Series: Thru the Bible
As I told you last week, chapters 27-28 outlined additions to the covenant God made with Israel at Horeb as these verses say…
“(1)These are the words of the covenant the LORD commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant He had made with them at Horeb.”
Remember what your eyes have seen (eye-witness testimony)
“(2) Moses summoned all Israel and said to them,
“You have seen with your own eyes everything the LORD did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials, and to his entire land.
(3) You saw with your own eyes the great trials and those great signs and wonders.
(4) Yet to this day the LORD has not given you a mind to understand, eyes to see, or ears to hear.
(5) I led you 40 years in the wilderness; your clothes and the sandals on your feet did not wear out; (6) you did not eat bread or drink wine or beer–so that you might know that I am the LORD your God.
(7) When you reached this place, Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan came out against us in battle, but we defeated them. (8) We took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh.
(9) Therefore, observe the words of this covenant and follow them, so that you will succeed in everything you do.”
Enter into the covenant
“(10) All of you are standing today before the LORD your God–your leaders, tribes, elders, officials, all the men of Israel, (11) your children, your wives, and the foreigners in your camps who cut your wood and draw your water– (12) so that you may enter into the covenant of the LORD your God, which He is making with you today, so that you may enter into His oath (13) and so that He may establish you today as His people and He may be your God as He promised you and as He swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
Do not turn away to other gods
“(14) I am making this covenant and this oath not only with you, (15) but also with those who are standing here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God and with those who are not here today. (16) “Indeed, you know how we lived in the land of Egypt and passed through the nations where you traveled. (17) You saw their detestable images and idols made of wood, stone, silver, and gold, which were among them. (18) Be sure there is no man, woman, clan, or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of those nations. Be sure there is no root among you bearing poisonous and bitter fruit.”
This phrase seems to be basis for the writer of Hebrews’ warning against apostacy in Heb. 12:11-29 as is some of the wording of Heb. 6, which we will read at the end of this chapter.
“(19) When someone hears the words of this oath, he may bless himself in his mind, thinking, ‘I will have peace even though I follow my own stubborn heart.’ This will lead to the destruction of the well-watered land as well as the dry land. (20) The LORD will not be willing to forgive him. Instead, His anger and jealousy will burn against that person, and every curse written in this scroll will descend on him. The LORD will blot out his name under heaven, (21) and single him out for harm from all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this book of the law.
(22) “Future generations of your children who follow you and the foreigner who comes from a distant country will see the plagues of the land and the sicknesses the LORD has inflicted on it. (23) All its soil will be a burning waste of sulfur and salt, unsown, producing nothing, with no plant growing on it, just like the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the LORD demolished in His fierce anger. (24) All the nations will ask, ‘Why has the LORD done this to this land? Why this great outburst of anger?’ (25) Then people will answer, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which He had made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt. (26) They began to worship other gods, bowing down to gods they had not known–gods that the LORD had not permitted them to worship. (27) Therefore the LORD’s anger burned against this land, and He brought every curse written in this book on it. (28) The LORD uprooted them from their land in His anger, fury, and great wrath, and threw them into another land where they are today.’ (29) The hidden things belong to the LORD our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our children forever, so that we may follow all the words of this law.”
“(11) No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (12) Therefore strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, (13) and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but healed instead. (14) Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness–without it no one will see the Lord. (15) See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and by it, defiling many. (16) And see that there isn’t any immoral or irreverent person like Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for one meal. (17) For you know that later, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected because he didn’t find any opportunity for repentance, though he sought it with tears. (18) For you have not come to what could be touched, to a blazing fire, to darkness, gloom, and storm, (19) to the blast of a trumpet, and the sound of words. (Those who heard it begged that not another word be spoken to them, (20) for they could not bear what was commanded: And if even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned! (21) And the appearance was so terrifying that Moses said, I am terrified and trembling.) (22) Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels in festive gathering, (23) to the assembly of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to God who is the judge of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect, (24) to Jesus (mediator of a new covenant), and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things than the blood of Abel. (25) See that you do not reject the One who speaks; for if they did not escape when they rejected Him who warned them on earth, even less will we if we turn away from Him who warns us from heaven. (26) His voice shook the earth at that time, but now He has promised, Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also heaven. (27) Now this expression, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what can be shaken–that is, created things–so that what is not shaken might remain. (28) Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe; (29) for our God is a consuming fire.”
“(4) For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, (5) tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age, (6) and who have fallen away, because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding Him up to contempt. (7) For ground that has drunk the rain that has often fallen on it, and that produces vegetation useful to those it is cultivated for, receives a blessing from God. (8) But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and about to be cursed, and will be burned at the end. (9) Even though we are speaking this way, dear friends, in your case we are confident of the better things connected with salvation.”
Repentance and Forgiveness
“(1) When all these things happen to you–the blessings and curses I have set before you–and you come to your senses while you are in all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you, (2) and you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and all your soul by doing everything I am giving you today, (3) then He will restore your fortunes, have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. (4) Even if your exiles are at the ends of the earth, He will gather you and bring you back from there. (5) The LORD your God will bring you into the land your fathers possessed, and you will take possession of it. He will cause you to prosper and multiply you more than He did your fathers. (6) The LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love Him with all your heart and all your soul, so that you will live. (7) The LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. (8) Then you will again obey Him and follow all His commands I am giving you today. (9) The LORD your God will make you prosper abundantly in all the work of your hands with children, the offspring of your livestock, and your soil’s produce. Indeed, the LORD will again delight in your prosperity, as He delighted in that of your fathers, (10) when you obey the LORD your God by keeping His commands and statutes that are written in this book of the law and return to Him with all your heart and all your soul.”
