As we have told you the word Deuteronomy means the second law. It is really a rehearsal, sort of a capsulation by Moses of the law that was given. Deuteronomy itself, though it covers the forty years from Egypt to the entering in of the Promised Land, covered only about forty days, as far as the time of it being given to the children of Israel.
Moses was now an aging man, however he was still very spry. He still had excellent eyesight, excellent hearing, none of his forces had abated. Sometimes I have to put on my glasses I say, “God, you did it for Moses, why don’t you do it for me?” And there he still had good sharp vision, a hundred and twenty years old. None of the natural forces abated, still a spry fellow, able to get over the rocks as quick as any of them. But God had said that he wasn’t going to be able to enter into the Promised Land.
Knowing that they are now ready to enter in, knowing that they have come now to the border of the land. In front of them is the Jordan River, on the other side the city of Jericho, the first of the conquests. Knowing that he cannot cross over Jordan by God’s divine order, knowing that the time had come to cross over Jordan, he realizes that the time of his departure is at hand.
And so he is giving in these last forty days of his life a charge to these people in which he is rehearsing the covenant that God had established with him again. The covenant relationship that they were to have with God, the covenant by which they were to possess this land and to dwell in this land. And so these are important things that Moses is covering in the book of Deuteronomy, as he again goes over and rehearses for the people, bringing them into remembrance the laws, the commandments, the statutes, the judgments of God for he will soon be departing. They’ll no longer be able to come for him for counsel, advice and for the leading of God or for the word of God or the counsel of God. He will soon be departing, and thus, he is giving to them this final charge, the book of Deuteronomy.
And so in chapter 9 he continues,
Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess the nations that are greater and mightier than thyself, cities that are great and fenced up to heaven (9:1),
Now they had come to the point of entering into the land once before in their history some forty years earlier. But at that point because fear overtook them when they heard that the cities had great walls, were heavily fortified, when they heard that giants inhabited the cities, they became so frightened they felt that they could not go in because the inhabitants of the land were actually stronger than they were. And they tried to get a leader to take them back to Egypt. And God’s wrath came.
And because of their failure forty years earlier, God had condemned them to this forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Even as the spies had been in the land for forty days spying out the land, so God said you’ll have a year for every day the spies were in the land, just roaming in the wilderness until this whole generation be passed away. Their cry was, “God had brought us here to destroy us. If we go in and try to take the land, they’re going to kill our wives and all of our little children and we’re going to be buried here in this area”. And so God said, “You’ve worried about your little children but they are the ones that are going to go in and possess the land. You won’t be able to go in.
Now Moses is trying to insure against this fear gripping their hearts again. If they do not enter in at this point it will be disaster for them. And so Moses is seeking now to brace them, to encourage them, to declare the problems that exist. To look realistic, in a realistic way, at the things that they were facing and yet to encourage their hearts that the God that they serve was greater than any obstacle they faced.
Now I think that it is important for us as Christians to look realistically at the problems of life. I think that it is foolish for us to try to make light of serious things. I think that we need to look realistically, and yet at the same token we need to look beyond the problem and realize that the God that we serve is capable of handling any problem that we might face, to look beyond the problems to the power of God and the sustaining hand of God upon our lives.
And so this is what Moses—he’s seeking to be realistic. He said, “All right, now look. You’re going to cross over this Jordan and you’re going to go in and you’re going to possess lands and possess the cities and people that are stronger than you; nations that are greater and mightier than you are. But you’re going to conquer them”.
A people who are great and tall (9:2),
You’re going to be facing a bunch of these giants.
the children of the Anakims (9:2),
And the Anakims were like the Watoosi tribe in Africa, the giants. And they felt like a bunch of Pigmies in front of these people that inhabited the land. “And these people are great, they are tall.”
You know them, you’ve heard them say, Who can stand before the children of Anak! (9:2)
You’ve heard that remark. And said “Oh, they’re so—they’re giants who can stand before them?”
And understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before you (9:3);
You see, your going to have—the nations are great, granted. The people are tall; they are giants, granted. But the Lord your God is going to go before you.
I think that many times we get spooked when we’re just looking at our problems and we, in just looking at the problems that we face, get a loss of perspective where we fail to see the greatness and the power of God. You know it’s amazing how big our problems can look to us when we’re right next to them. In fact, we can lose perspective and can’t see anything else but our problem when you get so close to it. At that point, we’re prone to forget God; we’re prone to lose sight of God. We must never lose sight of God.
The sun is eight hundred and sixty-five thousand miles in diameter, one million two hundred thousand times larger than our earth. As big as it is, you can block out the sight of the sun with something as small as a glasses’ case. Though it is that big, something this small can block your sight of the sun if it’s close enough to you. You get so close to your problem, all you can see is your problem. Now God is as great as the universe. He fills the whole universe but I can’t see Him. My problems have blinded me.
Now Moses speaks of the problems but then he reminds them that they don’t need to be really concerned about the problem because the Lord thy God is going to go before you. We are faced with a strong and powerful enemy who is stronger than we are. We are no match for Satan’s power and you can get so involved with the power of Satan, so overawed by the power of Satan that you lose sight of the power of God. But “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world”(1 John 4:4). You’re no match for Satan but Satan is no match for God, and it is the Lord thy God who goes before thee to fight your battles, to dispossess the land of your enemies. We need to remember the Lord and His power.
For he is going before you; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and shall bring them down before thy face: so thou shalt drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD has said unto thee (9:3).
Now, he said when you get into the land and God has driven out the enemy, and you’ve gone in and possessed them, and wiped them out, then beware of self-righteousness; lest you kick back and say, Well it’s because we were so righteous that God has done this for us.
Oh, what a terrible thing self-righteousness is and how easily it attaches itself to us. There is something perverse about our nature that we desire to have people think that we are more righteous than we really are. That’s a perversity of our nature. We like people to think that we are spiritual giants, that we really walk close to God. And there is oftentimes a perverse tendency on our part to put off some kind of a righteous aura. We try to look very righteous and holy and pious. We like people to think, “Oh, we are extremely holy people”. Like because I am so holy God is able to use me, but I can understand why He doesn’t use you. You know this spiritual putdown kind of a thing.
