Are you willing to walk in humility? Are you willing to live a life that is humble? Are you showing it through the words you speak and the actions you take? No matter your position, your title, your role, it is still important to live life as a humble servant. If you are a leader we received the example from Jesus on how to be a servant leader! So let’s not allow pride to trip us up! Let’s not set ourselves up for the fall by being prideful! Let’s be humble servants of the Most High God! Let’s be Jesus with skin on to the world around us! Let’s speak hope! Let’s speak life! Let’s live it out in love!
We need to put our trust in God! We need to believe Him at His Word! We need to live our lives out to the full in alignment to the truth of God! We need to be calling this world to a higher bar! We need to be raising the average by living up to Jesus’ calling on our lives! We need to live our lives out no matter what comes our way trusting in the healing and resurrection power of Jesus! We need to live out our lives to glorify God knowing that one day we will get to see Jesus face to face! Not because of how great we are but of how great He is! Not because we deserve it but because He paid the price! Not because we live our lives but because He gave His life! So let’s take hold of Jesus and build our relationship with Him now so that it will be an eternal relationship spent with Him rather than walking away and trying to do it all on our own and being separated from Him for all of eternity! We are saved by faith through grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! We are saved because God promises that “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
If you haven’t already, will you invite Jesus into your life? Will you allow to be the first day of the rest of your life in relationship with Jesus? Will you choose to start a relationship with Jesus that will last for eternity? The choice is yours!
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. –from Ephesians 1
1. Life beyond the grave … Psalm 49:1-20
1Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who live in this world, 2both low and high, rich and poor alike: 3My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the meditation of my heart will give you understanding. 4I will turn my ear to a proverb; with the harp I will expound my riddle: 5Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me—6those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches? 7No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them—8the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—9so that they should live on forever and not see decay. 10For all can see that the wise die, that the foolish and the senseless also perish, leaving their wealth to others. 11Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. 12People, despite their wealth, do not endure; they are like the beasts that perish. 13This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. 14They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning). Their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions. 15But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself. 16Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendor of their houses increases; 17for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them. 18Though while they live they count themselves blessed—and people praise you when you prosper—19they will join those who have gone before them, who will never again see the light of life. 20People who have wealth but lack understanding are like the beasts that perish.
–from Psalm 49
Today’s devotional speaks to this reading from God’s Word with the following:
There is a stark contrast between life without God, and life with God.
Life without God
Those who live without God tend to end up trusting in either wealth (v.6a) or themselves (v.13a). This trust is characterised by a search for status. The wealthy may ‘boast of their great riches’ (v.6b) and use money to impress others with their possessions (v.16). They may even name lands after themselves (v.11a).
They enjoy the praise of others (v.18b) and they count ‘themselves blessed’ (v.18a). They may try to use their wealth to ‘buy off’ their own death (v.7). Yet no amount of money is ever enough (v.8). In the end, it is all futile as wealth gets left to others (v.10b). ‘So don’t be impressed with those who get rich and pile up fame and fortune. They can’t take it with them’ (vv.16–17a, MSG). What is this all worth if we ‘decay in the grave?’ (v.14).
Life with God
By contrast, if you live a life with God there is no need to search for status. This is because your status is determined not by your success in accumulating wealth, but in knowing to whom you belong and how precious you are to him.
Your ransom has been paid (v.7b) and you have been redeemed – your future is secure: ‘But me? God snatches me from the clutch of death, he reaches down and grabs me’ (v.15, MSG).
A life with God means you will ‘live on forever and not see decay’ (v.9). The psalmist says, ‘Why should I fear?’ (v.5). Fear is a natural human emotion. But, with God you can face your fears with confidence because you are able to have complete trust in God for this life and the life to come.
Here is one of the few hints in the Old Testament of life after death. The writer is confident that ‘God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself’ (v.15). Life with God does not end with death, but continues on into eternity. The psalmist was confident in this, even though he did not know how it was possible. The answer is revealed through Jesus’ resurrection.
2. The dead will rise … Luke 20:27-21:4
27Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28“Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30The second 31and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32Finally, the woman died too. 33Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”
34Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
39Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” 40And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Whose Son Is the Messiah?
41Then Jesus said to them, “Why is it said that the Messiah is the son of David? 42David himself declares in the Book of Psalms:
“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
43 until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.” ’
44 David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”
Warning Against the Teachers of the Law
45While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 46“Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”
–from Luke 20
1As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3“Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
–from Luke 21
Today’s devotional speaks to this reading from God’s Word with the following:
When we start to think about the resurrection and life after death, it is hard to imagine what it will be like. What will people look like? What kind of body will you have? How will we relate to one another?
Sometimes people use these kinds of questions to suggest that the idea of the resurrection is fanciful or even absurd. The Sadducees belonged to a ‘party that denies any possibility of resurrection’ (20:27, MSG). They came to Jesus with this kind of trick question about a woman who had had seven husbands, asking mockingly how it would all work out with the resurrection.
Jesus answered by explaining that their question is flawed because they are working with a this-worldly mind-set. The resurrection will transform all our human relationships and the need for marriage as a means of continuing a family line will be removed (vv.34–36).
Jesus answers the question, but then goes on to address the real issue. The Sadducees were unimpressed by the hints of the resurrection in the Old Testament because they placed far greater weight on the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch).
Jesus takes them on, on their own territory, by quoting from one of these books: ‘Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord “the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive’ (vv.37–38).
Jesus is absolutely clear that he believed, not only in his own resurrection, but also in a much wider ‘resurrection from the dead’ (v.35). Those who rise ‘can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection’ (v.36).
