Reflections: Moses ends his teaching the Israelites by making it clear that they have two paths before them. They have seen what happens when they disobey the Lord. They have seen the blessings of following God and obeying His law, and all the provisions God had made for them to take the Promised Land. Although he would not be the one who would be leading them into it, he still had a heart for the people he had shepherded through so many ups and downs. Although he can lay out the terms for the people, like any leader, he could not change the way they responded. He could only lay out the vision God had for them, but they needed to own it and walk in it. He also gives the vision that one day God would circumcise their hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Then, in our gospel lesson, the disciples return from their first mission trip and see that even the demons submit to the authority they have in Jesus’ name. Jesus has gone from empowering 12 people to 72, and we see the beginning of the church emerging. Jesus is very pleased with their report, but reminds them to rejoice more that their names are written in the book of life, than the power they have. As sons and daughters of God, He has given us His power and authority to use in bringing in God’s kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. As God’s kingdom comes in there will be conflicts with the forces of darkness. As believers we don’t need to be afraid of these conflicts but come to expect them if we are living a kingdom life. But most importantly this power and authority reminds us that our home is in heaven.
So we see a link between obedience and blessing, and power and authority. As we take up God’s power and obey His Word, we can see abundance God has to offer us. Where is God calling you to obey Him? Where is He calling you to use the power and authority given to you as a son or daughter of the King?
Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm. A song.
1 He has founded his city on the holy mountain.
2 The Lord loves the gates of Zion
more than all the other dwellings of Jacob.
3 Glorious things are said of you,
city of God:
4 “I will record Rahab and Babylon
among those who acknowledge me—
Philistia too, and Tyre , along with Cush—
and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’”
5 Indeed, of Zion it will be said,
“This one and that one were born in her,
and the Most High himself will establish her.”
6 The Lord will write in the register of the peoples:
“This one was born in Zion.”
7 As they make music they will sing,
“All my fountains are in you.”
Prosperity After Turning to the Lord
30 When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, 2 and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, 3 then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. 4 Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. 5 He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors. 6 The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. 7 The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. 8 You will again obey the Lord and follow all his commands I am giving you today. 9 Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, 10 if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
The Offer of Life or Death
11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.22 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”23 Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
Daniel went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God. Daniel 6:10 (NIV)
We are persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:9
Lord, with our needs and your constant concern, we are able to be healed and work out our problems with your intervention. Keep your power and concern at work in us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.