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Deuteronomy 30:1–31:29 (LEB)

“And then when all of these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse that I have set before you and you call them to mind among the nations there where Yahweh your God has scattered you, and you return to Yahweh and you listen to his voice according to all that I am commanding you today, both you and your children, with all your heart and with all your inner self, and Yahweh your God will restore your fortunes, and he will have compassion upon you, and he will again gather you together from all the peoples where Yahweh your God scattered you there.

Even if you are outcasts at the end of the heavens, even from there Yahweh your God shall gather you, and from there he shall bring you back. And Yahweh your God will bring you to the land that your ancestors had taken possession of, and he will make you successful, and he will make you more numerous than your ancestors.

“And Yahweh your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring to love Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your inner self so that you may live. And Yahweh your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, on those who harassed you. And you will again listen to the voice of Yahweh, and you will do all his commandments that I am commanding you today. And Yahweh your God will make you prosperous in all your undertakings, and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground abundantly, for Yahweh will again rejoice over you, just as he rejoiced over your ancestors. 10 He will do this if you listen to the voice of Yahweh your God by keeping his commandment and his statutes written in the scroll of this law and if you return to Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your inner self.

11 “For this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too wonderful for you, and it is not too far from you. 12 It is not in the heavens so that you might say, ‘Who will go up for us to the heavens and get it for us and cause us to hear it, so that we may do it?’ 13 And it is not beyond the sea, so that you might say, ‘Who will cross for us to the other side of the sea and take it for us and cause us to hear it, so that we may do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you, even in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may do it.

15 “See, I am setting before you today life and prosperity and death and disaster; 16 what I am commanding you today is to love Yahweh your God by going in his ways and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his regulations, and then you will live, and you will become numerous, and Yahweh your God will bless you in the land where you are going. 17 However, if your heart turns aside and you do not listen and you are lured away and you bow down to other gods and you serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you will certainly perish; you will not extend your time on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to go there to take possession of it. 19 I invoke as a witness against you today the heaven and the earth: life and death I have set before you, blessing and curse. So choose life, so that you may live, you and your offspring, 20 by loving Yahweh your God by listening to his voice and by clinging to him, for he is your life and the length of your days in order for you to live on the land that Yahweh swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them.”

Succession, Deposition, and Recitation of Text

31 And Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. And he said to them, “I am a hundred and twenty years old today; I am not able to go out and to come in any longer, and Yahweh said to me, ‘You may not cross this Jordan.’ Yahweh your God is about to cross before you; he will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua will be crossing before you, just as Yahweh promised. And Yahweh will do to them just as he did to Sihon and to Og, kings of the Amorites, and to their land, which he destroyed with them. And Yahweh will deliver them to you before you, and you shall do to them according to every commandment that I have commanded you. Be strong and be courageous; you should not be afraid, and you should not be in dread from their presence, for Yahweh your God is the one going with you; he will not leave you alone and he will not forsake you.”

Then Moses summoned Joshua, and he said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and be courageous, for you will go with this people into the land that Yahweh swore to their ancestors to give to them, and you will give it to them as an inheritance. Yahweh is the one going before you; he will be with you, and he will not leave you alone, and he will not forsake you; you shall not be afraid, and you shall not be discouraged.” So Moses wrote this law, and he gave it to the priests, the descendants of Levi, the ones carrying the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, and to all the elders of Israel.

10 Then Moses commanded them, saying, “At the end of seven years, in the time of the year for canceling debts during the Feast of Booths, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before Yahweh their God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Assemble the people, the men and the women and the little children and your aliens that are in your towns, so that they may hear and so that they may learn and they may revere Yahweh your God, and they shall diligently observe all the words of this law. 13 And then their children, who have not known, they too may hear, and they may learn to revere Yahweh their God all the days that you live on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to get there to take possession of it.”

14 Then Yahweh said to Moses, “Look, you are about to die; call Joshua and present yourselves in the tent of assembly, so that I may instruct him.” So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves in the tent of assembly. 15 And Yahweh appeared in the tent in a column of cloud, and the column of the cloud stood at the entrance of the tent. 16 And Yahweh said to Moses, “Look, you are about to lie down with your ancestors, and this people will arise and they will play the prostitute after the foreign gods of the land to which they are going. 17 And my anger shall flare up against them on that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall become as prey, and disasters and troubles shall find them, and they shall say on that day, ‘Is it not because our God is not in our midst that these disasters have found us?’ 18 But I will certainly hide my face on that day, because of all of the evil that they did because they turned to other gods.

19 “And so then write this song for yourselves and teach it to the Israelites; put it in their mouth, so that this song may be for me as a witness against the Israelites. 20 For when I bring them into the land that I swore to their ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey, they will eat their fill, and they will become fat, and then they will turn to other gods, and they will serve them, and they will spurn me, and they will break my covenant. 21 And then many disasters and troubles will come upon them, and this song will give evidence before them as a witness, because it will not be forgotten from out of the mouth of their descendants, for I know their inclination that they are having today before I have brought them into the land that I swore.” 22 And Moses wrote this song on that day and taught it to the Israelites.

23 Then he told Joshua the son of Nun, and said to him, “Be strong and be courageous, for you shall bring the Israelites into the land that I swore to them, and I will be with you.”

