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Today's Reading
March 19

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Pastor’s Note

Today we read familiar words in Luke 1, which I trust will help us relive the humble deference shown by Mary when she was told of God’s plan for her life. We should also praise God when we read the final chapters of Deuteronomy, knowing that the culmination of God’s work through Moses is the arrival of Jesus, the son of David and the son of God.

— Pastor Mike

Deuteronomy 33-34

Moses’ Final Blessing on Israel

33:1 This is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the people of Israel before his death. He said,

“The Lord came from Sinai
 and dawned from Seir upon us; [1]
 he shone forth from Mount Paran;
he came from the ten thousands of holy ones,
 with flaming fire [2] at his right hand.
Yes, he loved his people, [3]
 all his holy ones were in his [4] hand;
so they followed [5] in your steps,
 receiving direction from you,
when Moses commanded us a law,
 as a possession for the assembly of Jacob.
Thus the Lord became king in Jeshurun,
 when the heads of the people were gathered,
 all the tribes of Israel together.

“Let Reuben live, and not die,
 but let his men be few.”

And this he said of Judah:

“Hear, O Lord, the voice of Judah,
 and bring him in to his people.
With your hands contend [6] for him,
 and be a help against his adversaries.”

And of Levi he said,

“Give to Levi [7] your Thummim,
 and your Urim to your godly one,
whom you tested at Massah,
 with whom you quarreled at the waters of Meribah;
who said of his father and mother,
 ‘I regard them not’;
he disowned his brothers
 and ignored his children.
For they observed your word
 and kept your covenant.
10 They shall teach Jacob your rules
 and Israel your law;
they shall put incense before you
 and whole burnt offerings on your altar.
11 Bless, O Lord, his substance,
 and accept the work of his hands;
crush the loins of his adversaries,
 of those who hate him, that they rise not again.”

12 Of Benjamin he said,

“The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety.
The High God [8] surrounds him all day long,
 and dwells between his shoulders.”

13 And of Joseph he said,

“Blessed by the Lord be his land,
 with the choicest gifts of heaven above, [9]
 and of the deep that crouches beneath,
14 with the choicest fruits of the sun
 and the rich yield of the months,
15 with the finest produce of the ancient mountains
 and the abundance of the everlasting hills,
16 with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness
 and the favor of him who dwells in the bush.
May these rest on the head of Joseph,
 on the pate of him who is prince among his brothers.
17 A firstborn bull [10]—he has majesty,
 and his horns are the horns of a wild ox;
with them he shall gore the peoples,
 all of them, to the ends of the earth;
they are the ten thousands of Ephraim,
 and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”

18 And of Zebulun he said,

“Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out,
 and Issachar, in your tents.
19 They shall call peoples to their mountain;
 there they offer right sacrifices;
for they draw from the abundance of the seas
 and the hidden treasures of the sand.”

20 And of Gad he said,

“Blessed be he who enlarges Gad!
 Gad crouches like a lion;
 he tears off arm and scalp.
21 He chose the best of the land for himself,
 for there a commander’s portion was reserved;
and he came with the heads of the people,
 with Israel he executed the justice of the Lord,
 and his judgments for Israel.”

22 And of Dan he said,

“Dan is a lion’s cub
 that leaps from Bashan.”

23 And of Naphtali he said,

“O Naphtali, sated with favor,
 and full of the blessing of the Lord,
 possess the lake [11] and the south.”

24 And of Asher he said,

“Most blessed of sons be Asher;
 let him be the favorite of his brothers,
 and let him dip his foot in oil.
25 Your bars shall be iron and bronze,
 and as your days, so shall your strength be.

26 “There is none like God, O Jeshurun,
 who rides through the heavens to your help,
 through the skies in his majesty.
27 The eternal God is your dwelling place, [12]
 and underneath are the everlasting arms. [13]
And he thrust out the enemy before you
 and said, Destroy.
28 So Israel lived in safety,
 Jacob lived alone, [14]
in a land of grain and wine,
 whose heavens drop down dew.
29 Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you,
 a people saved by the Lord,
the shield of your help,
 and the sword of your triumph!
Your enemies shall come fawning to you,
 and you shall tread upon their backs.”

