Devotional Commentary

To Fear The LORD Is Fruitful
To Fear The LORD Is Fruitful

Calvary Chapel of Norristown • May 16, 2021

Deuteronomy Chapter 6

By Pastor Josh Oestreich


Deuteronomy 6:2 says, "That you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged."

Three times in chapter 6, Moses uses the phrase "fear the LORD your God" (6:2, 13, 24– the beginning, middle, and end of the chapter). The fear of the LORD is at the heart of much of what we have discussed in our last couple meditations, and it is an integral part of our relationship with the Lord. For, to fear Him is to obey Him, and to obey Him is to love Him. In chapter 5, verse 29, we read that the LORD said: "Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would FEAR ME and always keep all My commandments..." Here, in 6:2, Moses says, "That you may FEAR the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments..." And in 6:13 Moses says, "You shall FEAR the LORD your God and serve Him..." Thus, fearing the LORD and keeping (obeying) His commands go hand-in-hand. To fear the LORD, in the Biblical sense, is to reverence and respect Him, to esteem Him and His Word. As His children and His people, we do not grovel in terror before Him, but we do have reverence and a filial respect for Him as our Father. However, with that, there is another aspect to the fear of the LORD to consider: the fear of hurting Him through disobedience and disrespect. As I have already said, He is a good Father and has only our best interest at heart—why would we want to betray that?

As we look at the fear of the LORD, we see that it is ultimately practical and not just a theoretical, intellectual assent. "You shall fear the LORD your God AND serve Him" (Deut. 6:13). Proverbs 8:13 says, "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil." Psalm 128:1 says, "Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways." When we fear the LORD, we fear Him above all else—above evil and above our own desire to walk in our own ways. As we walk in the fear of the LORD and in obedience, we are manifesting our love for Him. In John 14 Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep my commandments” (vs.15).

Finally, in Deuteronomy 6:24, Moses says that the fear of the LORD is for our good: "fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive..." At least three times we have this truth reaffirmed in Proverbs: "The fear of the LORD prolongs days" (10:27); "The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death" (14:27); and "The fear of the LORD leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction" (19:23). See again what great desire our Heavenly Father has to bestow His blessings upon our lives. He is telling us that walking in genuine reverence for Him will give us a quality of life that disobedience could never grant, a quality of life that can only be found in and through Him. As we submit to Him and His word, and manifest our filial reverence for Him, we experience the fruitfulness of the fear of the LORD. May we live everyday in the fear of the LORD our God, to His glory and for our good.

Grace and peace.

Read more
"That it may be well with you"

Calvary Chapel of Norristown • May 16, 2021

Deuteronomy Chapter 5

By Pastor Josh Oestreich


Deuteronomy 5:29 says, "Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!"

Here, in chapter 5, after Moses reviews the giving of the Commandments, Moses and the LORD dialogue, and in their conversation the LORD reveals His heart for His people, and says this in verse 29: "that it may be well with them..." This makes my heart rejoice! For this is the heart of our Heavenly Father! He desires to bless us; He has our best interest at heart. With that in mind, I want to connect that truth with 1 John 5:3b, "His commandments are not burdensome." As fallen people, still battling with the flesh, we can tend to kick against the thought of obeying commandments. To obey is to surrender our will to the will of Another, and that does not come naturally. But, as we see the heart of God behind the commands that He gives, I believe, it helps lift the "burden" that our fallen nature feels. When we begin to understand that the LORD is not simply "power-tripping" but is actually seeking to bless us, we realize that "His commandments are not burdensome." In verse 29 the LORD even says, "that it might be well with them AND with their children forever!" Moses reiterates these thoughts in verse 33, "You shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God has commanded you, THAT you may live and THAT it may be well with you, and THAT you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess."

Notice where our obedience is to start; verse 29 says, "that they had such a HEART in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments." As we understand our Father's heart behind His Word and His commands to us, it will soften our heart toward Him and His Word. 1 John 4:19 says, "We love Him because He first loved us." We are the responders, not the initiators. When we see His heart's desire to grant blessing in our obedience, our heart yields and our will surrenders to Him and His will. Even in this, the softening of our hearts, the LORD is the initiator and the enabler. He makes this promise to His people in Ezekiel 36:26-27, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them." (This inward, spiritual transformation would become known as the New Birth, being born again by the Holy Spirit [cf. John 3]). Here again we see that this is to enable us to walk in His statutes, and to keep His judgments and do them (cf. Ezek. 36:27). Then, directly following verse 27, we see again the Father's heart in verse 28, "Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God." As He changes His people and enables them to walk in obedience, He blesses them and makes it well with them—they will dwell in the land and He claims them as His own.