When Peter was at the temple going in with James at the hour of prayer and the man said, “Alms, Alms” and Peter said, “Hey, look at me, pal”. And the guy turned expecting to receive something and Peter said, “I don’t have any silver and gold”. Ah, smart mouth. “Then why did you ask me to look at you?” “What I have I’ll give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise to your feet and walk”(Acts 3:6). And Peter took this fellow by the right hand, lifted him to the feet. Immediately he received strength in his feet and ankles. He began to walk and leap, running through the temple, walking, leaping, praising God.
After one pass through the temple walking, leaping, praising God, as he was going by people said, “Isn’t that the lame man that’s been laying out there every day for years? Man, it sure looks likes him.” “What in the world has happened to him” “I don’t know. Let’s go see”. And a crowd followed this guy, some five thousand. So that by the time he came out back to the porch where Peter was still standing, he no doubt grabbed a hold of Peter, hugged him, kissed him, jumped up and down so that the people related the miracle to Peter some way. And Peter said, “Ye men of Israel. Why look ye on us as though we through our own righteousness had brought this deed to this lame man?”
Peter, at that moment, was in one of the greatest jeopardies of his entire ministry. When the people were looking at him, as though he were some holy, righteous kind of a creature, it would have been very easy with all of these people looking at Peter in awe and in wonder, “Oh, Peter” you know “Can I touch you?” For him to say, “Well now, to have this kind of power in your life it takes real sacrifice and dedication. You’ve got to really commit yourself totally unto God. Few people are able to make the sacrifices that are necessary in order to handle this kind of power.” And what is he doing? He’s taking the attention and the glory away from God and putting it on to himself.
Now many ministers have been guilty of doing this because our flesh would like people to think that we are something special, that we are something that is holy, that we’re a little bit above the normal in our dedication and consecration. And my whole flesh, my whole body is so sneaky that it would like to give off a little righteous aura around me so that people will think that I’m so very, very holy.
But that’s a constant danger to anyone who is ministering, to anyone who experiences the work of God in his life, because people are prone to look at the instrument rather than at God, the One who is using the instrument, and begin to give glory and credit to the instrument rather than to God. And thus, the instrument has to be very careful that it doesn’t take glory, that it doesn’t take credit. So Paul the apostle said, “I keep my body under. I buffet myself and keep my body under”. Under what? Under control, under the spirit. “Lest having preached to others, I myself should be put on the shelf”(1 Corinthians 9:27).
And so it is important that when God works in your life you don’t begin to get some kind of spiritual pride and spiritual righteousness saying, “Well, it’s because I’m so sweet or I’m so holy or I’m so righteous or I’m so committed God has done this for me”. God said, “Hey, don’t get that kind of a frame of mind”. When you come into the land and you’re possessing the land and you’re dwelling there, then don’t think “Well, it’s because we’re so righteous, we’re such a holy people, God gave us this land.” That isn’t the reason because we were more righteous than those who are there and so forth. God said, “It isn’t your holiness and it isn’t because you are so righteous that I’m giving you the land. It’s really because these people are so vile and so impure I’m just driving them out.”
Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God gives thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for you’re a stiffnecked people (9:6)
Sounds like Romaine; doesn’t it? Our Moses. And then He reminds them of their stiffneckedness. How that they provoked God so many times. When they just left Egypt, they weren’t even out of the land of Egypt when they provoked God the first time. And how all the way through they were continually provoking God. And so he reminds them of how he had to intercede more than once, lest God would have wiped them out. And so he reminds them the burnings, Taberah, verse twenty-two, the Massah, and Kibrothhattaavah, the graves of lust, the place of temptation where God was provoked against them, and also at Kadeshbarnea. And he said,
You’ve been a rebellious against the day LORD from the day that I knew you (9:24).
From the beginning. Therefore, it isn’t for your righteousness that the Lord is doing this or the uprightness of your heart, but actually God has given a promise unto your fathers, to Abraham and to Jacob. And God is just fulfilling His promise to your fathers but you’re just a bunch of stiffnecked rebellious people.
In chapter ten He continues of their failures during the wilderness experiences. And he’s reminding them of the failure at the time when God had given to him the law on the two tables of stone. And how that when he came down from the mountain that the people had made this golden calf and were worshipping it and how the tables of stone were broken. And so he was commanded by the Lord to take two more tables of stone. And for another forty days and forty nights in fasting without water or bread there on the mount before God.
And God wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments [verse four] in the mount in the midst of the fire; and the LORD gave them unto me (10:4).
And so how that the Lord led them. And then in verse twelve; the question,
And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee (10:12),
This is a question that every one of us should be concerned with: What does God require of me? As soon as I conclude in my mind that God does exist, and let me suggest that it’s much easier to believe that God exists than to not believe that God exists. I don’t know how many of you saw that sunrise this morning; oh, it was absolutely glorious. I don’t see how anybody could look at that sunrise and not believe that God exists. When you start thinking of the whole process of the universe and you start thinking of the processes of life, it’s much easier to believe that God exists than not to believe that God exists.
So, when you come to the conclusion that God exists and that conclusion is easily derived at when you look at man and you realize all of the intricacies that make up just the first cell of man and you see our capacities, you realize that God exists because no one but God could create an instrument such as our body except one who has all wisdom and all knowledge; an omniscient God.
Now if God created me He must have created me for a purpose. Therefore, what does God require of me? I don’t believe that God would have just created man and just said, “Here you are and now you’re on your own”. That having been created by God I have certain obligations and responsibilities to my Creator. What are they?
Hear, O Israel, this is what the LORD require of you, to reverence the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul. To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command you this day for thy good? (10:12-13)
Well, that’s pretty heavy. What does God require? That you reverence Him, that you walk in all of His ways, that you love Him and serve Him with all your heart and all your soul. You say, “Well, I failed in that. What now?” That you keep all of His commandments, you walk in all of His ways, that you reverence Him. We haven’t done it.
