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Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman

"Know then, it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people."--Deuteronomy 9:6.  Moses, reminding the people that it was not because of their own effort that God was bringing them into the Promised Land.  Quite the opposite in fact.  Deuteronomy 9:5 tells us it is because of the wickedness of the surrounding nations that God is dispossessing them of the land.  In other words, God was doing the work but the people were God's tools to accomplish His purpose.

Tools.  As we know, tools are something we use to accomplish a given purpose.  Consider the image above. We use a wrench to loosen nuts and bolts.  We use needle nose pliers to do something with with wire or something of that nature.  And of course a screwdriver loosens and tightens screws.  But of course we know that none of these tools can do their job without human effort.  Sometimes we might have the strength to do what these tools are intended to do without using them (a point we will look at in a moment) but these tools are something that can help carry out that purpose so we use them.

Tools.  So how does this tie in to Deuteronomy 9:6?  Well I mentioned in my introductory paragraph that the people were God's tools to carry out His purpose of dispossessing the nations that were in the Promised Land.  And just like physical tools, the people could not carry out God's purpose without outside assistance, namely God.  God, through His tool Moses reminds them of this.  One of the reason God reminds them of this is because they are a stubborn which can also be translated stiff necked.  If they had trusted God and done what He said in the first place, they would have gotten in to the Promised Land forty years earlier.  But because the people chose  not to trust God and do what He wanted them to do, God's purpose was not carried out as planned.  His tools did not do what they were intended to do.

Tools.  Now when a tool breaks for whatever reason, it is no good and it can't be used for its intended purpose. When the people refused to do God's will, God's tools were essentially broken and of no use to Him.  Now I mentioned that sometimes we can accomplish a given task without the use of tools. Sometimes we need to ask ourselves when we are doing a job, can we do this without tools?  Well by the same token we need to ask ourselves does God necessarily NEED us to carry out His purpose? Of course not, He is God and He could easily have destroyed the wicked nations with something as small as a spoken word.  After all, it was His word that spoke creation into existence in Genesis 1.  But like we often do, God chooses to use tools.  Not because He has to but because He chooses to.

Tools.  So how does this all apply to us?  Well as I just said, God does not use tools (people) because He has to but because He chooses to. This is one of the things I think is so awesome about being in a relationship with God is that we are in partnership with God for Him to use us as He sees fit. But again, we are simply tools and like physical tools, we too require outside assistance (God) to be used for His purposes. Genesis 15:6 tells us that Abraham believed (trusted or had faith in) in the Lord and He reckoned (credited) it to him as righteousness.  Hebrews 11:8 tells us it is by faith Abraham obeyed. This is what faith is all about.  It is trusting God to perform and use us when we choose to obey His will rather than our own. We know the trouble Israel got in to when they refused to be used by God as His tools.

Tools.  So my encouragement to you is this.  Next time you go to God in prayer, ask Him to use you for His purposes and trust that He will.  We know from Hebrews 11 that faith is always followed by action. Of course these are not works of merit but works of faith per James 2:14-17.  Put your faith into action by carrying out God's purpose by leading a devotional, Bible study or carrying out the gospel message or leading songs at church services or even helping someone in need.  You just might be that tool that someone else needs to accomplish a task.  Just like there are different tools for different purposes, God can also use you in any number of ways.  If you believe in God but have not yet obeyed the gospel as described in Romans 6:3-4, do not delay.  Obey and trust God to perform by saving you from your sins by being baptized into Christ.


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