Deut. 8, Psalm 91, Isaiah 36, Revelation 6

DateVersionReading Plan
@June 4, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Deut. 8

Deuteronomy 8:2 (ESV) 2 And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.

The chapter is largely dedicated to the command for the people to remember their LORD; who He is and what He had done for them. This verse in particular gives us the underlying reason for their years in the wilderness, that He might humble them, testing what is in their heart and whether they would keep His commandments. Often is the case is that those whose faith is strongest are also the ones who have had it thoroughly tested through fiery trial. Separating wheat from chaff and ore from dross, such times foster a depth and purity that no other process can match. Praise the LORD that, in His loving kindness, He allows us to go through these seasons of refinement.

Psalm 91

Psalm 91:1–2 (ESV) 1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

There is such strong language of protection and provision contained in these verses. Words like “dwell”, “shelter”, “abide”, “shadow, “refuge” and “fortress” all point to the kind of divine safeguarding we have in the Lord. Important to note here as well is that true and lasting refuge is ONLY found in the Lord. Nothing of the world is capable of providing the type of shielding we need at the most fundamental level. It is exclusively those who declare His refuge and fortress as their own—God Himself to be their trust—who obtain everlasting security.

Isaiah 36

Isaiah 36:18–20 (ESV) 18 Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, “The LORD will deliver us.” Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 20 Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’”

The Rabshakeh, a high Assyrian official, taunted Judah that the LORD was just like the other gods in their inability to deliver the nations from Assyrian domination. It was a boasting that displayed an utter failure to recognize how the God of Israel is the one, sovereign God over all things, including even the success of Assyria’s battle campaigns. We can easily read this with a grimace, seeing ourselves as far removed from the Rabshakeh’s blatant foolishness, but doing is to ignore our susceptibility to this kind of boasting. When we operate out of a reliance on anything other than God, we are doing the very same thing at a practical level. May we then see our own sinful disposition in the Rabshakeh’s behavior, that it would lead to our repentance and boasting solely in Him.

Revelation 6

Revelation 6:12–14 (ESV) 12 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

The opening of the seals are accompanied with some significant events and imagery. In the opening of the sixth seal, creation itself is thrown into a tumult with an earthquake along with the sun, moon and stars completely changing in character and behavior. This degree of radical shift is difficult for us to grasp as we are so used to the natural world carrying on each day with consistency. We can grow complacent and unappreciative in overlooking how this predictability is an expression of God’s faithfulness. Reading about this day and how everything will be purposefully thrown into upheaval should serve as a wakeup call, both to the certainty of its coming and that the new heavens and new earth will arrive through a dynamic transformative process.

Carson on Deuteronomy 8

Why all this discipline? The sad reality is that fallen people like you and me readily fixate on God’s gifts and ignore their Giver. At some point, this degenerates into worshiping the created thing rather than the Creator (cf. Rom. 1:25). God knows that is Israel’s danger. He is bringing them into a land with agricultural promise, adequate water, and mineral wealth (Deut. 8:6-9). What likelihood would there be at that point of learning that “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD”?

Carson dutifully elaborates on the need for discipline and our penchant for fixating on God’s gifts rather than God Himself. It is so easy to do, favoring a gaze downward at our hands full of His provision instead of upward in thanksgiving. What a paradigm shift it is to receive these gifts with steadfast praise to the Giver of all good things.