THESE verses are the basis for Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple in 2Chorn. 6 & 7. Most Christians are aware of God’s reply to Solomon’s prayer without being in any way familiar with the prayer itself. These two passages (Deut. 30 & 2 Chron. 6) together teach us something about prayer. All Prayer should be based upon God’s will. The Prayer Solomon prayed was a prayer which nearly quoted God’s Own words back to Him word for word – it was a prayer literally based upon the word of God. 1Jn. tells us that we know that God hears our prayer and respects our prayer when we pray according to His will. These are VERY important truths regarding prayer every believer should know.
Turn with me to 2Chorn. 6:24-42,
“(24) If Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy, because they have sinned against You, and they return to You and praise Your name, and they pray and plead for mercy before You in this temple, (25) may You hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel. May You restore them to the land You gave them and their ancestors. (26) When the skies are shut and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, and they pray toward this place and praise Your name, and they turn from their sins because You are afflicting them, (27) may You hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and Your people Israel, so that You may teach them the good way they should walk in. May You send rain on Your land that You gave Your people for an inheritance. (28) When there is famine on the earth, when there is pestilence, when there is blight, mildew, locust, or grasshopper, when their enemies besiege them in the region of their fortified cities, when there is any plague or illness, (29) whatever prayer or petition anyone from your people Israel might have–each man knowing his own affliction and suffering, and spreading out his hands toward this temple– (30) may You hear in heaven, Your dwelling place, and may You forgive and repay the man according to all his ways, since You know his heart, for You alone know the human heart, (31) so that they may fear You and walk in Your ways all the days they live on the land You gave our ancestors. (32) Even for the foreigner who is not of Your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of Your great name and Your mighty hand and outstretched arm: when he comes and prays toward this temple, (33) may You hear in heaven in Your dwelling place, and do all the foreigner asks You for. Then all the peoples of the earth will know Your name, to fear You as Your people Israel do and know that this temple I have built is called by Your name. (34) When Your people go out to fight against their enemies, wherever You send them, and they pray to You in the direction of this city You have chosen and the temple that I have built for Your name, (35) may You hear their prayer and petition in heaven and uphold their cause. (36) When they sin against You–for there is no one who does not sin–and You are angry with them and hand them over to the enemy, and their captors deport them to a distant or nearby country, (37) and when they come to their senses in the land where they were deported and repent and petition You in their captors’ land, saying: “We have sinned and done wrong; we have been wicked,” (38) and when they return to You with their whole mind and heart in the land of their captivity where they were taken captive, and when they pray in the direction of their land that You gave their ancestors, and the city You have chosen, and toward the temple I have built for Your name, (39) may You hear in heaven, in Your dwelling place, their prayer and petitions and uphold their cause. May You forgive Your people who sinned against You. (40) Now, my God, please let Your eyes be open and Your ears attentive to the prayer of this place. (41) Now therefore: Arise, LORD God, come to Your resting place, You and the ark that shows Your strength. May Your priests, LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and may Your godly people rejoice in goodness. (42) LORD God, do not reject Your anointed one; remember the loyalty of Your servant David.”
Not too hard!
(11) “This command that I give you today is certainly not too difficult or beyond your reach. (12) It is not in heaven, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven, get it for us, and proclaim it to us so that we may follow it?’ (13) And it is not across the sea, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea, get it for us, and proclaim it to us so that we may follow it?’ (14) But the message is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may follow it.”
This was the basis for Paul’s words as written in Romans 10
Rom. 10:5-13, “(5) For Moses writes about the righteousness that is from the law: The one who does these things will live by them. (6) But the righteousness that comes from faith speaks like this: Do not say in your heart, “Who will go up to heaven?” that is, to bring Christ down (7) or, “Who will go down into the abyss?” that is, to bring Christ up from the dead. (8) On the contrary, what does it say? The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. This is the message of faith that we proclaim: (9) if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. (11) Now the Scripture says, No one who believes on Him will be put to shame, (12) for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. (13) For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
“(15) See, today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and adversity. (16) For I am commanding you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live and multiply, and the LORD your God may bless you in the land you are entering to possess. (17) But if your heart turns away and you do not listen and you are led astray to bow down to other gods and worship them, (18) I tell you today that you will certainly perish and will not live long in the land you are entering to possess across the Jordan.”
We will see as we continue in our walk thru the Bible that they did not honor His words or ways, they did not love Him AND they did not live long in the land. They went from freedom in the land, to idolatry, to captivity, to God raising up a judge or prophet, to Israel repenting, to God using the judge/prophet to deliver them, to dwelling in freedom in the land, to idolatry…etc. over and over and over!
“(19) I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, (20) love the LORD your God, obey Him, and remain faithful to Him. For He is your life, and He will prolong your life in the land the LORD swore to give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
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!
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