Discernment

Discernment

Wednesday 07/10/19

Series: Thru the Bible

Message – Discernment – Deut. 18-20

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Discernment

Deut 18

Inheritance, Share & Estates

“(1) The Levitical priests, the whole tribe of Levi, will have no portion or inheritance with Israel. They will eat the LORD’s fire offerings; that is their inheritance.  

(2)  Although Levi has no inheritance among his brothers, the LORD is his inheritance, as He promised him.  

(3)  This is the priests’ share from the people who offer a sacrifice, whether it is an ox, a sheep, or a goat; the priests are to be given the shoulder, jaws, and stomach.  (4) You are to give him the firstfruits of your grain, new wine, and oil, and the first sheared wool of your flock. (5) For the LORD your God has chosen him and his sons from all your tribes to stand and minister in the LORD’s name from now on.  

(6)  When a Levite leaves one of your towns where he lives in Israel and wants to go to the place the LORD chooses,  (7) he may serve in the name of the LORD his God like all his fellow Levites who minister there in the presence of the LORD.  (8) They will eat equal portions besides what he has received from the sale of the family estate.” 

Now this might seem odd since they had no inheritance WITH Israel. This was true, but they still owned things, and those things might be sold from their estate. Now some claim that among the things they might buy – would be houses and land making it a purchase not an inheritance given to them from God in the Promised land. The problem I have with this is that the land would then be taken from the original tribe and transferred to the ownership of a Levite and that was against God’s law! No speculation can be rightly made as to whether they could purchase land from a foreigner in a neighboring land.

“(9) When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not imitate the detestable customs of those nations.  

(10)  No one among you is to make his son or daughter pass through the fire, practice divination, tell fortunes, interpret omens, practice sorcery,  (11) cast spells, consult a medium or a familiar spirit, or inquire of the dead.  

(12)  Everyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and the LORD your God is driving out the nations before you because of these detestable things.  

(13)  You must be blameless before the LORD your God.  (14) Though these nations you are about to drive out listen to fortune-tellers and diviners, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do this.  

(15)  “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.”  

2Chorn. 20:20, “(20) In the morning they got up early and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa. As they were about to go out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem. Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established; believe in His prophets, and you will succeed.

“(16)  This is what you requested from the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, ‘Let us not continue to hear the voice of the LORD our God or see this great fire any longer, so that we will not die!’  (17) Then the LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well. (18) I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. (19) I will hold accountable whoever does not listen to My words that he speaks in My name.  (20) But the prophet who dares to speak in My name a message I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods–that prophet must die.’ “

I am not certain what the words, “They have spoken well” mean specifically. 

It seems clear that God agreed with their assessment, but for what reason? 

Only the following occur to me as valid possibilities:

  1. God appeared to them once, knowing it would not be sustainable, in order to allow the awesome nature of His presence to leave an indelible mark on their consciences. Who knows, that for all the rebellion of this company of people which we witness, that it would not have been 100 times worse had God not so overwhelmed them with His presence at the start of their journey.
  2. Perhaps, it is connected with the words God spoke next when the event happened, that of, “If only they had such a heart to fear Me and keep all My commands, so that they and their children will prosper forever.”  Which could be taken to mean, that God would have loved to have had a one-on-one relationship with them but that the unfaithfulness of their hearts would make this impossible, so it would be better for them to have an intermediary so that the anger of the Lord would not immediately consume them in their rebellions.

In either case, God says that their words were well spoken and it was in honor of this request that God had up to this time and would continue to speak to this people through a prophet.

Practicing discernment

“(21)  You may say to yourself, ‘How can we recognize a message the LORD has not spoken?’  (22) When a prophet speaks in the LORD’s name, and the message does not come true or is not fulfilled, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.”

New Testament counterparts:

Tests for prophecy:

1Jn. 4:1-3, “(1) Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  (2) This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. (3) But every spirit who does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist; you have heard that he is coming, and he is already in the world now.”

1Cor. 14:29-33, “(29) Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should evaluate.  (30) But if something has been revealed to another person sitting there, the first prophet should be silent.  (31) For you can all prophesy one by one, so that everyone may learn and everyone may be encouraged. (32) And the prophets’ spirits are under the control of the prophets,  (33) since God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,”

Rev. 19:10, “(10) Then I fell at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow slave with you and your brothers who have the testimony about Jesus. Worship God, because the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Chapter 19

“(1) When the LORD your God annihilates the nations whose land He is giving you, so that you drive them out and live in their cities and houses,  (2) you are to set apart three cities for yourselves within the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess. (3) You are to determine the distances and divide the land the LORD your God is granting you as an inheritance into three regions, so that anyone who commits manslaughter can flee to these cities. “

So from north to south the land had 3 regions and each region had three cities of relative equal distance between them so that anywhere you were in Israel you were nearly always the same distance to a city of refuge.

“(4)  Here is the law concerning a case of someone who kills a person and flees there to save his life, having killed his neighbor accidentally without previously hating him:  (5)  If he goes into the forest with his neighbor to cut timber, and his hand swings the ax to chop down a tree, but the blade flies off the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies, that person may flee to one of these cities and live.  (6) Otherwise, the avenger of blood in the heat of his anger might pursue the one who committed manslaughter, overtake him because the distance is great, and strike him dead. Yet he did not deserve to die, since he did not previously hate his neighbor.  