The Death of Moses

34:1 Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lordand he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day. Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated. And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses. 10 And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11 none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, 12 and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

Luke 1:24-56

24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed [15] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” [16] 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” [17]

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born [18] will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant [19] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be [20] a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
 For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
 and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
 from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
 he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
 and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
 and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
 in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
 to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

Footnotes

[1] 33:2 Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew them
[2] 33:2 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
[3] 33:3 Septuagint; Hebrew peoples
[4] 33:3 Hebrew your
[5] 33:3 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
[6] 33:7 Probable reading; Hebrew With his hands he contended
[7] 33:8 Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text lacks Give to Levi
[8] 33:12 Septuagint; Hebrew dwells in safety by him. He
[9] 33:13 Two Hebrew manuscripts and Targum; Hebrew with the dew
[10] 33:17 Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint, Samaritan; Masoretic Text His firstborn bull
[11] 33:23 Or west
[12] 33:27 Or a dwelling place
[13] 33:27 Revocalization of verse 27 yields He subdues the ancient gods, and shatters the forces of old
[14] 33:28 Hebrew the abode of Jacob was alone
[15] 1:27 That is, legally pledged to be married
[16] 1:28 Some manuscripts add Blessed are you among women!
[17] 1:34 Greek since I do not know a man
[18] 1:35 Some manuscripts add of you
[19] 1:38 Greek bondservant; also verse 48
[20] 1:45 Or believed, for there will be

  • Sam Funk

    Deut 33:13 And of Joseph he said,

    “Blessed by the Lord be his land,
    with the choicest gifts of heaven above,
    and of the deep that crouches beneath,

    Interestingly, Simeon’s name is missing. However, both of Joseph’s sons names are there. Thirteen total? Hmmm.

    Deut 34:11 none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, 12 and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

    Moses always gave God the glory and honor when he performed miracles. Unfortunately for the nation of Israel, they became more trusting in the man who did miracles than they trusted in God who gave Moses the power and authority to perform them. May I remember that any gift or ability a person has is a result of gift from God.

    Luke 1:26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.

    Gabriel is a special messenger for God. The announcement of her special favor, followed by the revealing of her relative’s pregnancy, was accepted as a servant, a person. Mary and Joseph were of the tribe of Judah relatives of Zachariah and Elizabeth were of the house of Levi.

    • CheriClark

      And may we remember that any gifts or abilities we have are from the Lord also.

    • Anne Ventura

      Hmmm interesting Sam. So I looked it up, this is just one of many.

      Simeon

      1. One of the twelve patriarches, the son of Jacob and Leah, Genesis 29:33 Exodus 6:15. Some have thought he was more guilty than his brethren in the treatment of Joseph, Genesis 37:20 42:24 43:23; but he may have been detained as a hostage because he was one of the eldest sons. The tribes of Simeon and Levi were scattered and dispersed in Israel, in conformity with the prediction of Jacob, on account of their sacrilegious and piratical revenge of the outrage committed against Dinah their sister, Genesis 34:1-31 49:5. Levi had no compact lot or portion in the Holy Land; and Simeon received for his portion only a district dismembered from Judah, with some other lands the tribe overran in the mountains of Seir, and in the desert of Gedor, 1 Chronicles 4:24,39,42. The portion of Simeon was west and south or that of Judah, having the Philistines on the northwest and the desert on the south, Joshua 19:1-9.

      The tribe was reduced in numbers while in the wilderness, from 59,300 to 24,000, Numbers 1:23 26:14; very probably on account of sharing in the licentious idolatry of Moab, with Zimri their prince, Numbers 25:1-18, or for other sins. They are little known in subsequent history. We find them faithful to David, 1 Chronicles 12:25, and afterwards to Asa, 2 Chronicles 15:9, and in general absorbed by Judah. Moses omits this tribe in his dying benedictions, De 33:1-29; but its place in Israel is restored by a covenant-keeping God, Ezekiel 48:24 Revelation 7:7.

      2. A venerable saint at Jerusalem, full of the Holy Spirit, who was expecting the redemption of Israel, Luke 2:25-35. It had been revealed to him that he should not die before he had seen the Christ so long promised; and he therefore came into the temple, promoted by inspiration, just at the time when Joseph and Mary presented our Savior there, in obedience to the law. Simeon took the child in his arms, gave thanks to God, and blessed Joseph and Mary. We know nothing further concerning him.

      3. Surnamed NIGER, or the Black, Acts 13:1, was among the prophets and teachers of the Christian church at Antioch. Some think he was Simon the Cyrenian; but there is no proof of this.