24 And then when Moses finished writing the words of this law on the scroll until they were complete, 25 then Moses commanded the Levites carrying the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, saying, 26 “Take the scroll of this law and put it at the side of the ark of the covenant of Yahweh your God, and it will be there as a witness against you. 27 For I know your rebellion and your stiff neck even now while I am still alive with you today, rebelling against Yahweh, and how much more after my death. 28 Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officials, so that I may speak in their ears these words, and that I may call as witness against them heaven and earth. 29 For I know that after my death you will certainly act corruptly, and you will turn aside from the way that I have commanded you, and the disaster in the future days will befall you, because you will do evil in the eyes of Yahweh, provoking him with the work of your hands.”

2 Corinthians 8:1–7 (LEB)

Generosity in Giving

8 Now we make known to you, brothers, the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, that with a great ordeal of affliction, the abundance of their joy and the extreme depth of their poverty have overflowed to the wealth of their generosity. I testify that they gave​ according to their ability, and beyond their ability, by their own choice, requesting of us with much exhortation the favor and the fellowship of the ministry to the saints, and not just as we had hoped, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us, by the will of God. So we urged Titus that, just as he had previously begun it, thus he would also complete for you this act of grace. But just as you excel in everything—in faith and in speaking and in knowledge and with all diligence and in the love from us that is in you—so may you excel in this grace also.

Psalm 44:1–26 (LEB)

O God, we have heard with our ears;

our ancestors have told us

of work you worked in their days,

in days of old.

You with your hand drove out the nations,

but them you planted.

You harmed the peoples,

but them you let spread out.

For not with their sword

did they possess the land,

and their arm did not give them victory.

Rather it was your right hand and your arm

and the light of your presence,

because you delighted in them.

You are my king, O God.

Command victories for Jacob.

By you we push down our enemies;

by your name we tread down those who rise up against us.

For I do not trust my bow,

and my sword cannot give me victory.

Rather you have saved us from our enemies,

and have humiliated those who hate us.

In God we boast all the day,

and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah

Surely you have rejected and disgraced us,

and have not gone out with our armies.

10 You have caused us to pull back from the enemy,

and so those who hate us have plundered for themselves.

11 You have given us as sheep for food,

and among the nations you have scattered us.

12 You have sold your people cheaply,

and did not profit by their price.

13 You have made us a taunt to our neighbors,

a derision and a scorn to those around us.

14 You have made us a byword among the nations,

a shaking of the head among the peoples.

15 All day long my disgrace is before me,

and the shame of my face covers me,

16 because of the voice of the taunter and the reviler,

because of the enemy and the avenger.

17 All this has befallen us, though we have not forgotten you,

and we have not been false to your covenant.

18 Our heart has not turned back,

and our steps have not turned aside from your way.

19 But you have crushed us in a place of jackals,

and have covered us with deep shadow.

20 If we had forgotten the name of our God,

or had spread out our hands in prayer to a foreign god,

21 would not God discover this,

for he knows the secrets of the heart?

22 Rather, on account of you we are killed all day long;

we are accounted as sheep for slaughter.

23 Wake up! Why do you sleep, O Lord?

Awake! Do not reject forever.

24 Why do you hide your face?

Have you forgotten our misery and our oppression?

25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust.

Our body clings to the ground.

26 Rise up! Be a help for us,

and redeem us for the sake of your loyal love.

April 16: Bold Requests (Rebecca Van Noord)

April 16

Psalm 44 is bold. Who asks the Lord to “wake up”? Who asks Him why He is sleeping?

The psalmist doesn’t stop with these questions. He makes claims regarding God that seem like accusations: “you have rejected and disgraced us,” “you have given us as sheep for food,” and “you have sold your people cheaply” (Psa 44:9, 11, 12). How do we deal with these types of psalms? Should we be as bold in our relationship with God?

But these claims aren’t made without reason. The psalmist opens his lament with, “O God, we have heard with our ears; our ancestors have told us of work you worked in their days, in days of old” (Psa 44:1). He had heard stories of God’s past faithfulness—how he delivered His people in battles. He also knew that God had claimed His people, that His favor to them was a testimony to the surrounding nations. But the psalmist experiences something different. Why is Israel “a taunt to our neighbors, a derision and a scorn to those around us” (Psa 44:13)?

The psalmist wrestles with his experience because he knows God’s will. He appeals to God’s faithfulness, love, and reputation among the nations. It’s not much different from our own experience, as we wrestle with evil, sorrow, and pain, and as we wonder about God’s work in the world.

But in the midst of the confusion, we still need to place trust in God. Although the psalmist questions boldly, he acknowledges, “In God, we boast all the day, and we will give thanks to your name forever” (Psa 44:8). At the end of the psalm, he still petitions God for help, on the basis of His love: “Rise up! Be a help for us, and redeem us for the sake of your loyal love” (Psa 44:26).

God has redeemed us for the sake of His loyal love, and He is present and active—even when it seems otherwise. Colossians 1 tells us to give thanks to the Father, “who has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son he loves … because all things in the heavens and on the earth were created by him … and in him all things are held together … because he was well pleased for all the fullness to dwell in him, and through him to reconcile all things to himself, by making peace through the blood of his cross” (Col 1:12–20).

Do you trust in God’s love and deliverance, even when circumstances seem grim? Do you boldly petition Him for help, acknowledging His good character in the process?

Rebecca Van Noord is editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. She has developed content for several Bible reference products, including Lexham Bible Dictionary and Faithlife Study Bible.

Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional

Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord

Publisher: Lexham Press

Publication Date: 2012

This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.