Day 344: December 10, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Deuteronomy 18:15-18
15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. 16 This is what you requested from the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, ‘Let us not continue to hear the voice of the Lord our God or see this great fire any longer, so that we will not die!’ 17 Then the Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.

Acts 3:22-24
22 Moses said: The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to Him in everything He will say to you. 23  And everyone who will not listen to that Prophet will be completely cut off from the people. 24 “In addition, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those after him, have also announced these days.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.
—Deuteronomy 18:18

Finding Our Identity Only in God
by Darrell Gwaltney,

We have a timely text for the height of the holiday shopping season. This ancient text reaches across the span of time to challenge us with very serious questions.

To whom are we listening? From what are we seeking comfort?

The verses in Deuteronomy 18:15-18 seem simple enough. God promises to raise up a prophet among God’s people. He says the people will know the prophet speaks an authentically God-inspired message when what the prophet says comes true.

The instruction has a clear message: listen to the one God sends. In other words, listen to the revealed word of God spoken by the prophets.

This section of Deuteronomy has a series of instructions on worship, priests, kings, and judges. It is a section of scripture where God gives guidance to His people in a wide variety of matters related to worship and leadership.

In the text, immediately preceding the verses for our reading today, a section details the detestable practices of the nations surrounding Israel.

In Deuteronomy 18:9-14, God’s people were warned to stay away from fortune-tellers, sorcerers, charmers, and mediums—all those who suggested tempting and easy answers to life’s problems. The fortune-tellers and their crowd offered an immediate solution, or so it seemed. A person could find exactly what he or she was looking for from them.

While we may not seek out answers from fortune-tellers or mediums, we do seek comfort and assurance from many different sources.

The holiday shopping season seduces us. It suggests that we can buy immediate happiness for ourselves and those we love. The right gift meets a person’s needs, satisfies his or her desires, and fulfills one’s deepest longings.

This time of year allures us with the promise that we can create a world of joy and gift-giving that brings happiness to all our family and friends.

A long time ago in Deuteronomy 18, God spoke to God’s people and warned them about seeking support or comfort from anyone but Him. God acknowledged that there would be plenty ways for people to seek comfort and hope outside of His word and trusting God.

He warned them not to be confused and to trust Him alone.

Here in the heart of the holiday shopping season, these are good and helpful words. Ultimately, nothing we buy for others or ourselves should supplant what God can and does in our lives.

Before every purchase, ask yourself why you are buying something. Consider if it is something you can use to help and serve others or if it is something that satisfies you and supports your ego. In what ways do the things you buy show who or what you trust in your life?

God’s word to His people long ago was to wait for Him to send another prophet who could give them direction in life. While these words were God’s promise that God would continue to send people to lead them, these Scriptures have sometimes been understood to point to the coming of Jesus Christ.

God never leaves us alone in our decision-making. Here in the Advent season we have the opportunity, with each purchase we make, to reconsider who and what gives us meaning in our lives. God has never left us alone and without a Word to guide us.

Be careful in this season of shopping and giving that you do not lose focus on the one who gave and keeps giving that we might have life and have it more abundantly than we ever imagined or ever could achieve on our own.

Reflection Questions

  1. To whom do you listen? Who shapes your thinking and your values? Is it someone from God or someone who represents an entirely different set of values and truths?
  2. Take two or three of your most recent major life decisions. How carefully did you consider God’s will for your life in those decisions? Did you sift the decision through God’s Word for you? Now, think about a dozen or so not-so-major-decisions in your life. Did you sift those decisions through God’s word, too? What was different about your decision-making process?
  3. Who had God raised up in your life? How has that person been a prophet to you and helped you hear God’s word? Has God raised you up to help someone else find God’s truth in life? 

About the Author

Darrell Gwaltney
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Darrell comes from St. Louis, Missouri, so it makes sense that he’s an avid St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan. For the last 33 years, he’s served in pastoral and teaching ministry. Since May 2004, he’s been the Dean for the School of Religion at Belmont University and continues to serve churches in the area as interim pastor. He’s married to Donna and has three adult children. You can find him online at DarrellGwaltney.com and follow him on Twitter @DarrellGwaltney.