      4. The apostle Peter is also called Simeon in Acts 15:14, but elsewhere Simon.

      • Sam Funk

        Thanks, Anne. I had some of those, too. What was surprising to me that Moses left him off the list but God uses his name as one of the 12 tribes that makes up the 144,000 witnesses (Rev 7:7) and presumably as a name on one of the twelve gates in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:12-13) The land given to them in the promised land is not distinct like all the others with borders on a river, ocean, mountain, country, etc. but is WITHIN the land of Judah.(Josh 19:1)

        • Anne Ventura

          This is so interesting. I am going to look into this Sam.

      • Sam Funk

        The other interesting point is that Moses died after he went up to Pisgah (on the mountain) but God buried him in the valley.

  • CheriClark

    OT
    Deut 34:10 10 And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,

    Then: Moses has died. He has not been allowed to go into the Promised Land. He is esteemed as the servant of the Lord (v4). He is the one who the Lord knew face to face.

    Always: Believers look forward to the day they will be in the presence of the Lord and see Him face to face.

    Now: What a legacy Moses left. To be known as the servant of the Lord. He was honored for all He did in obedience to God. And because of his service He knew God face to face. One day we will be in the presence of the Lord and we will see Him face to face. How awesome is that! That is mind blowing. We will be able to walk the streets of Heaven with Jesus. We will be able to talk with Him. Do we dare? Will we be in such awe that all we can do is bow before Him silent and mute. But we will be there. Looking forward to that day when I will be in His presence. Thank You Lord that you would regard Your humble servant in that way.

    NT
    Luke 1:38 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant [19] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

    Then: Mary responds to the angel’s news with the acknowledgement that she is the servant of the Lord.

    Always: We as believers are to be servants of the Lord.

    Now Two different people – two different times— two different circumstances – that same response. Moses in the OT is called the servant of the Lord (Deut 34:4) Mary here acknowledges that she is. The same response to God’s working in their lives. The response of obedience to do what God has required of them. That should be us. Do we respond with “yes, Lord” when we know we are expected to do something? Do we have an ATAPAT attitude when it comes to serving God’s people? Where are you serving? May we all have hearts that are so overflowing with love and gratitude to all that God has done that we in obedience serve Him by serving His people. May we be known as servants of the Lord.

    • Anne Ventura

      May my days be filled with joy in serving.

    • Karen Chien

      May our service to the Lord be worthy of a legacy saying we’ve been faithful to the end just like Moses. So thankful for God using His people to encourage and spur us on today

  • Anne Ventura

    Deut. 34:5-6

    So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day.

    What an amazing love God has for Moses that he would bury his body never to be found. Lord, as Sproul has said, you are the Eternal God, the providing God, the protecting God. You are my God! May my worship and prayers be worthy .

    Luke 1:50

    50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
 from generation to generation.


    Lord, as I dwell in the joy of your promises, and the delight and love you have for your chosen, may I continually be worthy each minute and day you have granted life to me. May I use this ever important time to Glorify you. For I know that there is no fear in love..1 Jn. 4:18

    • CheriClark

      “You are my God!”- What delightful words.

  • Karen Chien

    26 “There is none like God, O Jeshurun,
    who rides through the heavens to your help,
    through the skies in his majesty.
    27 The eternal God is your dwelling place, [12]
    and underneath are the everlasting arms. [13]
    And he thrust out the enemy before you
    and said, Destroy.

    Here are words describing God. “None like God,” ” in his majesty,” “Eternal God is your dwelling place,” “Everlasting arms, “”He thrust out the enemy before you and said, Destroy.” I am so comforted when I can understand more about who God is. God gives us His words, even gives us history and biblical accounts so we can know that He is mighty to save and mighty to deliver His promises. Without knowing Him ans understanding character we would be believing with blind faith. But God doesn’t want us to walk our faith loosely. He wants us to know Him , why else would there be the Bible? He could have just let His people walk the earth and just tell others about Him without any documentation withstanding time. God gave us His word through the scriptures to document biblical accounts so that we can know Him and make Him known. And to see that the Bible written over the span of 1500 years, with over 40 different authors across three continents having the same unified message is all by the word of the Lord. Like a puzzle, the pieces fit into one cohesive story with an appropriate beginning, a logical ending, a main central character, and a consistent theme. From the prophecies predicted coming true , to the locations of events stated to how Jesus was crucified and the empty tomb to the testimonies of eyewitnesses of Jesus after He was buried and resurrected… what an amazing piece of living and active words of God, sharper than any two edged sword. So very thankful God has been Himself known through scripture. May I continue to immerse myself in His word so that I can know Him deeper and pursue holiness with each living breath and further His kingdom more.