As the Bible said, “We’ve all sinned and come short of the glory of God”(Romans 3:23). Does that mean that it’s all over, there is no hope for me? No. God has an alternate plan because man was not able to fulfill God’s requirement and this is God’s ideal requirement, this is how God would have you to live and God would have every man to live. And let me suggest if every man lived according to this requirement we’d have one fantastic, beautiful world. If every man was walking in the ways of God, loving God, loving each other as they love themselves and walking in full harmony of God, what a fabulous world this could be. But man failed. And rather than reverencing God, man so often blasphemes God. Rather than loving and serving, man is rebelling against Him. And we also fail to walk in all of His ways and to love and serve Him as we should. So does that mean we’re lost, there’s no hope? No.
In the New Testament they came to Jesus with a question “What must we do to do the works of God?” Same idea: “What does God require of us?” “What must we do to do the works of God?” And Jesus said, “This is the work of God: that you believe on him whom he hath sent”(John 6:29). Praise the Lord, I can do that. Though I failed in the ideal requirement, yet I can now fulfill the actual requirement of God. What does God actually require of me tonight? That I believe in His Son Jesus Christ. All right, I can handle that. Now to me it’s fabulous that that’s what God requires of me. That I just believe in the provisions that He has made for my sin by sending His Son. “Believe in him whom he hath sent”.
Now, as I believe in Jesus Christ, I receive a new dynamic for life. For Christ comes in and begins to indwell me, and as he comes in and indwells me, He, by his indwelling power and presence begins to give me the strength, the ability to live according to God’s divine ideal. He gives me now the strength to walk in the ways of righteousness. He gives me now the love that I need for God. He begins to work now in me doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself.
You see, God hasn’t really given up on the divine ideal but now He, through Christ, is giving me the capacity to fulfill the divine ideal, but I have fulfilled God’s requirement for me the moment I believed in Jesus Christ. The moment I committed my life to Him, I fulfilled God’s requirement for me. So we look at God’s ideal requirement in the Old Testament and we realize that we’ve all failed so we come to the New Testament and we find that we can all handle God’s actual requirement for us tonight just to believe on Him whom He has sent.
Now he reminds them,
Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is (10:14).
Everything belongs to God. Look at the universe, it all is His. The heaven of heavens belongs to God. That’s the whole universe out there with its billions of galaxies. We read in the Psalms, “The earth is the LORD and the fullness thereof and all they that dwell therein here is declared that the earth also, with all that therein is”(Psalms 24:1). Everything that’s in this whole thing actually belongs to God. But Satan has usurped that which belongs to God and has taken control of it. But Jesus came to redeem it back to God and paid the price of redemption so that one day very soon, very, very soon God is going to lay claim to that which Jesus purchased almost two thousand years ago. Soon it’s going to be God’s again.
Technically it is now, Jesus already paid the price but Satan is still usurping the authority and the power ruling over the world. But before long Jesus is going to come and set one foot upon the land and one foot upon the sea and declare “that the kingdoms of this world have now become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ”(Revelation 11:15). And He’s going to take His power and He’s going to rule and then you’ll see the world that God intended when He created it.
People get awfully confused today because they look around at the world that they see today and they think, “Well, how can a God of love create this mess? How can a God of love allow the Cambodian situation, the starving children? How can a God of love allow children to be born deformed?” Right now the world is in rebellion against God. You don’t see the world that God intended, God wants, God plans. You see the world that is suffering, the fruit of its rebellion. But one of these days Jesus is coming to establish God’s kingdom and He’s going to rule over the earth and in that day you’ll see the world that God intended: a world that is without sickness, a world that is without suffering, a world that is without pain, a world that is without any deformities. There will be no blind, no lame, no deaf, no dumb. You’ll see the world God intended. I can hardly wait.
You know people, when you start talking about, you know, the end of the world as we know the end of the world is going to be, not really you know, the big gigantic atomic holocaust and that’s the end of the world and there’s just this radioactive cloud hovering over it and that’s all. That isn’t what we’re looking for as Christians at all. We’re looking for the end of the Komanis—wait a minute you may not want to clap, and the Carters. Thank you. And all of men who have attempted to rule over men and have failed.
We’re looking for a King to come who will reign in righteousness over the earth and will establish a true righteousness over the earth. And men will live together in peace and “they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks and they’ll study war no more” (Micah 4:3). And men will live together in righteousness, in peace. And there will not be a hungry person on the face of the earth when men divert his military budgets to agricultural development. And that’s exactly what the prophet says is going to happen. A world without greed, a world where the strong do not oppress the weak, where the rich do not oppress the poor, but we’re all love and experience the joy, the presence of God dwelling with men. What’s so bad about that?
I’ll tell you what to me would be a doomsday message would be to say, “Brethren, brace yourself. You gotta go on in this mess, there’s no way out”. That to me would be a doomsday prophet. But declare that this mess is soon coming to an end is not a doomsday message at all, it’s a message of glory, it’s a message of hope and that’s the message that I have to bare to you from God’s word. Thank God that we’re coming soon to the end of the chaos that man has created upon the earth and we’re going to see the establishment of God’s righteous kingdom. “The heaven of heavens of God the earth is Lord, everything that is in it” and he’s going to lay claim to it very soon.
Only the LORD had a delight in your fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you. Therefore, you’ve been stiffnecked, [you’ve been rebellious, but now he declares] circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart (10:15-16).
Now the right of circumcision was given to Abraham and it was intended as a spiritual thing. The idea was that you were cutting off the flesh life. You weren’t to live after the flesh; you were to live after the spirit. And it was the mark of a people who were to be a spiritual people or people who were spiritually orientated and spiritually minded in contrast to the natural man of the world who is always materialistically minded and mindful of his physical material needs. God’s people weren’t to be a people dominated by the materialistic things, by the fleshly things. They were to be a people that were dominated by spiritual things and the sign of that spiritual covenant with God was circumcision.
Now, they kept the covenant in a physical way but not in a spiritual way. And Paul brings out the whole inconsistency of the ritual apart from the reality. And it’s possible for people today to have certain religious rituals but not have any reality of a relationship with God, going through the rituals, going through the motions. And that was the church of Ephesus, they were still going through the motions but they didn’t have the emotion. Jesus said, “You’ve left your first love”(Revelation 2:4).
