April 7: An Irrational Life
Deuteronomy 11:1–12:28; 2 Corinthians 3:9–18; Psalm 35:12–28
Love is irrational. It requires doing things that compromise every survival instinct.
Moses tells God’s people to have a memory of what God has done among them and to love Him as a result: “And you shall love Yahweh your God, and you shall keep his obligations and his statutes and his regulations and his commandments always. And you shall realize today that it is not with your children who have not known and who have not seen the discipline of Yahweh your God, his greatness, his strong hand, and his outstretched arm” (Deut 11:1–2).
The Bible doesn’t say, “Keep Yahweh’s commandments when you feel like you love Him,” or “Keep Yahweh’s commandments when things are going your way.” It says, “You shall keep [Yahweh’s] … commandments always.” God’s greatest commandments are about loving Him and others (Mark 12:28–31; compare John 15:12).
We love God and keep His commandments because He first loved us; we remember what He has done whenever things get difficult. And we teach it to the next generation. That’s what God has called us to.
When we sacrifice ourselves for others, we are doing what God was willing to do for us when He came as a man to die on a cross. Similarly, when we love Yahweh by doing His will, we often make decisions that seem irrational. But in actuality, they are the most rational of all decisions.
The Spirit’s work within us prompts us to love, and it also opens the Scriptures for us. As Paul says, “But until today, whenever Moses is read aloud, a veil lies upon their heart, but whenever one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.… And we all, with unveiled face, reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image … glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:15–18).
Yahweh has lifted the veil from Scripture and reveals His glory in the love He manifests among us through His Spirit. Living sacrificially, out of love, richly displays His love.
Which of God’s commands are you breaking? What can you do to change that behavior and show more love?
JOHN D. BARRY
- Therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God and shalt keep that, which he commandeth to be kept: that is, his ordinances, and his laws and his commandments always. And consider this day (for I speak not to your children, which have neither known nor seen) the chastisements of the Lord your God, his greatness his mighty hand, and this stretched out arm, And his signs, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt, unto Pharoah the King of Egypt and unto all his land: And what he did unto the host of the Egyptians, unto their horses, and to their chariots, when he caused the waters of the red Sea to overflow them, as they pursued after you, and the Lord destroyed them unto this day: And what he did unto you in the wilderness until ye came unto this place: And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab the son of Reuben, when the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them with their households, and their tents, and all their substance that they had in the midst of all Israel. For your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord which he did. Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments, which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land whither ye go to possess it: Also that ye may prolong your days in the land, which the Lord sware unto your fathers, to give unto them and to their seed, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. For the land whither thou goest to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy feet as a garden of herbs: But the land whither ye go to possess it, is a land of mountains and alleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven. This land doth the Lord thy God care for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year, even unto the end of the year. If ye shall hearken therefore unto my commandments, which I command you this day, that ye love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart, and with all your soul, I also will give rain unto your land in due time, the first rain and the latter, that thou mayest gather in thy water, and thy wine, and thine oil. Also I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattled, that thou mayest eat, and have enough. But beware lest your heart deceive you, and lest ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them. And so the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that your land yield not her fruit, and ye perish quickly from the good land, which the Lord giveth you. Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as a frontlet between your eyes, And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the posts thine house, and upon thy gates,That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth. for if ye keep diligently all these commandments, which I command you to do: that is, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him, Then will the Lord cast out all these nations before you, and ye shall possess great nations and mightier than you. All the places whereon the soles of your feet shall tread, shall be yours: your coast shall be from the wilderness and from Lebanon, and from the River even the river Perath, unto the uttermost Sea. No man shall stand against you: for the Lord your God shall cast the fear and dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you. Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: The blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: And the curse, if ye will not obey the Commandments of the Lord your God, but turn out of the way, which I command you this day, to go after other gods which ye have not known. When the Lord thy God therefore hath brought thee into the land, whither thou goest to possess it, then thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal. Are they not beyond Jordan on that part, where the Sun goeth down in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the plain over against Gilgal, beside the grove of Moreh? For ye shall pass over Jordan, to go in to posses that land which the Lord your God giveth you, and ye shall possess it, and dwell therein. Take heed therefore that ye do all the commandments and the laws, which I set before you this day. These are the ordinance and the laws, which we shall observe and do in th eland, (which the Lord God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it) as long as ye live upon the earth. Ye shall utterly destroy all the places wherein the nations which ye shall possess, served their gods upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree. Also ye shall overthrow their altars, and break down their pillars, and burn their groves with fire: and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and abolish their names out of that place. Ye shall not do so unto the Lord your God, But ye shall seek the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of your tribes, to put his Name there, and there to dwell, and thither thou shalt come, And ye shall bring thither your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and the offering of your hands, and your vows, and your free offerings, and the firstborn of your kine and of your sheep. And there ye shall eat before the Lord your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, both ye, and your households, because the Lord thy God hath blessed thee. Ye shall not do after all these things that we do have this day: that is, every man whatsoever seemeth him good in his own eyes. For ye are not yet come to rest, and to the inheritance which the Lord thy God giveth thee. But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land, which the Lord your God hath given you to inherit, and when he hath given you rest from all your enemies round about, and ye dwell in safety, When there shall be a place which the Lord your God shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there, thither shall ye bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the offering of your hands, and all your special ows which ye vow unto the Lord: And ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there, thither shall ye bring all that command you: your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the offering of your hands, and all your special vows which ye vow unto the Lord: And ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God, ye, and your sons and your daughters, and your servants, and your maidens, and the Levites that is within your gates: for he hath no part nor inheritance with you. Take heed that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: But in the place which the Lord shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee. Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thine heart desireth, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he had given thee: both the unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and of the hart. Only ye shall not eat the blood, but pour it upon the earth as water. Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, nor of thy wine, nor of thine oil, nor the firstborn of thy kine, nor of thy sheep, neither any of thy vows which thou vowest, nor thy free offerings, nor the offering of thine hands, But thou shalt eat it before the Lord thy God, in the place which the Lord thy God shall. Deuteronomy 11:1–12:28
- For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was glorified, was not glorified in this point, that is, as touching the exceeding glory. For if that the should be abolished, was glorious, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was glorified, was not glorified in this point, that is, as touching the exceeding glory. For if that they should be abolished, was glorious, much more shall that which remaineth be glorious. Seeing then that we have such trust, we use great boldness of speech. And we are not Moses, which put a veil upon his face, that the children of Israel should not look unto the end of that which should be abolished. Therefore their minds are hardened: for until this day remaineth the same covering untaken away in the reading fo the old Testament, whch veil in Christ is put away. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is laid over their hearts. Nevertheless when their heart shall be turned to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord with open face, and are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:9–18
- They rewarded me evil for good, to have spoiled my soul. Yet I, when they were sick, I was clothed with a sack: I humbled my soul with fasting: and my prayer was turned upon my bosom. I behaed myself as to my friend, or as to m brother: I umbled myself, mourning as one that bewaileth his mother. But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: the abjects assembled themselves agaiinst me, and I kenw not: they tare me, and ceased not, With the false scoffers at banquets, gnashing their teeth against me. Lord, how long wilt thou behold this? deliver my soul from their tumult, even my desolate soul from the lions. So will I give thee thanks in a great Congregation: I will praise thee among much people. Let not them that are mine enemies unjustly rejoice over me, neither let them wink with the eye, that hate me without a cause. For they speak not as frinds: but they imagine deceitful words against the quiet of the land. And they gaped on me with their mouths, saying, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen. Thou hast seen it, O Lord: keep not silence: be not far from me, O Lord. Arise and wake to my judgment, even to my cause, my God, and my Lord. Judge me, O Lord my God, according to thy righteousness, and let them not rejoice over me. Let them not say in their hearts, O our soul rejoice: neither let them say, We have devoured him. Let them be confounded, and put to shame together, that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with confusion and shame, that lift up themselves against me. But let them be joyful and glad, that love my righteousness: yea, let them say alaways, Let the Lord be magnified, which loveth the prosperity of his servant. And my tongue shall utter thy righteousness, and thy praise every day. Psalm 35:12–28