Deuteronomy 10:12-11:7 (Part 3) – Have You Ever Wondered, “How Did We Get To Talking About This…?”

Posted: January 20, 2017 in Book of Deuteronomy
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Deuteronomy 10:12-11:7 (Part 3 of 7)

A Call to Love and Obedience

Have you ever had a conversation with someone or with a group of friends and you say, “Wait a minute! How did we get to talking about this?” You know those wandering conversations that you have friends sometimes. You start out talking about the rivalry between Clemson University and the University of South Carolina and their most recent trends in football and somehow twenty minutes later the conversation is about who will be the Republican nominee for President in 2020. That’s when you have to do, what I call, a conversation audit. You have to follow the audit trail of the conversation back to its beginning and see where the conversation took its twist and turns. The Clemson-South Carolina conversation starter, diverted when someone talked about South Carolina Governor Ms. Nikki Haley being a Clemson graduate, then that turned into a conversation about her being a rising star in the Republican Party, and that became a discussion about what Trump’s presidency means for her political career and those of other rising stars in the party. Then, that became a conversation about how Trump would be a one-termer even if he is a successful president because at the end of four years he will most likely tire of the presidency and move on to something else. Then, it became a conversation about how critical the 2020 election would become because the liberals will be out for blood because of their feeling that the election was stolen from them. Then, that became a conversation about “who are we, chopped liver?” We are the majority of people in the majority of states that voted for Trump and against Clinton. Then, that became a conversation about again how, if we thought 2016 was an important election, then 2020 would be more important when Trump leaves a political vacuum and there most be a moderate Republican in 2020 which drives us back to Nikki Haley which drives us back to Clemson which drives us back to the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry and how it would suck for Gamecock fans to watch Clemson win the national championship in football and then watch a Clemson grad win the presidency in 2020 and see the Tiger paw on the White House for 4 or more years.

 

You see the conversation trail. You see how one person diverted a conversation from a talk about the Clemson-South Carolina football rivalry into a conversation about politics for which it took probably an hour to get back to the original point. Someone with politics on their mind decided to usurp and detour the conversation. That wanted to really talk about the future of the Republican Party after what they assume will be the political vacuum created by Donald Trump when he leaves office after one term. To them, their passion was about how the presidency is simply the next prize for Donald Trump, something to put on his life’s resume. Sure, he tapped into the general population’s angst against the urban liberal control of our minds and thoughts and rode that to the White House. They believe that though Trump was a kick in the pants the political system sorely needed that Trump will be very clunky as president and will get little done. That is why it may dangerous for people to be in his administration. Four years from now, Trump will say, “screw this…I want to go make big huge deals again!” What will that do to the presidential race when this grand experiment ends in 2020. Will it be an even more radicalized Democratic Party out for vengeance or will it be a moderate Republican. Nikki Haley, of course, is a rising in the Party. She’s got to play her cards right over the next 4 years as the UN Ambassador, not if she is confirmed but when, so that she can emerge as one of the political rockets in the 2020 presidential campaign. That’s what the diverter of the conversation had on their heart when they walked in the room and sat down with friends. So, they pounced on the opportunity, to bring up Nikki Haley’s Clemson heritage so as to get to their own agenda for the conversation.

 

Have you ever been a part of a conversation like that? That ended up in a completely different place, a different planet, from where you started. Like I said, that’s when you have to do a conversation audit and figure out the divergent points in the conversation road that led us away from the original point. And, there is that person who turned the conversation away from its original point and place. Conversation stealers! They take the conversation and make it theirs and about what they want to talk about! As Angelah Johnson would say when she plays her character, Bon Qui Qui, “Ruuuude!”

 

I know that this little diddy of mine about conversation stealers and conversation audits and following the conversation trail might seem totally way out in left field when talking about following God, but I think you will understand the demented mind of Mark Bowling after we read this passage again this morning with an eye toward the question, “How do we follow God?”. Let’s read Deuteronomy 10:12-11:7 together today with that in mind:

 

12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

 

14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. 16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. 20 Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. 22 Your ancestors who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.