And it’s very possible today for people to be in the same state as the children of Israel, in which they were depending upon the outward ritual when in reality, God was interested in the inward work that’s in the heart. And so He said, “circumcise therefore the flesh of your heart”. And Paul picks this up in Romans the second chapter and says, “The true circumcision is not of the flesh but of the heart”.
My heart alienated from a life of the flesh, my heart no longer longing after the things of the flesh but a heart that is now after God. And as David, “as the deer panteth after the water brooks so panteth my soul after thee O God” (Psalms 42:1). My soul thirsteth for Thee as in a dry and a parched land. Oh, that’s the kind of people God is looking for; those who are spiritually-minded, spiritually orientated, who are thirsting after God in their heart and in their life and wanting to live a spiritual life that is dedicated unto Him.
So the encouragement towards the spiritual life.
For the LORD your God is a God of gods, he is the LORD of lords, a great God mighty, and awesome (10:17).
The word terrible is an archaic word as far as our language goes. It means awesome.
which regards not person, nor takes reward (10:17).
The word terrible has had a change of meaning through usage in the English language since the King James translation. And so the word you would better translate it ”awesome”. We think of terrible, as, you know something that is a tragic, horrible, grotesque. Right? But it’s archaic. So “awesome” God.
Now love therefore the stranger and reverence the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. He is thy praise, he is thy God, he has done for thee these great and awesome things, which your eyes have seen (10:19-21).
So the encouragement to reverence God, serve God, praise God, love God, turn your lives over to God.
In chapter eleven he continues his warnings to them, as they are about to come into the land. And he reminds them again of the miracles that God did for them in bringing them out of Egypt. How he spoiled the Pharaoh and all of his land, how he destroyed the armies of Egypt there in the Red Sea, and how he watched over them, nurtured them, kept them, preserved them all through the wilderness right up to this moment and what he did to those that rebelled against them. Nathan and Myram, how the earth opened and swallowed them up.
Your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord which he did. [You’ve watched God work.] Therefore you’re to keep all his commandments which I command you this day, be strong, go in and possess the land; that you may prolong your days in the land, which the LORD sware to your fathers to give to them, a land that flows with milk and honey. The land, where you go to possess, is not the land of Egypt, from which you came out, where you sowed your seed, and had to water it with your foot, like a garden of herbs: But it’s a land, where you’re going to get sufficient rain, [Where there will be plenty of streams and rivulets and so forth.] drinking water the rain from heaven. The land that your LORD cares for (11:7-12)
And this I love. This particular spot of land is the land that the Lord cares for.
And the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it (11:12).
I always like to think of this Scripture when I’m over in Israel. Hey, I’m right in the area where God’s always looking. The eyes of the Lord are always upon this particular spot of land. It’s a land that God cares for.
Now, it really isn’t the most beautiful land in the world. I’ve been in a lot of places that I think are more beautiful than Israel as far as physical beauty. Really, the state of California, you get up in the high Sierras up around Yosemite and all and you’ve got beauties that are unparalleled as far as—there’s nothing in Israel to compare with those things. But yet it is a land that God had purposed to fulfill His plan of redemption for mankind, and thus, it was a land that God was interested. It’s a land that He cares for because in this land His son was to be born. In this land His Son was to walk. In this land His Son was to die. And thus, God was interested in this land. His eyes were always upon it.
From the beginning of the year even to the end of the year. Now it will come to pass, if you will hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, Then God will give you the rain in its due season, the first and the latter rain, that you may gather your corn, and your wine, and your oil. And I’ll send the grass in the fields for your cattle, that you may eat and be full (11:12-15).
So, when you come in, as long you love God and serve God, God’s going to bless you. The land will be blessed. You’ll have rain in its season, the early and the latter rain. You’ll have green grass in the field for your cattle. You’ll have good crops. One requirement, just love God and serve God with all your heart, with all your soul.
But take heed, that your heart is not deceived, that you turn aside and serve other gods, and worship them; And then the LORD’S wrath will be kindled against you, and he shut up the heavens, that there be no rain, and the land will not yield their fruit; lest you perish quickly from off the good land from which the LORD gives you. Therefore lay up these words in your heart and in your soul, bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they might be as frontlets between your eyes (11:16-18).
In other words, remember this. Now the interesting thing, again you can get into a ritual but you can in the ritual forget the meanings. And they still go through the ritual of binding their phylacteries. They go through the ritual of binding the little law upon their hand, binding the little box with the law upon their foreheads, the masseuses on their door and kissing of the masseuses. They go through the whole ritual thing but that’s all it is, is a ritual. There is no real serving God and loving God with all their hearts and souls. The ritual has substituted for that. And we must beware lest we allow a ritual to substitute for reality. It’s a deception. They were warned that they should not be deceived and go worshipping other gods. Though the warning came yet they did not heed the warning and thus, even as God pronounced the judgments that should come they did come because God’s word is true.
Teach them to your children, speak to them when you’re sitting down at the table, when you’re lying down in the room at night, when you’re walking with them in the path. Write them upon the door posts of your house, and upon your gates (11:19-20):
I think that it’s great to have mottoes around the house; Scriptures pasted up on the walls. For you ladies on your mirrors you might have the Scripture “Favor is deceitful, beauty is vain but the woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised”(Proverbs 31:30). That around the house we have the word of God. God is saying, “Look, put it all over the place. Write it out there”. This is good graffiti.
We have a fellow in our church who designs heartpacers and has designed some of the most sophisticated heartpacers that are in the entire industry. Little computers that are the size of a quarter that can be implanted under the skin and remain operational for twenty years.
And the other night he brought me the big design sheets for this new computerized heartpacer that will be about the size of a quarter and he was laying them out in my office and showing me these big layout sheets. They take photographs of these big layout sheets and put them on these little tiny silicone chips and all. And then, well, they lay the chips one on top of the other and you have just a miniature computer the size of a quarter. It will constantly monitor your heartbeat and as soon as your heartbeat drops down below fifty-seven or fifty-six or wherever the doctor wants to set it, then this little computer when it’s monitoring their heart, when it drops below that it kicks on and starts throwing an electrical charge at your heart to keep the beat up to whatever standard the doctor wants it. Once it’s implanted, he’s got a little system where the doctor can just with a magnet change a computer from the outside. And it’s a very sophisticated little thing.
