Grants

The LORD grants his people perfect rest through Jesus Christ

Advertisements

Read: Deuteronomy 28

The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. (Deuteronomy 28:7)

Reflect:

The thing about Bible reading is that the more you do it, the more you get out of it. Even a simple, short passage like this single verse has more to it than a surface reading would suggest.

The basic interpretation is that the LORD would ensure that Israel’s enemies will be defeated, as the first sentence states clearly. From the second sentence, the enemies would approach from one direction, but after they are defeated they would scatter:

from one direction = unity, cohesion
flee … in seven = disunity, disarray

There’s a bit more depth here; though it takes careful reading and biblical thinking to see it. It has to do with significant numbers in the Bible story. The word seven becomes, through the course of the Bible, shorthand for the seventh day of creation. On the seventh day God rested from the work of creating. Upon this seventh day pattern, God ordained sabbath rest for all his people.

seven (7) = sabbath; perfect completion, peace, rest, no work

So, while the enemies approach together and leave scattered, the more important concept here is that God will grant his people sabbath rest from their enemies. This is rest from work, rest from the struggle to achieve, rest from the battle to overcome. Far more than the temporary amelioration of hostilities, this is true, eternal rest.

So what’s the Jesus connection? It is Jesus Christ who grants this true and complete rest from our enemies: from Satan and his demons, from our past sins, from our character flaws, from our sinful nature. It is Jesus who grants rest from the battle with our enemies, within and without. It is Jesus who grants rest from the struggle to win our own salvation, because he provides it for us.

crux:

The LORD grants his people perfect rest through Jesus Christ.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

You are a good, good God. You are a good, good Father. This is who you are.

You take great delight in granting good things to your people who are called by the Name of your Son Jesus Christ, the Christians. We are your new covenant people, the people redeemed and rescued by your only Son Jesus, whom you sent to die in our place.

LORD, you saved me from out of the clutches of the enemy Satan, that liar and deceiver. He fled before me because you drove him away. You have kept me safe, LORD, and you have granted me the sweet restoration and refreshment of fellowship with your people in Wichita, in Indianapolis and now here in Toronto.

LORD, may I long abide in the peace you have granted to me. Keep me safe from my enemies. Keep me safe because Jesus has defeated sin and death so I have nothing to fear. Make me a hope dealer.

Amen.

Authority

The Father has authority over the Son and both have authority over me

Read: Matthew 4

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ” (Matthew 4:8-10)

Reflect:

The devil is also called “the tempter” (4:3) and “Satan” which means “the accuser” (4:10) in this chapter.

Jesus was tempted because, led by the Spirit (4:1) he made himself vulnerable to temptation. But Jesus did not give in to the temptation because he was equipped to repudiate the tempter. Jesus knew Scripture and was able to use it as a sword (Ephesians 6:17) against the devil, remaining sinless.

In his third attempt to tempt Jesus, the devil offered all the kingdoms of the world to Jesus if only Jesus would worship the devil. There is great irony in Satan’s presumption in attempting to barter worldly kingdoms with God’s anointed king, the King of all kings. It was a bit like the tenant of a house offering to give the house to its legal owner for the price of an entire town’s worth of houses.

Satan does have power in the world today. John wrote “we know that the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). But even if the devil does have power at present, this power is temporary. He is only a tenant, not the true owner. Satan’s power and authority is limited.

But the devil has no authority at all over Jesus. Jesus knew the only entity with greater authority than himself was his Father in heaven. He deferred to the Father’s authority when he used Scripture as the basis for rejecting Satan’s scheme. In contrast to the

Satan uses this same method to tempt today, just as he also did in the time of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-5). He makes false promises and tricks people into thinking his way will yield power, but he only offers slavery. Like Jesus, I must “not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:27).

crux:

The Father has authority over the Son and both have authority over me.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

You are Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Almighty.

You have power to rebuke the devil so I do not need to fear his schemes. Please continue to protect me because I belong to you; Jesus has redeemed me from the devil’s slavery.

Please help me to submit to your authority. May I know your word. May your Spirit guide me to know how Scripture applies to my situation.

Be my Rabbi, my Teacher. Show me yourself and inspire me to worship you. How could I not worship you, when you are so great? LORD, help me to surrender to your authority.

May I be willing and eager to walk in your ways, to follow Christ, to be led by the Spirit. Soften my heart to you and take my pride. Open my ears to you, and shut down the voice of the devil. Open my eyes to your glory, and blind me to the tempter’s lures. May I be wholly yours.

Amen.