1. Things Set Before Us In God's Word
"See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;" (Deuteronomy 30:15)
Pastor Jack Tripp used this verse in a sermon recently and spoke on "Things That Are Set Before Us." This week I want to borrow some of his notes and look at some of these things found in the Bible. When I am hungry and I sit down at a table and there is good food set before me I enjoy eating. Psalms 119:103 tells us, "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Let's put aside our snacking on the things of the world and develop a hunger for the things of God, and see what He has set before us. "O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." (Psalms 34:8)
2. God Set His Word Before Us, Even In Our Hearts
"11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;" Deuteronomy 30
In the beginning God created the heaven and earth and everything was perfect. God made man and woman and put them in a beautiful garden where all their needs were met. They walked and talked with God in the cool of the day and everything was good. "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17) God set before man His Word, and Adam and Eve had a choice. They could choose to obey God and enjoy their good life, or choose to disobey God and subsequently choose evil and death. We don't know how long they lived the good life, but at some point they ate from the forbidden tree and chose evil. God has given us His Word. We are a blessed generation in that we can have God's Word, hold it in our hands, and read it and meditate on it. We can hide it in our hearts as we read in Psalms 119:11 "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." So today we see that God has set His Word before us, but how often do we choose His Word over the things of the world?
3. God Has Set Before Us A Choice
"15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:" Deuteronomy 30:15-19
When God confronted Adam with his sin he was quick to blame Eve, who was also quick to put the blame on the serpent. The same thing is true in our day. It seems as though everyone has someone to blame for his misconduct. Many times people blame their childhood, or their parents, or their lack of money and sometimes their excess riches could be the root of their troubled life. But, in all reality, God gives each individual a choice. "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:" (Deuteronomy 30:19) A great example of someone who made the right choice is Moses, who led the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt. "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward." (Hebrews 11:24-26) Joshua, the leader after the death of Moses, told the Israelites, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Joshus 24:25) Another good example is found in Daniel 1:8. "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself." Don't look back on your life and blame others for where you are headed. Look up to God, confess and accept the guilt of the sin holding you back, and make the right choice. Trust Jesus to be your Lord and Savior and choose life. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)
4. God Has Set Before Us A Blessed Hope
"That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." Hebrews 6:18-20
Since we just had a devotional on being Hopeful, let's look at some of the verses that tell us what we receive with this blessed hope that is set before us.
Strength and Courage - "Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD." Psalms 31:24
Mercy - "Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee." Psalms 33:22
A Hiding Place and Shield - "Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word." Psalms 119:114
Gladness - "The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish." Proverbs 10:28
Salvation - "It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD." Lamentations 3:26
Righteousness by Faith - "For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith." Galatians 5:5
Eternal Life - "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;" Titus 1:2
Our Lord's Glorious Appearing - "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;" Titus 2:13
5. God Has Set Before Us An Open Door
"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." Revelation 3:7-8
God has set before us a place of service. Have you found your open door? Some give up their homes and possessions to go to different lands. Some missionaries go into lands where the door seems to be closed to the gospel because they find a door open to a business. They go in and set up their trade and share the gospel. Your open door may not be on the mission field. It may be across from your front door or to a neighbor across your driveway. Your open door may be the office down the hall from where you work or on the other side of your desk. Oh how sad it will be when we all stand before God to be judged and see our friends and family and realize that we never told them how Jesus could save them. Our generation has the greatest opportunities to spread the gospel message. With the advanced technology in phones and computers we don't even have to leave our house to find an open door. Our Pastor asked us to pray that God would show us someone that we could be an influence to, and share the gospel with them, and invite them to church. I also give you a challenge today. Pray that God will show you the open door that is set before you. Pray that God will put on your heart a place of service. It may seem hard at first to witness to someone, but if you have what the church in Philadelphia had, you can find your open door. "I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name."
6. The Loaves And Fishes Were Set Before The Multitude
"And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men." Mark 6:41-44
If we back up a few verses we see that Jesus had compassion on the multitudes. "And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things." (Mark 6:34) Late in the day when the disciples wanted to send the people away, Jesus fed the multitude with five loaves and two fish. The Lord has been so good to me through the years and many times He stretched what seemed like a little and made it enough. I can take a little leftover beef, a couple potatoes, a small carrot, and a few other vegetables and make a whole pot of soup. There have been times when the Lord sent money from unexpected sources that was just the amount we needed. When an extra need came up, the Lord has always been faithful to supply. It is a blessing to serve a wonderful and gracious God. Even when times are tough and money is tight, I have peace through God's precious Word in verses like Proverbs 16:8. "Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right." And promises as found in Philippians 4:19, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
7. Judgment Is Set Before Us
"Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them." Exodus 21:1
We talked about God's Word that is set before us. His Word gives us the truth and the way of salvation. We also looked at the choice that is set before us. "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:" (Deuteronomy 30:15 and 19) The choice we make not only affects the life we live, but also determines how and where we will spend eternity. And if we live to be a hundred, that is still such a tiny speck of time compared to forever. Ever since the first man and woman lived in the Garden of Eden, God warned of judgment that would come for disobeying His Word. In the days of Noah people were so wicked that God judged the world with a flood. God's Word tells us that the final judgment will be by fire. Look to God for life eternal. Admit that you have sin in your life and can't reach God on your own. Believe that Jesus, God's Son, died to pay for your sin on the cross. Confess your sin and ask Jesus Christ to be Lord of your life. Ask yourself this question today, "Am I ready to face God in the judgment that is set before me?"
"11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:11-15)
8. The Race That Is Set Before Us
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2
Yesterday we looked at eternity, with the judgment set before us. Christians can look forward to the home Jesus has gone to prepare and the marriage supper of the Lamb that will be set before us. We will have an everlasting life before us to praise and worship our Lord. But until that time we have a race set before us. This is not a sprint that we can give a quick burst of energy in our Christian life and then take the course of the hare in the children's story, and lay down on the job. This is a life long journey that we are encouraged to "lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." Run the race with patience. Remember Galatians 6:9, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Don't grow weary of doing the right thing. Also, look ahead and don't keep your eyes on the past. "And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62) Keep your eyes on the Savior. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." I close our theme with more encouraging words from the Apostle Paul. "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)