Any boundary set by the LORD is given to benefit and bless us. Any prohibition placed by the LORD is there to protect us. So, let's seek to walk in all the ways which the LORD our God has commanded us, and see His word fulfilled with us.

Grace and peace.

Read more
Obedience And Blessing
Obedience And Blessing

Calvary Chapel of Norristown • May 09, 2021

Deuteronomy Chapter 4

By Pastor Josh Oestriech


The chapter opens with verse one as follows, "Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe [to do, to accomplish], that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you."

Early in my walk with Christ, I heard a pastor make this statement and it has stuck with me ever since: "Obedience is the pathway to blessing." As time has passed, and the more I read, study, and teach the scriptures, the more I see this principle to be true throughout the Bible. Here, in this opening verse alone, we see this truth put forth. As Moses is commanding obedience from the children of Israel, he adds the purpose clause, and tells them the result of their doing and accomplishing the statutes and judgments of the LORD. Moses says, "listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe [that is, to do, to accomplish], THAT you may live..." The "that" could read, "SO that you may live." The LORD, being God, could just have commanded obedience without the "that." But, because He is good and gracious, and because He knows our nature, He condescends and gives us more than we deserve. He tells them, that as they observe what is being commanded, it will bring the blessing of life, and the fulfillment of God's promise to possess this blessed land.

In verse 4, Moses points out to the people, for added emphasis, that those among them who held fast to the LORD their God, as opposed to the people who had followed Baal of Peor, are alive today, every one of them. Again, the blessing of being obedient and not rebelling against the LORD and His word.

Our heavenly Father delights in blessing us, but He cannot and will not bless disobedience, because we could then see that as Him condoning rebellious behavior. This is illustrated in verses 25-28 of this chapter. Moses explains to the people the consequences if they choose to disobey God's command to abstain from idolatry. The result of making and worshiping idols would be "that you will soon utterly perish from the land," that "you will not prolong your days in it [the land]," and that "the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number..." Proverbs 11:19 puts it this way, “As righteousness leads to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.” Clearly, we see that we reap what we sow and that obedience is important to the Lord, but also that obedience keeps our communion and relationship with our Lord unhindered (cf. 1 John 1:6-7.)

All that being true, God is not without mercy and grace. Deuteronomy 4:29 says, "But [a word of grace!] from there [your place of discipline due to idolatry] you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul." And verse 30 and 31 say, "when you turn to the LORD your God and OBEY His voice (for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant..." When we return in repentance, God is faithful to hear, to forgive, and to cleanse us (cf. 1 John 1:9).

Grace and peace.

Read more
Divine Deliverance
Divine Deliverance

Calvary Chapel of Norristown • May 09, 2021

Deuteronomy Chapter 3

By Pastor Josh Oestriech


As we come to chapter 3, we are continuing to see how faithful the LORD is to His Word and His people. In verse 2 the LORD is speaking in reference to Og, king of Bashan, and says, "Do not fear him, for I have delivered him and all his people and his land into your hand..." The nation of Israel was continuing their conquest in taking possession of all the land that Jehovah had promised to them. But as they come up against Og, the Lord has to reassure them of His promise and power because Og, king of Bashan, was "of the remnant of the giants" (vs. 11).

So as the LORD gives His encouraging command in verse 2 not to fear Og, He does it in a loving way and gives Moses a reason why he should not fear but have faith. As we read the Word, we often see that when the LORD asks us to do something or not do something He is so kind to give us the "why." Here He says to Moses, "Do not fear him, FOR [or because] I HAVE delivered him and all his people and his land into your hand." Divine deliverance was as good as done. Jehovah is the "I AM that I AM" (Exodus 3:14); from His perspective He is dwelling in the eternal present tense. God saw the battle between His people and Og as complete, so there was no reason to cower or cringe in fear. The same is true for us today; God's Word is His bond and from His point of reference it is already accomplished by His power. As I said in our meditation on chapter 1, we, as God's people, fight from victory not for victory. The Israelites needed only to step out in faith and take hold of what the LORD had already delivered to them.

The LORD continued in verse 2 and said, "...you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites..." Not only were they to believe God's "because," they were to look at God's past deliverances to bolster their faith in the present. In chapter 2 it says in reference to Sihon, his land, and his livestock that "the LORD our God delivered all to us" (vs. 36). God was faithful to bring them this far and would not leave them nor forsake them now. Verse 3 says, "So the LORD our God also delivered into our hands Og king of Bashan..." They saw in time what God had already accomplished in eternity.