Of course, it all depends on Jesus being who he claimed to be. Jesus points out that he is not only a son of David, he is David’s Lord (vv.41–44). If Jesus is Lord, you can be confident in his assurance that ‘the dead rise’ (v.37).
If you really believe in the resurrection it changes your attitude to everything in life, including your possessions. Like the widow (21:1–4) you are challenged to give generously, hold your possessions lightly and, ultimately, to be willing to give up everything you have in this life.
Furthermore, you have a whole different perspective on this life. There is real hope in the face of the tragedy of death. This life is only the beginning.
3. The everlasting arms … Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12
Moses Blesses the Tribes
1This is the blessing that Moses the man of God pronounced on the Israelites before his death. 2He said:
“The Lord came from Sinai
and dawned over them from Seir;
he shone forth from Mount Paran.
He came with myriads of holy ones
from the south, from his mountain slopes.
3Surely it is you who love the people;
all the holy ones are in your hand.
At your feet they all bow down,
and from you receive instruction,
4the law that Moses gave us,
the possession of the assembly of Jacob.
5He was king over Jeshurun
when the leaders of the people assembled,
along with the tribes of Israel.
6“Let Reuben live and not die,
nor his people be few.”
7And this he said about Judah:
“Hear, Lord, the cry of Judah;
bring him to his people.
With his own hands he defends his cause.
Oh, be his help against his foes!”
8About Levi he said:
“Your Thummim and Urim belong
to your faithful servant.
You tested him at Massah;
you contended with him at the waters of Meribah.
9He said of his father and mother,
‘I have no regard for them.’
He did not recognize his brothers
or acknowledge his own children,
but he watched over your word
and guarded your covenant.
10He teaches your precepts to Jacob
and your law to Israel.
He offers incense before you
and whole burnt offerings on your altar.
11Bless all his skills, Lord,
and be pleased with the work of his hands.
Strike down those who rise against him,
his foes till they rise no more.”
12About Benjamin he said:
“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him,
for he shields him all day long,
and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.”
13About Joseph he said:
“May the Lord bless his land
with the precious dew from heaven above
and with the deep waters that lie below;
14with the best the sun brings forth
and the finest the moon can yield;
15with the choicest gifts of the ancient mountains
and the fruitfulness of the everlasting hills;
16with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness
and the favor of him who dwelt in the burning bush.
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of the prince among his brothers.
17In majesty he is like a firstborn bull;
his horns are the horns of a wild ox.
With them he will gore the nations,
even those at the ends of the earth.
Such are the ten thousands of Ephraim;
such are the thousands of Manasseh.”
18About Zebulun he said:
“Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out,
and you, Issachar, in your tents.
19They will summon peoples to the mountain
and there offer the sacrifices of the righteous;
they will feast on the abundance of the seas,
on the treasures hidden in the sand.”
20About Gad he said:
“Blessed is he who enlarges Gad’s domain!
Gad lives there like a lion,
tearing at arm or head.
21He chose the best land for himself;
the leader’s portion was kept for him.
When the heads of the people assembled,
he carried out the Lord’s righteous will,
and his judgments concerning Israel.”
22About Dan he said:
“Dan is a lion’s cub,
springing out of Bashan.”
23About Naphtali he said:
“Naphtali is abounding with the favor of the Lord
and is full of his blessing;
he will inherit southward to the lake.”
24About Asher he said:
“Most blessed of sons is Asher;
let him be favored by his brothers,
and let him bathe his feet in oil.
25The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze,
and your strength will equal your days.
26“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
who rides across the heavens to help you
and on the clouds in his majesty.
27The eternal God is your refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.
He will drive out your enemies before you,
saying, ‘Destroy them!’
28So Israel will live in safety;
Jacob will dwell secure
in a land of grain and new wine,
where the heavens drop dew.
29Blessed are you, Israel!
Who is like you,
a people saved by the Lord?
He is your shield and helper
and your glorious sword.
Your enemies will cower before you,
and you will tread on their heights.”
–from Deuteronomy 33
The Death of Moses
Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan, 2all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, 3the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. 4Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.”
5And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. 6He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is. 7Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. 8The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.
9Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord had commanded Moses.
10Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. 12For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.
–from Deuteronomy 34
Today’s devotional speaks to this reading from God’s Word with the following:
If ever a person had a good end to their life it was Moses: ‘Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eyesight was sharp; he still walked with a spring in his step’ (34:7, MSG). He had lived a life of knowing the Lord ‘face to face’ (v.10).
Moses had been greatly used by God: ‘For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did’ (v.12).
One of the great challenges in life is to finish well. Part of finishing well is planning succession.
Moses finished well. He had planned for Joshua to be his successor: ‘Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord commanded Moses’ (v.9). This is one of the few examples of the anointing of God passing from one generation to the next.
Before he died, Moses blessed all the different tribes with some extraordinary words. For example, about Benjamin he said, ‘Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders’ (33:12).
As he comes to the end, having blessed each tribe, he says, ‘There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’ (vv.26–27a).
Moses perhaps realised that death was not the end. He trusted the eternal God and he knew his arms were everlasting.
This does not entirely remove the pain and sadness of death. The people wept and mourned when Moses died (34:8a). It is natural and important to grieve and vital that we do so. Your emotions are God-given and should not be repressed.
However, there is a difference between grief with no hope, and the grief of the believer who has hope in the resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
I have been to many funerals and memorial services over the years and often the opening words are these great, reassuring, comforting and powerful words: ‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’ (Deuteronomy 33:27a).