Summary: God has all the answers for every aspect of your life. While studying the Bible to help decide where I should live, I found a more important truth - "how" I should live. Student ministry PowerPoint format.
[Where Does God Want You To Live?]
Slide Graphic – House with for sale sign in front
What is your favorite book of the Bible? John? Acts? Genesis? I am the only person I know who’s favorite book is Deuteronomy, and today I’m going to tell you why.
When I was growing up, my father was in the military. We moved every 2-3 years. Panama, Korea, Costa Rica, Japan. Those of you who played in the football game last week can vouch for the fact that I know very little about American sports.
Throughout my childhood, I kept imagining what it would be like to live in one place, to put down roots. I promised myself that one day I would own a house on a big lot where I could do whatever I wanted – build a workshop, keep big dogs, put in a garden, …
When I reached a point where that might be possible, I began to spend more and more time dreaming about a place of my own. Since this was so important to me, and I truly believe that through God all things are possible, I began to look through the Bible to see when God gave people land. Who did he give it to? For what purpose? What do I need to do to position myself to be in the same position as those people, so God would give me my land?
I looked up “Land” in a concordance, and found that the word is used 1708 times in the Bible. Of course, the big “land-grant” was when God gave the “Promised Land” to the Israelites. The story is retold in several places, but one such retelling, heavy on references to “land” occurs in Deuteronomy chapter 11.
So I began to dig into this chapter to see how I could get the land that I wanted so badly. I was looking for land, but instead God showed me where he wanted me to live.
Slide Graphic – Rodin’s “Thinker”
Slide Text – Deuteronomy 11:1-2
1 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;
You will be held responsible for what you have seen God do.
Let’s start at the beginning of Chapter 11. There are 17 references to “land” in this chapter alone, where God talks about the land he is about to give the Israelites.
The first verse is a command to love God and keep his commandments. … Check, got it. What about the land?
In the second verse God is holding the Israelites personally responsible for what they have seen God do. The King James translation reads more like “I don’t speak to children”. Of course, God does speak to children, but in this case he is saying that the following verses apply only to the adults.
This is pretty interesting, because he is about to say that he will not hold the children responsible for the decision that is about to be made. Why not?
[The “Age of Accountability”]
Slide Graphic – child at play
Slide Text - And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad-they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it (Deuteronomy 1:39)
Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the “knowledge of Good and Evil” and were banished from God’s presence until a sacrifice could be made
This is the only other verse in the Bible with that phrase – “the knowledge of good and evil”. Just after Israel has left Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, received the commandments, etc., God leads them directly to Canaan – the “promised land”. They sent in 12 spies to scout the land. Ten came back and said it would be too difficult, that they and their children would be taken as slaves again. Only Joshua and Caleb voted to trust god and go in. Because of their lack of faith, God banished them to wander in the desert for 40 years until all the adults who had chosen not to obey God had died. Only Joshua, Caleb, and the children were allowed to enter the promised land. While literally true, this is also a great metaphor for salvation.
From these verses we imply that children who are too young to understand the difference between right and wrong and that there is a God who requires them to choose right, these children will not be punished for choosing wrongly. If a small child dies, we believe that the child will go to heaven even if they have not accepted Christ as their savior. Later, as the child grows into an understanding of good and evil, they are held accountable for choosing good.