    • CheriClark

      “God gave us His word through the scriptures to document biblical accounts so that we can know Him and make Him known.” – So true. May we immerse ourselves in His Word and Him.

  • Beth Metcalf

    and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day. Deut.34:6 (I believe this reads that God buried Moses, and no one knows to this day where he is buried, this is a great example of God’s word not being, twarted, and yet his love, being expressed. O How he loves us, he punishes those he loves,(Prov.3;12) Moses we see is not able to enter the promise land (vs.4), but he is shown the land in detail, buried, and hidden by the Lord’s hand. Thank you Lord for your love, which I appreciate often.)

  • Alyssa Cuccia

    for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
    Luke 1:49

    One of the reasons that Mary had so much faith in God was because she trusted in His power and provision. The angel himself told her, “nothing will be impossible with God” and she believed this to be true. She didn’t run off in fear, concerned for her reputation or for what this meant for her future. Instead, she clung to the truth of God that He was “mighty” and “holy” and she believed He would provide for her. If we are to honor God with the way we face circumstances of life, this also needs to be true of us. God, help us to trust you even when the future is unknown or appears frightening.

    • CheriClark

      Yes, may we cling to Him in all circumstances.

  • NonieS

    Deuteronomy 34

    4 And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” 5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord, 6 and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day.

    Moses was not allowed to go into the Promised land; but God showed it to him and gave it to his offspring. Moses died and God buried him. God loved Moses; and He allowed him to see him face to face. He still had to suffer the consequences of his actions. We need to remember that there are always consequences to our actions and because God loves us He cnnot overlook our sin. He also forgives us and sent His son to pay the price for our sins. We too will one day see Him face to face. I look forward to that day.

    Luke 1

    49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.

    Everyday, as I look out at God’s beautiful creation, I can see the great things He has done for me. When I look back on my life, I can see how He has guided me and walked me through the hard times. What a mighty God I serve! May I never take for granted the great things He has done. Maranatha!!

    • CheriClark

      Looking forward to that day also!

  • Tracy Libby

    For nothing will be impossible with God💙

  • Tracy Libby

    “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,🌷

  • RyanDamato

    Deuteronomy 33-
    29 Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you,
    a people saved by the Lord,
    the shield of your help,
    and the sword of your triumph!
    Your enemies shall come fawning to you,
    and you shall tread upon their backs.”

    Many times in the accounts that Moses recalled and penned, he would reflect back at the works of the Lord as it pertains to bringing them out of captivity. He referenced a people who were enslaved and only by his mighty works were they saved from this enslavement. His encouragement here is to consider themselves happy that the Lord is on their side and it’s certainly not because of any one thing that they did, it’s all the Lord.
    It’s important for us to consider our times as people separated from God, enslaved to our sin and set for a life of destruction. When we consider what he’s done for us, we should immediately become overjoyed and considerate of the great works that he’s done in our lives. It should become very easy to see the sword and shield in Him and to use it accordingly.
    Lord-Thank you so much for bringing me out of slavery and into your glorious light. I pray that you would give me strength, power, discernment and perseverance in using the shield and sword accordingly and cause my life to overflow with joy as seek to reach others.

    Luke 1-
    39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah,

    This whole account is just incredible as it points out the most unlikely to deliver the perfect holy one. Mary was young and a virgin. Not the one you would think could mother a child given the circumstances however, God would choose her and establish in her the honor and praise that was due to God when the news was given. She responded with haste to go tell about the good things of the Lord.
    It goes without saying that this passage should resonate in our minds and should bring incredible conviction if we’re taking our good news and table it. We should be quick to go out and tell about it. We should be singing God’s praises daily as we consider the great things he’s done to the most unlikely sinners.
    God-your incredible sacrifice has given me a new life. It’s opened my eyes and ears to your beauty and holiness. Help it to create in me the opened mouth that shares the good news whether it’s with those who don’t know you or people who are already saved. I want to talk about your goodness all the time with haste and pure joy!

  • Stephanie Schwartz

    Luke 1:53
    He has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.

    I am hungry for you today Lord. Draw me closer to you. Have mercy upon my weakness Lord.

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