Remember, it was Jesus, in the New Testament (Matthew 7:11), who taught us to see God as our heavenly Father, and as such His thoughts toward us are thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give us a future and a hope. He does not want your defeat, He has already accomplished your deliverance and victory! Think about the divine deliverances that God has worked in your life already and let who He has been encourage confidence in who He will continue to be to you and for you!

Deuteronomy 3:22 - “You must not fear...for the LORD your God Himself fights for you.”

Grace and peace.

Read more
Disciplined But Not Disowned
Disciplined But Not Disowned

Calvary Chapel of Norristown • May 05, 2021

Deuteronomy Chapter 2

By Pastor Josh Oestriech


In the first chapter we saw how the children of Israel were detoured into the wilderness due to their disobedience to God's word. The wandering in the wilderness was God chastening and disciplining His people because they chose not to obey and believe.

Now, in chapter 2, we see that even though God had to discipline His people, He didn't (and doesn't today) disown His people. In fact, Proverbs 3:11-12 teaches that we are not to despise the Lord's chastening or correction because "whom the Lord LOVES He corrects." Then we see this expounded on in the New Testament in Hebrews 12. Hebrews says that "if you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening... then you are illegitimate and not sons (vv. 7-8)." Therefore, the discipline and chastening of the Lord is evidence that we are, in fact, one of His children. (See John 1:12-13 on becoming His children.) We see that the discipline of God in our lives doesn't mean that He has cast us off or

disowned us out of disappointment; He is actually validating our adoption as His child through the faith that we have placed in Jesus Christ.

The children of Israel were not cast off by the Lord in their time of chastening in the desert; they were cared for and guided by the Lord though He was correcting them. Deuteronomy 2:7 says, "...He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing." G. Campbell Morgan, put it this way, "This great truth that God never forsakes His people, even when they are bearing the chastisements He imposes as the result of their unbelief, is full of comfort for the hearts of His people for all time."

Now that Israel's time of correction was coming to an end (vs. 14, 16-17), the Lord begins to fulfill His promise to His people. As the people cross the River Arnon the Lord says, "Look, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, King of Heshbon, and his land. Begin to possess it, and engage him in battle. This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the nations under the whole heaven..." (vv. 24-25). Then in verse 36 Moses makes this statement, "the LORD our God delivered all to us."

Not only does God not disown us when we need to be disciplined, He remains faithful to His word to us, cares for us and guides us through the chastening process. And when His chastening has served its purpose, He continues where we left off in our obedience and trust. He is merciful and gracious through it all, and at the heart of His correction is the love of a perfect Father.

Grace and peace.

Read more
Detoured By Disobedience
Detoured By Disobedience

Calvary Chapel of Norristown • May 05, 2021

Deuteronomy Chapter 1

By Pastor Josh Oestreich


Deut. 1:2-3a ~ "It is eleven days' journey from Horeb by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea. Now it came to pass in the fortieth year..."

The LORD God had mightily and miraculously delivered the children of Israel from bondage in the land of Egypt. After their great Exodus, Egypt is now behind them, defeated, and before them lies God's Word of promise, "See, I have set the land before you." The journey to the promised land should only have taken 11 days. However, due to the nation's disobedience they were detoured into the wilderness for 40 years, wandering for 38 of those 40.

Jehovah had given His word; He promised to give His people a good land, a prosperous land, flowing with milk and honey. Yet we read, "Nevertheless you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of

the LORD your God" (Deut. 1:26). The Israelites saw how good and how great this promised land was, yet the fear of the giants who were the inhabitants of that land led the people to disobedience and distrust in God's word. (Proverbs 29:25 says, "The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe [secure].")

Moses told the people "Look, the LORD your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the LORD God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged" (Deut. 1:21). The Israelites

had a choice: walk by faith or flee in fear. They had God's Word to stand on and the miracles they experienced in Egypt to look back on, yet they allowed the fear of man to be a snare and a stumbling block in the way of their security. Therefore, they were detoured by their disobedience and they "went through all that great and terrible wilderness" for 40 years (Deut. 1:19). What should have only taken 11 days ended up taking 40 years, and a whole generation, because the nation chose fear over faith. They allowed discouragement into their hearts (Deut.1:28), which led them to disobey.

What promise(s) has the Lord given to you and to me in His Word? What has He set before us that He has already conquered for us? Have we realized that we, as His people, are fighting from victory and not for victory? Are we walking by faith and obedience, or will we allow ourselves to be "detoured" by disobedience? The season you are in may only need to take 11 days, but it could take more if you rebel in fear and respond in disobedience.

Grace and peace.




Read more