But he was showing me these layout sheets with all of the little circuitry designs within it. But within all of the circuitry designs he’s got Romans nine and ten. “For if thou shall confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead thou shalt be saved. Maranatha doves, fish, John 3:16 and all kinds of Scriptures. “Jesus is love and God loves you” and all, all of this are all imprinted in these little miniature microchips for the computer. Takes an electron microscope to see them but he says, “I figure, whoever gets one of these heartpacers is going to have the word of God hidden away in his heart”. Man I just had fits in the office when I was looking at those. I love it. I love that kind of stuff. All of a sudden guy turns good and he doesn’t know why.
So put these words in your heart, he says, and in your soul. Put them around the place that they might be reminders to you and to your children to walk after the Lord. It was the Lord that gave you the land and if you serve Him and love Him you’ll remain and continue in the land. But if you forsake Him you’ll be driven from the land.
For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments [verse twenty-two] that I command you, and to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, to cleave to him; Then will the LORD drive out all the nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves. Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, to the river Euphrates, even to the uttermost sea shall your coast be (11:22-24).
Actually, they never did conquer all that God had given to them. They never did possess all that was theirs by God’s divine decree. I think that there’s an unfortunate parallel in our life. I don’t think that we ever possess all that God has for us or all that God would do for us. It’s there, all we have to do by faith is go in and claim it and take it and yet all of us come short of the glory of God: that which God would do for us if we would just step in and take. It’s tragic that when the borders were so expanded by God and all you have to do is possess it that they failed to possess all that God had given, even as it’s tragic that we so often fail to possess all that God has given. Now many times that we fail to possess for different reasons: intellectual limitations, restrictions that we have placed upon God by our presuppositions. So many reasons why we fail to enter into the fullness that God has for our lives.
There will be no one that’ll be able to stand before you: because God is going to be with you. [But he said,] Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD: A curse, if you will not obey (11:25-28)
That’s always the way it is. God sets before you the blessing and the curse; it’s your choice. You can choose the path of God’s blessing in your life; you can choose the path that’ll lead to God’s curse upon your life. Now, it isn’t that God curses you, it is the curse is already on that manner of life. God is warning you that that manner of life has a curse already upon it.
Now, if you are constantly warning a person that the path that he is taking is leading to a pit of quicksand and as he’s going down the path everyone he meets says, “Oh be careful down the path a ways there’s a pit of quicksand. You can’t go past it” and the guy keeps going. And as he gets there, someone says “Hey be careful, don’t go out there that’s quicksand. You’ll get lost, you know, you’ll suck in”. But he ignores all the warnings, he continues on that path and he gets mired in the quicksand and gets caught in it and goes under. And as he’s going under, he curses all of the people that he met along the path for not stopping him. Is that right? Of course it isn’t. They warned him where the path was leading. Now look, God has warned you where your path is leading. If you disobey Him, if you rebel against Him, God said, “Hey that path is leading to destruction”. And He warns you all the way along the path.
Now if you go to destruction it isn’t that God sent you there. It’s that you deliberately went there against all of God’s endeavors to keep you from there. Actually, Jesus Christ, in a sense, has laid down before the gate of hell and you’ve gotta cross over His body to get there. You’ve gotta trample under foot the Son of God and count the blood of His covenant wherewith He was sanctified an unholy thing to get into hell. He’s done everything to stop you, lying right down in your path, making you tramp over Him to get there. And if you end up there you surely can’t blame God or you can’t blame Jesus. You can only blame your own stubborn rebellion against God. For God did all that He could short of the violation of your will to stop you from going.
I’ve set before you a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if you obey…: A curse, if you don’t obey… When you get in the land, put these blessings the blessings on mount Gerizim, the curse on mount Ebal (11:26-29).
Now when you come into the land, the middle of the land, the area where Abraham first came, the place where Jacob lived for such a time, dug a well; right there in the area of Shechem, on the south side is Mount Gerizim, on the north side is Mount Ebal. And when they came into the land some of the men were to go up to the top of Mount Gerizim and they were to shout to the people who were in this valley between these two mountains, shout down to them the blessings of the land and the conditions of blessings.
And as these men would shout down, “Blessed be ye in the fields” the people say, “Amen”. “And in your cities” “Amen” and they would shout down these blessings. But on Mount Ebal there’s another bunch of guys that were shouting the curses that would come to them if they disobeyed. So on Gerizim the blessing was placed and they would shout down to the people in the valley, the people would consent “Amen, Amen”. And from Ebal the curses were pronounced and again the consenting “Yes, that’s right. That’s right, amen, amen. So be it”. So that must have been quite an experience.
I’ve been in Yosemite when I was a kid and they used to have the firefalls and, you know, up on top of Glacier Point, the guys would just say, “Are you ready camp Curry”, you know, and the voice you would hear over to Simi Valley and the guy down below would yell “We’re ready Glacier Point. Let the fire fall.” You know, then you’d see the beautiful firefalls. Unfortunately they don’t have those there; they were absolutely spectacular.
But even as those guys were up on the top of Glacier Point and down in the valley you could hear their voices, so was in Israel. It must have been a very remarkable and moving experience to have a million or so people filling this valley and this bunch of guys up on the top of Mount Gerizim calling down upon them the blessings of God if they would walk and obey and keep the commandments of God, the things that God would do for them. And then to hear the warnings of God from the other side. It was meant to be impressed in their minds so that they wouldn’t forget, but unfortunately they forgot.
In chapter twelve he gives the conditions whereby they should enjoy the blessings within the land.
First of all they are to utterly destroy all of the places, where there the people that inhabited the land worshipped. They were to destroy all of the groves, all of the high places, all of the altars, all of the gods that they served. Everything was to be utterly obliterated so that they would not have any curiosity or memory of their gods at all.
