I love the book of Deuteronomy. Jesus quotes frequently from this book (and also the Psalms!), and once a seminary professor of mine said, “Jesus had a favorite book of the Bible. It was clearly Deuteronomy based on how much He quotes from it. Wouldn’t you want to study Jesus’s most beloved book?” I think about those words every time I read Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy is a great book for any of us embarking on a new adventure. It’s great for those of us wanting to enter the Promised Land of a deeper walk with Jesus. This is a different land you’re entering. It’s a land of profound dependence on the Holy Spirit and unimaginable blessing.
I love reading Moses’ words of direction and wisdom for starting a new thing and entering this fresh place of rest. After all, this book is all about how to live well and what to do once God puts you in a new situation.
What I most notice this time is, not surprisingly, is a little verb: turn. God tells the Israelites to first turn and take a new direction of obedience (1:40). I love how God continues to give highly specific instructions as in “turn northward” (2:3)
I think about the turns our lives take as we follow the Lord. Some of us know we’re about to turn towards a new opportunity. What now?
Notice this: God tells the Israelites about the battles ahead. But He reminds them which people to engage with and which people to avoid. He essentially says, “Don’t fight that battle, but yes, fight this one.” Over and over again, God directs the people which battle is theirs. When we turn and follow Jesus, we might find many conflicts ahead, both internal and external to us.
I remember asking a woman the greatest lesson she had learned in her lifetime about the Lord. She looked at me and said, “You don’t have to attend every fight you’re invited to.” In other words, on any given day, we’re baited into countless battles of various ideas, political positions, and arguments on large and small scales. You don’t have to fight everything and everyone. You don’t have to enter that space.
When you turn and follow the Lord, He will show you which battles are yours to fight and which ones to avoid.
So we turn. We follow Him. And we only engage where He asks us to.