Pursue peace with all men,
and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
This verse indicates that peaceful relationships and sanctification are things to be pursued. They also need to be part of our lives if we want to see God. I was struck by the seriousness of this verse. If I want to see God, I need to work on my relationship with others and be working on removing sin from my life.
It is so easy to think that the other person should be kind and considerate of me; yet this verse points out that it is something that each of us should do. The word all adds another difficulty. There are some people who are easier to get along with than others. But God, who loves all people, has asked us to work on peaceful relations with all the people we interact with. I need to humble myself and be willing to trust that the God who loves all and who I have chosen to follow will help me to improve relationships with others.
Peace was the part that I was focusing on, but sanctification is important too. Ask the Lord to show you sin in your life. Agree with Him that it is sin and ask for forgiveness. Also ask Him to help you to avoid doing that sin again. He will help because sanctification is what He wants for us.
Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God,
being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today,
the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.
All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you
if you obey the Lord your God
Deuteronomy 28 lists the blessings that God will give if we obey Him and the curses or punishments that will come if we do not obey. Verses 2-14 list the blessings and verses 15-65 are the curses. This seems very unbalanced, more curses than blessings.
I think God cannot list more blessings because they are so wonderful that our language cannot express that level of greatness. Maybe also because our minds cannot fully appreciate and understand how wonderful the blessings are. What God states as a blessing is better than anything we picture it to be.
The long list of curses probably has to be so long because we humans have a tendency to look for loop-holes and exceptions. God is making clear here that sin will bring serious consequences. This chapter is specifically directed to the Israelites of the Old Testament, but God hates sin no matter whose life is exhibiting the sin. When things do not seem to be going “right,” it would be good if you and I asked God if there were any sin in our lives that we need to confess and forsake. If we make that a habit of life, we won’t experience the curses; we will receive the blessings. When we are surrendering our lives to God, we will start seeing how blessed the blessings are. We will be so thankful that we were willing to turn from sin.
How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
. . . Indeed, has God said . . .
Genesis 3 is the chapter that records how sin entered into the world. It seems that sin has on my mind that past three weeks. Actually during this week what I was thinking about was how easily Satan deceives us. How can we help ourselves not to fall for his deceit? The main way is to fill our minds with God’s Word so that we know, understand, appreciate, and love what God has to say then we won’t be tempted to follow Satan’s lies. I would also add reading The Holy War by John Bunyan. I am reading that book to my students. The book is a story of how Satan tempts and how people respond. I have found the book to be helpful to see more clearly Satan’s tactics and the biblical ways to combat his tricks. The Bible is our strong defense against the devil and the temptation to sin.
These verses were a help to me months ago. Considering the events of recent days I pray that they will be a special help to us now. God’s Word is true and worth following and obeying.