Deuteronomy 1, Psalms 81-82, Isaiah 29, 3 John

DateVersionReading Plan
@May 28, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 1:26–27, 43 (ESV) 26 “Yet you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. 27 And you murmured in your tents and said, ‘Because the LORD hated us he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us. … 43 So I spoke to you, and you would not listen; but you rebelled against the command of the LORD and presumptuously went up into the hill country.

Moses recounts in this chapter how the people were to go into the hill country of the Amorites and take possession of the land that the LORD swore to give to their fathers. Twelve men were taken to spy out the land (one from each tribe) and reported back that the land the LORD their God was giving them was good. And yet, they rebelled, murmured in their tents and would not enter. Moses told them that the LORD heard their words, was angered and swore that none of their generation would see the land. The people confessed their sin against the LORD, but then proceeded to take on the Amorites themselves, a campaign that resulted in defeat because the LORD was not with them. Between the rebellion of the people to enter the land initially and their thwarting of God’s decree that their insolence prevented their generation from entering the land, so much of man’s corrupt heart is revealed. God is gracious to give us His presence, guidance and provision and we reject it. We seek our own path and to be our own God. We should see in these instances how this has never been fruitful and never will.

Psalms 81-82

Psalm 81:6–8 (ESV) 6 “I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket. 7 In distress you called, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah 8 Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me!

God speaks of His relieving the shoulders of His people from the burden of work under the Egyptians. He heard their calls of distress and delivered them. He calls them to hear Him as He admonished them, if they would but listen to Him. How different we are from God in our hearing. We call out to Him and He is gracious to listen, but when He beckons us to hear, we wane in our attention. He admonishes us for our growth and sanctification but we prefer smooth words that lull us to comfort. A faithful walk with Christ entails the surrender to the full counsel of God, much of which is difficult and challenging. To the extent we realize that the aim not our temporal happiness but holiness and perfection, we can joyfully embrace the manner in which it is achieved.

Isaiah 29

Isaiah 29:16 (ESV) 16 You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?

The prophet rebukes the absurdity of regarding the Potter as the clay, denial being made by the Maker and that He has no understanding. However, we do this ourselves at a practical level each day. We fail to see Him as holy and sovereign and so blur the distinction between Creator and creature. We must be ever reminded that He is God and we are not, that His thoughts are not our thoughts and neither are His ways our ways.

3 John

3 John 9–10 (ESV) 9 I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. 10 So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

It seemed worthy to look into who Diotrephes was as he undermined the work of John, refused to welcome the brothers and put out of the church those who wanted to welcome them. According to the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, Diatrephes was “A church member whom John reprimanded for his contentious behavior (3 John 9). He spoke against John “with evil words” (3 John 10); had resisted John’s authority by refusing to receive an earlier letter; and refused to show Christian hospitality, urging others to do likewise. He may have been an official in the church who abused his position since he liked ‘to put himself first’ (3 John 9).”

Carson on 81-82

The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20). The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable (A Hunger for God, Wheaton: Crossway, 1997, 14).

Carson provides a convicting quote by John Piper while reflecting on the nature of idolatry. We tend to accuse grievous sin as the cause for our lack of hunger for God but instead it is the small and steady drip of worldly pleasures. Admittedly, it is jarring to read Piper’s words and to have my corrupt inclinations revealed in this way. Lord, help me to see your all-surpassing goodness, that there is nothing of greater value than You and to let go of anything that may be eroding that glorious truth.