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God-Given Warning Labels

One Year Bible Reading Plan and Devotional

Today’s Bible Reading: March 14

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Deuteronomy 23-25

Mark 14:51-72

God-Given Warning Labels

Have you noticed how many things come with a warning label these days? You can’t even get a cup of coffee without a warning label that say “Caution. Product may be hot.” Am I the only one that feels like it seems silly for a product that is supposed to be hot to caution me that the product is hot? But because someone spilled hot coffee on themselves while driving and sued, we now have warning labels that caution us that hot products are hot. As silly as such a warning label may be, we can be sure that when God gives us warning labels in His Word, we had better heed them.

God gave Israel warning labels because He knew Israel’s cycle that would lead to their destruction

Because God is all-knowing and He already knows what will happen in the future, God knew that Israel would have problems with forgetting Him and turning to idols. Over and over again in the Old Testament we see that Israel was stuck in an endless cycle of having peace in the land while serving God, followed by doing evil in the eyes of the Lord when they begin to worship false gods, resulting in God punishing Israel through another nation conquering them and enslaving them. Israel would finally figures things out and they cry out to God in repentance, then God would raise up a judge and Israel is delivered.

God gives warning labels because He knows how deceitful the heart is

We see this pattern over and over again. It’s no wonder then that our omnipotent God provided a warning to them. God knows just how deceitful the heart is. In Jeremiah 17:9, the prophet wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Solomon advised in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” The heart is a big problem and Satan knows our weakest spots and that’s where he chooses to tempt us.

God’s warning labels targeted Israel’s weakest spot

For Israel, it worshiping false gods — statues of images that they chose to believe were gods. Along with breaking the commandment of having no other gods, their worship of these false gods included temple prostitution and child sacrifices. Why would Israel turn their back on a God who delivered them out of Egypt? A God who had done many miracles? You’d think with all they had witness God do for them, they would be able to recognize a false god from the One true God, the great I AM. But Israel wanted to “fit in.” God called them to be “set apart,” holy, different from the world. But Israel wanted to be like everyone else.

We all struggle with “gods” of some kind

While it might seem silly that Israel would trade Yahweh for a cold stone or gold statue, we are not much different today. We all have “gods” of some kind that we struggle with. Anything that we make a higher priority than God, becomes a god. It could be money, food, power, position, hobbies, children, careers, possessions, or health. Even sleep could become a god when we choose to sleep in late on Sunday instead of going to church. All these things deceive us into thinking that our “god” will make us happy.

Finding True Joy

But true joy is only found in a right relationship with God and worshiping only Him. Therefore, Paul wrote in Romans 13:14, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” The clothes that we choose to wear often reflect our status, our values, and even our priorities. Paul uses a clothing as an imagery to portray the transformation that results from our relationship with Jesus Christ when we accept Him as Savior.

From Colossians 3:12, we learn that we are to “put on” certain godly characteristics that are a reflection of Christ himself: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” “Putting on” these godly characteristics is identifies our status as those who are holy, chosen and loved by God. So make sure that you are daily putting these on to guard your heart and that idols do not creep in and tempt you to put them before God.

God’s Warning labels can be found throughout the Bible

As we read the Bible, we can find God’s warning labels to us stashed throughout the Bible. We need to take heed of them because these warning labels are not there just for Old Testament Israel. God doesn’t want us to forsake Him and turn to idols any more than he wanted Israel to do so. So when you see warnings in the Bible and feel a tug in your soul, stop and ask the Holy Spirit: “What are you trying to warn me of here?” Then meditate on the verse and how it can be applied to your life. If you can’t relate it now, then hide that verse away in your heart for the time that you will need it in the future.

God, forgive us for when we’ve made things or people more important to us than You. Help us to guard our heart and to not be deceived by them. Help us to keep our focus on you and to daily put on the Lord Jesus Christ and the characteristics that reflect who you are. Make us aware of your warning labels you’ve stashed throughout your Word that are meant for our good.

#ReadYourBible #Deuteronomy #Mark #idols #Godswarninglables #obedience

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Week 11: March 14-20, 2022

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