(7)  This is why I am commanding you to set apart three cities for yourselves.  (8) If the LORD your God enlarges your territory as He swore to your fathers, and gives you all the land He promised to give them–  (9) provided you keep every one of these commands I am giving you today and follow them, loving the LORD your God and walking in His ways at all times–you are to add three more cities to these three.  

(10)  In this way, innocent blood will not be shed, and you will not become guilty of bloodshed in the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.”  

“(11)  But if someone hates his neighbor, lies in ambush for him, attacks him, and strikes him fatally, and flees to one of these cities,  (12) the elders of his city must send for him, take him from there, and hand him over to the avenger of blood and he will die. (13)  You must not look on him with pity but purge from Israel the guilt of shedding innocent blood, and you will prosper.”  

You can more readily see the fear of Judas and the failure of the priests in regard to their exchange with him in that they collaborated in the shedding of innocent blood.

Matt. 27:2-5, “(2) After tying Him up, they led Him away and handed Him over to Pilate, the governor.  (3) Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was full of remorse and returned the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders.  (4) “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood,” he said. “What’s that to us?” they said. “See to it yourself!” (5) So he threw the silver into the sanctuary and departed. Then he went and hanged himself.”

Repented (or was filled with remorse) Metamélomai, on the part of man, means little or nothing more than a selfish dread of the consequence of what one has done, whereas metanoéō means regret and forsaking the evil by a change of heart brought about by God’s Spirit. On the part of God in Heb. 7:21, metamélomai means His plan of salvation for man can have no improvement; He made no mistake.

“(14)  “You must not move your neighbor’s boundary marker, established at the start in the inheritance you will receive in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess.”  

“(15)  “One witness cannot establish any wrongdoing or sin against a person, whatever that person has done. A fact must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”  

“(16)  “If a malicious witness testifies against someone accusing him of a crime,  (17) the two people in the dispute must stand in the presence of the LORD before the priests and judges in authority at the time.  (18) The judges are to make a careful investigation, and if the witness turns out to be a liar who has falsely accused his brother,  (19) you must do to him as he intended to do to his brother. You must purge the evil from you.  (20) Then everyone else will hear and be afraid, and they will never again do anything evil like this among you.  (21) You must not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, and foot for foot.”

Notice it was not the actual act, but the intent of the heart. Perhaps it was from this place in scripture that the Spirit taught the Lord Jesus that sin is of the heart – BEFORE it is an action. Thus, He taught Himself in the beatitudes. 

  • If a man hates = murder
  • If a man covets = stealing
  • If a man lusts = adultery

Deut. 20

“(1) When you go out to war against your enemies and see horses, chariots, and an army larger than yours, do not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you.  

(2)  When you are about to engage in battle, the priest is to come forward and address the army.  (3) He is to say to them: ‘Listen, Israel: Today you are about to engage in battle with your enemies. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, alarmed, or terrified because of them.  (4) For the LORD your God is the One Who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.'”

“(5) The officers are to address the army, ‘Has any man built a new house and not dedicated it? Let him leave and return home. Otherwise, he may die in battle and another man dedicate it.  (6) Has any man planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy its fruit? Let him leave and return home. Otherwise he may die in battle and another man enjoy its fruit. (7) Has any man become engaged to a woman and not married her? Let him leave and return home. Otherwise he may die in battle and another man marry her.’  (8) The officers will continue to address the army and say, ‘Is there any man who is afraid or fainthearted? Let him leave and return home, so that his brothers’ hearts won’t melt like his own.’ (9) When the officers have finished addressing the army, they will appoint military commanders to lead it.”  

Once settled in the land, if you approach a city for war

“(10) When you approach a city to fight against it, you must make an offer of peace.  (11) If it accepts your offer of peace and opens its gates to you, all the people found in it will become forced laborers for you and serve you.  (12) However, if it does not make peace with you but wages war against you, lay siege to it. (13) When the LORD your God hands it over to you, you must strike down all its males with the sword.  (14) But you may take the women, children, animals, and whatever else is in the city–all its spoil–as plunder. You may enjoy the spoil of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you. (15) This is how you are to treat all the cities that are far away from you and are not among the cities of these nations.”  

HOWEVER, ALL the inhabitants of the promised land must be destroyed

“(16)  However, you must not let any living thing survive among the cities of these people the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.  (17) You must completely destroy them–the Hittite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, and Jebusite–as the LORD your God has commanded you,  (18) so that they won’t teach you to do all the detestable things they do for their gods, and you sin against the LORD your God.”  

Do not destroy the fruit trees

“(19)  “When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can get food from them. You must not cut them down. Are trees of the field human, to come under siege by you?  (20) But you may destroy the trees that you know do not produce food. You may cut them down to build siege works against the city that is waging war with you, until it falls.”

Blessings! 

I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.

Blessings!

Hi I am Pastor Mark...

I have been a pastor for nearly 30 years now (2018), though never quite like I am today. (more on that in a moment)

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As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my best friend, greatest personal support and most valued critic.
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As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught. I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled). Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then,

"If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling."

~ Fredrick Buechner

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As I said, as of 2009 I’ve been a Pastor for nearly 20 years. Earlier in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our church was not in keeping with the New Testament. This was a shock to me and it is was a revelation that did not come all at once but over the course of a few weeks.

We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until about 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We believe the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly and though we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me. I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!

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