is to dwell in whatever is on the other side – to live in it, to produce in it, to rest in it, to glorify God in it.

Deuteronomy 12:5 says, “But you shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place, and there you shall go.” God would dwell among them. In verse 11, their tithes and offerings were to be brought to the place where God would dwell with them. It was not just their responsibility, it was their joy.

In 12:15 God tells the Israelites that they can eat meat (more than manna!) – “whatever your heart desires, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.” When God blesses, He wants us to enjoy the blessing.

In chapter 13, Moses writes of so-called prophets and dreamers that work signs and wonders, yet they lead people into idol worship. God says that prophet or dreamer is to be put to death. If a family member tries to sway the family to serve other gods, that person is to be put to death. If anyone else tries to turn someone away from worshipping God, it has to be stopped, and the person is to be put to death. We don’t put people to death today for deceiving or enticing others to sin against God. Look at Jesus. Did He ever once tell His disciples to stone or kill anyone? No, He didn’t. But Jesus did offer to give each person His Spirit to help them to discern between what was right and wrong.

God isn’t a control freak. God won’t force anyone to worship Him, but He is making every effort to return as many as possible to the life we can find in Him. What a good Father!

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