Overthrow their altars, break their pillars, burn their groves with fire; cut down the graven images, and destroy the names of them out of the place. [Ye shall do] You shall not do so unto the LORD your God. But unto the place which the LORD God shall choose out of all the tribes to put his name, there shall his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come (12:3-5):
Now God says when you come into the land then I’m going to appoint a place for you to come to worship. And you are not to just worship me any place in the land. You are not to worship me on the hilltops and in the groves or so forth. Now of course, the Greeks always took the hills and they always worshipped God on the tops of the hills, the acropolises, the outcroppings and those high places within the cities was always where those Greek temples were built. And so it was a common custom in ancient religious systems to build altars on the top of mountains, places of worship or to plant groves and to worship in these groves.
But the worship of their gods was always a very licentious type of a worship based around the sexual reproduction abilities because the mystery of life and the creation of life in reproduction was something that was always an awe and a wonder and a mystery to them, which of course it is a very beautiful mystery. They were closer to than we are. They were closer to birth and closer to life in many ways than we are and to them it was an awe and it was a wonder.
And thus, they worshipped the reproduction principles and the capacities of reproduction and their worship of their gods often involved relationships and the design for reproduction and so forth. It was just a part of the whole corrupt system of worship in their corruption of God. Making God like a creature and like unto man, which thing actually is done by the Mormons, in a sense, their god is as a man coming to earth with one of his celestial wives and reproducing in a human manner, the first people and so forth. And even as the Mormons themselves will be gods and go out then and reproduce, so that there’s a similarity there.
Now I will choose a place when you come into the land. You’re not to just worship God anywhere.
And thither shall you bring your burnt offerings, tithes, and freewill offerings [and so forth]. You shall not do after all of the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. For ye are not as yet come to the rest to the inheritance, that the LORD your God gives you (12:6,8-9).
Now right now you worship God, every man just does what he should feel but you haven’t yet come into the rest of the inheritance.
But when you go over Jordan, to dwell in the land which God is going to give you to inherit, and he gives you rest, your enemies round about, and you’re dwelling safely; Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; and thither you thither shall you bring all that I command you…: And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God (12:10-12),
Now God wants you to rejoice before Him. I feel sorry for those churches where the people feel inhibited to worship or rejoice in the Lord. Where their worship is so solemn that there isn’t real rejoicing in your heart. I love to just have that neat kind of hilarity that we can have in rejoicing in the Lord as we thank God and praise God for His goodness. And God wanted the people just to rejoice in Him. He wants you to rejoice in Him. But He was going to establish a place.
Now the place, first of all, was in Bethany but then later they moved it to Jerusalem. And this is the place that God chose and there the temple was finally built, the place that was chosen by God in the land where the people were to come and to worship God.
Now take heed that you don’t offer burnt offerings to God in every place that you see (12:13):
In other words, they weren’t to be offered anywhere in all the land but there at the place that was appointed by God. Now, you may kill and eat meat wherever you live. You get hungry for meat, go ahead and eat it, have a feast. But most of the time they would offer what they ate to God as a peace offering. And having offered unto God as a peace offering, then they would get the lamb or the ox or whatever would be offered to God as the sacrifice, a peace offering, but in the peace offering you got it back. You offered it to God, they took and burnt the fat and so forth unto God as a sweet smelling savor and all the meat barbecue kind of smell going up and you, though, got to eat the meat. You’d sit down and eat with God, just have a great time and fellowshipping with God. God ate part of it. It was sacrificed and went up in the smoke and burnt offering to God and knows you’re sitting down and the idea was eating with God, communing with God.
So most of the time you’re going to go ahead and have a lamb for dinner. Great. You take that lamb down to the priest, let him offer the sacrifice to God and then you go ahead and roast the thing and you’re eating with God. And so, you have the conscienceness of fellowshipping with God whenever you ate meat. The idea that I’m eating with God, I’m fellowshipping with God, I’m communing with God in the eating processes. And it was a very beautiful thing.
Now, when they’re going to be in the land and they’re going to be scattered all over the land, they won’t be able to bring the ox all the way down every time they want to eat meat. You can’t go all the way to Jerusalem. So eat it in your cities. You can go ahead but don’t offer it as a sacrifice to God. You’re not to make a burnt offering of it, only when you come to Jerusalem was it to be offered in as a burnt offering. So when you come to Jerusalem, then you would go through offering it unto the Lord and then eating of it.
However, they were never to eat the blood; but they were to pour it out on the earth as water (12:16).
And this was to be a perpetual thing with them, for the life of the flesh is in the blood and they were thus to thoroughly bleed all of the meat before they would eat it. And so, he tells them the kind of animals that they can eat within their gates, anything that their hearts desire of the clean animals.
But thou must eat them before the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD thy God (12:18)
If you offer them as an offering, freewill offering, peace offering, then you’ve gotta eat it in the specified place that God has commanded.
Thou shalt rejoice before the LORD [again he tells you that] in all that you put your hands unto. And when the LORD thy God shall enlarge thy border, as he has promised, and you shall say, I will eat flesh, because my soul longs to eat flesh; you may eat flesh, wherever your soul desires after it (12:18, 20).
Only again be sure you don’t eat the blood, for the blood is the life and you may not eat the life of the flesh.
Now observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee... Take heed to thyself that you’re not snared by following [after the gods of the land that you’re going into to possess] (12:28, 30).
What a trap, the worship of these gods became to the people.
The curiosity that you might say, How did these nations serve their gods? (12:30)
Now God says, “I don’t want you to even be curious about it. Just utterly destroy it and don’t wonder curiously “Well, how did they worship”. You know, there is a strange curiosity that some people have concerning some of the religious systems. “Well, how did they worship?” and, and it’s dangerous to inquire into spiritism, spiritualism and all to just find out what they do. It’s a bad curiosity, it’s a dangerous curiosity; it can become a snare to you.
Thou shalt not do unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination unto the LORD, which he hates, have they done (12:31);
They’ve done every abominable, hateful thing. Everything that God hates they’ve done unto their gods.
For they have even burned their sons and daughters in fire unto their gods (12:31).
