In chapters 13-14 of Deuteronomy we see first a warning towards anyone who would call themselves a prophet and how to spot the false ones. It is laid out plainly that there is a specific way these prophets ought to conduct themselves, followed by the command to purge evil from the midst of the Israelites. What’s given next is a series of warnings against following family or friends or neighbours into serving other gods. Chapter 14 details specific foods that are out of bounds for the Israelites and what sorts of foods that may be clean originally have died in a way that made them unclean. The last paragraph details tithes, what they consist of, and how they are to be enjoyed to the glory of God.
“The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb,” or the abridged “blood is thicker than water,” is a paraphrase of medieval poetry that is nearly one thousand years old. It popped into my head as I read Deuteronomy chapter 13. It is here that Moses lays out the charge that if a friend, neighbour, or even one of your own kin tries to entice you to follow other gods and abandon the God of Israel, you are to purge their evil from your midst: “you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him,” (13:8).
This also correlates with what Jesus teaches in Matthew 10:34-39 when He says He has not come to bring peace, but a sword. He will set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother – a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. All this is to say that those who are one with God by the blood of His covenant are bound with cords infinitely tighter than any familial relations could create. The blood of His covenant is higher and more worthy than any family ties. This needs to be kept in tact at all costs. Jesus asks us to lay everything down and follow Him. He asks us to count the cost, to bear our cross, and die to our sin – it is then that we are free to walk with Him wherever He may lead.
Life is messy and it is incredibly rare that our family and friends and other relationships fit neatly in to organized piles. Some are blessed with a cohesive and unified family. For others, that possibility disappeared long ago, and this can be heartbreaking. We live in a broken world and despite our best efforts, we will carry with us broken relationships. Things are not the way God made them, and often our relationships with our family especially can be fractured. I think it is of the utmost importance that we remember our allegiance is to the Lord Jesus first before any other. We cannot fully live for Him or make sufficient room in our hearts for Him to work when we warp our priorities and relegate Him to the back row of our lives.
When we put God first in our lives, we affirm Him as Lord of our hearts. We say we trust Him with anything and everything that weighs on us. We honour Him as Sovereign and make ourselves vulnerable to His grace and goodness. Most importantly, we surrender ourselves more and more to His will and His timing! Deuteronomy 13 and Matthew 10 show us that we must be all in for Jesus just as He was all in for us.
Application question –
Is there a particular relationship in your life that you need to surrender to Jesus? How can we practice surrendering ourselves to His will each day?
Thank you, Lord, for being our Father and giving us a new family. We are not worthy to be adopted as your children, but you make us worthy by the blood of Jesus Christ. I pray that each person reading your word today will make you the leader of their lives and learn to live in complete surrender to your will. We give you our aching hearts and pray that you work good things into even the most confusing, desperate relationships we may have. Amen!
Song – Goodness of God (Bethel Music)
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.