Root of bitterness

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled (Hebrews 12:15)

In Deuteronomy 29, Moses warns the people of Israel, who are about to enter the promised land, not to turn away from God or ignore the covenant that God is making with his people.

Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’

This person has seen the deliverance that God has given to his people, how he brought them out of slavery and is leading them into their inheritance. They have “tasted the goodness of the word of God” and yet stubbornly persist in rebellion. God promises to lay on such a one as this all the curses found in the covenant and to blot out his name from under heaven. He will not prosper, but will be cut off. The danger is that if this bitter, poisonous root is allowed to live among the people, the whole nation would be corrupted by it and would bear the brunt of the wrath of God.

all the nations will say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land? What caused the heat of this great anger?’ Then people will say, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers’

It is a matter of life and death for us, for the church, to understand the covenant of God and to walk in it.

Father, teach us to lay down our stubborn ways and to walk before you in humility. You have shown us what it means to count others more significant than ourselves. Now, by your Holy Spirit, give us the love to do the same.



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