A human sacrifice, infant sacrifice was very common. Burning their children in the fire; heating their little gods until they were glowing hot and then putting their children in the outstretched arms of the little iron idols and letting them just fry to death as they worshipped their gods. God said, “Every abominable thing that I hate they’ve done in the worship of their gods. You’re not to do it. You’re not even to be curious.”
Now, everything that I command you, observe it: thou shalt not add to it, or diminish from it (12:32)
Now over and over God warns us about adding to or taking away from that which he has commanded.
Now in chapter thirteen, the warning against false prophets. If a man comes in and does some kind of a sign or a wonder and he’s a dreamer of dreams or a prophet and he gives some kind of a sign and it comes to pass; but if that man would then lead you to worship other gods you are to put him to death, even though he may have been able to work some miracle.
Now, let me say that there is a strange fascination that we seem to have towards supernatural things, but this can be a dangerous fascination. Because someone is able to bring to pass some kind of a phenomena for which there is no scientific explanation, does not necessary follow that that phenomena comes from God. Satan is a deceiver and he is able also to create all kinds of spectacular phenomenon. Thus, we are not to be drawn to phenomena and use phenomena as a criteria for truth.
The person who is seeking after miracles is on dangerous territory for when the anti-Christ comes he is going to come with lying signs and miracles that he’s able to work before the people. There is an unhealthy absorption in miracles in many people’s lives. You need to become thoroughly absorbed in Jesus Christ. There you’ll have no problem. You’ll see the miracles, the miracles that He’ll work in your life, the miracles that He’ll work through your life. But we should not really be putting a lot of emphasis and attention and a concern in the seeing of miracles, for Satan is able to use them as a tool to deceive.
So here were prophets, they were able to give a sign or a wondering would come to pass but then they would lead them to worship other gods. He said, “Put them to death”.
for your LORD God proves you, to know whether or not you love the LORD with all your heart, with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and reverence him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave to him (13:3-4).
Now, if one of your family, a brother, a son, a daughter, even a wife should seek to lead you to worship another god, God said you’re to put them to death and yours shall be the first hand against them. You’re not to hide it or hide their sin even though you love them. But God was anxious to develop a spiritual purity among these people, lest they become infected by the lascivious worship of the pagan gods that the people were worshipping and be corrupted and lose the rights and the place within the land.
Thou shalt consent to their death, you’re not to hearken to their cries; neither shall your eye pity them, neither shall you spare, neither shall you conceal them (13:8):
Now if you hear of a city where the people in the city have decided to serve some other god, then you’re to arm yourself and come against that city and utterly destroy the inhabitants of that city. That desire that God had of maintaining a spiritual purity.
You are the children of the LORD your God: [chapter fourteen] ye shall not cut yourselves, make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. You are a holy people, and God has chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth (14:1-2).
You’re, you’re just a people that are to be separate unto God, different from anybody else.
Now he deals with their diets, which we’ve already gone through as we went through the book of Leviticus, as we dealt with the animals that were clean and unclean. And he pretty much just repeats out of Leviticus the things that were given that were edible and inedible, as far as the animals and the fish and the birds. You’re not to eat anything that dies by itself. Now you can give it or sell it to a stranger, but you’re not to eat it yourself.
But thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there (14:23),
Now if it’s too far for you to go to Jerusalem, to carry it, then sell it and wrap the money in a bag. And when you get to Jerusalem, buy your meat, take it and offer it in sacrifice and whatever, and eat and have a great big feast before God. Don’t have to lug your ox all the way from Dan down to Jerusalem. But go ahead and sell it and then when you get to Jerusalem buy another one and eat whatever you want, have a feast, enjoy eating together and fellowshipping together with God.
At the end of every seven years you’re to make a release (15:1).
All of the debts were to be forgiven in the seventh year. Now, you’re not to demand it again after the seventh year; you’re not to ask for it again except for a foreigner or a stranger. Then you can demand it from them. But of the children of Israel it had to be totally forgiven.
Now, also if it were, say, the sixth year, the seventh year was coming up very soon and some guy says, “Oh, I’d like to borrow some money” you shouldn’t think in your mind, “Oh, this is the sixth year, I don’t want to loan it to him because it will be forgiven in eight months, you know.” He said don’t figure that way. If he’s poor, go ahead and give it to him. Now God is very interested in the welfare of the poor and that we be interested in the welfare of the poor. And here is protecting the poor. And if a poor man comes to you and he’s wanting help you’re not to think “Oh, this is close to the seventh year. I don’t want to give it”. That’s wrong thinking God says. Go ahead and loan it to him anyhow and then forgive it.
Now in Proverbs we read, “He who lendeth unto the poor lendeth unto the LORD” (Proverbs 19:17), and I think that’s a good thing to remember. Rather than exacting the debts from the poor, just say, “Well, I loaned to the Lord and the Lord will repay”. Now I like loaning money to God. I think he pays fantastic interest. “And he who lendeth unto the poor lendeth unto the LORD” because God takes the cause of the poor. God takes up the cause of the poor every time and God is very interested in the poor of the land because they’re going to always be with us. In verse eleven, “The poor shall never cease out”. You’re always going to have poor people. Jesus said, “The poor you have with you always”(Matthew 26:11). He was quoting here from Deuteronomy. There’ll always be poor, and thus, we should always have a heart and a concern for the poor.
Now if you bought a slave who was a Hebrew, man or woman, then they were to serve you for six years but in the seventh year you had to set them free.
And you shall not send them out empty: But give them liberally from your flock, and from your store, from your winepress…: because you’re to remember that you were a slave once in Egypt (15:13-15),
Now, if you have a slave and the seventh year came up and it’s time for him to be set free and he comes to you and says, “Hey, I like it here. You’re a good boss. I’ve got good security and I just enjoy working for you and I don’t want to be free. I want to remain your slave”. Then you were to take him and you were to take an awl and you were drive it through his ear and you were to pin his ear to the doorpost of your house. And that signified a bondslave by choice. They’d usually then put the gold ring in the ear so that the gold ring in the earlobe was a sign that a man was a slave by choice. He had made his own free choice to be a slave for life. And that was the sign of it; the golden ring in the ear, “I am a slave by choice for life”. Once you had made that decision then you would never be set free but you had that choice, you could make it. If you loved your master, you wanted to serve him you’d say, “Well, I don’t want to leave. I love serving you, working for you” and so the little ritual of piercing your ear with the awl, pinning it to the post and thus the slave for life.