Love and Obey the Lord

 

11 Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. 2 Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm; 3 the signs he performed and the things he did in the heart of Egypt, both to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his whole country; 4 what he did to the Egyptian army, to its horses and chariots, how he overwhelmed them with the waters of the Red Sea[a] as they were pursuing you, and how the Lord brought lasting ruin on them. 5 It was not your children who saw what he did for you in the wilderness until you arrived at this place, 6 and what he did to Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab the Reubenite, when the earth opened its mouth right in the middle of all Israel and swallowed them up with their households, their tents and every living thing that belonged to them. 7 But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done

 

In this series of blogs, we are talking about how we should relate to God. First, we talked about knowing Him more intimately through prayer. Then, we talked about how we should love God with all we have just as we love our spouses (with that same level of spiritual intimacy). Then, we talked about how we should respect God in awe and reverence and how the comparable earthly representation of that is a good, godly earthly father. Today, we will talk about how to follow God. Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? Follow God. Get in line behind Him and follow, right? How often do we screw that up? That simple command – to follow God!

 

We are conversation stealers when it comes to following God. Just like that person that diverted the conversation from the Clemson-South Carolina football rivalry into a conversation about the future of the Republican party after Trump, we hear a word from God and then we take over. We jump in and make it our own and not God’s. In his blog, “How To Follow God’s Will”, at http://www.awmi.net/reading/teaching-articles/follow_will/, Andrew Wommack says,

 

“People often take a word from God, make a paragraph out of it, and are out there in self-will. Or, like Moses, they take the word and try to make it happen without asking God about the timing. I see this all the time. There is a right way and a wrong way to accomplish things. There is God’s way, and there is a selfish way.”

 

How often do you and I steal the conversation from God? How often do we guise our own ambitions in terms of doing what we think God has called us to do? We mistake our own personal desires for God’s will. We replace the narrative. We overlay our personal desires as chocolate coating over the real peanut butter of God’s will inside. We divert the conversation to our agenda and our desires. We must examine ourselves and determine if we are stealing the conversation and steering it to our own agenda. That sure does feel good though. To rationalize how your personal desires are indeed the will of God. We make it fit. We rationalize it. We work the puzzle til all the pieces fit. We make God fit us. We make it where we create the rationalization for staying put in our comfort zone as God’s Will. We rationalize how God calls us to do the possible and not the impossible because He wants me to be happy and comfortable. We rationalize away and stay put because everybody else tells us we are crazy and as such it must not be God’s will.

 

As well, we may mistake our personal agenda for personal glory and fame for God’s will. If we are at a church or a business or whatever, we must ask the question, “will this project or initiative survive me leaving this church, this business or whatever?” If whatever we are doing will not survive once we leave, it is certainly not God’s will, it’s yours. If your church itself will not survive a pastor leaving it, then, who’s will is the church after? Who are we following? We must remember not to steal the conversation with God and impose our desires upon the conversation. We must be humble before the Lord. We must follow Him. We must examine as to whether our actions bring Him glory rather than ourselves. One of the things that I love about my senior pastor is that you will have to dig deep into our church website to even find a picture of him. He has often told me that he would leave this church he founded and that remains his passion to this day, if he sees that he is becoming detrimental to what God is doing at LifeSong. This is the church he founded! He would leave it if it ever became about him and not what God is doing. Sure, my senior pastor is not perfect and I am sure there are ways that he may get in the way of what God is doing just like all of us do, but those are bold words and humble words of a man who, I think, for all his faults and failures is a man after God’s own heart.

 

May you and I have that passion to follow the Lord! Really follow. Really let Him lead us. May we be humble enough to recognize when we are getting in His way and repent and get behind Him instead of trying to lead God. We are to follow. He is God. We must recognize our place. He is the leader and we are the followers.

 

Let us not steal the conversation from God. Let us not take God’s Will and replace it with our agenda. Let us be willing to see where God’s conversation takes us. Let us do a conversation audit right now. Let us follow our conversation trail. Let us discover where we made that slight shift in the conversation with God to make it slightly and more slightly and more slightly about what we want to talk about rather than what God wants to tell us, and teach us, and lead us to. Can you follow your conversation trail back to the point where it started becoming about your conversation agenda? Can you go back and repent of that turn in the conversation? Can you make it about God now and God only and what God wants? Listen to what HE is saying instead of trying to finish His sentence for Him.

 

Amen and Amen.

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