Now, this is the kind of bondslave that we have become of Jesus Christ. Paul a duloy, an apostle, a bondslave of Jesus Christ. But it’s by choice. “Lord, I love serving you. I want to serve you. I don’t want to do anything but serve you. I wanna serve you for life.” A bondslave of Jesus Christ, what a neat thing it is to be a bondslave of the Lord, serve Him for life by choice. He didn’t force me. It was my choice. I chose to serve him for life. And so there is a beautiful parallel as you read it there from the sixteenth chapter or sixteenth verse, twenty-fifth verse of the bondslave servant by choice, servant for life, the perpetual service.
In chapter sixteen we now deal with the various feasts that they were to observe when they came into the land. We have rehearsed these as we went through earlier in the book of Exodus and all. You’re to keep the feast of the Passover in the first month, the month of April, and no leaven bread and those things of the Passover. Then you may not keep the Passover in any of the cities of the land but the city that God appointed for his place of worship. In other words they had to come to Jerusalem. They couldn’t just keep it in any of the cities they wanted to. Then they were to keep the feast of Pentecost, the seven weeks after Passover and then the next day, the fiftieth day, they were to keep the feast of Pentecost, the ingathering and then the feast of Tabernacles in the tenth month.
And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast (16:11),
Again the commandment to rejoice and in verse fifteen, the very end
Therefore thou shalt surely rejoice (16:15).
God doesn’t want any long-faced griping service. God wants you to serve him with a rejoicing. God wants you give with a rejoicing. Paul said, “God loves a hilarious giver”(2 Corinthians 9:7). Now, that is why your giving should never be by pressure, it should never be by constraint. Your giving to God should always be a freewill giving with a rejoicing heart. Whatever you give to God of time, service, whatever; you should always give it with a rejoicing heart. If you can’t give it with a rejoicing heart then don’t give it. It’s better that you not give at all than to give and gripe about it. God can’t stand griping. It really upsets Him and I can understand that. I’ve been around people who have offered things to me and I thought they were genuinely offering them to me so when I took them then I heard them griping. Well man I took it back just as quick as I could and said, “Hey, I don’t need this. You keep it.” I don’t want anything given to me that people gripe about.
We were back in Toledo, Ohio my brother and I holding a meeting back there. And the pastor of the church had us over for dinner and you know, I’m a milk drinker I just really love to drink milk. And so he’d fill my glass and I’d drink it because I enjoy drinking milk. And after I had drunk the second glass, he said, “Looks like we’re not going to have any milk for our baby”. Oh man, did I feel terrible. I didn’t want to take milk out of his baby’s mouth. And I really felt bad that I had drunk the milk and so I went out and bought a couple half gallons of milk and took it over to his house and said, “Here, give the milk to your baby”. But I can’t stand people griping over what they give.
Now if you don’t want me to drink milk in your house, don’t pour it in my glass because you pour it in my glass, I’m going to drink it and if you offer me another glass I’m going to take it and drink it. So if you can’t do it with a free, liberal heart then please don’t do it. It curdles in my stomach when they start griping about my drinking it.
But God is much the same way. He can’t stand people griping over what they’ve given to Him. That’s why he constantly emphasizes the free will, the free choice, as you determine in your own heart and give hilariously. God loves the hilarious, the cheerful giver. And that’s the way God wants you to give to Him. And so rejoicing, rejoicing, rejoicing in the sacrifices, in the worship, in the giving to God. He wants you to be a happy people, a rejoicing people. Let’s not disappoint Him.
Now, three times a year every male was to appear before the Lord in a place that God would appoint. So later on when Jerusalem became the city that God appointed, three times every year every adult Jewish male was required to come to Jerusalem for these three feast days: Passover, Pentecost and Feast of Tabernacles. They were required to be there in that assembly before God.
And don’t appear before the LORD empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he has given thee (16:16-17).
Now, when you get into the land you’re supposed to appoint judges in every city and in the gates of the city was to be the place of judgment. And you were to bring your matters before the judges who sat in the gates of the city and they would judge over the land.
And to those judges he commanded that they were not receive any bribes,
for it can blind the eyes of the wise and pervert the words of the righteous (16:19).
Now God in the sixteenth chapter here closed the exhortations declaring,
Neither shalt thou set up any image; which the LORD thy God hates (16:22).
God hates images. Now, I don’t think God has changed. If he hated images then, he no doubt hates images now. And God declared, “You’re not to set up any image; which I hate”. An image is always a sign of a deteriorating spiritual life, for the image is intended to be a reminder. Whenever you need a reminder it indicates that you have lost something vital of that awareness and conscienceness of God, rather than having that awareness and conscienceness.
As Paul, “In Him we live, we move, we have our being and be aware of God’s presence with me”(Acts 17:28). I’ve lost that awareness, that conscienceness so what do I do? I start carving out an image, so that every time I see the image I’ll be reminded of God. So the image always speaks of a degraded or deteriorated spiritual state. It testifies to my loss of the conscienceness of the presence of God with me at all times and all places. God hates images. I think that it is tragic that in so many of the great churches and cathedrals they have images within them, inasmuch as God hates them. And I’ll leave you with that.
Shall we stand. May the Lord be with you and bless you and keep you. May He bring you into a fresh awareness of His presence and may you experience a fresh work of God within your lives. That you might walk before Him this week in the path of righteousness pleasing unto Him. May God help you in those areas of your life where you experienced failures in your past, and may you experience God’s power and God’s strength helping you to overcome. That you will not be overcome with evil but you will overcome evil with good through His spirit working you. May you come into a deeper relationship of love; love before God and love for each other. And especially, may God give you a heart of praise and rejoicing so that your life might be pleasing to Him as you rejoice in the Lord always. God bless and God keep you.